Its roots from ITALY to the PHILIPPINES
The first trade school began in 1853 in Turin, Italy. Gradually as Years progressed, establishments of schools spread throughout Italy, France and in San Nicolas de los Arroyo and Buenos Aires in Argentina. The Salesians of Don Bosco (SDB) were determined to cross-frontiers and to spread the founder’s apostolate. Seen as a fertile ground for the propagation of St. John Bosco’s apostolate was the East – Asia. In 1918, after crossing the oriental frontiers, they opened a mission in Shiu, the province of Kwang Tung in China – today the People’s Republic of China. Just like the biblical mustard seed, the Salesian work grew on to become a big tree, which bears fruit abundantly. This missionary work went on unhampered for almost three decades. With China becoming a communist state with the rise of Mao Tse Tung in 1949, it was impossible to keep the mission alive, new frontiers until some of them came to the Philippines. However, the first sons of Don Bosco to set foot on the Philippines soil were two Salesian Fathers. They came in 1912. For a short time, they ran the Parish of the Nuestra de los Remedios in Malate. Ten years later, the Rt. Rev. Msgr. William Piani and Rev. Louis Morrow, who were Salesians, were appointed Delegate and Secretary, respectively. They however, came to the Philippines for the direct service of the Church not as Salesian missionaries.
The Salesian mission in the Philippines took a definite shape upon the designation of Fr. Charles Braga, SDB as the first Provincial. He paved the way for the establishment of a permanent Salesian Society in the Philippines. The first Salesian Institution was the St. John Bosco Academy in Tarlac in 1951. Victorias in Negros Occidental came second in 1952. Third was Don Bosco Mandaluyong. Then in 1954 was Don Bosco Technical Institute, Makati and Don Bosco Technical High School, Cebu Boy’s Town.
1954 TO THE PRESENT
The first group, who was the pioneer, arrived on February 24, 1954. Fr. Luigi Ferrari, SDB, who represented the Provincial, led the group composed of cleric Agustin Lopez. Though Fr. Ferrari did not stay long, the chronicle often mentioned his direct intervention and frequent visits in Cebu.
On the 3rd of March 1954, Fr. A. Boscariol, SDB arrived from Victorias, Negros Occidental, and took the leadership of the pioneering mission. In the absence of a house, the Salesians had been generously offered a room for over a month by the Redemptorist in St. Alphonsus’ Seminary.
At last, on March 15, 1954, a simple but adequate building was finished for new foundation just beside the Cathedral. On that day, Msgr. J. Rosales officiated at the blessing. We have these words preserved for us in the chronicle of Boys’ Town: ‘A new era has finally dawned in Cebu for the neglected young boys who have been roaming around, ill clad and scraping for food, with the temporary Boys’ Town Center inside the Cathedral compound….’
Life at the new center was far from plain sailing while boys were sent in by friends and the police. Most of those who were already there managed to sneak away. The freedom of the street was a greater allurement than the orderly life, and EVEN THE PLATE FULL OF RICE. Fr. Boscariol, SDB writes:” boys escaped almost everyday and new ones were brought in, and it was many a time that we had to go around and chase for those very boys we were trying to educate…”
The initial financial problem was met through the assistance of Cebu Boys’ Town Inc., the many generous Cebuanos, Civilminded organizations like the Rotary Club, The Cebu Medical Society, The Cahtolic Women’s League and other benefactors.
There was however, one great benevolent friend of Don Bosco who had gone so far as to sustain Boy’s Town “ with or without committee.” The man, an exemplary Christian, Don Ramon Aboitiz had kept his promise to the very end and had continuously poured in help in many ways for the young souls the community. As there was an urgent need for the center to occupy a place far from the city, he obtained for the boys and the Salesians a new site at Punta Princesa to which the Cebu Boys’ Town moved on March 5, 1955.
In 1955, Fr. Boscariol, SDB was followed by Fr. John Peter Clifford, SDB who was to be the first formally appointed rector of the Boys’ Center. It was in his leadership that the work of setting up the school started. In 1959, Fr. Clifford with his very competent Principal, Fr. Lino Repetto, SDB opened the school and worked for its recognition. By June 13, 1960, Boys’ Town, as it was commonly called, received government recognition under the official name of Don Bosco Technical High School with already technical-academic curriculum.
In 1964, Fr. Luigi Ricciarelli, SDB was appointed Rector. During this time the school was further developed and it began to admit boarders from quite a number of islands from all over the Visayas. It was also through the efforts of Fr. Louis that a beautiful church was built in honor of Jesus the Adolescent.
Fr. William Balocco, SDB came next as Rector of the school in 1967. Though he stayed only for only two years, Fr. Balocco managed to secure three hectares adjoining the school in exchange for unused plots of land located beyond the farm. In this connection grateful thanks are due especially to Mr. Eddied Aboitiz whose generosity made the completion of the project possible. This intelligent move ushered further progress.
In 1969 Fr. Peter Zago, SDB young and dynamic, succeeded Fr. Balocco. An engineer by nature, he built new 14-classroom building on the new site. The Salesian community together with the boys themselves, supported by good friends, worked hard for the project. This includes a group of Japanese Bosconians. During this time the Youth Center was established in favor of the poor boys of the surrounding villages and barrios.
Fr. Edgardo Espiritu, SDB came as Rector in 1973. New shop buildings were added giving the school a new face. A seminary was also started in 1974.
Fr. Genaro Gegantoni, SDB succeeded Fr. Espiritu in 1976. This time the seminary for the aspirants to the priesthood was transferred to the newly acquired lot and building in Lawa-an Talisay, Cebu. The Salesian Bother Aspirantate was then established at Boys’ Town. The present situation made it convenient to divide the community of Cebu, thus giving birth to three other independent communities namely: Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Pasil Youth Center and Parish and the Don Bosco Missionary Seminary at Lawa-an, each having his own history.
In May 1982, Fr. Peter Zago, SDB was back for the second time as Rector. The community of Boys’ Town had become more aware of its identity and mission for the less privileged and is determined to return to the poor and abandoned boys. On December 1982, the Salesians of Boys’ Town took over the Banilad Juvenile Home (renamed as Don Bosco Boys’ home) and replanned the Rehabilitation Center for the under-age law offenders and street boys.
In 1988, Fr. Patrick Buzon, SDB, one of the first products of Boys’ Town became its Rector. It was under his leadership that the new school building was started.
In 1992, another son of don Bosco Boys’ Town, Fr. Precioso Cantillas, SDB became its new Rector. It was during his leadership that Don Bosco Technical High School found a new direction towards its dedication as a Catholic Technical School. A new name was then conceived in 1994 to capture what the institute is committed to pursue under this direction. Thus, the birth of Don Bosco Technology Center. Adding to its Intermediate/High School Department or the Basic Education Department (BED) is the College Department or the Technical Education Department (TED), which started in the same year.
With the elevation to the Episcopate order of Fr. Cantillas, Fr. Daniel Elemia,SDB was appointed Rector for two years and was later replaced by Fr. Patrick Buzon, who sat in office for only a year until he became the first Filipino Salesian Provincial.
The school year, 1998-1999 saw Fr. Genaro Gegantoni, SDB as the Director of the School. He, being a missionary in Ethiopia, came through a request to temporarily be the Rector of the School. After a three-year term, he went back to Ethiopia. Unknown to many, he started the groundwork for the new Administrative Manual and Job Management System for the employees of DBTC.
The school year 2001-2002, Fr. Ronald “Lan” Guiao, SDB returned as Rector of Don Bosco Technology Center following the end of term of Fr. Gegantoni. After serving for nine years Fr. Guiao was replaced in 2010 by Fr. Honesto “Nioret” Geronimo Jr., SDB who up to the present is rector of DBTC.
Don Bosco Technology Center stands unique in its commitment to better serve and from the young into good and useful citizens of our country.