St. La Salle, Don Enrique T. Yuchengco, St. Joseph, St. Brother Miguel, Velasco, Gokongwei, and Multi-Purpose Hall (St. Mutien-Marie Hall). These are the names of the buildings in the 5.04 hectare main lot of the De La Salle University in Taft Avenue, Manila, where the Bar Examinations have been held since 1995.
Founded in 1911, DLSU is among the schools established by the Brothers of the Christian Schools. The Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools was founded by St. John Baptist de La Salle, known to be the Patron of Christian Teachers and Father of Modern Education.
La Salle’s buildings stand as silent witnesses to the blood, sweat, and tears of the more than 5,000 examinees, as well as the hard work of the Bar personnel in the recently concluded 2007 Bar examinations. The latter give their opinions about their “assignments.”
Atty. Lucita Soriano, Third Division Clerk of Court, says she appreciates her 2007 assignment to the Gokongwei Hall, where she enjoyed the cooling breeze (a rare and treasured occurrence).
The building was described by Headwatcher Editha B. Pante of the Office of Justice Dante O. Tinga as “napakalayo (very far)” for headwatchers who have to carry 35 to 45 pieces of notebooks.
The rooms are smaller compared to those in the other buildings, observes Josefina S. Pulido, Utility Worker II, Office of Justice Minita Chico-Nazario.
Gokongwei Hall was constructed in the ‘90s and was named in honor of John Gokongwei Jr., Chairperson of the JG Summit Holdings who donated a generous sum for the building construction.
Atty. Melody L. Gervacio, Court Attorney II, Office of the Clerk of Court En Banc, describes the Multi-Purpose Hall (MPH) as the “smallest of all DLSU buildings.” It is also smaller in room capacity compared to the other DLSU buildings. With MPH being “out of the way,” she could not help but feel “isolated” there.
The Multi-Purpose Hall, formally known as St. Mutien-Marie Hall, was named after another member of St. La Salle’s teaching brotherhood. Born Louis Joseph Viaux, a Belgian, Joseph joined the De La Salle brothers at the age of 15 and received the religious name Brother Mutien-Marie.
St. Brother Miguel Hall
Built in 1969, the four-storey St. Brother Miguel Hall (formerly St. Benilde Hall) proves to be an “okay” assignment for Bar Headwatcher Rhonan S. Lamano, Utility Worker II at the Office of Justice Antonio T. Carpio.
Bar Superintendent Atty. Elizabeth Tanchoco of the Office of Deputy Court Administrator Reuben dela Cruz, describes the building’s hallways as hot, as there as no electric fans there. There is also no vendo machine nearby where softdrinks could be bought to quench the thirst of Bar personnel.
Another Bar Superintendent, Atty. Antonio Andre D. Calizo of the Program Management Office, says St. Miguel Hall is different from among the other DLSU buildings. “Medyo luma (a bit old),” he describes.
St. Brother Miguel Hall was named after Miguel (baptismal name Francisco) Febres Cordero Muñoz, a member of the De La Salle Christian Brothers. He was beatified with fellow Christian Brother Mutien-Marie by Pope Paul VI in 1977.
St. Joseph Hall
The comfort rooms at the six-storey St. Joseph Hall have this pecularity: the ladies’ rooms are at the far end of the second floor; those for the men are at both ends of the first and third floors, according to Bar Supervisor Atty. Claire Ann Factor of the Office of Justice Antonio T. Carpio.
Bar Superintendent Atty. Phoeve C. Meer of the Office of Justice Consuelo Ynares-Santiago says St. Joseph Hall is “very much closer to God” as it is near the chapel. “There are many trees; it is cool and accessible,” she observes.
Ramon Gatdula, an Executive Assistant III at the Office of the Chief Justice who served as Bar Special Assistant, shares the same satisfaction. The same goes for watcher Brenard Abella, Bookbinder III at the Printing Services.
The hall was built in 1956 and was named after St. Joseph (also Joseph the Betrothed, Joseph of Nazareth, and Joseph the Worker), to whom the nearby chapel was dedicated.
St. La Salle Hall
The neo-classical structure St. La Salle Hall has provided a haven for those who “have special needs” shares Bar Superintendent Atty. Maria Victoria Gleoresty Sp. Guerra of the Public Information Office. St. La Salle Hall has facilities – ramps at the covered walks and accessible comfort rooms, and a canteen that prove to be a boon to the examinees assigned there.
“Here you can see examinees struggling with things other examinees take for granted,” she adds. To be able to deal with the special needs of examinees who are pregnant, or who had suffered from a stroke, or otherwise physically challenged, “one needs strategy and planning.” For example, special assistants are on call to push the wheelchairs of the examinees and special watchers are assigned to examinees who have been moved from where they were originally assigned.
Atty. Guerra feels glad she was given such an assignment as she sees in the perseverance of her charges the resilience and triumph of the human spirit over the frailties of the flesh. She also enjoys the picture-perfect greenery of the Marian Quadrangle facing the building.
The accessibility of St. La Salle Hall has also made the job of Ma. Gracia Q. Maglaque as special assistant easier in terms of getting supplies, such as Manila papers, masking tapes, and other materials needed during the conduct of the exams. Watcher Oliver A. Vergara, Clerk II at the Judicial Records Office-Judgment Division, shares the same comment.
Atty. Joanne Marie J. Nulud of the First Division Clerk of Court says she likes to be assigned at the St. La Salle Hall because it is not too hot there, and there is enough fresh air. “Kung may araw man, may shade, may mga puno (If it is sunny, there is shade. There are trees.)”
St. La Salle Hall is the first building of the University’s Taft campus and is named after the founder of the Brothers of the Christian School.
Velasco Hall has proven to be quite challenging to the Bar personnel assigned there.
Bar Headwatcher Quarish Ali of the Library Services, describes Velasco Hall as “too far” from the notebook counter. Since the building lacks an elevator, he says he is exhausted when he gets to his classroom assignment at the fifth floor. Bar Superintendent Atty. Linuel G. Alindogan of the Office of the Court Attorney and with 10 years of Bar service behind him, shares the same view.
Fifty-eight-year old Hermogena F. Bayani of the Office of the Court Administrator-Leave Division, who served as Bar Headwatcher this year, for her part views her room assignment to the fifth floor of Velasco Hall as an uphill battle. “Malayo. Antaas-taas. Binilang ko, 91 steps mula baba hanggang fifth floor (Far. Too high. I counted 91 steps from the ground to the fifth floor).” For Bar Headwatcher Jesusa M. del Rosario of the Office of the Court Administrator-Legal Office, the stairs of Velasco Hall is “sobrang hirap akyatin (too hard to climb).”
The Velasco Hall was built in the ‘80s and is named after Geronimo Z. Velasco, former President of the Philippine National Oil Company and Minister of Energy.
The Yuchengco Hall, or Yuchengco Center (short for Yuchengco Center for East Asia), traces its history to a research center conceived by, among others, Ambassador Alfonso Yuchengco, Philippine Permanent Representative to the United Nations and Chairman of the Yuchengco Group of Companies. The building was named the Don Enrique T. Yuchengco Hall in honor of the ambassador’s father. The center aims to become an independent think-tank to contribute to public policy in the Asian region, including the Philippines. Yuchengco Hall has the distinction of being the tallest school building in the Philippines.
Bar Watcher Romil Q. De Leon of the Philippine Judicial Academy describes this Hall as an edifice that gives one a real feel of entering an “institution of higher learning because of the pillars that you see there.”
Bar Superintendent Atty. Ma. Luisa Santilla of the Office of the Clerk of Court describes Yuchengco Hall as spacious and clean, and advantageous to the Bar examinees. The sound of the bells signifying the start and the end of the test periods, however, could hardly be heard from there, she added.
Bar Watcher Josefina S. Pulido of the Office of Justice Minita Chico-Nazario feels good about her being assigned to Yuchengco this year. She says the comfort rooms are accessible at the Yuchengco Hall and that the rooms are spanking new.
Whatever the travails of the Bar personnel in their building assignments, they know that the same is trifling compared to that of the Bar examinees. To the latter, the names of La Salle’s buildings will be now and for always inextricably linked to the Bar exams they took there for four Sundays of September.