I joined then Colegio de San Jose Recoletos (CSJ-R) now University of San Jose-Recoletos (USJ-R) in 1964. I would have taught at the University of San Carlos upon the invitation of Fr. Wadslwick, or at Colegio Immaculada under then Directress Sor Encarnacion.

But, one Sunday afternoon in 1964, Sonny and I were strolling along Colon St., we saw the gates of CSJ-R open so we entered. We saw a priest walking in the school’s quadrangle. He was the rector then, Fr. Francisco Monasterio, who upon knowing I was an English teacher, readily offered me a teaching job which Sonny accepted.

I didn’t know what to say because I knew I had a pending offer from two schools. But I had no choice. Sonny said that CSJ-R was the sister school of San Sebastian College in Manila where he graduated. He felt the school will protect me. He also pursued his College of Law, until third year, evening schedules, while I had some evening English classes too.

The rest is history. I never left San Jose and San Jose never left me until 2000 when I retired as Dean of College of Arts and Sciences (CAS). Up to this time, I still handle a few doctoral classes in English and literature.

The many milestones I chaired, or helped in the history of USJ-R include founding of the Little Theater in 1964 and the USJ-R Dramatics and Cultural Ensemble, conceptualization of new courses: Mass Communication, Liacom, Effective Communication or Efcom, and the BS Hotel and Restaurant Management and BS Tourism which later were transferred to the College of Commerce after I retired, and this broke my heart.

I established linkages and built the first HRM mini hotel, the Benedicto Masscom Studio, the Norberto Quisumbing HRM facilities, then the first Audio Visual studio under then president, Fr. Francisco Siguenza. (He wanted to name it after me before he left USJ-R. Wow, it would have been a testimony of my services).

I helped upgrade the speech labs, biology labs and had for awhile a space for the American Studies library, which was abandoned when I retired. I sent faculty members in the US Fulbright and International Visitors Programs. I established partnerships with the Department of Tourism, Zonta Club Cebu 1, Amcham, CCCI, Cebu City Tourism Commission and Eatof, among others.

There were short term courses in tourism and HRM, when they were with the CAS during the terms of Father Presidents Blas Montenegro, Rafael Cabarles and Hernando Coja.

For “academic, theater and cultural enrichment”, I brought four faculty members in Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia in preparation for the tourism courses.

The USJ-R Dramatics and Cultural Ensemble performed in Utah, California, USA, then in Xiamen, Beijing with the support of Fathers Anthony Morillo and Raul Buhay, who appointed me as PR and Cultural consultant.

Oh, I had so many meaningful episodes as an adopted Josenian, and the crowning glory was my installation as “Hermana General” by the Recollect Order, Prior General, Miguel Mitra Miro.

My dream during childhood inspired by the Maryknoll and Dominican sisters to be a nun had been realized.

I directed so many musicales as literature and drama enrichment and produced great thespians now successful here and abroad. I will treasure West Side Story, Sister Acts 1 and 2, Sound of Music, The Restless Journey of St. Augustine, St. Ezekiel, the Healing Priest. Broadway, Broadway!

The 75 years of the Recoletos in Cebu will be commemorated this year onward with meaningful events. All these years, the USJ-R had achieved academic excellence as certified by Paascu.

Its branches in strategic places in Cebu delineate its goal of Quality Christian Community Oriented Education, a concept of then president, Fr. Blas Montenegro.

As the school met current demands in education, it has adopted new perspectives and relevant linkages across the globe through the efforts of the new administration, deans and faculty. Its commerce and business courses expanded. The Teachers College became a Center of Excellence. The Graduate school increased its enrolment because of innovative courses in business, English and engineering supported by state of the art facilities as well as the IT courses with a separate building in Basak run by a competent dean, quality faculty and upgraded facilities.

The school’s community projects, the “Panagtiayun” series, and departmental programs, were pacesetters.

Adelante! It’s 400 Years of presence in Cebu then 75 years of CSJ-R /USJ-R, are glorious epochs of history.

My most meaningful memories of USJR are intact as Fr. Nonie Morillo, OAR, continued to be my guiding light from the time I served, then retired. He is God’s gift to my family, who truly believed in me and continuously assures me of our well-being through the masses he offers for us.

I join the series of celebration of the 400 Years of Recoletos Presence in Cebu and the 75 years of the University of San Jose Recoletos. The USJ-R Dramatics and Allef Alumni are preparing an October concert. Adelante!