Philippine Women's University

The Philippine Women's University
and its affiliate school for men and women
Pamantasang Pambabae ng Pilipinas
Former names
Philippine Women's College
Motto The First University for Women in Asia, Founded by Asians
Type Private, Non-sectarian, University
Established 1919
Chairman Former Senator Helena Z. Benitez
President Dr. Jose Francisco B. Benitez
Academic staff
Approx. 500
Undergraduates Approx. 5,000
Location 1743 Taft Avenue Malate, Manila, Philippines
14°34′27″N 120°59′23″E / 14.574298°N 120.989634°E / 14.574298; 120.989634Coordinates: 14°34′27″N 120°59′23″E / 14.574298°N 120.989634°E / 14.574298; 120.989634
Campus Urban:
2 Universities in 3 campuses (with Philippine Women's College of Davao autonomous from PWU Metro Manila)
Hymn PWU University Hymn
Nickname PWU Patriots

The Philippine Women's University (Filipino: Pamantasang Pambabae ng Pilipinas; commonly abbreviated as PWU) is a non-stock, non-profit, non-sectarian educational institution for both men and women from elementary to college level.

PWU's basic education (with senior high) is being catered by the Jose Abad Santos Memorial School (JASMS) both in Manila and Quezon City.


Higher education for Filipino women

A group of women in the Philippines in 1919 sought to further empower women of the country by allowing them access to education. Under the American administrative oversight from 1900 to July 4, 1946, education and democracy were the core of America's goal in "developing" the Philippines. Among the first, and perhaps more important, American legacy is the recognition of equality of women in the Philippine islands, years before mainland America embraced the concept.

Seven women who were prominent members of then Manila's social eliteClara Aragon, Concepcion Aragon, Francisca Tirona Benitez, Paz Marquez Benitez, Carolina Ocampo Palma, Mercedes Rivera and Socorro Marquez Zaballerofounded the Philippine Women's College (PWC) with the assistance of then prominent lawyer, José Abad Santos, who drafted the university's papers: its constitution and by-laws. Abad Santos was appointed by President Manuel L. Quezon to the Supreme Court of the Philippines just before the Japanese occupation as the fifth Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines.

The American colonial government gave Philippine Women's College its recognition as a university in 1932, 13 years after the school opened its doors. From 1932 up to the outbreak of the Second World War, Philippine Women's University opened its Department of Child Development; in 1938, a course in Social Civic training was incorporated into the curriculum. The academic programs of the university were based on the founder's objectives to train Filipinas in civic responsibility.

Established families from all over the Philippines who could afford higher education sent their daughters to PWU. Most institutions offering higher education at that time were exclusively for young men, like PWU's neighbor, De La Salle College. Schools for women offering higher education were operated by secular or religious sisters of the Roman Catholic Church, including PWU's neighbors, Santa Isabel College on Taft Avenue, Assumption College and St. Paul College, Manila both on Herran St., Maryknoll College in Isaac Peral St., and St. Scholastica's College on Pennsylvania St. And there was also Centro Escolar de Senoritas College on Mendiola St. which predated PWU by some 12 years, having been founded in 1907. The PWU had a more 'Americanized' curriculum than Centro Escolar.

Second World War and the Afteryears

The Japanese occupation of the Philippine islands from 1942 to 1945 did not intimidate the PWU community to continue with its operations. For a time, classes at the PWU (like in most academic institutions of that time) were held intermittently due to the extraordinary conditions imposed by the Japanese. The PWU campus, a building occupying an entire city block, was converted to a hospital, known as the "Pagamutan ng Maynila."

The university sustained major damages during the war and barely survived the siege during the start of the American and Philippine liberation of Manila on February 9, 1945. The school resumed its academic programs a few months before the Philippines became a free and independent republic on July 4, 1946.

PWU contributed to many historical events in the country. The university opened its doors to fire-ravaged communities of Manila in 1969 and later in 1980.

The university opened its doors to elementary and secondary education when it founded the Jose Abad Santos Memorial School (JASMS) at Taft. PWU established another JASMS is in Quezon City.

Outside Metro Manila

In less than 50 years since the university's founding, PWU opened similar campuses for women in parts of the country bearing the Philippine Women's College name, such as Iloilo City in the Visayas and Davao City in Mindanao (opened on June 8, 1953 - actively operating as Philippine Women's College of Davao or PWC in the present time).[1] In 1972, the Iloilo City Colleges (now the University of Iloilo) purchased the PWC of Iloilo campus in its Jaro District. They then turned the buildings of the campus into a hospital, named Don Benito Lopez Memorial Hospital. Fifteen years later, in 1987, Don Benito Lopez Memorial Hospital was acquired by the West Visayas State University. It became the WVSU Hospital, a 150-bed tertiary, teaching and training hospital.[2] PWU also opened a satellite campus in Cebu City but was apparently shut down. It was situated at corners Leon Kilat and Colon Streets. The PWC in Davao City was then granted autonomy from PWU and operates as a co-educational institution.

PWU also opened the Philippine Women's University Career Development and Continuing Education Center in Calamba City, Laguna.

Promoting Filipino culture

Through the efforts of former Senator Helena Z. Benitez, the university organized and developed the world-renowned Bayanihan Philippine Folk Dance Company. Benitez, with Philippine National Artist for the Music and the Arts, dean emeritus Lucresia R. Kasilag (who served as Bayanihan's president and musical director), have pioneered and effortlessly promoted the Filipino culture, particularly folk dance.

Senator Benitez, who became the first alumnae president of the university, has been at the helm of PWU for more than three decades and, in 1980, became chairperson of the Board of Trustees.

Adapting to changing times

The university had its first male president in 1993 with the election of Dr. Jose Conrado Benitez who had set a vision on a strategic plan to diversify and to use information technology to transcend distance and bring functional education to everyone.


PWU is currently in an organizational dispute with the STI Group over the university's institutional control and ownership. As of present, the Benitez family (the current majority owners) has taken legal action to stop STI from acquiring PWU.[3]

STI's Notice of Default for PWU

The Benitez family, descendants of the founders of the Philippine Women’s University (PWU), slammed the “dirty tactics” of the group of Eusebio Tanco over the ongoing fight for control of the school and some of its assets.

In a statement, the family said a press release issued by STI Holdings––owned by the Tanco group–– claimed that the Benitezes had resigned from PWU, and that their supposed resignation had allowed Tanco to take over the school. .[4] “The claims are baseless and the so-called takeover is illegal,” the Benitez family said.

Earlier in 2014, the Tanco group disclosed plans to turn the Jose Abad Santos Memorial School (JASMS) Quezon City campus into a commercial venture.[5] The JASMS community, composed of alumni, parents, and other stakeholders, said they were not informed of the plan and have resisted the move.[6] Jose Abad Santos Memorial School is the basic education arm of PWU. Its campuses are located in Quezon City and Manila.

The act of takeover of PWU was triggered by, and in retaliation for, the refusal of the JASMS community to agree to Tanco's idea of commercializing the JASMS Quezon City campus, the Benitez family said.

The family said the Tanco group issued a Notice of Default on December 9 claiming PWU owes the group P928 million which was originally a P230-million loan of the school with BDO, which the Tanco group assumed. “The notice of default inappropriately and unilaterally demanded payment of the entire amount within a mere seven days. The said notice of default is baseless primarily because, among other reasons, the amount demanded is absolutely and exorbitantly wrong,” the Benitez family said. “The Benitez family is contesting the said default notice and taking legal action to fight this brazen takeover attempt of a revered educational institution,” it added.

The family said the Tanco group knew that they were contesting the notice of default. “Yet without even the cursory attempt to engage in dialogue and refusing to entertain such offers of dialogue to discuss the default or to listen to the Benitez family’s proposal on how to pay the correct amount of the loan, the Tanco group is now attempting to take over PWU,” the family added.[3]

This unfortunate turn of events on what was once a promising arrangement was brought about by a difference of principles between the parties. “Over the course of three years, the Benitez family realized that Mr. Tanco’s vision to commercialize PWU and JASMS does not conform to the vision of the founders and the Benitez family’s enduring commitment to education,” the family said.[7]

The Philippine Women's College of Davao (PWC) is not party to the Philippine Women's University-STI Holdings Inc. (PWU-STI) Joint Agreement forged in 2011. This was the statement made by the PWC Alumni Foundation, Inc. Board of Directors to assuage fears amid the worsening rift between the Benitezes of PWU and STI's Eusebio Tanco.[8]

Notable alumni

University hymn

Filipino version

Hayaang magsialay
Kanilang pamantasan (pamantasan)
Nang papuri't pagdakila
Paaralan nilang Lahat

Ngunit sa aming puso
Iisa ang sinusuyo
Ang mahal naming kolehiyo
Kayamanang walang hanggan (kayamanan)

Halina at ating tupdin
Alay niya'y ating sundin
Masayang ipagkapuri
Ating Philippine Women's University

Iba't-ibang kulay at damdamin
Nagpapahayag ng diwa (ng diwa)
May abo pula't bughaw
Puti't maroon ang sa akin

At saan man magsitungo
Kahit sa iba mang dako
Aral niya ay isaisip
Sa Diyos bansa't lahi (bansa't lahi)

Repeat Chorus

Philippine Women's University[9]

English version

Let other sing Their Praises
Of their Alma Mater Fair (Alma Mater)
Let Them Ponder on the Graces
of their college Great and Rare

But my Heart Beats true Forever for the
college I Love Best
I Shall Cease to Treasure Never Mem'ries of
her in My Breast (In My Breast)

Loyal May we Ever be
May We Learn Her Lessons Right
Proud May we Ever be
of the Philippine Women's University

Other Hues Thrill Other Bosoms
Red, Blue and Gray in Other Sight (Other Sight)
Are the Fairest tints of Bosoms
But For Me Maroon and White

Wherever we may Wander
and Wherever we may Roam
On Its Message Let Us Ponder
Love of Country, God and Home (God and Home)

Loyal May we Ever be
May We Learn Her Lessons Right
Proud May we Ever be
of the Philippine Women's University

Philippine Women's University


PWU is a member institution of Philippine Association of College and Universities (PACU), Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU), Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA) as well as the International Association of Universities and the International Association of University Presidents.


PWU is currently active in the Women's National Collegiate Athletics Association (WNCAA) and Women's Collegiate Sports Association (WCSA). The official school moniker is the PWU Patriots.

As of 2008:

Table Tennis







See also


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