Saturday, May 19, 2007

Manila High School History

Manila High School
Manila High School is a public secondary school under the Division of City Schools – National Capital Region (NCR) of the Department of Education. It is located in Intramuros, Manila bounded by Muralla, Victoria, Recoletos and Escuela Streets. The school has a land area of Five thousands one hundred forty three decimal point fifty square meters. (5,143.5 sqm)
On the site of the present Manila High School building (more than a century ago), the Spanish government’s city council, called the “Ayuntamiento de Manila”, established the Escuela Municipal de Manila in the year 1892 for the children of Spanish residents.
According to the biography of Conrado F. Benitez and other illustrious alumni, Victoria Grammar School was the forerunner of the Manila High School and established at the onset of the American era.
The Manila High School was organized by the Director of Education David P. Barrows and acting Superintendent of City Schools, Mr. Charles H. Magee.   It was established on June 11, 1901 for the graduates of the Provincial and Manila Intermediate Schools.
In 1921 the city government later put up secondary schools in each the four districts, known as the Manila East, West, North and South High Schools. Manila High School was renamed as Manila South High School since its location is directly south of the mouth of Pasig River. Manila South High School was renamed Araullo High School in June 1930 in memory of Justice Manuel Araullo.
The school building of Araullo High School at Victoria Street in Intramuros was completely destroyed during World War II. After the war, Araullo High School opened classes in the compound of Epifanio de los Santos Elementary School in Paco.
In November 1947, the Division of City School acquired two Quonset Huts in Mehan Garden, formerly occupied by Surplus Property Commission. Mr. Victor Hernandez was chosen to organize the annex to accommodate the increasing enrolment of all public secondary schools in the city. The ever energetic Mr. Hernandez made the premises available for classroom after the clearing of the surroundings, planting shrubs and tamarind trees that helped very much in making the teachers and students like the place. Enrolment of first year students started with the teachers Mrs. Andal and Rizo Diaz, who were assigned to the Mehan Annex.
The classes opened on December 15, 1947 with an enrollment of 221 first year students. Mrs. Janelo and Rizo Diaz was in-charge with the English classes,  Mrs. Carmen Mercado as Home Economics and Chemistry teacher, and Mrs.  Andal as Teacher-Librarian.
By virtue of a City Ordinance No. 3122 approved on January 27, 1948, the Mehan Annex of the Araullo High School became the Manuel Roxas High School, the youngest city public secondary school honoring the memory of the first President of the Philippine Republic, President Manuel A. Roxas. The transfer of 242 second year students then at Lukban Elementary School was affected. The following school term, third and fourth year applicants were accommodated.
By virtue of Resolution No. 283  dated May 26, 1953 by Mayor Lacson reserving the vacant lot located at Victoria Street, Intramuros for the Manila High School site, in order to revive the historical significance of the old highs chool which was the alma mater of most of our great leaders and distinguished men  of the country..

Opening of Annexes:
1.     MacArthur Annex
·       The Division of City Schools leased fourteen (14)  rooms at the Feati University Building (which adjoined the McArthur Bridge ) in July 1949 to accommodate first and second year classes, leaving the third and fourth year classes and all vocational and physical education classes at the Mehan compounds. This new annex known, as the MacArthur Annex, had Mr. Honesto Valdez as the first head teacher with 21 sections and the Faculty numbering___ teacher. A good surprise to all in February 1950, a school band was organized under the charge of one-time member of the famous Philippine Constabulary Band.  In August 1951, Mr. Augusto Alzona,       the Assistant Principal of Torres High School, took over the Administration vacated  by Mr. Hernandez.
2.     Victoria Annex
·       The Quonset Hut across Hospital Street which was used as classroom for vocational classes in accordance with the city government’s plan to rehabilitate and revive the pre-war Mehan Garden was demolished.  The provision for additional classroom was necessary to accommodate the unprecedented increase of enrollment in the coming school year.
The Intramuros annex was opened with the transferred Quonset Hut from the Mehan Garden and additional shop classrooms were put up with the help of the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA).  Mr. Divino was designated Head Teacher of the second annex of the Roxas High School. 
On October 9, 1958, this Victoria Annex together with the McArthur and Mehan Annexes became the new Manila High School.  The Pilot Science Classes, the brain of our science-minded Principal were located in this annex. A Library was provided for this annex with Miss Ignacio in-charge.
3.     National Radio School Annex 
·       On July 1953, a third annex consisting of 11 rooms was necessary to accommodate the applicants to the first year classes. This Annex at the National Radio School and Institute of Technology, along Ronquillo St. at Sales St, was leased for the academic subjects of first year classes. The home economics, vocational, and physical education classes were held at the main building at Mehan. Mr. Irlandez, Assistant head Teacher at the McArthur Annex, and Mrs. Asuncion Quinto, the Social Studies Department Head, were designated temporarily to take charge of the annex which only existed for a year. However, the same premises were leased again when school opened in July 1956 with a record breaking enrolment of 5,990 students thus making the school retain its rank as the fourth largest public high school.  [Mr. Jacob was appointed Head Teacher for Manila High School.]
4.     Canonigo Annex 
·       The acquisition of the Canonigo and the subsequent construction of the future permanent building of Manuel Roxas High School in 1953 made everybody happy. On October 9, 1958 the Canonigo Annex became the present Roxas High School.
By virtue of Ordinance 4067 approved on October 9, 1958 by the Manila Mayor Arsenio H. Lacson, the city government decided to split the Roxas High School. The Canonigo Annex became the present Roxas High School, while the Mehan, Victoria and MacArthur Annexes were combined and transformed into the new Manila High School.
Mayor Arsenio H. Lacson committed himself to rebuild the old Manila High School but not in Mehan Garden and neither at the old site at Victoria Street.  He envisioned putting up a “dream edifice”, a modern school complex with a gymnasium, an auditorium, wide campus, and other facilities.
The site of the Cuartel de Espana along General Luna Street (where General McArthur held command post during the war) was cleaned for the future Manila High School.
Due to the delay of this construction, the dilapidated Quonset Huts were  repaired for the meantime and remained as the main building of the Manila  High School (in  accordance with a Municipal Board resolution)  with the  MacArthur and Victoria as its annexes.
The MacArthur and Victoria Annexes were transferred to the million-peso three-storey building in July 1963 located in General Luna Street, keeping the Mehan Annex for the first and second year classes with Mr. S. Vera Cruz as the Head Teacher. The following year, the first year classes were again housed at the McArthur Annex, leaving the second year classes at the Mehan Annex.
                 The PLM building, the home of MHS  from July 1963 to 1967
The Special Science Classes at the Victoria Annex became the nucleus of a science high school in the city. Then, in October 1963 the Victoria Annex became the home of the first Manila Science High School.
When Mayor Antonio Villegas succeeded Mayor Lacson, he planned to put up a city university. The imposing Manila High School building was the choice of the city executive for the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila. However, the high school authorities were assured that before the new building will be turned over to the city university, a new Manila High School building will be constructed at the old site on Calle Victoria.  The arrangement was that the science building will be transferred to the building formerly occupied by the Araullo High School at Padre Paura corner Taft Avenue.
The Manila High School was built in the school complex in General Luna Street that was later used by the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, from July 1963 up to April 1967. On that site once thought to be the permanent home at Gen. Luna Street, the Batch of ‘64, ‘65, ‘66, and ‘67 graduated.
On February 26, 1967, the new school complex, a four-storey concrete edifice at the Victoria site of the first Manila High School was formally inaugurated with Mrs. Lydia Villegas cutting the ceremonial ribbon and unveiling the bronze marker. The opening of the new school was a whole day celebration, also commemorating the 61st Foundation of the Manila High School.
On June 1967,  the Manila High School opened its doors for the school year 1967-1968 in the premises they can call permanently their own at Victoria Street corner Muralla and Escuela Streets. Thereafter, all classes beginning in 1968 graduated from MHS at that historic site of Intramuros. At the same site, the Escuela Muncipal de Manila was established by the Spanish  government in the late 19th Century,  the Victoria Grammar School in the  early 20th Century on the onset of the American colonial era,  the Manila  High School and Manila South High School during the American era,   and Manila High School’s Victoria  Annex  from the early 1950’s up to 1963.
We cannot complete the history of Manila High School without mentioning and honoring Mr. Augusto Alzona, the late Principal of the Manila High School. He best exemplified a model civil servants and educator. He was simple, strict disciplinarian but with a golden heart. He was well loved by the students during his term in the Manila High. His way of giving token gifts like fruits to students and teachers endeared him to all. His vision and innovations led to the birth of Manila Science High School, an offspring of Manila High School.
November 25, 1959 marked the evolution of the first pilot science high school in Manila. On October 1, 1963, the Manila Science High School was officially born by virtue of a Municipal Resolution signed by Mayor Antonio Villegas. Credit for the school’s early success goes to the Manila Science High School Principal Augusto Alzona – the “Father of Manila Science High School
Manila High School is the Alma Mater of many outstanding leaders; among them were three former Presidents of the Philippines - Jose P. Laurel, Manuel A. Roxas, and Elpidio Quirino.

Other related postings :

The Dutch Choir "Afrika Engakoor" and the Manila High School

Manila High School (Intramuros) Hungers Burns The Heart


Manila High School - Centennial Anniversary and Alumni Homecoming

Other Related websites of Manila High School Alumni.

Manila High School Graduates International


Manila High School Alumni Portal

Web postings about Intramuros

Ciudad Murada : Intramuros

Intramuros - Puerta Real Gardens and Baluarte de San Dieg



  1. Thanks for sharing this bit of information.

    It's my first time to read anything of this sort about this beloved spot in old, old Intramuros.

    What is the original source of this story, if you would allow me to know the title of the book or whatever?

    May the blessings be!

  2. As a Manila High School alumnus (Class of 82), thank you for this wonderful article. I will forward this link to my fellow alumni.

    I am in the process of creating a site where former students from all over the world can reminisce, if only for a brief moment how much fun, and simple life was back then. I would like to ask your permission to use pictures on this page. They will be added to a non-commercial site, dedicated strictly for use of registered users.

    Luis Gregorio
    LT, MSC, USN
    Class of 1982

  3. Thanks a lot for these very informative article. When we are studying at MHS, we don't have any idea of the school, it's history and heritage. Now after 32 yrs, i have an idea of the different twists that surround our dear MHS.
    Again thank you...also to the pictures inside the quadrangle where we used to march as a CAT cadet and at the background are our classrooms...

  4. To Whom It May Concern:

    There is a choir group in The Netherlands who will sing a song to raise a fund for Manila High School.
    They come up with the idea to sing your Alma Mater Song to show appreciation to the members of your institution.
    The group requested whether if it’s possible for them to request for the Lyrics, Piano Notes and Audio (mp3 or any format) of your Alma Mater Song.

    Please let me know on how we could get the information as they will perform on December 14, 2008.

    Looking forward for your immediate response in this matter.

    Best Regards,

    Mechell Baradillo

  5. Good day Mechell,
    I am making inquiries from the Manila High School alumni groups :
    MHSGIA and MHS alumni portal how to obtain the mentioned songs of Manila High School.
    Meantime this is the web address of
    Manila High School Graduates International :

    Manila High School Alumni Portal :

  6. Good day Mechel,

    This is the Lyric of Manila High School's Song. I am still waiting for Manila High School's student to sent the Note / Tune.


    412 2008/10/16 MHS SONG

    We salute the school pride of our land,
    Years have gone by and years have to come,
    You will stay and stand forever and ever
    We the teachers and student to lead

    Love and affection will flourish
    Knowledge and wisdom to stay
    Power and strenght to remain

    Oh,dear Manila High
    Hear and protect us
    Listen and whisper the blessing
    We will raise the banner to the sky
    Let us all sing the song of love
    Dearest to our hearts

    Oh Manila High,
    Forever will shine
    (Repeat 2x)

    .Ma`m Normita Fransisco ask me to post this song.

    --Romalie O. Generalao
    III-1 (2007-2008)
    Photojournalist in Filipino Journalism

  7. Thanks a lot for a bunch of good tips. I look forward to reading more on the topic in the future. Keep up the good work! This blog is going to be great resource. Love reading it.
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  8. hmm. . .Nice site, and a nice blog design. Oh, and very useful information as well.
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  9. A very interesting history of your old school. Are there any old photos of it? Thanks!