Memories of Old Baguio

October 29, 2017

The young man who came to Baguio to die.

After the ravages wrought by World War II, a young lawyer was diagnosed to have asthma and may die soon. The doctor advised him to go to Baguio City for a cure. Following the doctor's advice, he came to Baguio in early1946.

In a meeting with fellow University of the Philippines alumnus, Atty. Sinai C. Hamada, the young lawyer was challenged to put up a college school, as only elementary and secondary school existed in Baguio City that time. The young lawyer countered, that he had to leave his Law practice and had no money to put up a school. Then he replied, "Why not?" A vision of Baguio City as a university town full of young students going to college flashed before his eyes.

When he went back to Manila, he recruited unemployed school teachers to come to Baguio City and put up a higher learning institution. Among those who came up with him were spouses Fernando and Rosa Bautista. He was the "Pied Piper" for education. He sold all his assets in Manila and Quezon province to pursue his vision of a college in Baguio City.

On June 19, 1946 the Baguio Colleges opened its doors to 159 students at the Antipolo Building along Session Road and the Lam Ping Building along Mabini Street. He was the first to adopt the shield as the college logo. The rice terraces symbolize the genius of the Filipino race, the pine trees to represent the freshness of the youth, the torch as the flame or ardour for education, and the quill to depict a passion for writing.

The Baguio Colleges Foundation (BCF) became the University of the Cordilleras (UC) in 2003 and embodies the character of the man called the father of University of the Cordilleras.

Atty. Benjamin Romero Salvosa created Baguio Colleges as a foundation and donated all his wealth to the school. As a foundation, he practiced what he had written in various years of his life. His religion is to be good and to do good and that "education is a birthright."

As a foundation, Baguio Colleges is a non-profit institution and its earnings were maximized for the improvement of the institution, which is now a school to 15,000 students.

To his family, BCF was Atty. Benjamin R. Salvosa's youngest and favorite child. Nurturing the school, he lived a life as an educator, publisher, a Full Bright lecturer in six universities in the U.S.A., and author of several books.

He published Rules of Court annotated by him and Atty. Mariano Espeleta; an "Education for Freedom, Reform or Revolt"; and "Politics of Unfinished Revolutions" with Atty. Edilberto Tenefrancia as co-author. He also published the Gold Ore as a student weekly from 1948 to 1974 and as a community news weekly from 1994 to 1995. He even visited students during classes, gave the teacher a break and lectured in their stead. For him, students came first and teachers, second.

Many awards and appreciations were accorded to the great Atty. Benjamin R. Salvosa. Among them is the "Father of Higher Education" in 1976 by the city government of Baguio, "Builders of Baguio" in 2009, and "Parents of the Year" in 1967.

Atty. Benjamin R. Salvosa born on April 19, 1913 in Unisan, Quezon to Cayetano Salvosa and Margarita Romero. He lived a full life until Oct. 14, 1994. He lives on in the memories of his family, his Baguio town mates, his colleagues and in every student that enters the portals of UC and alumni of his great educational institution.

Published in the Baguio Midland Courier issued October 29, 2017 | by Sab-ot and Kilata of Flashback-Baguio City

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