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It all started with a dream

It all started with a dream

September 2001

The New Builder

The roots of The Builder traces back to the 21st of September 1929 when a group of Engineering and Architecture students housed in a rented building in Carriedo St. Quiapo founded The Builder as an English-oriented organization composed of the class of 1933. The Builder, with its name and vision, stood as an embodiment of the role of engineers and architects in nation-building. 

The Builder has evolved through three eras in Philippine and campus journalism. For 75 years it has been alongside Mapúa in establishing the Alma Mater’s mission and vision. 


September 21, 1929. When the Class of 1933 held a ball in the humble halls of Mapúa, English Instructors Professor Francisco Cruz and Professor Esperidion Bodino through persistent effort encouraged the class to form an organization that is in line with the average Mapúan’s walk of life, The Builder was formed. 

The Builder was an English organization formed by Section A of the class, along with the other organizations of Sections B and C, each composing of one hundred students. It was an organization almost the same in nature as the English Club of Class 1932. No publication has existed yet, but it was already the conception of their dream of proving their love and loyalty to their Alma Mater. 

September 28, 1929. After a week of finalization the organization that they had formed was inaugurated in simple rites. Everything was done in simplicity: a few dances, the usual speech addressed to the class for the past three years and a simple dinner bonded them more strongly.

1930. Come graduation for the Institute’s second batch of graduates. The graduating Class of 1930 published the very first annual of the Institute called The Bridge. It was a yearbook collecting all the happy memories of the class during their residence in the then night school of Mapúa. The Bridge had pictures of the graduating class, with captions that best described each of them, a usual form for a yearbook; a features section that contained the jovial and comical moments of the class during the past four years and a literary section that was a collection of poems and essays written by the students themselves. 

It was called The Bridge to symbolize Civil Engineering, one the first two courses being offered by the Institute and the course which majority of the students were taking. The staff of The Bridge was composed of Quintin Gellidon (Editor-In-Chief), Lupo F. Cinco (Editor), Rigoberto Espinosa, Oscar Sarte and Avelino Suarez (Associate Editors). Staffers were Arsenio Flores, Abraham Langara, Francisco Lansang, Jose Matias and Rufino Quicho. Engineer Francisco J. Garay, who in November 1975 became the Dean of the School of Management and Industrial Engineering, was the yearbook’s Managing Editor.

The Bridge was heartily dedicated to Mapúa Institute of Technology, a proof of their unfaltering loyalty to the Alma Mater. It was a humble but lasting souvenir of college life. 

1932. As the Class 1933 was on its last school year in the Institute, The Builder, then an organization of their English class took over the function of The Bridge in organizing their batch’s annual publication. It was also this year that The Builder, an Architectural, Engineering and Collegiate journal, first saw print in a monthly publication.

1940-1941. The early 1940s was a golden period for The Builder. Under the editorship of Jose M. Escarilla in 1940 and Dominador de Jesus (DDJ) in 1941, the publication received an award as the Best Edited Collegiate Magazine in the 1941 journalistic contest by the College Editors Guild of the Philippines. The panel of judges was then composed of A.V. Hartendorp of Philippine Magazine, Robert Y. Robb of Free Press and Angel Anden of Graphic. 

The Builder was the only magazine of its kind in the Philippines to successfully combine technical articles with collegiate features most effectively for the past nine years. It had a two-fold purpose: it served as the official organ of the student body, offering them a means of being heard by the Administration and it gave the students information through original technical articles, though not relevant to their course that could be found in books.

The Builder also served as a link between alumni and the Institute. All alumni members were subscribers. 

Part of dues to the association defrayed The Builder’s cost of publication.
± Circulation of the publication is to students and to all District Engineers of the country. Engineering and Scientific societies and libraries in United States of America and Europe are also subscribing for a copy.

± The pre-war issues of The Builder managed to come out in full-color covers and averaged fifty pages because of the low cost of printing. 

± The covers of the pre-war issues features different buildings that were rising monthly along the Manila skyline, which has relevance to the concept of building a nation, a dream cherished particularly by the Mapúan. 


During the pre-Japanese occupation and the current was in Europe, Mapúa Institute of Technology opened the 1941-1942 school years with great optimism that the swelling of enrollees would be constant. When Pearl Harbor was attacked on December 8, 1941 (Manila time), the collegiate department was forced to close down, stopping momentarily the annual and monthly publication of The Builder. It was in July of 1946 that President Mapúa and Dean Vales opened the gates of the Institution as roughly four thousand students trekked into such surplus Quonset huts in order to pursue their studies hampered by the war. 

1948. It was only this year that the real classes began. The war and its effects halted the publication of The Builder for almost six years. Then in 1948, the graduation year of the batch from 1940 and prior, The Builder was revived. Like MIT, The Builder rose from the ruins of war and defied the scarcity of money and resources brought about by the war. Its editor and staff were called as The Builders of The Builder, for their effort of restoring the dream of its former editors: a publication duly dedicated to the honor of the Alma Mater.

1950. The Builder continued to bloom in 1950 with a notable addition of a Literary Section as a means of encouraging the arts among students, who are wanting in liberal arts instruction in the then four-year curriculum engineering. The post-war period was the golden age of journalism in the Philippines attributed to the American policy of democracy and freedom towards the Filipinos. 

1954. With the increasing population of the Institute, the function of The Builder in creating the yearbook was formally taken over by the Cardinal and Gold. The Builder functioned solely as the school paper. 

1958. It was during this year that The Builder was defined as the official campus publication of Mapúa Institute of Technology. Its functions were to diffuse local news and interpret them and publish a cross-section of the Institute’s brand of humor. It was also an outlet of campus writing. The materials being published in The Builder was of special interest to Mapúans. 

. Starting with the death of Carmen Mapúa and Editor-in-Chief Carlos N. Cuizon in the early years of the 60s, The Builder issues that followed mourned the untimely deaths of key persons in the Institute: Rita Moya Mapúa in 1962 and Don Tomas Mapúa in 1966.

In 1962, most of The Builder staff was removed from the publication because of censorship issues. The publication gave a qualifying exam to recruit members to fill in the positions that were vacated by the former writers. 


1968. During the period of student unrest under the Marcos administration, the Avant-Garde was born. Initially, it was intended as a newspaper by MIT students for MIT students. The Builder was no longer the proper venue for student protests since the administration had the final say on its contents. The Avant-Garde was an extension of The Builder in providing uncensored and unadulterated opinions by the students. Managed by The Builder staff, Avant-Garde was circulated freely in the Mapúa Doroteo Jose and Intramuros campuses.

1971. When former President Ferdinand Marcos implemented Martial Law on September 21, all forms of informative media (newspaper, radio and television) were forced to close down upon the order of the President. Many of those that were closed down were campus papers that were run by student activists and were publishing articles against the government. Virtually almost all of these papers, including their printing press, were closed down.

• The post-war issues of The Builder became more distinctive in that they were designed exclusively for just one issue.

• Later after the Cardinal and Gold took the yearbook organizing and publication function from The Builder, the paper came out in tabloid form, from the pre-war journal form, and since it could not print as much material as it wished, The Builder evolved into a magazine issued monthly.

• The 1960s was the decade of freedom of publication, since it was during this period that the Philippine press, including campus papers, was the ‘freest in Asia’. 


On the 50th anniversary of the Institute, Mapúa Institute of Technology extended its corporate life for another fifty years under the management of President Oscar B. Mapúa. A lot of changes were made at the dawn of the new corporate year. The courses Textile Engineering and business Administration were being phased out as the new course Management and Industrial Engineering was introduced. The whole collegiate department was transferred to Intramuros while the High School department remained at Doroteo Jose.

September 21, 1971. Under Martial Law, “mosquito presses” were the underground publications circling the public in contrast to the “crony presses” of the Marcos regime. The Balawis, an underground publication of Mapúa during Martial Law was among them. 

Marcos rationalized his declaration of Martial Law as a prelude to the establishment of the New Society
Movement or Bagong Lipunan, which had the influence of transforming everything into what themovement dictates them to be. The Builder’s name was changed to The New Builder, parallel to the objectives of the New Society. It was also parallel to Mapúa's second corporate life; a new Mapúa, a new Builder.

November 1974. The very first issue of The New Builder was published in the second semester of the school year 1974-1975. It was in line with the institute’s new corporate life, which would be held on January 25, 1975. It was a new Builder indeed, along with the new Mapúa Institute of Technology. 

The Builder has produced individuals that have not only served the Institute through campus journalism but also have established their names in different fields in the country as well. Here are some of the former staff members of the publication.

Quintin Gellidon – The first editor-in-chief of The Bridge (the first yearbook of Mapúa and precedent to The Builder). He belonged to class 1930 (the second batch of MIT’s graduates) with a degree in Civil Engineering. Durign the Japanese invasion of Manila, he was jailed in Fort Santiago for a year and managed to escape on August 25, 1944. In his one-year imprisonment, he witnessed the incident where Infanta’s hero, General Nakar, (with 26 Filipino and American soldiers) was taken away from the fort and presumed killed elsewhere.

Abelardo Fl. Batacan – The Builder’s Associate Editor in 1940. After graduating with a degree in Civil Engineering he worked at the Bureau of Census and Statistics (BCS). Along with Manuel E. Buenafe, they formed the first anti-Japanese underground newspaper New Era and became one of the Associate Editors. Having its first issue on February 4, 1942, New Era is known to many as an underground paper where none of its members turned traitors in favor of the Japanese.

Luis “Onib” Olmedo – The late Filipino figurative expressionist Onib Olmedo was The Builder’s artist in the period 1957-1959. Graduating with a degree in Architecture, he placed 7th in the Government’s Licensure Examination for Architecture in 1961. After he had his successful one-man show exhibit at Solidaridad Galleried “Singkong Suka”, he stopped his practice as an architect in 1971 to dedicate his time in painting. He had several one-man art shows in different parts of the world, where his artworks are lauded by many people and won several awards in painting from different institutions here and abroad.

Feliberto R. Oliveros Jr. - The Builder’s Editor-in-Chief in 1960-1961, Feliberto R. Oliveros Jr. Became Puerto Princesa’s first city mayor. He graduated with a degree in Mining Engineering.

Nicolas G. Ricafrente – Currently the Dean of the School of Architecture and Planning and Industrial Design, Arch. Nicolas G. Ricafrente was the Editor-in-Chief of The Builder in 1968.

Napoleon “Nap” Gutierrez – Known as a showbiz manager, a reporter and columnist in many papers circulating in the metro, Nap Gutierrez was the Editor-in-Chief of The New Builder in 1981-1982. He graduated with a degree in Management and Industrial Engineering.

Cesar “Bobby” D. Castro – Editor-in-Chief of The Builder and Cardinal and Gold in 1962, Bobby Castro is the Country Representative of MCI Philippines and President of his own consultancy firm, CD Castro Consultancy. He is also the founder of “I am Proud to be a Mapúan Movement”.

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