Asbury College is the only United Methodist related educational institution located in the island town of Anda, which is the “Mother Island of the Hundred Islands,” in the province of Pangasinan, Philippines.
Asbury College is a non-stock, non-profit and non-sectarian United Methodist institution.
Following World War II, there was a need for a higher education for children and youth on the island of Anda. There was no institution for higher learning (meaning secondary education), and young people wishing to further their studies had to go “abroad” to the mainland. Since life was very difficult due to the war years, and finances were limited, many youth did not have the opportunity to study.
It was for this reason that Asbury came into existence. But the birth of Asbury did not happen suddenly. It went through a process, which was carefully planned and nurtured. Its beginning was unusual – for it took an American United Methodist missionary, the Rev. LeRoy Klaus, not a native Andanean – to envision and conceive the idea of a secondary school.
The Methodist Church Mission Board in the United States was consulted, and gave their approval. Then a note was sent from Manila to Anda on “the wings of the flying ‘Parson’s'(Spotty Spottswood, another American Methodist missionary) plane. The plan buzzed above the beach of Tondol with the Methodist Mission Board’s “GO” signal. The seed word was dropped in a handkerchief parachute on the beach, announcing the opening of a school.
On January 6, 1946, the Methodist secondary school was made a reality, and it was named ASBURY HIGH SCHOOL, after the late Rev. Francis Asbury, the first American Bishop of The Methodist Church in the U.S.A.
On January 9, 1946, a government permit was granted to the school to open the first two years of high school education. A campaign for students and a search for faculty was begun. Local building were located and rented for classrooms and offices. It took more than a year for the preparations, and in June 1947, the school formally opened. In 1948, three local families – Mr. & Mrs. Victorino Cena, Mr. & Mrs. Elias Celeste, and Mr. & Mrs. Hermogenes de Castro – donated portions of land for the Asbury High School campus. Two years later, in 1950, construction of classrooms and offices were undertaken on the newly acquired campus. It was also on this year that Asbury produced her first batch of twenty (20) graduates.
In June 1, 1955 Asbury High School was granted government recognition, and from then on, the school produced a large number of graduates who pursued college education outside of Anda. The exodus of graduates going to the mainland for college education posed a challenge to the Board of Tustees and faculty. To address this need, Asbury applied for a permit to offer a one-year Liberal Arts in 1966, which was granted by the Department of Education. The following year, 1967, a permit was granted to offer a second year Liberal Arts. In June 5, 1984, the government recognition was given for the school to offer a complete four (4) year Liberal Arts degree. It was at this time that Asbury High School became ASBURY COLLEGE with a full pledge college status.
In 2002, Asbury opened an elementary department, including a pre-school in order to provide education to the young as well as to serve as a laboratory school for the tertiary department to offer degree programs in Bachelor of Elementary and Secondary Education, which were also granted to open in 2005. Those studying secondary education were offered majors in English, Mathematics and Filipino. In July 2011, the pre-school department was given government recognition. The elementary department is working toward government recognition for the very near future.
Asbury College, Inc. today is the home of pre-school, elementary, secondary and tertiary education to over 1,000 children and youth. It has a full-time faculty and staff of 33 and a part-time tertiary faculty of 16.
Morever, as United Methodist related institution, Asbury continues to offer a sustainable, best quality and affordable education to the youth of Anda and beyond in a Christian environment. Since her birth, Asbury has produced hundreds of alumni who are living and working not only all over the Philippines but also abroad. Many are serving in different fields like education, medicine, engineering, arts, civil service, government and politics, etc. One of the prides of Asbury is her graduates who became church workers – pastors and deaconesses. This is a living testimony on how Asbury has become a place where young lives are taught, trained, nurtured and transformed to be productive members of their communities, their nation and of the world.
The dream in 1946 became a reality, and the dream lives on for Asbury to one day be a UNIVERSITY!
THE ASBURY HYMN
As to a young child a loving mother is,
So are you to us Alma Mater dearest,
Beckoning guidance from thee we trust,
Unlimited wisdom we seek to the last,
Resplendent and undoubted our minds we cast,
Yearning to succeed we give our minds and hearts.
How wonderful, how magnificent are thy riches,
Implanted here within thy holy virtuous wishes,
Gorgeous glory, wonders of speeches,
Health, morality, wisdom and knowledge.
Seekers for truth we are thirsty in spirit,
Changing tides of afflictions daily we must meet.
However, with thy care, we shall know no defeat,
On to glory we shall march ne’er to retreat!
Over and o’er this prayer to thee we raise,
Lord, bless the Asbury College our own and best!
(Composed in 1947 by Miss Maxima Reyna Cabrera, a pioneer teacher)