Latest Stories

Our rector, our mentor


A SIMPLE banner honoring a great man, designed by a student ILLUSTRATION ADRIAN VAL LOPEZ

How does one capture the life of a great man in a single article? Perhaps it is best to start at the beginning, with my first encounter with Fr. Anscar Chupungco.

When I first met Fr. Anscar, I had already known his name and face. Of course, as a high-school student of San Beda College Alabang (SBCA), where he was the rector-president at the time, it was the norm to be aware of the names and faces of the administrators of our school.

However, Fr. Anscar was far from the norm. With his shock of white hair and formal stance, he was set apart from the rest, and easy to spot even in crowded areas.

He was also set apart by his methods. As the rector-president, he had asked each student club as well as the parent-teacher councils to present their plans and programs for the school year.

This came as a surprise to us students, since teachers and administrators who were not our club moderators never usually asked about our plans.

Thus, we were pressured by the sudden request to prepare a presentation worthy of the rector-president.

But when the time to present came, we discovered that we had nothing to be nervous about. Fr. Anscar listened quietly and kindly, even chuckling at several funny and happy pictures of club members.

After everyone had finished presenting, he explained that it was his goal to be aware of our plans so he would know how to support us. He also shared his vision of every department, club and council supporting each other, building a single united community within the SBCA.

Such was his hands-on approach as the rector-president of SBCA. Under his administration, the school flourished in various areas. He was also the prime mover in the unification of the student councils and publications of three Bedan colleges: San Beda Mendiola’s College of Arts and Sciences, their College of Nursing, and San Beda Alabang’s College of Arts and Sciences.



A special area was set in the SBCA College of Arts and Sciences and dubbed Plaza ’SangBedista in honor of the collaboration among the three.

Besides these contributions to the campus, he could always be found supporting the Bedans themselves. At the cheerleading competitions of my sister’s varsity team, we would always find Fr. Anscar in Bedan colors, his white hair contrasting with his vibrant red shirt. Members of the team would line up to ask for his blessing and make mano. He also kept his office open, welcoming any student, parent or personnel who would seek him out for advice or a chat.

In 2008, we bade him goodbye as he returned to Malaybalay, Bukidnon. There he revived the Paul VI Institute of Liturgy, a liturgical school he had founded in 1993. He spent his last years working on liturgical formation there, as well as writing books, facilitating retreats and conducting seminars.

On the dawn of Jan. 9, Fr. Anscar passed away after a heart attack. He was said to have been found ready to leave to celebrate the 5 a.m. mass at the Transfiguration Monastery Church.

Fr. Anscar Chupungco, OSB, born Jose Herminio J. Chupungco on Nov. 10, 1939, took the name Anscar when he became a monk of the Abbey of Our Lady of Montserrat. At the age of 26, he was ordained priest and had already earned his licentiate in philosophy and theology (finishing magna cum laude for both) from the University of Santo Tomas, before going on to pursue further studies in Rome and becoming a prominent liturgist of international recognition. Despite all of his accomplishments, he busied himself with celebrating the liturgy and giving service to the community until his last hour.

How does one capture the life of a great man in a single article? To echo the sentiments shown by a fellow Bedan at Fr. Anscar’s necrological service, it is an impossible task to sum up the life of Fr. Anscar in one message, one article or even one book.

Fr. Anscar’s life extends beyond his recorded achievements and awards, going on to every student he mentored, to every friend he supported, and to every person he inspired. Every life he touched is an extension of his, and it would take hundreds of books to capture his life in full.

Rest in peace, Fr. Anscar. The earth’s loss is heaven’s gain.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Education , Fr. Anscar Chupungco , Lifestyle , San Beda College

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  3. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  4. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  5. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  6. Sweet party for Andi Manzano
  7. Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  8. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  9. Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  10. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  4. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  5. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  6. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  7. This is not just a farm
  8. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  9. Levine designs womenswear with help from fiancee
  10. Clams and garlic, softshell crab risotto–not your usual seafood fare for Holy Week
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer


  • Camilla’s brother dies in US after head injury
  • Luisita farmers storm DAR compound
  • Trillanes, Ejercito confident they are not in Napoles’ list
  • Easterlies to prevail in Luzon, Visayas
  • Lacson eyes P106-B ‘Yolanda’ rehab masterplan
  • Sports

  • Phelps having fun in his return to swimming
  • Murray breaks down in tears at Scottish ceremony
  • Mixers trim Aces; Painters repulse Bolts
  • Donaire junks Garcia as coach, taps father
  • ’Bye Ginebra: No heavy heart this time
  • Lifestyle

  • Photos explore dynamics of youths’ sexual identity
  • 12th Philippine Food Expo set at the World Trade Center
  • No tourist draw, Malang the croc will remain wild
  • The best flavors of summer in one bite, and more
  • Homemade yogurt, bread blended with pizza, even ramen
  • Entertainment

  • Sony developing live-action Barbie comedy
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Return of ‘Ibong Adarna’
  • Practical Phytos plans his future
  • In love … with acting
  • Business

  • Facebook profits triple as mobile soars
  • Insular Honors Sales Performers at Testimonial Rites
  • Apple increases stock buyback, will split stock
  • Cost-recovery provisions for affected gencos urged
  • This time, BIR goes after florists
  • Technology

  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • ‘Unlimited’ Internet promos not really limitless; lawmakers call for probe
  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Opinion

  • Editorial cartoon, April 24, 2014
  • Talking to Janet
  • Respite
  • Bucket list
  • JPII in 1981: walking a tightrope
  • Global Nation

  • Filipinos in Middle East urged to get clearance before returning
  • PH seeks ‘clearer assurance’ from US
  • China and rivals sign naval pact to ease maritime tensions
  • What Went Before: Manila bus hostage crisis
  • Obama arrives in Tokyo, first stop of 4-nation tour