|Sr. Baptista Battig, OSB
Founder of the School of Music
St. Cecilia’s Hall of St. Scholastica’s College was built in 1932, coinciding with the silver jubilee of the School of Music founded by Sr. Baptista Battig, OSB. Designed in the art deco style of the era by architect Andres Luna San Pedro, only son of the renowned painter Juan Luna. It was built under the supervision of the engineering firm of Pedro Siochi and Co. The Hall was named after the patron saint of music and musicians, and it soon became the venue for numerous recitals and concerts featuring pianists from St. Scholastica.
In 1945, the Hall was completely destroyed during the liberation of Manila by American forces. Reconstruction started nine years later, in the care of architect Roberto Novenario and engineer Ramon del Rosario. Reopening in 1955, St. Cecilia’s soon assumed the role of premier concert venue in Manila, with famous musicians, both foreign and Filipino, performing on its stage. With the emergence of the performing arts on campus, it was also the setting of many concerts, plays, pageants and oratorical contests.
In later years, with the opening of bigger and more venues, the hall became confined purely to school affairs. A move to renovate the hall, with air-conditioning as top priority, was initiated by a core group of Scholasticans which embarked “A Chair for St. Cecilia’s.” Construction started in 1998, the grand reopening took place on July 16, 2000. A year into its renovation, the National Historical Institute declared St. Cecilia’s a Historical Landmark, underscoring its importance in the cultural development of the country.
St. Cecilia’s Hall ruins (1945)
St. Cecilia’s Hall is now a first-class multi-purpose theater, through the combined efforts of architects OB Mapua and Joel Lopez, and interior designer Joey Panlilio; and the technical expertise of Dennis Marasigan and Gerry Fernandez.
A thousand newly installed theater seats, fully carpeted hallways and a newly installed high capacity air-conditioning system, assures utmost comfort for guests, as well as performers. Great acoustics and equipped with the latest state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems, make it an ideal venue for concerts and theater performances.
It stands today as proud testimony to the drive and determination of Scholastican alumnae, and to the generosity of friends and benefactors; the edifying outcome of unselfish cooperation; indeed, the fulfillment of a dream.
St. Cecilia’s Hall is a place where big events and/or occasions take place. Reservation for its use is made through the Special Facilities Office at least one week before the activity. The following rules and regulations should be observed:
1. Smoking, drinking and eating inside the Hall, or merely bringing food or drinks inside are not allowed at any time. Standing on the seats or aisles are likewise not allowed.
2. Only free-standing ready-made props can be brought inside the Hall at the time and on the date agreed upon and should be taken out immediately after the performance.
3. Electronic beepers/transceivers and cellular phones of all types should be turned-off for the duration of the performance.