LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – Nearing its centennial celebration this coming September, Benguet State University (BSU), was declared by the National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) as a National Historical Site after having surpassed the Commission’s standards.
Aside from meeting the 50 years prescription and 70 percent authenticity of structures, BSU has also recorded significant historic events that are worth noting for it to be recognized as historical site.
In the documentation conducted gathered by the BSU History Committee, BSU, then Trinidad Agricultural School (TAS) was erected with the initial purpose to train highlanders modern agriculture in 1916.
The school’s first graduates occupied positions in politics, government agencies and private institutions. Some even became household names in Cordillera like Bado Dangwa, Luis Hora, Dennis Molintas, Luis Pawid, Cipriano Abalos, Jose Mencio, Ezra Nabus, Larry Ogas, Mark Daoey and a lot more.
It was at the Trinidad Agricultural School where Bado Dangwa first held to the steering wheel of an automobile. TAS Principal, James Wright then assisted Dangwa to establish a transportation business which we know came to know now as Dangwa Tranco.
The 1920’s recorded the recognition of the most productive students in gardening for planting over 500 avocado trees in Balili and the reforestation of the barren mountains of the school reservation commenced. The planting of the Avocado trees were made easy and possible because of the construction of the first suspension bridge to cross then mighty rivers of Balili.
In the early parts of World War II, the school was garrisoned by the Japanese soldiers.
This were then hard times for TAS. Even overpowered and outgunned by the invading Japanese, then Administrators, teachers and students defiantly resisted to the Japanese incursion at the expense of their lives.
Accounts from the 66th Infantry narrate how then school Principal Mr. Luis Dangilan was publicly hog-tied and thrown behind bars for the mere suspicion that he was active underground rebel for the organized Guerrilla Soldiers.
Also worth noting during time were the 15 highschool girl messengers of TAS who disseminated information to the people during this dark moments of the Japanese invasion. Among them were Joyce Abubo and Nena Ogues.
This were just some of many significant events that took place in BSU as gathered and documented by the BSU History Committee.
It is recalled that December 2015, then BSU OIC-President Jones Feleciano together with the BSU History Committee sent a letter to the NHCP to consider the University as a Historical Site. And after thorough assessments on the documents presented by BSU, NHCP approved the former’s request on May 5, 2015.
The NHCP together with BSU will be formalizing the said recognition with the unveiling of the historical marker within the BSU grounds soon.
By Rocky Ngalob