CHAPTER 7
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Text excerpts from the book:
PAGSANJAN, In History and Legend
(1975 Edition)
By Dr. Gregorio F. Zaide

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<< Cont'd from Chapter 7, Page 2

Prominent Pagsanjeños in Education

      Pagsanjan has produced many distinguished teachers and educators. At least five Pagsanjeño teachers achieved distinction during the last years of Spanish rule and the first decades of American occupation, namely, Santiago Hocson, Graciano Cordero, Gervacio Unson, Felipa Fernandez, and Genoveva Llamas. Santiago Hocson, after graduation from the Escuela Normal Superior in Manila, taught in Lumban and later in Pagsanjan, after which he served as the last gobernadorcillo of his native town. Don Graciano Cordero, a graduate of the College of San Juan de Letran and former member of the Malolos Congress, taught Latin and Spanish to young boys to prepare them for college studies. Don Gervasio Unson, a graduate of the famous Escuela Normal Superior, acquired distinction as a maestro in Laguna and later in Tayabas (Quezon Province), where he married and resided permanently.
(Note: According to descendants of Gervasio and Maria Cabreza Unson, they were married in Pagsanjan, Laguna on February 20, 1879 before moving to Lucena, Tayabas where they resided permanently. See Unson Family Website).

      The first two famous Pagsanjeña maestra were Miss Felipa Fernandez and Miss Genoveva Llamas. Miss Fernandez was well-known as a strict and learned teacher in Manila. One of her brightest student was Librada Avelino, who became famous as the founder and first president of Centro Escolar de Señoritas. Miss Llamas, a sister of Dr. Rosendo R. Llamas, was the first Pagsanjeña pensionada (1903) to the United States where she specialized in home economics. As a matter of fact, she was the first teacher of home economics in Laguna. Like Miss Felipa Fernandez, she died as an old maid. Because of her dedication to the teaching profession, she had simply no time for romance.
      In subsequent years more Pagsanjeños gained prominence in the field of education. Among them maybe mentioned Mr. Timoteo Abaya, a 1903 government pensionado to the United States who became the first Pagsanjeño to become academic supervisor of Laguna; Dr. Francisco Benitez, an eminent educator and first Dean of the U.P. College of Education; Dean Conrado Benitez, founder of the U.P. College of Business Administration and great professor of economics; Helen Z. Benitez, (daughter of Dean Conrado Benitez) became President of the Philippine Women's University; Don Vicente Fabella, founder of the Jose Rizal College; Sor Josefa Soriano of the Sisters of Charity, founder of the Escuela de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe in Pagsanjan; Professor Luis Rivera (1887-1921), first Filipino instructor in Sociology at the University of the Philippines; Professor Jose Abanilla and Professor Salvador Unson, both professors of Economics at the Far Eastern University; Professor Arturo Guerrero, president of the Trinity College (Quezon City), and Pedro Llamas, founder of Pagsanjan Academy.
      One of the great elementary school teachers ever produced by Pagsanjan is Mrs. Narcisa Abella Fabella. She was a dedicated teacher with a heart of gold.

A Triumvirate of Historians

      Pagsanjan also surpasses other towns of the Philippines for having produced a triumvirate of historians -- Dean Leandro H. Fernandez (1889-1948), Dean Conrado Benitez (1889-1971), and Dr. Gregorio F. Zaide (1907-19??).
      Dean Fernandez, former Head of U.P. History Department and Dean of the U.P. College of Liberal Arts, was a Ph.D. (History) graduate from Columbia University. Owing to his many administrative duties, he produced few historical books, such as the Brief History of the Philippines, a textbook in the elementary schools of the Philippines; Story of the Philippines, a reference text for elementary school pupils; and The Philippine Republic (his doctoral dissertation in Columbia University).
      More distinguished as an economist than a historian, Dean Benitez had written the following historical works: History of the Philippines, a textbook in the high schools; Stories from Philippine History, a reference book for high school students; and The Philippines Through Foreign Eyes, written in collaboration with Dr. Austin Craig.
      Dr. Zaide, former student of both Deans Benitez and Fernandez, had been the first Head of the F.E.U. Department of History and was the first professor emeritus of the Far Eastern University; President of the Philippine Historical Association for three terms; Life Member of the American Historical Association (Washington, D.C.); and the only Filipino member of Mexico's Instituto Panamericano de Geografia e Historia (Mexico City) and Instituto de la Independencia Americana (Buenos Aires). He was a recipient of many honors for historical research and writing, such as the Diploma of Honor and Gold Medal (1932) awarded by U.P. Alumni Association, Republic Cultural Heritage Award (1968) given by the Philippine Republic, and Plaque of Honor for Historical Research (1973) awarded by the U.S.T. Alumni Association.
      Most traveled and most prolific of Filipino historians, Dr. Zaide had conducted historical researches from 1957 to 1967 in the archives and libraries of the United States, Mexico, Chile, Argentina, Portugal, Spain, France, England, Vatican, and other foreign countries. He has written more than 50 books, among which are Philippine History for Elementary Schools, an elementary school textbook which replaced Fernandez's Brief History of the Philippines; Philippine History: Development of Our Nation, a high school textbook which replaced Benitez's History of the Philippines; World History, a high school textbook which replaced Lane's World History; Philippine Political and Cultural History (2 volumes), a standard textbook for colleges and universities; and Nations of the World, a textbook for Grade VI, elementary schools.

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