Central Philippine Adventist College

By Victor C. Montaño, and Eldyn S. Toledo

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Victor C. Montaño, an alumnus of Central Philippine Adventist College, is currently the Dean of the School of Theology. He earned his M.A. in Religion and Ph.D. in religion at the Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies in Silang, Cavite, Phillipines.

Eldyn S. Toledo, an alumnus of Central Philippine Adventist College, is the vice president for Student Services. He earned his Master’s degree in Ministry with an emphasis in applied theology at International Institute of Advanced Studies and his Master of Science in Guidance and Counseling at Central Philippine University, Philippines. At the time of writing (2019), he is pursuing Doctor of Ministry at Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies, Philippines.

Central Philippine Adventist College (CPAC) is a member of the global educational network of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. It is operated by the Central Philippine Union Conference.

The college is located on a verdant hill of Barangay Alegria, Murcia, at the foot of Marapara.1 Marapara is a tropical rainforest and one of the most attractive and highest mountain ranges on Negros Island. CPAC is about 23 kilometers northeast of Bacolod City, the capital city of the province of Negros Occidental, Philippines.2 It is also situated next to Mount Canlaon (the famous volcano on Negros Island). The college occupies 115 hectares or 284 acres of land. It is primarily a boarding school, but also caters to day students from nearby communities.

In the academic year 2018-2019, there were 1,211 students officially enrolled (elementary, junior and senior high school, college, and graduate school). The college offers various courses: Bachelor of Science in Accountancy, Bachelor of Science in Accounting Information Systems, Bachelor of Science in Agriculture (major in Crop Science), Bachelor of Science in Biology, Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (with majors in Financial Management and Marketing Management), Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering (the only Adventist college offering Civil Engineering outside USA), Bachelor of Science in Electronics Engineering, Bachelor in Elementary Education, Bachelor of Secondary Education (major in Biology, English, MAPEH, Mathematics, Music Education, Piano Pedagogy, or Pilipino), Bachelor of Science in Information Systems, Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and Bachelor of Theology. The college also offers a Master of Arts in Education/Educational Management.

Developments of Its Establishment

The Philippines is a republic situated in the western Pacific Ocean. It is an archipelago of 7,641 islands, with the discovery of additional 534 new landmasses in 2016.3 There are three main island groups, namely: Luzon in the north, the Visayas in the central section, and Mindanao in the south. The country was greatly influenced by Spain (1565-1898) and the United States of America (1898-1946) during their occupations.4 The Philippines is predominately Catholic and the only Christian nation in Asia.5 Based on the 2015 census of the Philippines Statistics Office, the country had a total population of 100,981,437,6 of which more than 86 percent claimed to be nominal Roman Catholics.7 The country is a perfect blend of Asian and western cultures.8

As the Adventist message expanded to distant lands,9 it arrived in the Philippines through a printed page sent by Abram La Rue from Hong Kong. Abram La Rue requested his ship captain friend to bring packages of literature to the Philippines. However, the earliest contact of Adventists in the country was in 1904 when the president of the Australasian Union Conference, G. A. Irwin stopped by Manila on his way to Washington D.C. to attend the 1905 General Conference Session.10 At that time the Philippines was considered as part of the Australasian Union Conference.11 The coming of foreign missionaries to the Philippines brought significant progress to the cause of Adventism. In 1964 southern and central Philippines became two unions.12 The Central Philippine Union Mission leadership was interested in establishing a college in its territory.

Founding of the School

The idea of establishing an Adventist college in the Visayas territory was first conceived in 1964 when the Central Philippine Union Mission was organized.13 Soon after its organization, the union leadership started to plan for a college. David J. Recalde, the first president of the college, recalled an event when L. L. Quirante, the CPUM Educational director, shared the dream to have a college in the Visayas in a speaking appointment at West Visayan Academy in Bonco, Pototan, Iloilo in 1965.14 Sometime in 1967, a search began all over the Visayas for a potential site for the college.15 Among the islands in the Visayas, Negros was always a front runner16 due to its strategic location. A committee, composed of the following members, was formed to look for a suitable place in Negros Island: Elders F. M. Arrogante (former CPUM president),17 D. C. Sabrine (former Negros Mission president),18 D. J. Recalde, (former Educational director and founding principal of Negros Mission Academy), and Dr. W. G. Dick (founder of Bacolod Sanitarium and Hospital—now Adventist Medical Center Bacolod). Later, D. M. Nierre and B. O. Sumicad, the Central Philippine Union Mission administrators, joined the committee.19 As the CPUC leadership promoted the pressing need for a college in the territory, the vision was caught and supported by the laity through their monthly financial contributions beginning in 1972. Several plans were employed such as One-Centavo-a Meal, One-Peso-a Month, Peso Parada and 2.5 percent of the monthly salary to be set aside for the project.20

D. J. Recalde, a member of the search committee, said that the committee made more than 50 search trips to Negros, Cebu, and Panay Islands between 1967 and 1979. However, between 1967 and 1968 one site attracted the attention of the mission and union leadership. This was the Sugarland Plantation nestled at the foot of the Marapara Mountain range. He said he visited the first site three or four times. On one of his visits he met with L. L. Pan of the China Banking Corporation and one of the potential donors. The price of land at that time was P12,000 per hectare, but it was offered to the search committee for P7,000 per hectare for the 294 hectares. When the committee assessed the property, they observed and discovered potential challenges like finding a source of water, road accessibility, and fertility of the land. The committee decided to consider another place as suggested by A. C. Segovia, the Far Eastern Division associate education director (now Southern Asia-Pacific Division) when he visited in 1978. On their way back to Bacolod City, they visited the newly suggested land, but the committee showed less interest. A. C. Segovia noticed the area was irrigated, the coconut trees were heavy laden with nuts, and an abundant harvest could be taken from the luxuriant field of sugarcane. Such observation made him conclude “this is the land,” he told the committee members.21 Dionisio M. Nierre, president of Negros Mission, lost no time informing the union leadership of his strong recommendation that they should purchase the property. The committee visited Raymundo Dizon, owner of the property, to negotiate. The committee was informed by the owner that the 212 hectares were under negotiation with a Chinese buyer for his piggery project. Dizon wanted to have P14,000 per hectare but was offered P12,000 by the Chinese businessman. The transaction was to close in two weeks. The committee felt that the property was too big for the needs of the college and finally, Dizon offered to purchase 71 hectares for P12,000. On the way home to Bacolod, D. J. Recalde was instructed by the committee to negotiate with Mr. Dizon to sell the 71 hectares for P10,000 per hectare. On a Monday in January 1979, special prayer was offered for the negotiation. Two days later, D. J. Recalde visited Mr. Dizon. The visit was early in the morning and he brought some freshly baked cinnamon bread from the Bacolod Sanitarium Hospital. D. J. Recalde offered to pay P7,000 per hectare; however, Dizon agreed to P8,000 per hectare. Recalde presented to him the worldwide work of the church in improving the living condition of the community. Further, he consoled, that whatever amount he thought he was losing would be his contribution to the project and his long-lasting legacy for the young people in the land. Since the Holy Spirit softened his heart, Mr. Dizon settled on a final price of P7,000 per hectare. Finally, the search committee recommended a favorable location for a college to be built. It is situated at Barangay Alegria, Murcia, Negros Occidental.22 The union officers flew immediately to Bacolod and Ben O. Sumicad, the union treasurer, wrote a check for P600,000 for 71 hectares of land including the sugarcane. At the end of the milling season, the sugarcane yielded P45,000.23 “The real thrust began in earnest in 1979”24 upon the purchase of the property.25 The events happened in quick succession, Elders S. M. Rada and D. J. Recalde were appointed as development officers.26 After that, a kindhearted lady, May Chung, donated US$64,000 which was used in procuring an additional 35 hectares of land.27 In 1981, due to the great desire of young people to obtain an Adventist Christian education in the union territory, more than 200 of them went to Mountain View College for their education, but they were denied enrollment due to insufficient classrooms and dormitory space.28 Seeing the immediate need of a growing union in the Visayas, the worldwide church leadership appropriated the Thirteenth Sabbath School Offering overflow for Central Philippine Union Mission College in the second quarter of 1981.29 Finally, after 17 years, the dream became a reality.30 On August 12, 1981, the groundbreaking ceremony was held.31 The keynote speaker was Dr. C. D. Hirsch, General Conference Educational director. The ceremony was graced by the Honorable Alfredo Montelebano, Jr., the Provincial Governor of the Negros Occidental as the guest speaker.32 The attendees hung their monetary gifts on the money tree, and they amounted to P28,696.33 The monetary gift was used as additional funding for the construction project. On October 2, 1981, the actual construction of the building started under the management of engineer R. R. Victoriano, a Seventh-day Adventist architect and contractor, who offered his services as supervising engineer for free.34 The first edifice constructed was Pioneer Hall, which was endearingly called “Noah’s Ark.”35

In 1981, during the Union Quadrennial Session in Cebu City, the union leadership appointed the college administration and faculty to operate the school. They were: Pastor David J. Recalde as the first president; Sergie B. Ferrer, business manager; Buenvenida S. Miraflores, registrar; Don Leo M. Garilva, dean of men; L. de Los Reyes, dean of women; Hector V. Gayares, Development and Public Relations director; Michael L. Ryan, academic consultant; E. T. Verde, bookkeeper; O. D. Ombiga, head of the Building Construction course; E. A. Ombiga, Food Service director; D. D. Rodrigo, Social Science, P.E., and CMT instructor; O. S. Rodrigo, secretary; L. J. Ryan, school nurse; F. C. Capilitan, farm manager; J. B. Espena, director of maintenance department; and B. de la China Murillo and R. D. Joaquin who assisted F. Capilitan with the farm. Before the opening of the school year, E. A. Bingcang was appointed as Academic Dean, Marie E. Bingcang took charge of the library, M. A. Banuag was assigned as an accountant, M. Pantulla became an instructor, Toribio B. Ladanio worked as maintenance personnel, and E. V. Descutido was to assist E. A. Ombiga in the cafeteria.36

The following school year, the school was registered with the government Department of Education, Culture, and Sports (DECS) as Central Philippine Adventist School. It was granted a permit as a junior or vocational school offering the following courses, Rural Health Nursing, Building Construction, Agriculture, and Biblical Studies.37

Important Events and Periods in the History of the School

On June 14, 1982, the school opened its door to 100 pioneering students and faculty. The students and faculty were housed in Pioneer Hall. Also in Pioneer Hall were the administrative offices, cafeteria, classrooms, gym (became a chapel on Sabbath), and library. Pioneer Hall was the only edifice at that time. It resembled Noah’s Ark, except its doors were above waving oceans of sugarcane.38 On September 1, 1984, after the school had operated for three years, the island was ravaged by super typhoon “Nitang,” with the codename “Ike,” the strongest typhoon39 to hit the Philippines since 1970.40 The typhoon caused much havoc to Pioneer Hall, even though students and faculty alike tried to use tables, chairs, rocks, and even their bodies to protect the plywood wall from breaking; but the wooden walls were obliterated. It seemed that was the end of Noah’s Ark. However, God used calamity for something beautiful. Out of debris brought by the typhoon, the administration used the insurance money to replace the plywood wall of Noah’s Ark with concrete.41

Beginning in 1984 there was significant development in staff qualifications, academic programs, and physical aspects of the campus. The agriculture building was built in 1985.42 On October 11, 1985, the government, through the Department of Education, Culture and Sports granted a permit to the school to offer a four-year course in agriculture that led the Central Philippine Adventist School to become Central Philippine Adventist College.43 To cater to the fast-growing academic community the nursing building was built in 1986.44 Pioneer Hall still stands as the largest of all the structures. The continuous influx of students led to the construction of the girls’ dormitory in 1986.45 The first phase of funding for this project came from the Thirteenth Sabbath Offering overflow.46 A year later a Quiet Hour Clinic was available for the students and community.47 The Quiet Hour Clinic became the birthing center of the village. It boosted the morale of the students when a comfortable mess hall was constructed and the cafeteria was inaugurated in September 1988. Additional facilities like the motor pool, rice mill, grain dryer, and bakery were added to serve the growing academic community.48

The first semester of 1990-1991 more than 600 students were enrolled in various programs like the Bachelor of Science in Accountancy (BSA), Bachelor of Science of Business Administration (BSBA), Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education (BSED), Bachelor of Science in Education majors in English and Religion, Bachelor of Nursing (BSN), Bachelor of Theology (BTh), Bachelor of Agriculture Technology (BAT), Associate in Agriculture Technology (AAT) and Junior Secretarial Science Certificate.49

In the turn of the new millennium, there was a massive increase of buildings and other facilities on the campus. The campus is enhanced by a scenic swimming pool area, guesthouses, tennis court, and a gazebo. Close to the gazebo are the Student Government building and college store, the new Nursing Building, and Business Building. The support of the brethren for Adventist Christian education was so overwhelming that the influx of the students could no longer be accommodated in the dormitories. In 2001 the Education That Saves Villages (ETSV) Cottages were inaugurated.50 In January 2005 the elegant Conference Hall was inaugurated.51 In 2006 the elementary school became a department of the college known as Central Philippine Adventist College Elementary School.52 The inauguration of Wisdom Park on August 5, 2007, added to the beauty of the campus. The college church was dedicated to God on August 10, 2007, during the Silver Anniversary. Eldyn S. Toledo was the first College Church pastor, an alumnus of CPAC. Between 2007 and 2008 more parks and edifices dotted the campus: Wisdom Park, International Friendship Park, NSTP Guesthouses, and Tilapia Pond. To cater to the growing needs of the occupants of the Education That Saves Village through the generosity of Drs. Armstrong and Amalia Raya, the couple financed the construction of Raya Hall. In 2008, the Engineering Building was inaugurated. On March 20, 2009, two significant facilities came into existence as the Library Building and Eco-Park beside the Education That Save Village were inaugurated.53

The Historical Role of the School in the Community, Nation, and World

The college has a strong community outreach program. Each school adopted a community to work on. The Music Department has a weekly outreach ministry by visiting jails, wine factories, and communities giving health lectures and music seminars. Almost every Sabbath there are at least 100 students who are members of the Missionary of Today and Tomorrow Organization (MOTTO) who go to visit nearby local churches leading out in the Sabbath services. Every first semester break, more than 200 students from different schools joined the annual school evangelistic campaign in CPUC territory,54 resulting in the harvest of hundreds of souls through baptism. The college, in collaboration with Murcia local government, sponsors less fortunate students as recipients of the Barangay Scholarship Grant of which part of the school fee is shouldered by the college. Almost all of the Barangay Scholars are not Adventists. As interest is captured through the efforts of the church pastor and theology students, hundreds of them have been baptized and are serving the Lord in different workplaces.55

To cater to the needs of the less fortunate students who want to obtain an Adventist Christian education but cannot afford to stay in the dormitories, accommodations are provided in the Education that Saves Village (ETSV) with minimal charge.

Based on the report of the Commission of Higher Education in 2008, CPAC was declared as the best performing Nursing, Agriculture, Elementary, and Secondary Education School in Western Visayas; among the top five in Nursing and the top three in Agriculture. Based on the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) Regional Quality Assessment Team (RQUAT) report of the same year, CPAC was mentioned as “the only school in Negros Occidental and Western Visayas with an eco-tourism advantage.”56 On September 26, 2013, the government granted the college permission to offer grades 7-10 effective for the 2014-2015 school year. As the government implemented the K+12 program the college application to offer senior high school was granted on March 31, 2015. During the visual inspection of the national personnel of the Department of Education, Dr. Samuel L. Malayo, Education Program Specialist, commented that he would promote CPAC Academy as the only school in Negros that offers a Music Program. Steven D. Dela Rama became the first principal of both the junior and senior high schools.57

CPAC is the only Adventist learning institution outside America that offers a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, and it had a 100 percent first taker passing rate of the Civil Engineering Licensure Examination in 2018. In 2018, for the second time, CPAC was the venue of the Distance Learning Center of Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies (AIIAS).

List of School Heads, Principals, and Presidents

The following people served as president of Central Philippines Adventist College from its founding to the present:

David J. Recalde (1982-1983); Bienvenida S. Miraflores (1983-1985); Eli A. Bingcang (1985-1996); Bienvenido G. Mergal (1996-1998); Abraham O. Neri (1998-2001); Alfredo T. Amado (2001-2012); Ledado A. Ang (2012-2014); Arnel F. Arcenal (2014-2015), and Julie Mirriam D. Rizardo (2016-present).

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Aragon, Donna Lou A. “International Libraries Column: The Library at Central Philippine Adventist College,” ASDAL, 33 (Spring 2014), 10-13.

Central Philippine Adventist College, Academic Bulletin Years 1983, 1984, 1989-1991, 1997-1999, 2006, 2009-2012.

“Central Philippine Adventist College.” Edarabia. Accessed November 5. 2018.https://www.edarabia.com/28394/central-philippine-adventist-college/.

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CPAC Adcom Action # 2018-06. “Brief History of CPAC Academy.” Dated May 9, 2018.

CPAC Church Membership Book of Record, 2007-2009.

“Directory of Seventh-day Adventist Colleges and Universities.” Association of Adventist Accrediting Agency. Accessed November 4, 2018. https://docplayer.net/7392782-Directory-of-seventh-day-adventist-colleges-and-universities.htmlAn.

Edwards, O. “Colleges in Need.” World Mission Report (May 9, 1981), 2nd Quarter, vol. 70, no. 2.

Fernandez, Gil G. Light Dawns Over Asia: Adventism’s History in the Far Eastern Division (1888-1988). AIIAS: Silang, Cavite, Philippines, 1990.

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Notes

  1. Central Philippine Adventist College, Academic Bulletin Year 1997-1999, 8.

  2. Central Philippine Adventist College, Academic Bulletin Year 1983-1984, 3.

  3. Macy Santos, “534 New Islands in the Philippines,” http://www.psst.ph/534-new-islands-in-the-philippines/, access date February 25, 2016.

  4. Donna Lou A. Aragon, “International Libraries Column: The Library at Central Philippine Adventist College,” ASDAL, 33 (Spring 2014) 10-13.

  5. Jack Miller, “Religion in the Philippines,” accessed October 24, 2018, https://asiasociety.org/education/religion-philippines.

  6. Philippine Statistic Office, “Population and Housing,” http://www.psa.gov.ph/statistics/census/population-and-housing; Access dated October 24, 2018.

  7. Miller, “Religion in the Philippines.”

  8. Samuel Lacuna, “The Evolution of Filipino Culture,” July 24, 2014, accessed October 28, 2018, https://prezi.com/xr0o-dooprhh/the-evolution-of-filipino-culture.

  9. Aragon, 10-13.

  10. Gil G. Fernandez, Light Dawns Over Asia: Adventism’s History in the Far Eastern Division (1888-1988), (AIIAS: Silang, Cavite, Philippines, 1990), 131.

  11. W. W. Prescott. “Australasian Union Conference” ARH (May 25, 1905), 6-8.

  12. Fernandez, 153. 5, 2018. ted November 5, 2018, fromSION 1888-1988, Silang, Cavite Philippines, 131.GE."t a member of any fraternity;XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

  13. Association of Adventist Accrediting Agency, “Directory of Seventh-day Adventist Colleges and Universities,” https://docplayer.net/7392782-Directory-of-seventh-day-adventist-colleges-and-universities.htmlAn; Accessed November 4, 2018.

  14. See CPAC Silver Anniversary Souvenir Program, 27

  15. “Central Philippine Adventist College,” Edarabia, accessed November 5, 2018, https://www.edarabia.com/28394/central-philippine-adventist-college/.

  16. Association of Adventist Accrediting Agency (2018). “Directory of Seventh-day Adventist Colleges and Universities, Accessed November 4, 2018.

  17. Central Philippine Adventist College, Academic Bulletin Year 1997-1999, 8.

  18. Central Philippine Adventist College, Academic Bulletin Year 1989-1991, 5.

  19. Central Philippine Adventist College, Academic Bulletin Year 1983-1984, 3.

  20. Ibid.

  21. Central Philippine Adventist College Silver Anniversary Souvenir Program, 2007, 27.

  22. Edarabia. Accessed November 5, 2018.

  23. Central Philippine Adventist College Silver Anniversary Souvenir Program, 2007, 28.

  24. Sugar Blossom Year Book (1999): The Official Annual Publication of the Student Government of Central Philippine Adventist College “Vislumbrar,” 7.

  25. Association of Adventist Accrediting Agency (2018). “Directory of Seventh-day Adventist Colleges and Universities.”

  26. See Sugar Blossom, Year Book (1999), 7.

  27. Edarabia. Accessed November 5, 2018.

  28. Edwards, O. (May 9, 1981) “Colleges in Need,” World Mission Report, 2nd Quarter vol. 70, no. 2, 14-15.

  29. Central Philippine Adventist College, Academic Bulletin Year 1997-1999, 9.

  30. Edarabia. Accessed November 5, 2018.

  31. Sugar Blossom Year Book (2005): The Official Annual Publication of the Student Government of Central Philippine Adventist College. “Zeitgeist,” 7.

  32. Central Philippine Adventist College, Academic Bulletin Years 2009-2012, 10.

  33. Sugar Blossom Year Book (2006): The Official Annual Publication of the Student Government of Central Philippine Adventist College. “Renewed,” 7, 13.

  34. Central Philippine Adventist College, Academic Bulletin Years 1983-1984, 3.

  35. Central Philippine Adventist College, Academic Bulletin Year 2006, 16.

  36. Central Philippine Adventist College, Academic Bulletin Years 1983-1984, 4.

  37. Edarabia. Access on November 5, 2018.

  38. Central Philippine Adventist College, Academic Bulletin Year 2006, Revised ed., 16.

  39. United Nation Department of Humanitarian Affairs. Philippines Typhoon Sep 1984 UNDRO Information Reports 1-4, Retrieved on November 5, 2018, from https://reliefweb.int/report/philippines/philippines-typhoons-sep-1984-undro-information-reports-1-4.

  40. “Typhoon Ike,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Typhoon_Ike; accessed November 5, 2018.

  41. Central Philippine Adventist College, Academic Bulletin Year 2006, Revised ed., 16.

  42. Ibid.

  43. “Central Philippine Adventist College,” Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Central_Philippine_Adventist_Collegeto; November 5, 2018.

  44. Central Philippine Adventist College, Academic Bulletin Year 2006, Revised ed., 16.

  45. Central Philippine Adventist College, Academic Bulletin Year 1997-1999, 10.

  46. Adult Sabbath School Lessons, “One Lord, One Faith” January-March 1986. Pacific Press Publishing Association 1985.

  47. See Sugar Blossom (1999), 8.

  48. Central Philippine Adventist College, Academic Bulletin Years 1997-1999, 10.

  49. Ibid.

  50. Central Philippine Adventist College, Academic Bulletin Years 2009-2012, 11.

  51. Sugar Blossom Year Book (2005): The Official Annual Publication of the Student Government of Central Philippine Adventist College. “Zeitgeist,” xi.

  52. CPAC Adcom Action # 2018-08, dated September 7, 2019, Brief History of Central Philippine Adventist College Elementary School.

  53. CPAC Academic Bulletin, 2006, 16.

  54. See CPAC Adcom Action # 2018-04 “MOTTO Crusading Team dated October 11, 2018

  55. See CPAC Church Membership Book of Record, 2007-2009, 13-18.

  56. Mizpah. “Central Philippine Adventist College” 1st Quarter of 2010 ed. 28.

  57. See CPAC Adcom Action # 2018-06. “Brief History of CPAC Academy.” Dated May 9, 2018.

×

Montaño, Victor C., Eldyn S. Toledo. "Central Philippine Adventist College." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 09, 2021. Accessed January 21, 2021. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DAPH.

Montaño, Victor C., Eldyn S. Toledo. "Central Philippine Adventist College." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. January 09, 2021. Date of access January 21, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DAPH.

Montaño, Victor C., Eldyn S. Toledo (2021, January 09). Central Philippine Adventist College. Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved January 21, 2021, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=DAPH.