I set foot at CSAC for the first time accompanied by my father for my college entrance test in ’77. Thereafter, I spent four long years in college. School life was harsh, then. Due to the vast and open grassy landscape of the school campus there was so much cleaning, cutting, planting and replanting of different plant stuffs.
Students donning old CAT jackets with bolos and other garden tools on their shoulders was an ordinary campus sight. It was always trouble when the new transplanted seedlings needed to be watered and water was nowhere to be found or just too far from the garden plots. Such conditions called for one’s better values such as being in good friends and cooperative with others so as to survive the rigors of the campus routines.
But in spite of all odds, students still found enough time to prepare themselves on time for their classes, to study and review for the lengthy lessons covered for the mid-term examinations. The secret was to give one’s very best to get exempted for the final examinations.
From 5:00 o’clock in the afternoon up until 7:00 o’clock of the night the most determined ones were at the library doing research, browsing over old books and other thesis manuals.
At the end of the day, they would retire to boarding houses, the ladies dormitory or cottages in Barrio Alibangbang and Student Barrio near the Pili airport area.
Having the same classmates from the first year to the fourth year, there were only two four-year undergraduate courses; the Bachelor of Science in
Elementary Education Agricultural Education and Bachelor of Science in Agriculture, with either Animal Husbandry or Agronomy major.
Upon graduation in 1981 there were only two cum laudes both coming from our Bachelor of Science in
Elementary Education group Agricultural Education course. Such where the events during my CSAC days.
In 1982, the school was renamed to Camarines Sur State Agricultural College. It has endeavored to lift its name to fame at par with other known learning institutions. It was conferred two prestigious recognitions by the commission on Higher Education (CHED) in 2009, declaring CSSAC Center of Development (COD) in Agriculture. With this, the school enjoyed a three-year annual financial grant from the CHED in support of its extension, research, and instruction program and cutting-edge technology.
Another achievement was provided by the Higher Education Act of 1994 and the Agriculture and Fisheries Modernization Act of 1997. By virtue of Commission Resolution Number 221 of May 18, 2009, the school spearheads the implementation of the projects under the National Agriculture and Fisheries System Research. Financial assistance were allocated and library materials and other facilities were eventually upgraded.
Also in 2009, the CHED identified CSSAC as one of the National Universities and Colleges of Agriculture (NUCA) along with Mariano Marcos University, Isabela State University, Central Luzon State University, University of the Philippines, Aklan State University, Silliman State University, Western University of the Philippines, Visayas State University and Agusan Del Sur College of Agriculture and Forestry. It also serves as the Regional Higher Education Institution for Agriculture in Bicol.
The conversion of CSSAC into CBSUA has made a tremendous grandeur for my Alma Matter, a far cry from what I had known during the CSAC days. The new University is expected “to provide technological science including education, arts, and science.” One of its thrusts should be “to undertake extension and development programs and provide necessary instructional and research leadership in agriculture, environmental and technological development in Bicol region”.
From two four-year undergraduate courses, the university now offers the following courses: Graduate Department-MS in Plant Science, MS in Animal Science, MS in Agricultural Extension, MS in Agricultural Education, MS in Plant Protection, and MS in Resource Management. Undergraduate Department-BS in Agriculture, BS in Agricultural Education, BS in Agricultural Engineering, and BS in Secondary Education.
The fulfillment of its ultimate goal of becoming a university was realized upon the signing by president Gloria Macapagal Arroyo on Monday of October 12, 2009 of Republic Act 9717. It transformed the school into Central Bicol State University of Agriculture (CBSUA).
Above courses where granted Level III Re-accredited status by the Accrediting Agency of Chartered Colleges and Universities of the Philippines (AACCUP) from November 16, 2010 to November 14, 2014 which was given on December 8, 2010. Other courses offered are Bachelor of Arts in English, Bachelor Science in Biology, and Bachelor of Science in Mathematics.
The prospect of seeing the school again after 30 years will surely be an awesome and amazing sight. The once grassy lots and partly landscaped lawns tended by the students is now filled with buildings that mushroomed in the campus area. One will easily get lost while looking for an old familiar spot in the school.
The school takes pride in its Student Atrium where graduation exercises and other important school functions are held. It is good to remember our graduation day which was held at the CSAC Athletic Oval where a makeshift stage was made faced by neatly arranged chairs each was marked for the graduating students, the parents and the entire faculty, each profusely sweating under the warm setting sun.
Some of the notable buildings added to the landscape are the Pavilion which now occupies the former site of the Practice House, the Magsaysay Multipurpose Building beside the Lady of Lourdes Dormitory, the new ladies dormitory houses more than a hundred occupants, the Education building, near the VOAG building, the old Home Economics now turned into a two-storey 10 room ECOTEL. Much anticipation is given for the construction of a bigger and better dormitory for the boys maybe at the onset of classes in June.
Among the buildings I won’t miss to see is the Lady of Lourdes dormitory where I stayed for three years. I wonder if the current occupants still have to wake up early in time for the water supply that flowed three times in a day, morning, noontime and late in the afternoon. Kind of challenging when one needed to prepare food and was assigned by the dorm matron to clean assigned nook and chore. The mark of a real dorm dweller was if one knows how to climb the tree that grows beside the entrance door up to the terrace if and when the front door is locked by the matron.
Of all the physical changes in the University, the school library stands most impressive. It is now a massive three storey structure across the Related Subjects at Gabaldon building. The first floor houses the entire CBSUA library collection and the different offices are situated in the second floor. The third floor serves as the ICT library where hundreds of computers are located linked by local area network with global positioning system. Students can now do their research work more comfortably much different from assimilating, synthesizing and organizing (ASO) procedure of manual data gathering that we did before.
With the newly established Human Resource Management Office, the university is backed up by 319 teaching and non teaching personnel all well prepared in their respective designation. The number of personnel during our time would pale in comparison. But it is not always the number that gives the quality in instruction but the dedication and commitment in the heart of every teaching and non-teaching personnel that reaches out to the students that makes up for excellence. I pay tribute and salute my dear mentors for sharing their lives leaving significant imprints in my lifetime.
Dr. Marito T. Bernales, PhD, the first University president declares “CBSUA with its unique instruction shall continue to provide quality and excellence in agriculture and technology and well face the challenges ahead to help bring prosperity and sustainable economic development in the region”.
From the boy’s elementary school under the American regime in 1918 in San Jose, Pili, Camarines Sur to CSAC to CSSAC to CBSUA, our Alma Matter has immensely evolved, yet it has never completed its own metamorphosis. Each day it is ever changing, growing innovating and restructuring dynamically as it does its vision “to serve as a gateway toward quality and excellence in agriculture and technology.”
Out of its cocoon arise and soar alumni who serve in their chosen endeavors- flexible, globally competitive and adaptive to the needs of the society.
CBSUA your portals beckon us–
“A place to till the soil,
A school to train the mind,
And learn the love of toil….
Thy clarion’s call we’ll always hear,
We fondly come to thee
Our CSAC of old
Of love and glory told.”