17th – 19th Century Period

Our Lady of La Naval
Gregorio Lou Wenzao (OP)
Apolinario M. Mabini

1619 – Founder Hermano Juan Geronimo Guerrero acknowledged the value of first Letran graduates to the colonial society. Among them were religious, clerics, and military men.

1620 – Don Juan Geromino Guerrero, a retired Spanish officer and one of the Knights of Malta, founded the Colegio de Niños Huerfanos de San Juan de Letran in Intramuros with the aim to educate and mold orphans to be good Christian citizens and future builders of the colonial society.

1630 – Fray Diego de Santamaria (OP), founder of the Colegio de Huerfanos de San Pedro y San Pablo, fused his institution with that of Guerrero’s. The new institution came to be known as the Colegio de San Juan de Letran.

1645 – Hermano Fray Diego de Santamaria (OP) embarked on an unprecedented experiment of mixing social outcasts with the children of the Spanish elite-an unthinkable innovation at that time. In order to level the playing field, the Rule of St Augustine was adopted to humble the powerful and uplift the lowly. An assertive populist culture unique to the school emerged from this process of accommodation.

1647 – Juan de Pozaleta, Crown Prince of Calonga, was admitted to Letran. Calonga was a kingdom in the Island of Sanguir (Sangihe) of the North Sulawesi Province, Indonesia whose monarch sent missives to Manila in 1637, requesting for missionaries.

1652 – After a thorough study, the Cathedral Chapter of Manila declared the victories of the five sea battles against the Dutch fleets as miracles. The annual celebration of the La Naval de Manila became a regular observance of all Letran alumni since its inception.

1685 – Padre Fray Gregorio Luo Wenzao (OP) Letran’s first Chinese alumnus who became Bishop of China. He was consecrated the titular Bishop of Basilitanus, Vicar Apostolic of Nanjing and Administrator of Jiangsu, Anhui, Shandong, Hebei, Shanxi, Shaanxi, and Henan provinces by the Franciscan Bishop of Beijing, Bernardino della Chiesa OFM on April 8, 1685 in Guangzhou, China.

1896 – Kalayaan, the publication of the Katipunan movement, was spearheaded by three Letran alumnic Pio Valenzuela as the co-editor and organizer, Emilio Jacinto as co-editor and writer, and Faustino Duque as one of the type setters. The circulation of Kalayaan brought about a spike in Katipunan membership. The Katipunan had an estimated 30,000 members by the time the Revolution broke out.

1896 – The Katipunan was discovered. Two Letran students, Emilio Jacinto and Flaviano Yengco, ceased attending classes and became generals of the Philippine Revolution. Seventeen alumni served as generals during the Revolution.

1897 – Letran alumnus Capitan General Marcelo de Azcarraga y Palmero was acclaimed as a Filipino General and went on to become Spain’s Prime Minister in 1897, 1901, 1904, and 1905.

1899 – Letran alumnus Emilio F. Aguinaldo declared Philippine Independence in Kawit, Cavite on June 12, 1898. He became the President of the First Philippine Republic on January 21, 1899 and served as a symbol of unity against American military aggression until his capture on March 23, 1901.

1899 – Letran alumnus Apolinario Mabini was appointed Prime Minister of the First Philippine Republic on January 21, 1899. He was known as the “Brains of the Revolution” because of his profound counsels and sober authorship of key legislations. He was exiled for refusing to swear allegiance to the USA.