The Birth of 'ONE LA SALLE'

Words by Johnny Sy, DLSU BS ECE 1981

We are aware of the phrase "One La Salle." It has been used in many speeches, materials and it is a uniting battle cry for all the Lasallian institutions in the country, leading to the formation of De La Salle - Philippines. Through the efforts of UMAEL president Henry Atayde and the DLSAA, it is also a battle cry resonating around the world.

But very few people know that the concept and the term were coined by a group of Lasallian alumni. I went about searching for the origins of this phrase as I was working on my article on the Federation and the one distinctive source for this was my good friend and loyal Lasallian, Adie Pena. Here's a brief history in his words:

Because, at that time, the phrase was not yet articulated) had its beginnings during a brainstorming session amongst PRI.MOs (i.e., the LSGH68 Batch) in May 2002. The idea was to create a video showing students from the La Salle campuses all over the Philippines who "wave the same banner and sing the same song." The said video was premiered in LSGH in February 2003.

This was followed by a second video (featuring alumni from all over the world) which pre-miered in LSGH in February 24. Likewise spearheaded by PRIMUS, the video crystallized the concept further with the phrases "18 cities. 111 Lasallians. 1 song."
Since the production of this video now entailed the whole-hearted participation of Lasal-lians, in terms of production, from various La Salle batches and schools, the concept of "One La Salle" was now becoming a reality. This led to the collaboration of the LSGH68 team, some members of LSGH70 and one guy from CSB to create a third video featuring Lasallian families (regardless of La Salle schools, i.e., even some of the people featured in the video graduated from overseas La Salle schools).

During the editing of the video, the "One La Salle" phrase effortlessly popped from nowhere. It would be self-serving to categorically say who came up with the phrase but I can tell you these three things with conviction --

  1. It happened on November 1, 2004. Why do I know? That's exactly the day when the One La Salle e-group was created.
  2. We were in a house along Bautista Street, Palanan, Makati.
  3. November 1, 2004 was also the day OOLTLS [Our Own Little Team La Salle] was created; the members of which are Cesar de Larrazbal [LSGH68], myself [LSGH68], Tony Atayde [LSGH70], Philip Tangco [LSGH70] and Dave Cuenco [CSB].

That third video premiered in LSGH in February 2005. In terms of the first people who ad-opted the phrase, here they are (not necessarily in chronological order) -- "While we cannot and should not always strive for uniformity and convergence of thought, I still believe that in a spirit of sincere dialogue, we can rediscover even today our common roots and find therein a reason to stand as ONE LA SALLE." - Br. Dodo Fernandez FSC, Brother Visitor [7.16.05, Pastoral Letter to the Philippine Lasallian Family] § "As ONE LA SALLE we endured ... we gathered our forces to prove that in unity is our strength." - Br. Armin [9.30.04] § "I am part of ONE LA SALLE." - Br. Bernie [12.04.04] § "We're ONE LA SALLE. Two colors, but ONE LA SALLE." - Meryll Yan [1.24.05] § "ONE LA SALLE indeed!" - Br. Dennis [1.25.05] § "We are ONE LA SALLE and we have a common vision for educating the Filipino youth." - Br. Dodo [6.18.05] § "The power of one Lasallian is much, but the power of ONE LA SALLE is much greater." - Br. Armin [6.19.05] § "The call of ONE LA SALLE is a call to unity and faith-fulness to our heritage as Lasallians." - Br. Bobby Casingal [7.00.05] § "One heart, one mind, one voice and ONE LA SALLE." - Br. Bernie [11.18.05]