The last high school batch of all-male students graduated from San Beda in Manila in 2005—marking the school’s transition to a coeducational institution, after more than a century of being exclusive to boys.
Many students feared their school’s fiery spirit and rich heritage would be forgotten. So a group of Bedans from Manila and its sister school in Alabang decided to form a cheering squad.
Since San Beda Alabang, which is also coed, formed its band and male pep squad to support its athletes during games, the team has grown— from the initial three members to 60 regulars and recruits.
“Even if we come from different year levels, we look out for each other and we set aside our differences,” member Carl Laurel says. “It is full of fun and trustworthy people.”
Being a varsity team, they should have the mind-set of athletes even if they don’t compete. Strength training is part of their core regimen because male traditional cheering and beating drums take a toll on one’s stamina.
They also reserve a day in maintaining their instruments, and trying to be the loudest drums in the stadium.
Bedan alumnus Aris Matuloy, who was part of the original all-boy pep squad, the San Beda Cheerleading Association (SBCA), shares some insights when he helped out the young Alabang squad.
“Brotherhood is the key to this team. The guy next to you is your brother, learn to trust him. You need him to succeed and get the best results,” he says.
“Joining SBCA is not about getting pogi points but for personal growth, because it will give you confidence,” he adds.
Matuloy was a cheerleader when San Beda’s basketball team, the Red Lions, was hardly winning, yet his recruits stood proud—proving that the strong Bedan spirit isn’t measured by the number of championship titles.
San Beda will never be an exclusive all-boys school again, but it does not deter these new generations of Bedans from paying homage to the past and continuing what their older schoolmates had started.
“We are the ones who carry and preserve the Bedan culture. It is our duty to show what the true Bedan spirit is all about,” says Laurel.