All graduates of CHSM: (from left) investigative journalist Sheila Coronel, Ayala Foundation president Vicky Garchitorena, and internationally known fashion designer Josie Natori.
Culture Spotlight

These distinguished women were once students of soon-to-close College Of Holy Spirit

The 107-year old institution had to contend with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, that resulted to their decision to cease operations next year    
ANCX Staff | Nov 24 2020

Messages of gratitude poured out on the social media pages of the College of Holy Spirit Manila (CHSM) as it released an official statement Sunday that it is closing its doors by 2022.

According to the announcement posted on the school’s Facebook page, CHSM will allow its graduating students to finish the current academic year. “Grade 12 and 4th year college will be operational, but Levels K to Grade 11, and 1st to 3rd Year College will not be opened for AY 2021-2022.” The school says it will honor its commitments to its stakeholders amid the challenges it is facing. 

“Thank you for being the foundation on which we have built not only our careers but also the values that we have carried on in our lives,” wrote one of its graduates on Facebook. This is echoed by other CHSM alumnae, expressing gratitude to how the school molded them not only through quality education but through the good moral values the school instilled. 

Other alumni remember it to be the cleanest campus in Mendiola, with a dedicated group of Ilocano women in charge of making sure the school grounds is always a pleasant sight. An Asian Studies graduate says she will forever hold the memory of the campus’ serene environs, with its chapel, the mango trees and orchids. 

Many former students sent their prayers and expressed hope for its reopening in the future. “You soon may become history, but the legacy lives forever. We will be the living monuments of what the College of the Holy Spirit was,” she wrote.

A letter addressed to the CHSM community by Sr. Carmelita Victoria of the Mission Congregation of the Servants of the Holy Spirit last Oct. 28, the provincial leader of the order that runs the school, cited some of the challenges that the school has been confronted with over the past years

Victoria said the decision to close the 107-year old institution is due to an “increasingly challenging environment resulting from (i) government policies on K-12; (ii) free tuition in state colleges and universities, local universities and colleges, and state-run technical and vocational institutions; and (iii) the significant increase in public school teachers' salaries compared to their private school counterparts.”

She said the COVID-19 pandemic only aggravated the situation as families have to struggle with income loss, mobility restrictions, distance learning requirements, among others.

The school was established in 1913 as Holy Ghost College (HGC), a primary school, by the Missionary Sisters Servant of the Holy Spirit (SSpS) in response to the invitation of the then Manila Archbishop Jeremias Harty. It was originally located along Legarda street.

In 1920, HGC started offering secondary education and opened another site along Mendiola St., where it continues to stand today. In 1965, HGC changed its name to College of Holy Spirit.

The college is one of the members of the Mendiola Consortium, an educational organization of five institutions located along the street of Mendiola—along with Centro Escolar University Manila, La Consolacion College Manila, San Beda College Manila, and St. Jude Catholic School.

According to the official website of the Malacañan Palace, MC was formed in 1974 to unite their resources and to elevate the standards in education. The site also mentioned that MC has been instrumental in maintaining the peace in the area, as it was traditionally a venue of rallies due to its proximity to Malacañan Palace.

Many accomplished women in Philippine society are graduates of the college, including Ayala Foundation president Vicky Garchitorena, University of the Philippines’ VP for Academic Affairs Dr. Cynthia Banzon, investigative journalist Sheila Coronel, and international fashion designer Josie Natori. 

According to research by noted writer and heritage conservationist Isidra Reyes, the following women also passed its august halls: Miss Philippines 1928 and lawyer Pacita Ongsiako de los Reyes; the economics professor Rosario Roxas Moran, mother of Margie Moran Floirendo; presidential daughter, Rosie Limjap Osmeña Valencia; socialite, actress, and TV host Elvira Ledesma Manahan; socialite and philantrophist Imelda Ongsiako Cojuangco; Binibining Young Philippines 1971 and interior designer, Maricar Zaldarriaga; actress Mary Walter, and jeweler Mila Dayrit, among others. 

College of the Holy Spirit Manila will cease operations after academic year 2021-2022. ABS-CBN News/File

Here are some highlights of the school’s history:

1965 – Holy Ghost College was changed to COLLEGE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT MANILA (CHSM)

1975 – Signed an agreement with the Mendiola Consortium (MC) for academic cooperation along with Centro Escolar University Manila, La Consolacion College Manila, San Beda College Manila, and St. Jude Catholic School.

1985 – Grade School and High School migrated to Holy Spirit, Capitol Hills, Quezon City.

1990 – Established linkages and partnerships with other educational institutions abroad.

2003 – Opened Caregiver’s Program, BS Tourism, BS Psychology,BS Accountancy. CHSM was granted Autonomous Status by CHED.

2004 – Bachelor of Science in Nursing was offered. High-School Department was brought back in Mendiola.

2005 – CHSM became Co-Ed.

2010 – Bachelor of Science in Physical Therapy; Graduate School Programs (Master of Arts in Special Education/Master of Tourism & Hospitality Management)

2011 – Master of Business Administration for Health Professionals.

2013 – Granted Level III re-accreditation status for Arts, Sciences and Business programs by PAASCU

2016 – CHSM went under new management by the Holy Spirit Management Alumni Corporation (HSAMC).


Banner photos from ABS-CBN News File, Garchitorena's Facebook page, and Natori Company via Wiki Commons