This brief history traces the beginning, growth and development of the Isabela Colleges from the time it was established fifty years ago, to be more exact, on April 28, 1948.
Starting with a Two - Year Junior Normal College with an elemntary school as a training department, the school has grown, through the years, successfully overcoming seemingly insurmountable odds and obstacles. In consequence, it has become or is being considered as a prestigious institution learning in Region 02 today.
To write the history of the college without mentioning some of the important life - time activities of Dr. Melecio Toledo Sr., is commit a gross injustice and an act of ingratitude to the Foounder and President who had dedicated almost forty years of his whole life and well - being to make the Isabela Colleges what is today.
The idea taht gave rise to teh establishment of the isabela Junior Colleges goes back to the Japanese Occupation of the Philippines during Worl War II.
Dr. Toledo was at that time serving as KALIBAPI (Kapisanan na Paglilingkod sa Bagong Pilipinas) leader in Isabela. In his round in theprovince in connection with his official duties, he noticed that most, if not practically all, of the teachers in the public schools, appointive officials, and managers of private establishments were not natives but immigrant from other provinces in Ilocos and Central Luzon.
Dr. Melecio Toledo also observed taht very few natives of the provine were high school graduates, mush less collegiate graduates. This was mainly due not only to the financial condition of the people, but also, more especially to the general reluctance of parents to have their children leave home more especially during those old days when going to Manila entailed great risk and expense. Also there ws that fear that something would happen to their children if and when they were away from their sight.
During that time there was no institution of learning collegiate level in Isabela and even in the whole Cagayan Valley. In Isabela There were only two secondary schools, one public and one private, the Isabela High School in Ilagan, the Capital, and Northeastern intitute of Santiago.
This condition made Dr. Melecio Toledothink of establishing a tertiary school which would include elementary, secondary, and collegiate level. He came to think of the oft - repeted saying " If Mohammed can not go to mountain, let the mountain come to Mohammed."
After liberation, Dr. Melecio Toledo was recalled to the university of the philippines, where he had been teaching before teh war. But even there, the tought of bringing higher education to his adopte province (Isabela) di not leave his mind. It was at this junsture taht he decided to resign from his University position in order to go ahead with teh plan to establish an institution of higher learning in the province. The main problem, however, was CAPITAL. his little savings before the war had been eaten up during the evacuation days brought about by the Japanese Occupation. To solve his problem, he wrote his friends in the United States to contribute books fro share of stocks, to which they responded favorably. The books, although most of them are seconhand, constituted the nucleus of the library.
The Philippines in 1948, was in a slow but steady process of recovery from ravages and devastations inflicted by World War II, Which came to a close in August, 1945. Education was at its lowest ebb because of the loss of school buildings, school libraries, textbooks, and other essential educational facilities which were either burned, destroyed, or looted. On top of this, many teachers who were forced to abandon the profession at the outbreak of the war either were dead, or did not want to return to their pre-war positions in favor of more lucrative jobs. Eventually, more men and women trained in the teaching profession were needed to fill vacancies and new positions created by the ever - increasing number of young boys and girls raring and eager to go to school. At no other time in the history of education in the Philippines was there a need, more than ever, for qualified teachers to teach in all levels of the educational system.
Set against this background, Dr. Melecio Toledo founded on April 28, 1948 the isabela Junior College,primarily for service of the people. Its main objective then, as it is now, is to enable young men and women to get a quality college education without having to spend so much money in going away from home to Manila or other educational centers, which were very few at that time.
Incorporated as Isabela junior Colleges, it formally opened in July, 1948 with proper Government permits issued by the Bureu of Private Schools. Previous to this, the Board of Directors appointed Dr. Melecio Toledo as President and Dean and his betterhalf, Mrs. Pura R. Toledo, as Registrar and Principal of the Training Department. Beginning school year 1949 - 1950, Mr. Damaso A. Acosta was appointed Supervisors of the TEachers Training and Administrative Officer (later changed to Executive Secretary) and Registrar, while Mr. Leoncio Arreola was appointed Elementary School Principal.
The first courses offered were the Two -Year Junior Normal and the elementary department.
The school held its first classes in a rented residential building located in the heart of town along the busy principal street of Cauayan. Later the school was transfered to the Alingog building, a four - room complex, for more spacious accomodations. This was necessary because at that time the enrollment increased tremendously. In June, 1951, the Academic Secondary Course with vocational subjects was opened and Mr. Francisco Ramirez, Sr., became principal. In the same year two college courses were granted government permits, namely:Two -Year Preparatory Law and Two - Year Liberal Arts Course (A.A.).
On April 1, 1951 the school was again transfered, this time to the new two-story building constructed by the Corporation on a.5.6 Ha. lot along Luna Street, which was bought by the Corporation itself on September 24, 1949. The new building was occupied for the first time starting summer of 1952. During school year 1951 - 1952 the enrollment in the three levels was as follows:
Begining School Year 1952 - 1953 the following courses were offered: Four - Year Liberal Arts (AB), Four-Year Education (BSE) and Two-Year Business Administration (ABA).
At the opening of School Year 1958-1959 the Four-Year Business Secondary was opened. IN July , 1960 the following courses were offered: Associate in Secretarial Science (ASS), Four -Year Commercial Education (BSCE), and Master of Arts in Education (MAEd). Starting with School Yar 1962-1963, the Four-Year Business Administration course (BSBA) was opened, followed by the Four-Year College Normal (BSEEd) in 1963-1964, and in 1972 the Small Scale Business Management(SSBM) was added.
Beginning with School Year 1969-1970, some classes started occupying the ground floor of the modern three-storey concrete new building. At the opening of school Year 1976-1977 the College was granted permits to offer special vocational courses namely: Four-Year Secretarial Science; One Year Course in Practical Electricity; One Year-Course in Purchasing Technician; One Year Course Library Aide; One Year course in Auto Machanic and Five MOnth course in Typewriting.
Effective the second semester of School Year 1976-1977, the college was grantedgovernment permit to offer the Doctoral Course (Ed.D.) in consurtium with Lyceum of Baguio, Baguio City, with Dr. Mateo M. Sanchez, formerly Schools Division Superintendent for Isabela and later Director, Region 02, MECS, and Dr. Melecio Toledo, President and Dean, Graduate School, as resident Professors.
As of present, the Isabela College is an active member of several Manila-based national educational organizations. This somehow, has given the College added prestige and reputation as an institution of learning. Somewhere in this souvenir program are printed the names of these educational associations and likewise, the names of courses of being at the present. It may be noted, further, that all major courses, including the Graduate Schools are being operated under government recognition.