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Brief History of San Agustin Center of Studies (SACS)

The Beginning

San Agustin Center of Studies (SACS), the major seminary of the Augustinian Province of Sto. Nino de Cebu-Philippines, was established in 1984.

The establishment of a major seminary was conceived even before the Province of Sto. Nino de Cebu-Philippines was founded in 1984. The establishment of the seminary, which would serve as the seedbed of the future Augustinians in the Philippines, will ensure the sustainability and growth of the newly founded province. This was made possible through the assistance of Fathers Eduardo Perez, OSA, and Jesus Encinas, OSA, of the Mother province, who wrote to Ills Eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin, DI), the then Archbishop of Manila, to seek approval for the establishment of the seminary. On November 16, 1983, the cardinal, through his Vicar General and Chancellor, Msgr. Josefino Ramirez, approved the proposal.

Diliman, Quezon City was chosen as the site of the building(s). The seminary nestles along Fisheries Street in Visayas Avenue, barely a kilometer away from the famous Quezon City circle landmark. Rising on a slightly elevated two-hectare area, it is hounded on the northwest by the Culiat River, opposite to Sanville Subdivision and the University of the Philippines Arboretum.

Following the groundbreaking rites on December 1983, the plan was to complete the construction In June 1989. Architect Manuel Mallon Jr. was contracted to formulate a building plan and additionally, a home for Philosophy students, including the construction of a church and related facilities for the general public.

On May 21, 1984, Fr. Martin Nolan, OSA, the Father General, officially approved the erection of the institution and more importantly, canonically declared it as a religious residence. The concept and the architectural design were patterned after colonial types, conveying the Augustinian’s respect for the past and their unwavering faith in the future.

It was sometime in July 1984 when the original members of the seminary community, together with the first Prior Provincial at the San Agustin Monastery in Intramuros, proposed the name San Agustin Center of Studies (SACS). It was widely received and the Provincial and his Council subsequently approved Its adoption as the institution’s name.

In November 13, 1984, the seminary was finally dedicated with His eminence Jaime Cardinal Sin as the main celebrant. Among those who witnessed the occasion were Fr. Eusebio Berdon, OSA, Prior Provincial, Quezon City Mayor Adelina Rodriguez, friars of the Province, Augustinian sisters, friends, and benefactors.

Aside from being the Province’s main formation house, the San Agustin Center of Studies since its foundation also serve as the first Provincial House from 1984 until 1990 before the Provincial House was moved to the Basilica of Sto. Nino in Cebu City. Fr. Berdon resided In SACS and held office in the present conference hall with his officials: Fr. Rogelio Obja-an, OSA, as Provincial Treasurer and member of the council and Fr. Melchor Mirador, OSA, the Provincial Secretary. The Provincial and his secretary were housed in St. Monica Hall. Furthermore, SACS also served as the Asia Pacific Augustinian Conference (APAC) Secretariat Office during the term of Fr. Berdon as APAC President.

SACS celebrated its 25 years last November 13, 2009. The theme of the celebration was “SACS at 25: We Remember . . . We Rejoice . . . We Renew” An exhibit showcased the history and development of SACS as the formation house and as the seat of St. Thomas of Villanova Institute (ST VI). Present during the celebration were Prior Provincial Fr. Eusebio B. Berdon, OSA; Fr. Mamerto Alfeche, OSA, the first prior of SACS (1984- I 985); Fr. William Araña, OSA, Vicar of the Vicariate of the Orient; and friars from other communities.

The Friars

From 1984 to 1995

On August 5, 1984, three months before the formal opening of the house, Fr. Arsenio Pioquinto, OSA, and Fr. Rosalio Paderog, OSA, arrived at SACS with six novices. Several weeks later, Fr. Rogelio Obja-an, OSA, and Fr. Melchor Mirador, OSA, joined the group. After the blessing on November 13, 1984, the rest of the seminarians, accompanied by Fr. Mamerto Alfeche, OSA, and Fr. Eusebio Berdon, OSA, transferred from San Agustin Monastery in Intramuros, Manila.

SACS initially served as the formation house for all levels of formation, from aspirants to the simply professed friars. Thus, several friars were assigned at SACS. In 1984, the first community was composed by Fr. Mamerto Alfeche, OSA, as the first Rector of the House, and the Master of the simply professed friars; Fr. Rosalio Paderog, OSA, as the Vice Rector, Master of Novices and of the Late Vocation seminarians; and Fray Rodolfo Rodriguez, OSA, as the Treasurer and a member of Formation Team.

In April 1985, Fr. Gerardo Pechayco, OSA, and Fr. JoIlle Alson, OSA, arrived as members of the community. However, Fr. Alfeche, at the end of April, left and was assigned as president of the University of San Agustin-Iloilo and thus Fr. Paderog became the Rector. Later, Fr. Rodolfo Manaloto, OSA, and Fray Efren Obja-an, OSA, both on study-leave, also arrived at SACS. Subsequently, Fray Efren Obja-an became the procurator while Fr. Manaloto was assigned as member of the formation team.

Thus, on September 1985, a new set of house officials managed the seminary. Fr. Rogelio Paderog served as the Rector and Master of Aspirants of the Late Vocation Program, Novices and Professed; House Secretary, Sacristan and Archivist; Fr. Arsenio Pioquinto, OSA, as the Vice Rector, Spiritual Director, Confessor and House Counselor, and Assistant Master; Fr. Rodolfo Rodriguez, OSA, as Treasurer and member of the Formation Team; and Fray Efren Obja-an, OSA, as the House Procurator.

To enhance the administration and formation of SACS community, Fr. Tito Soquino, OSA, and Fray Efren Nano, OSA, were assigned to SACS. Fray Efren was still in his pastoral year. In August 1986, Fr. Ramon Pedrosa, OSA, who was on study-leave, was assigned at SACS as a professor and Fr. Marcelino Malana, OSA, also came in January 1987 as pastoral coordinator. At the start of the school year 1988, Fray Efren Nano, OSA, was transferred to Colegio San Agustin-Biñan and Rev. Napoleon Fuderanan, OSA, took his place.

During the second Ordinary Provincial Council in April 1988, the community was composed of the following: Fr. Rogelio Paderog, OSA, as the Rector, Master of the Novices and Professed, Secretary, Archivist and Professor; Fr. Rodolfo Manaloto, OSA, as the Vice Rector, Master of Aspirants and Postulants (Late Vocation Program), House Counselor, Treasurer, Sacristan; Fr. Tito Soquino, OSA, as the Prefect of Discipline, Library Director, Professor; Fr. Arsenio Pioquinto, OSA, as the Spiritual Director, Confessor, House Counselor and Professor; Fray Efren Obja-an, OSA, as the Procurator and member of Formation Team; Fr. Marcelino Malana, OSA, as Pastoral Coordinator and Regional Director of Cofradia del Sto. Nino; Fr. Ramon Pedrosa, OSA, as guest student priest; Rev. Napoleon Fuderanan, OSA, as Publication Coordinator and Professor.

However, by July 26, 1988, Fr. Paderog was appointed to oversee the construction of another formation house in Cebu, the Augustinian Novitiate and Prayer House. Pr. Paderog’s request to be permanently freed from his responsibilities as House Prior of SACS was approved by the Council on December 22, 1988. Fr. Manaloto, the Sub-Prior, was appointed acting Prior until April 10, 1989 when he was a full-pledge Prior.

Under Fr. Manaloto’s term, another reshuffling happened. In 1990, Fr. Soquiño and Fray ObJa-an were separately assigned to the Colegio San Agustin-Bacolod (CSA-Bacolod) and to the Augustinian Novitiate and Prayer House respectively. Fray Emeterio Lazo, OSA, and Fray Jonas Mejares, OSA, were assigned to SACS. Fr. Pioquinto left SACS in 1991 for the Basilica del Sto. Nino de Cebu.

During the third term in the Province’s existence, another set of friars came. Fr. Soquiño went back to SACS but Fr. Mejares, by that time already a priest, was assigned to the University of San Agustin in Iloilo. In t993, Fr. Soquiño left for San Jose Parish In Iloilo and Fr. Mejares was reassigned to SACS. In 1993, SACS was manned by Fr. Manaloto, Fray Emeterio Lazo, and Fr. Mejares. Fr. Manaloto was the Prior until 1995. Fray Emeterio Lazo, was appointed for a year as Prior of SACS making him the first non-cleric friar who assumed the office of the Prior in SACS.

From 1996 until the Present Time

Fr. Rodolfo Bugna, OSA, assumed the office of the Prior of SACS in 1996. His term marked the significant opening of the College Seminary. Fr. Bugna also served as the Master of the College Students. Members of SACS community were Fr. Jerome Mesina, OSA, as the Master of the Simply Professed Friars; Fray Rommel Par, OSA, as the Director of Saint Thomas of Villanova Institute (STVI); Fr. Allan Otadoy, OSA; Fray Eduard Obrique, OSA, who was later transferred to CSA-Bacolod; Rev. Fernando Cleopas, OSA, and Rev. Achilles Secio, OSA.

After his four-year term, Fr. Bugna was replaced by Fr. Donato Ellezar, OSA, In 2000. At this time separate formation houses for simply professed friars, for aspirants, and postulants were set up. The novices, who had already their own formation house in Talisay City, Cebu, moved out from SACS In 1989. The professionals were sent to their formation house, San Agustin Seminary, In Guadalupe Monastery, Makati City. SACS formation focused on the college seminarians and the simply professed friars more closely. The college seminarians had their intellectual formation in STVI while the simply professed friars had it in different prestigious schools and universities such as the University of Sto. Tomas, the Recoletos School of Theology, Loyola School of Theology, Maryhill School of Theology, and the Institute of Consecrated Life in Asia, among others.

Fr. Jose Rene C. Delariarte, OSA, took over the office of the Prior in 2004. He was also appointed as STVI Director replacing Fr. Achilles Seel% OSA. With him were new members of the community namely: Fr. Arlon Vergara, OSA; Fr. Michael Belonio, OSA; Fr. Alan Otadoy, OSA; Pr. Ambrosio Galendez, OSA; Fr. Dante Juloc, OSA. Fr. Vergara was assigned to a new apostolate of the Augustinians in Gubat, Sorsogon In 2005. Fr. Pederito Aparece, OSA, and Fr. Arnel Antonio Dizon OSA, became members of the SACS community a year after and Fray Stephen Tan, OSA, replaced Fr. Michael Belonio, OSA, as procurator. Fr. Gallndez was transferred to the Novitiate House in January 2007 for health reasons. Fr. Delariarte left SACS and vacated the office of the Prior in 2007 for his further studies in Canada. Fr. Otadoy replaced him In his post for one year. Fr. Danilo Carrido, OSA, stayed at SACS after he arrived from Australia and was transferred to (SA-Bacolod.

In 2008, SACS welcomed another set of members led by Fr. Andrew Hatayola, OSA. Other friars assigned during this term were Fr. Nicholas Echeveria, OSA, as Spiritual Director of the seminarians; Fr. Michael Sequio, OSA, as the Director of STVI; Fray Stephen Tan, OSA, who left for Rome a year after for studies, was replaced by Fr. Ericson Borre, OSA, as Procurator; Fr. Fernando Cleopas, OSA, the Master of the college seminarians, who left for Canada after two years for a mission. Fr. Joel Beronque, OSA, assumed the post of Master of the college students. Fray Welliner Jack Luna, OSA, who just professed his solemn vows, was added as a member of the community. Fr. Jose Seidel, OSA, came to SACS In 2010, and Fr. Emmanuel Czar Alvarez, OSA, arrived from Rome in the summer of the same year. In 2011, Fr. Pacifico Nohara, OSA, arrived after his term as a missionary in Korea. Noteworthy to mention were the presence of the two Augustinian friars from Indonesia, who came in December 2010 for further studies: Rev. Yohanis Sedik, OSA, and Rev. Adri Doringe, OSA.

In 2012, newly assigned friars came, headed again by Fr. Jose Rene Delariarte, OSA. His team consisted of Fr. Nelson Zerda, OSA, as Master of the simply professed friars; Fr. Fernando Cleopas, OSA, who just arrived from Canada; Fr. Jose Francisco Teves, OSA, who also came from Rome. Fr. Michael Sequlo, OSA, the Master of the postulants; Fr. Ericson Borre, OSA, as procurator; Fr. Pacifico Nohara, OSA, as Master of the aspirants; Fr. Nicolas Echeveria, OSA, and Fray Harold Langahin, OSA. Fr. Yohanis Sedik, OSA, from Indonesia, and Fray Kim Chang Ho, OSA, from Korea Joined the group.


In 1996, twelve years since the erection of SACS, the college seminary was realized and another edifice was added at the left of Saint Monica Hall, the St Thomas of Villanova Hall. The project of building a college seminary was initiated by the Prior Provincial, the late Fr. Bernardino Ricafrente, OSA. He presented the project to the Intermediate General Chapter in San Paulo, Brazil and positive pledges of assistance poured in from different Provinces of the Order. The groundbreaking was scheduled on February 23, 1994 and was graced by Very Rev. Fr. Gonzalo Diaz, OSA, the General Econome of the Order at the time. The construction started in June of the same year and it was completed 1996. It was blessed on January 30, 1996 by Most Rev. Fr. Miguel Angel Orcasitas, OSA, the then Prior General of the Order.

The Saint Thomas of Villanova Institute of Philosophy, the academic branch of the College Seminary, is to be found in this building. STVI is the philosophy institute of the province affiliated with the University of San Agustin College of Arts and Science. It trains college seminarians in philosophical studies as a preparatory course to theology. During its opening on June 6, 1996, STVI welcomed 24 students from all over the country. From then on the institute has continued to produce and helped in the development and formations of the college seminarians of the province.

In 2006, the STVI celebrated its ten years and opened its portals to extern students. The externs were from different religious congregations, such as the Sons of Divine Providence (FDP), Eucharistic Healers of Mary (EHM), and the Missionary of the Beatitudes (MB). Seminarians from the Vicariate of the Orient of the Mother province also enrolled In the institute. “lb date STVI has welcomed a total 423 students from both Augustinians and the externs since Its opening.

The institute has an official publication, The Pelican. It features philosophical and social-related issues contributed by the Institute’s professors and speakers during philosophical symposia. The collegium community has Its own journal called, The Phoenix. This journal contains personal and philosophical reflections of the seminarians on their day-to-day life in the seminary.

Since its establishments, STVI has had the following Directors: Fr. Rommel Par, OSA; Fr. Achilles Secio, OSA; Fr. Jose Rene Delariarte, OSA; Fr. Dante Juloc, OSA; Fr. Michael Alvin Sequio, OSA. The current Director is Fr. Jose Rene Delariarte, OSA.

Seminary Structures and Features St. Monica Hall – Friars Residence

Built in 1984, the new colonial-type seminary is composed of two edifices. The main structure on the left is a three-story seminary while on the other three-story building which serves as the residence of the friars. This building boasts of an open terrace protruding from the second floor. Behind them is a separate building housing the refectories and the kitchen. A covered path joins the latter to the residence. The friars’ residence is equipped with four bedrooms, a living room, library and conference room. It has a receiving room at the ground floor.

Other features include basketball and tennis/ volleyball courts which were completed In 1985 along with the first layer of the concrete fencing. In 1986 a bridge connecting Fisheries Street and the Seminary compound was added.

St. Nicholas of Tolentine Hall – Professorium

The home of the simply professed friars is a three-story building. he hall is a square-like structure which encloses an inner garden at the center part. It has 48 Individual rooms with individual shower rooms, study rooms, chapel and archives, among others. Today, SNTH has a mini-conference room and a reading room. SNTII is also the home of the In Deum, the publication of the professorium community. ‘I he SACS Update, the official, the official newsletter of SACS, is also published by the friars from the same department.

St. Thomas of Villanova Hall – Collegium

The college seminary is located in an elevated piece of lot. It has three levels and has a sort of a lower ground floor where the laundry moms and the employee’s quarter are located. In the upper ground floor, which encloses also an inner garden, the classrooms, speech laboratory, and the faculty room of STVI are situated. The STVI Public Chapel is also on the same floor. In the second floor, the dormitories of the of the seminarians, four guest rooms, the Saint Thomas of Villanova Philosophy Library are located. The dormitories of the higher years, the common recreation room, the computer laboratory, the College Oratory, and the Father Master’s room are in the third floor.

The Community Apostolate

There has been a consensus to build a strong Augustinian Community as the first apostolate of the members. Being a formation community, this has been given the utmost care and attention by the members because of its implications on the formation of the students.

Considering that the main mission of the community is formation, the apostolic ministry has been limited. This, however, has not hindered the community’s involvements in the following areas of outreached programs in depressed areas of Quezon City and at the home for the aged. In 1992 the friars participated in social movements meant to help alleviate the plight of the less fortunate, especially the victims of recent calamities such as fire, the Mt. Pinatubo eruption, and similar among others; holding of retreat and recollections for the different lay groups; assisting the neighboring parishes of Project 6, San Francisco del Monte and San Lorenzo Ruiz; organizing the youth of the area and holding daily masses where neighboring residents could attend.

At the present, the friars are also engaged in many forms of apostolate. Friar-priest are still helping the nearby parishes like Mt. Carmel in Project 6; San Isidro Parish In Tandang Sora; parish of the Immaculate Conception in Project 6; ASOLC – Motherhouse; OSA Contemplative Sisters In Bulacan and San Agustin Compound in Tandang Sora. With students from STVI, the fathers also celebrates Mass at the Baseco Compound. Aside from the regular schedule of the Masses, the friars also facilitate requests from different Augustinian communities and schools in giving recollection and retreats.

The simply professed friars are also assigned in many areas of apostolate. Some friars are assigned in V. Luna I iospltal giving communion to the sick and in Tayuman, taking care of the house of the elderly together with the Sisters of Charity. Other areas of apostolate are TMMR In collaboration with the ASOLC sisters for the orphans; catechism with children in San Agustin Compound and BEC community in Project 6.

The Columbary

Part of the master plan of the seminary was also to have a public chapel. This chapel will be used to cater to the pastoral needs of the public aside from the friars and the seminarians who both have their respective oratories in the seminary.

While setting up the plans on the construction of the public chapel, a specific proposal was raised by a developer who offered to build the chapel in exchange on creating a columbary. The plan was to make It a two-story structure with the chapel above and the columbary below. The Province accepted the proposal and in return, part of the proceeds of the selling of the columbary vaults will be given to support the seminary financially.

The construction started with a ground-breaking ceremony attended by the then Quezon City Mayor, Sonny Belmonte, representatives of the developer (RDC), and some friars from the Province. It was in the year 2009 that the seminary started using the public chapel. This was due to the slow phase of the construction because of financial constraints of the developer.

SACS today …

The San Agustin Center of Studies Community continues to commit itself to fulfill its vision and mission, that Is, to take care of the formation of the young men in this part of the globe, who would become the future Augustinians according to the teachings and ideals of St. Augustine. Furthermore, what has been started by its forebears, SACS persevere to do: shaping the mind and heart of the formands with an integral and holistic formation program.

Inspired by what was laid down by its history, the young Augustinians today continue to strive for excellence and holiness to be a community proud of its history, humble of its achievements, and sincere in achieving its goal.

These ideals have given this community the right course toward the realization of its vision which is “a community of brothers and friends, living harmoniously with one mind and heart intent upon God and sharing goods in common for the service of God and His people.” (by Fr. Ericson Borre, OSA)

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