Marble Surface

Paco Catholic School

1521 Paz Street, Paco Manila 1007

Paco Catholic School
Paco Catholic School

Rev. Fr. Maxell Lowell C. Aranilla, Ph. D.


Paco Catholic School

Rev. Fr. Lorenz Moises J. Festin, Ph.D.

Assistant Director


As early as 1580, the early Franciscan missionaries founded the town of Dilao (now known as Paco), located on the left side of the Pasig River, bound by Pandacan on the North, Sta. Ana on the East Southeast, Malate on the South and Ermita on the West. Ten years later, Parroquia de Dilao was established with Rev. Fray Juan de Garrobillas as its first Parish Priest.

In 1762 the parish was relocated near the Pasig River. Years later, the Franciscan Superior Governor incorporated the two smaller towns of Santiago and Peña de Francia (Peñafrancia) with the existing parish. The expanded parish was then transferred where the Peñafrancia Church now stands. Finally, the Franciscan Superior Governor ordered that the new town be called San Fernando de Dilao.

Fr. Fray Fernando de la Concepcion Perdigon who was appointed Parish Priest in 1809 started the construction of a concrete church which was completed in 1814.

After the Spanish Franciscans left in 1900 the Archdiocese of Manila entrusted the parish to the Belgian Scheut Missionaries popularly known as CICM (Congregatio Immaculati Cordis Mariae) and also known as the Congregation of the Immaculate Heart of Mary who managed the parish from 1908 to 1984.

Fr. Raymond Esquenet was the first of CICM to be appointed Parish Priest of Paco by the Belgian Superior of the Order. He took over the management of the parish in October 1908 with Fr. Maurice Lefebvre as his assistant. Since the last Spanish-built church in the present site was destroyed and completely burned during the Spanish-American war in February 1899, the parishioners had to go to a small chapel in the corner of J. Zamora and Canonigo streets (now Quirino Ave. Extension) for church services in the next nine years.

Meantime, Fr. Esquenet made use of a small chapel in Peñafrancia, which became an extension of the parish and there he started a small school for about 50 children.

After Fr. Esquenet was assigned to another parish in Lipa, Batangas in September 1912, Fr. Godfried (Godofredo) Aldenhuijsen, popularly known as Padre Godo, took over the parish. Aside from parish work, Fr. Godofredo continued what Fr. Esquenet had started – educating the young in a small chapel.

During the time of Fr. Godofredo, Paco Catholic School emerged as an institution to reckon with and became the largest parochial school in the Far East and for some time even in the world.

In June 1913, following an increase in enrolment, Fr. Godofredo asked the Belgian Mothers (CMSA now ICM) from St. Theresa’s College to help run the school in Peñafrancia. Thereafter, enrolment steadily increased to one grade level every year until the primary course (Grade 1-4) was completed. Finally in 1916, the Grade School was granted Recognition by the government.

When Fr. Godofredo was transferred to Pasig in September 1919, Fr. Josef Billiet became the Parish Priest, a position he held for 10 years. Finding it too inconvenient to administer a growing school which was quite a distance from the convent of Paco, he had a wooden building of five rooms constructed nearby along Trece de Agosto Street on the North and along the estero on the South which is the present location of Paco Catholic School. The students of Peñafrancia then transferred to the new building in the early 1920’s.

March 1931 marked the return of Fr. Godofredo to Paco after an absence of 12 years. The old church started by Fr. Esquenet in 1908 and completed by Fr. Godofredo in 1912 was reconverted into four classrooms in 1932. A second floor was added to serve as the ICM sisters’ convent. On May 21, 1933, the sisters in-charge of the school came to live permanently in the church-school compound.

In 1933, the Intermediate level (Grades 5-7) was granted government Recognition. A year later, a three-storey concrete edifice was constructed and first year high school was offered. Paco Catholic School accepted its first 13 students in the new High School Building, then named the Sacred Heart Building. From then on, one year level was added every year.

As the 13 freshmen formed the first batch of the High School Graduating Class in SY 1937-1938, Paco Catholic School received Full Recognition from the government for offering the secondary course.

When World War II broke out in the Pacific on December 8, 1941, the school closed; but in 1942, on the occasion of a pastoral visitation, the Archbishop of Manila insisted that at least the high school be reopened.

In July 1944, Fr. Josef De Bal temporarily became the School Director because Fr. Godofredo, being a Dutch, was detained with other foreign nationals in Laguna. Later, Fr. Godofredo was deposed as Parish Priest by order of the Japanese authorities but was reinstated on the same day through the intervention of the Archbishop. Thus, the school was placed under the supervision of the Archdiocese of Manila. The start of the battles for liberation forced the school to close again in September 1944.

At the end of the war in 1945, Fr. Godofredo returned to Paco. The devastation of the church and the school buildings was so enormous that a canvass roof had to be placed on top of the old church. The place served as temporary church on Sundays and as a school on weekdays. With the help of American engineers, more repairs were made and Paco Catholic School was able to start classes with 1,500 students in July 1945. To accommodate all students, the double session system was introduced – girls in the morning and boys in the afternoon. Repairs of damaged buildings were made between 1946 and 1955, including the conversion of the Sisters’ convent into a Girl’s High School building.

The CICM Fathers and the ICM Sisters continued their administration of the school whose population reached 7,000 in 1964. Six years later, a new rectory of the Sisters and the five- storey St. Joseph’s building, which are still being used at present, were constructed. However, the Belgian ICM Sisters decided to withdraw their involvement in PCS, leaving Filipino counterparts to be principal of the Grade School Department. The CICM Fathers remained directors of the school though the principalship of both the Grade School and High School Departments were left to lay administrators starting 1968.

Fr. Carlos Van Ooteghem, the last CICM Parish Priest to serve PCS, managed the school from 1980-1984. He stayed as coadjutor in the parish until his health prevented him from continuing his ministry. It was during his term that Karel Hall, the covered court, Fr. Godofredo and Practical Arts buildings were constructed. After 72 years of dedicated service to the ministry in Paco and to education, CICM turned over in 1984 the management of the parish and the school to the Archdiocese of Manila.

Auxiliary Bishop of Manila, Teodoro C. Bacani Jr. became the first Filipino Director. He managed the school from 1984-1993. Fr. Danilo A. Canceran succeeded Bishop Teodoro Bacani Jr. as School Director in June 1993. In 1995, the five-storey San Lorenzo Ruiz Building, which replaced the Department of Religious Education building, was built and this was during the terms of Bishop Teodoro C. Bacani, Jr., Parish Priest and Fr. Danilo Canceran, School Director.

The population in PCS continued to increase, especially in pre-Grade School when the Nursery Level was introduced.

In 1996, Monsignor Domingo A. Cirilos Jr. was appointed Parish Priest and Director of the institution. In less than a year of his incumbency, he had the altar of the church renovated, making the start of a series of speedy major constructions.

In 1997 the two old buildings along Trece de Agosto were demolished to make way for the five-storey Pope John Paul II building (now St. John Paul II Bldg.), replacing the Holy Cross and Our Lady’s Buildings. These were completed in 1998. In the same year, the Preschool Level (Nursery, Kindergarten, and Preparatory) was completed.

In May 1999, the construction of the Jaime Cardinal Sin Building housing 33 rooms for the High School Department and a 1,000-seater auditorium started. Upon its completion, the modern structure was blessed and inaugurated on July 14, 2000 fittingly by the person for whom it was named.

During the 89th PCS Foundation Day celebration, Msgr. Domingo A. Cirilos Jr. led the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a ten-storey school edifice. The structure, named after Blessed Pedro Calungsod (now Saint Pedro Calungsod Bldg.), was blessed and inaugurated on November 8, 2002 coinciding with the 90th PCS Foundation Day.

The PCS Adult Evening Class (AEC) Program was conceived and launched in school year 2003-2004. The offering is a five-year formal secondary education program following the regular high school curriculum. Its aim is to enable students who are unable to be in day classes to acquire a high school diploma and provide them the opportunity to proceed to higher education and obtain a degree. Government Recognition was granted for its Complete Secondary Course in October 2, 2004; and in 2006, due to increasing behavioral concerns of special children, the Special Education Program (SPED) was opened and made part of the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Department.

In May 2010, Msgr. Rolando R. dela Cruz was appointed Parish Priest and School Director serving in such capacity until 2014. Upon his appointment, he initiated the improvement of the church sanctuary’s design. As School Head, he introduced new elements in academics and school practices to address the needs of times. It was during his term, that the school’s centennial anniversary was celebrated.

With the implementation of the K to 12 Curriculum in School Year 2011-2012, ECE was integrated with the Grade School Department while the Special Education Program was placed under the School Director.

Beginning school year 2012-2013, air-conditioning units were installed in all classrooms to improve the learning environment. Then, the following constructions and renovations/relocations took place: the Our Lady of Candelaria Chapel, the waiting area near the Grade School gate, the Grade School Faculty Room, the Book Room; and the offices of the Center for Christian Formation (CCF), Maintenance, Registrar, Human Resource Management & Development (HRMD), and the St. Pedro Calungsod Building. Subsequently, the Instructional Media Center (IMC) was also air-conditioned. All these were for the improvement of the delivery of services to clientele.

Major changes in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila Educational System (RCAM ES) were introduced in academic year 2014-2015 among which were the separation of the management of the school from the parish and the clustering of schools under the supervision of one school director with an assistant director resulting in Paco Catholic School placed in Cluster 1 with Fr. Maxell Lowell C. Aranilla as School Director, Fr. Rany P. Geraldino as Assistant Director for Finance and Administration and Mrs. Dina B. Abariso as Assistant Director for Academics. In school year 2015-2016, Fr. Lorenz Moises J. Festin took the place of Fr. Rany P. Geraldino as Assistant Director for Finance and Administration. It is under their leadership that the ECE and SPED areas were officially placed under the Grade School Department. Likewise, Senior High School, as an integral part of the K to 12 Program, was established.

Today, Paco Catholic School continues to provide its clientele quality Catholic education, keeping abreast with the changes and trends in education, while staying by the same mission that gave reason for its foundation a century ago.

In the Catholic School System, the aims and objectives are enhanced and ennobled by the Catholic Philosophy of Life which recognizes that every human being has an eternal destiny as well as an earthly existence. Education is a preparation of the whole man for life here and hereafter.

Therefore, all men having that inalienable right to education must be developed in keeping with their ultimate goal, ability, sex, culture and tradition in fostering true unity and peace.

Paco Catholic School, an evangelizing arm of the Church, is an institution of learning and formation, offering quality Catholic Education. It envisions its students to be total persons sensitive to the plight of the poor and responsive to the needs of the dynamic Philippine society and global challenges.

In the light of this vision, we commit ourselves to:
1. make PCS a home and institution of excellent quality education with emphasis on Gospel values integrated in all learning experiences;
2. nurture within the community an atmosphere of service and genuine concern for the upliftment of the deprived, depressed and underprivileged;
3. provide opportunities and tools for holistic development of students to make them locally effective and globally competitive; and
4. establish linkages with the home and community to sustain efficient and responsible stewardship of God’s creation.

1. To provide in its curricular offerings learning experiences deeply rooted in Gospel values
2. To deepen within the community the love for Christian service and concern for our less fortunate brethren
3. To harness students’ potentials and talents in all areas of endeavor, making them highly competitive
4. To create an environment where students develop a sense of duty and purpose, personal, civic and moral responsibility and commitment to God and Country through responsible stewardship

Pursuant to its vision, this institution seeks to produce:
A. A morally upright person with unwavering faith in God and constant love of his fellowmen;
B. an individual who values himself in order to preserve family unity and to efficiently discharge his responsibilities;
C. a Filipino citizen who is proud of his race and his culture, and works to promote world peace and unity in society;
D. an individual who pursues an honest living, loves things Filipino and is responsive to the needs and changes of the times;
E. a Filipino citizen who loves and willingly serves the Republic of the Philippines, intelligently exercises his individual and collective rights and faithfully practices the ideals of democracy;
F. a person who fosters harmony, goodwill and brotherhood among the people of the world; and
G. an individual who lives healthily and uses his leisure time wisely to be physically fit for the development of self and community

“PACONIANS: Men and Women of Faith, Love and Service.”

Guided by its Christian Philosophy and institutional objectives, the Paco Catholic School High School Department is deeply committed to the formation of:
1. an educand who gradually acquires a mature sense of responsibility, upholds Christian ideals and puts into good use whatever s/he has learned in the service of his/her fellowmen;
2. a student nurtured in an atmosphere of openness, where s/he can freely and effectively exercise his/her faculty of thought and communicate his/her ideas to promote solidarity among all;
3. an adolescent who is perceptive of his/her environment, is able to evaluate and make wise choices, recognizes and values the good and the true, and uses them to meet his/her human needs;
4. a human person educated in the warmth and experience of Christian love and, thus, is able to transmit this to the home and the rest of humanity;
5. a learner who acquires knowledge and applies skills in the different areas of learning with emphasis on the scientific and technological fields in response to the growing needs and demands of a changing society;
6. a student who is prepared physically, intellectually, emotionally, socially and spiritually for higher education;
7. a student equipped with vocational aptitude to enable him/her to work for a decent livelihood in the event that s/he is unable to continue college studies;
8. a student who respects the dignity of labor and upholds self-esteem even if s/he is unable to pursue higher learning;
9. a person with a taste for the finer things in life, who values and appreciates the arts that enrich the development of a desirable personality;
10. a person who values, protects and preserves his/her environment, makes use of its resources judiciously for the development of the Country, and works towards the rehabilitation of our depleted natural resources; and
11. a citizen who is proud of his/her race, appreciates the role of our heroes in shaping the history of our country and emulates their examples.

“Noblesse Oblige” – Nobility Obligates!
Man is created in the image of God that s/he may exist in a loving relationship with Him and with each other (Gaudium et Spes 12). S/he therefore, is gifted with self-knowledge and freedom to know and love God above all things, and is in a living and loving relationship with his/her fellowmen.

Through knowledge and intellect, s/he discovers the truth and actually shares “in the light of the divine mind” (Gaudium et Spes 15). Through freedom, s/he has the capacity to know what is true and good. Thus, having been born as a beloved child of God in the waters of Baptism, there can be no greater nobility; there is no higher dignity, than that of being an image of God in Christ.

From this, s/he adheres to and lives up the PCS Motto: “Noblesse Oblige”, which means “your nobility and dignity is great, so is your responsibility”.

Every Paconian has a noble calling as a child of God and a brother/sister of Christ. Because of this unique privilege s/he belongs to the nobility of God’s kinship. As such, s/he has an obligation to be a living witness of this calling and must live his/her life accordingly.

Being part of Paco Catholic School is an expression of his/her high regard for this noble institution for excellence and for the spirit and standards not only in academic pursuits but above all in religious formation for Catholic living.