By: Paolo M. Bustamante
I have Googled, Facebooked and even climbed the highest shelf in our library in search for the history of the Villaroman Building in Paco Manila. I had no other choice but to interview the caretaker of the building myself. Anyway, when I was outside the Villaroman Building, I could not help but wonder if that building is empty or for sale but when I went closer like into the gates of the building, I saw students, yes students! the Villaroman Building is actually a school. I called the Gatekeeper ,(aka hagrid) of the school so that I could interview the principal about the building. To cut this long novel short, I was in! I shook the hand of the Financier and the Principal for formality sake but the principal gave me this weird look it is as if she was not that eager to see anyone! But later on as I interview her and the building, her frown turned upside down and she wouldn't let me go! Is it because of my pleasing personality or my charisma? Well here it goes...
The Art Deco Villaroman Building is located in San Marcelino St. corner Pedro Gil Manila. It was built in the late 1930's it wasn't originally owned by the Villaromans, it was actually a school (the Manila Southern College) and was later on sold to the Villaromans in 1948. They then took over the Manila Southern College and they decided to change the name of the school to The Francisco Villaroman Foundation College. In 1983, the Villaromans decided once again to changd the name of the school to Villaroman Foundation School because they removed the college and the grade school due to the decline of the students who are enrolling per year because before there were only two major schools in Paco Manila, the Paco Catholic and the Villaroman Foundation College now there are a lot of public schools around the Paco & Malate area and competition is everywhere and sadly they cannot keep up with other schools. Quality of education over the quantity of the students.
The school still has the high school but the principal told me that they had to make cut-offs because of the lack of students. in 1980-1992 the school has 6 sections per level but now because of the cut-off there is only one section per year. I would like to thank Ms. Felicidad de Assis the Principal of the school who has been serving the Villaroman Foundation school since 1948. and Ms. Almansor the Financier who was been serving the school for 6 decades now. They told me that when they were in their early 20's when they first started serving the school and now they are about to retire happily. The unsung heroes of Paco, Manila.