The Don Honorio Ventura Technological State University (DHVTSU) started when an Augustinian friar, Fr. Juan P. Zita, dreamed of helping young lads of Bacolor. Aided by equally benevolent civic leader Don Felino Gil, the school was officially founded on November 4, 1861 upon the approval of its statues by Governor-General Lemery as “Escuela de Artes y Oficios de Bacolor” and built it on a lot donated by Suarez sisters of Bacolor.
From the date of its founding to the present, the school was burned five times. The first of unknown origin, was in April, 1869 and it was reconstructed in 1892 but was burned again for the second time in 1896 when the school was used as quarters and barracks of the “Voluntarios Locales de Bacolor” (native soldiers under the Spanish Army) who were the first to revolt against the Spain. The third fire caused by the explosions of shells occurred in 1898. The school then was made as Maestranza (ordinance in the manufacture of bullets and cannon balls) by the Amobilizadores (native soldiers of Spanish Government). The fourth fire occurred during Japanese Occupation from 1941 to 1944 when the Japanese occupied the school and burned it in the course of their retreat from the American Forces of Liberation in December 1944. It was rebuilt again with the aid of the American people under the Philippine Rehabilitation Act of 1946 only to be burned once more on July 7, 1958 when the school was already serving as a regional school of arts and trades.
The school was made of the seat of one of the conferences of the powerful Taft Commission, composed of Governor-General Howard Taft, Dr. Trinidad Pardo H. de Tavera, Jose Luziaga, Benito Legarda and other prominent Filipinos who proclaimed Ceferino Joven, a native son of Bacolor, as the first civil governor of Pampanga and of the Philippines on February 13, 1901. The school also served as the Provincial Capitol of the Provincial Government of Pampanga from 1901 to 1903. Later on, it was converted into a municipal building of Bacolor from 1903 to 1904, after the transfer of the Provincial Capitol of Pampanga from Bacolor to San Fernando, Pampanga.
Subsequently, this school was converted into a craftsman school with related academic instruction in 1905 and was named Bacolor Trade School. The subject offerings did not deviate much from the former but were upgraded to enrich is curriculum.
In anticipation of the conversation of this school into a secondary trade school, it was renamed Pampanga Trade School in 1909. True to the prediction of its administrator then, this school was authorized to offer a curriculum on the secondary level in 1922. It had its first batch of graduates in 1926. From the roster of these graduates could be found those who have excelled in the field of vocational education. Its curricular offerings included courses in Ironworking, Woodworking, and Building Construction for males and Domestic Science for females. Its academic curriculum included such subjects as English, History, Physics, and Mathematics.
By virtue of Republic Act 1388, the school was converted into a regional school of arts and trades and was renamed Pampanga School of Arts and Trades. Technical Education courses were also offered on October, 1957.
In 1958, the Two-Year Technical Education curriculum was phased out and the Three Year Trade Technical Education was offered instead.
In 1964, the school was renamed Don Honorio Ventura Memorial School of Arts and Trades in honor of Don Honorio Ventura, a prominent son of Bacolor who was a statesman and philanthropist. The renaming was signed by then President Diosdado Macapagal, a protégé of Don Honorio who sent him to school and became instrumental in the former’s successes, especially during his (Macapagal) struggling years.
The Teacher Education curriculum leading to the degree of Bachelor of Science in Industrial Education (BSIE) was offered in July, 1966 with concentration in Shopwork, Industrial Arts and Mathematics. The first batch of BSIE graduates were conferred their degrees in April, 1969.
Expanding its Horizons
Through the priceless assistance of former Solicitor-General, Pampanga Governor and Minister of Justice, Estelito P. Mendoza, the school was converted into a State College on May 5, 1978 by virtue of President Decree No. 1373 and was renamed Don Honorio Ventura College of Arts and Trades (DHVCAT).
Officials envisioned DHVCAT as a center for learning in Central Luzon that will provide highly accessible educational opportunity to its clientele in order to produce continuously improving, better-educated workforce, professionals and leaders and thereby contribute to the personal prosperity of the citizens and a strong socio-economic development for the region.
DHVCAT is committed to provide access to higher vocational, professional and technological instruction and training, undertake research and extension services and provide advance studies and leadership in the fields of trade, industrial and technological education to meet the demands of the ever-changing occupation patterns in the country.
In consonance with this new vision and mission, the college broaden its curricular offerings. Among the new degree programs offered from were BS Architecture, BS Civil Engineering, BS Mechanical Engineering, Bachelor of Secondary Education and Two Year Trade Technical Education (Pure Vocational) with varied shop areas. Due to the needs of various schools for more Industrial Education Teachers, of which only DHVCAT is the sole producer, the BS in Industrial Education and BS in Industrial Technology were re-offered.
In 1986, state universities and colleges were exhorted to begin relying less on the government for financial support but more on their own capabilities. DHVCAT gave emphasis on income generation by strengthening its existing income generating projects and embarking on new projects.
Weathering Nature’s Wrath
DHVCAT suffered a major setback when Mount Pinatubo erupted in 1991 and the second wave of trial befell on it in 1995. Eruptions and lahar flows rendered Bacolor a ghost town. Amidst extreme grief and confusion over the loss of almost all physical facilities, heavy equipment, machines and other instructional materials of the college, the officials did not lose sight of the mission they vowed to uphold and carry on.
While the main campus remained uninhabited from October 1995 to May 1996, classes suspended temporarily were relocated at Bulaon Resettlement Area, City of San Fernando Pampanga. The non-teaching personnel held office at the Plaza Garcia, Dolores City of San Fernando Pampanga. Amidst the grim forecast of the Philippines Volcanologist and Seismologist that the municipality of Bacolor shall be totally obliterated from the map of Pampanga, College officials led by President Ernesto T. Nicdao decided to look for the long term solutions to the problem by exploring possibilities to establish satellite campuses. Fortunately in 1996, the management was able to purchase a 2.47 hectare lot at San Juan, Mexico, Pampanga where a number of buildings were erected. The DHVCAT, Mexico campus opened its portals to students residing in the municipalities of Arayat, Magalang, Sta. Ana, Candaba, San Luis and Mexico. Courses offered include the two-year basic engineering and education courses as well as tech-voc courses. Furthermore, through the initiative of then incumbent Congresswoman of the Second District of Pampanga, Atty. Zenaida Ducut a five-classroom building was constructed at San Roque Dau, Lubao, Pampanga where two year basic engineering courses were offered from 1997 to 2000. The flame to serve never stopped and the torch of education stayed as warm as ever.
In 1997 the Governing Board of DHVCAT became instrumental in charting new courses especially on efforts to rehabilitate the century-old college. However, the process of rebuilding the institution was greatly hampered by the lack of finances, with the continuing decrease of government subsidy to state colleges and universities. Nevertheless, the ardent optimism to bounce back to normal operations remained unfazed. The management courageously initiated efforts in all phases; on infrastructure, curricular programs, faculty and staff development, research and production. Additional academic programs offered include the Doctor of Education in consortium with Bulacan State University, Master of Arts in Educational Management, Bachelor of Elementary Education, Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Bachelor of Science in Information Technology. In an effort to strengthen its numerous educational, research and extension programs, the institution established partnerships with various local and foreign schools and agencies.
Moving to Greater Heights
DHVCAT gradually advanced to greater heights from 2006 onwards. More buildings were constructed through the kind assistance of local officials and political leaders. Furthermore, through the assiduous efforts of the academic community led by the College President, Dr. Enrique G. Baking, DHVCAT was able to partake of a substantial amount from the Bacolor Rehabilitation Act for campus development. Under the new faculty and staff development program, instructors and non-teaching staff were given financial support to pursue graduate programs along their respective areas of specialization.
To provide students with a broader and stronger general education that will lay the foundation for critical and analytical thinking in all fields of specialization, the Institute of Arts and Sciences was created. More undergraduate and graduate programs were offered, namely: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Bachelor of Science in Entrepreneurship, Bachelor of Science in Industrial Engineering, Bachelor of Science in Fine Arts and Master of Public Administration. All these undertakings resulted to a steady increased student population.
Because of the collaborative efforts of dedicated officials, faculty members, staff and friends of DHVCAT, many lives continued to be transformed through academic excellence, innovation, research and development and leadership. Former Congressman Aurelio D. Gonzales, Jr. of the Third District of Pampanga as well as municipal and provincial leaders extended full support in the pursuit of the conversion of the College into a state university after two similar attempts failed in the past. A thorough evaluation of the college’s performance over the years was conducted by the technical working groups of the Commission on Higher Education, the Senate Commission on Education, Culture and Arts and the House Commission on Higher Technical Education. Finally, DHVCAT was found ready to be bestowed a university status.
On December 9, 2009 at the University Gymnasium, Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Republic Act 9832, an Act converting DHVCAT in Don Honorio Ventura Technological State University (DHVTSU). The change from college to university will enable the institution to live more fully its vision.