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Passi, Philippines - Where faith is dynamic and transformative education is concretely lived…


The entrance of Assumption-PassiThe Assumption came to Passi upon the request in 1968 of the Auxiliary Bishop of Jaro, Msgr. Jaime Sin, to Mother Marie Denyse, Superior General. Accordingly, three sisters were sent to Passi to start the foundation in 1969.
Aside from running a school, the sisters also helped in the parish activities : teaching catechism in the Public Elementary and High Schools, home visitations, visits to the barrios, animation of the liturgy, and youth development programs. Until 1990, they were in-charge of the formation of the catechists.
In 1991, Assumption-Passi enjoys the unique privilege of being the first Assumption School in the Philippines-Thailand province run by an Administrative Team chosen from the lay faculty. This is the result of Assumption’s thrust : the participation and empowerment of the lay collaborators. This is also in line with the Church’s vision of sharing with the laity her mission of evangelization.
Impelled by a sense of mission and faith in Jesus Christ, the community of lay was formed and became the “critical Mass” who were then responsible in carrying out the big task of running the only Catholic School in the fast growing city of Passi. This made a great impact in the lives of the lay collaborators, especially the teachers who were part of the transition period.
The community travelled far and hard. The initial “yes” meant a lot of struggles and birth pangs. “Unless the grain of wheat falls to the earth and dies, it remains alone ; but if it dies, it produces much fruit.” (John 12:24) It was an arduous journey, a painful process, yet fulfilling. The community depended on God’s strength, recognizing his work through the lay by the complimentarity of their gifts put into service. “I am glad to boast about my weakness, so that the power of Christ may work through me …”
Assumptation-Passi, inside the scoolIn 1994, the Assumption apostolate in Passi along with the other consolidated member schools : Assumption- Iloilo, Bo. Obrero, and Santa Rita Academy, was strengthened because of the mandate for Consolidation. This meant better opportunities and privileges among the member schools in terms of on-going formations for lay administrators and teachers. Assumption Iloilo was mostly instrumental for the marked improvement in instruction and facilities of the consolidated Schools in Panay.
As the community moved into progress and development as an emerging component city of Iloilo, Passi recognized the role of Catholic Education in the formation of the young and with the parents’ urgent request a High School Department was established. The Assumption Central Coordinating Team (ACCT) facilitated the approval of the opening of the first secondary private school in Passi City.
It was in the year 2001 when the High School was opened and produced its first 36 graduates on March 31, 2005. It was on the same year that Assumption School Passi City Iloilo, Inc. was granted Government Recognition by the Department of Education.
Belinda PanesThe mandate for Lay Empowerment and Consolidation ushered the growth of Assumption School- Passi.
The two mandates enhanced the Lay-Religious Partnership in the fulfillment of Assumption’s TRANSFORMATIVE EDUCATION which had bore fruit from the Lay Educators’ personal and communal transformation.
This year marks Assumption- Passi’s 20th year of Lay Empowerment and at the service of the faith in 42 years, the school community continuously commits itself to the new challenges as it approach its Golden Jubilee in 2019 full of hope and drawing their strength from the faithful God who constantly accompanies them and calls them to follow him more closely through a committed life of service.
Assumption-Passi will forever be true to her battlecry : “Come and see what God has done…” (Psalm 66:5)
Belinda Panes
Director, Assumption – Passi

More than Just Classroom Teachers :
A Transformative Education Experience

The screeching sound of chalk driven against the blackboard was heard far too many times that the shrill was already familiar to be ignored. For more than two decades, the classroom teachers of Assumption School Passi were accustomed and unassuming of responsibilities bigger than their lesson plans and the mandates of their religious superiors.
They had a routine to follow and it was easier while it was structured. Never then did it occur to them that in 1991, they, the simple classroom teachers, will be placed on the start point of a bitter-sweet race. In 1991, Assumption School Passi became the first and the only lay-empowered Assumption School in the Philippines-Thailand Province.
While the turnover surfaced as a fearless feat, the leap of faith initially struggled in getting the height needed to keep the school running. Mrs. Belinda Panes did not know how to begin. It was a living metaphor of starting out from scratch, when a classroom teacher is to be given the task of running an entire school as its Chairperson. But as the baptism of fire was already scalding her and her colleagues, the growing distrust of parents further blistered their spirits. Without the sisters’ habits and veils, the capacity of the lay to manage the school was in question.
But trying to win the community’s trust back was not their only challenge. Externally they were attacked squarely with stereotypes but internally they were tortured with factions in their working relationships. There were clashes of opinion and overriding of personalities among them. In addition to, since they were lay, their lives, unlike the sisters, were not isolated to the pressures of personal commitments.
Teachers like Mrs. Stella Grace Tagnong frequently find themselves facing crossroads, lured by job offers which were less demanding and better paying.
Yet the school similarly found refuge amongst others and amongst themselves. Ms. Eva Pasaporte, in her more than thirty years of service to the school, identified the spiritual strength taught and modeled by the Assumption sisters to be the buoys that kept them afloat during the hurly-burly of the turnover.
Ms. Menelda Pauya noted how the community spirit through the existence of the Consolidation (a collaboration of Assumptions schools in Panay) became the school’s sturdiest support amidst the toughest times. Indeed, they were toppled down and as they rose they even wobbled, but the teachers learned and most importantly they pursued and moved forward.
The mission of transformative education and the potential joy of seeing its blossoms yielded the teachers’ commitment and honor to stand by their selfless fiat to lay empowerment.
Assumption School Passi’s take on transformative education sourced inherently from the teachers, from the lay, who were testaments of transformation themselves. They, like other schools, comply with the promise of bringing up students to become academically proficient and socio-culturally responsive with the numerous proofs of alumni excelling in a wide spectrum of professions. However, they, unlike other schools, run an extra mile not simply by evoking but by channeling the change to their students who still have unchartered hurdles.
It has been twenty years since the Assumption School Passi was weaned from the management of the Assumption sisters. It has been twenty years since the simple classroom teachers took charge. It has been twenty years of metamorphosis, struggling to wiggle out from the pupa of sustaining the school’s fervor.
But it has also been twenty years since Assumption School Passi have bore witness and became living testimonies of St. Marie Eugenie’s ideals of education… “ to allow the good in every person to break through the rock that imprisons it and bring it into the light where it can blossom and shed its radiance.”
The screeching sound of chalk against the blackboard is now muffled for a couple of people known long ago as simple classroom teachers. Now, they sit behind long tables, planning and directing programs and activities school year after school year. Now, they have attained the trust and confidence of parents who are at constant support to the endeavors of the school.
Now, they have a handful of committed faculty and staff determined to bring out the inherent and cultivated goodness in every child. Now, they are more than just classroom teachers. Now, they are transformed. They are empowered.
Maria Reylan M. Garcia,
daughter of the First Assumption Passi Graduate

Transformative Education :
from Students’ Viewpoint…

  • “…to allow the good in every person to break through the rock that imprisons it and bring it into the light where it can blossom and shed its radiance.”
    Assumption School Passi has been a nesting place for pupils and students alike who aspire to soar high, armed with a character founded on Christian values, intelligence and skills, and a heart for others especially the least. This gift of Transformative Education in the Assumption will hopefully inspire these young people to make a difference wherever they will be.
    Assumption is one of the best in terms of forming great leaders, not only mentally but also socially and spiritually, and I’m privileged and honored to be formed by this school.
    Ezekiel Ramin Aguilar
    Year IV Student 
  • Transformative education gives me confidence to discover those things that I would like to know, build my self-esteem and boost my morale, give me inspiration and determination to lead and to initiate things in accordance to God’s providence. But most of all the virtue that I could always have in myself, my loyalty to Saint Marie Eugenie.
    Justice Savannah Pamplona
    Grade VI Pupil 
  • I am very happy that my parents let me study here in Assumption School Passi, because I have learned a lot from this institution not only in terms of academics but most especially in molding my spiritual life and my relationship with my fellows.
    Joe Vincent Pasit
    Year II Student 
  • My Assumption Education has molded me into someone who has the capacity to serve other people and has enhanced my leadership skills. I have become “someone” because of my Assumption Education.
    Francis Gideon Tagnong
    Grade VI Pupil 
  • Being an Assumptionista, I am aware that there are many people who need my help, and that I have duties and responsibilities towards the environment, community, and country. Assumption Education taught me the importance of being an authentic person, a Christian, the importance of friendship, and family.
    Auser Jann Pagunsan
    Year IV Student


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