Philippine Women's University

The Philippine Women's University (abbreviated as PWU) is a non-stock, non-profit, non-sectarian educational institution for men and women from kindergarten to tertiary level.

Philippine Women's University
Pamantasang Pambabae ng Pilipinas
Philippine Womens University.png
The First University for Women in Asia, Founded by Asians
Former names
Philippine Women's College (June 9, 1919) (1919-1932)
TypePrivate, non-stock, non-profit, Non-sectarian Basic and Higher Education institution
Established1919; 101 years ago (1919)
FoundersClara Aragon,
Concepcion Aragon
Francisca Tirona Benitez, Paz Marquez Benitez, Carolina Ocampo Palma, Mercedes Rivera and Socorro Marquez Zaballero
Academic affiliations
ChairmanVictorina Amalingan Sales
PresidentDr. Jose Francisco B. Benitez
Academic staff
Approx. 500
UndergraduatesApprox. 5,000
1743 Taft Avenue Malate
, ,
Metro Manila
14°34′27″N 120°59′23″E / 14.574298°N 120.989634°E / 14.574298; 120.989634Coordinates: 14°34′27″N 120°59′23″E / 14.574298°N 120.989634°E / 14.574298; 120.989634
Main campus:
Taft Avenue, Malate, Manila
Annex campus: Congressional Avenue, Quezon City
(Philippine Women's College of Davao is autonomous from PWU Metro Manila)
Alma Mater songPWU Hymn
ColorsMaroon      and      White
NicknamePWU Patriots
Sporting affiliations
SportsBasketball, Volleyball, Badminton, Futsal, Swimming, Table Tennis Taekwondo

PWU's Basic Education department (with Senior High School) is called the Jose Abad Santos Memorial School (PWU JASMS) and has two campuses in Manila and Quezon City.


Higher education for Filipina womenEdit

In 1919, a group of women in the Philippines sought to empower women by allowing them access to education. Under the American colonial system from 1900 to July 4, 1946, education and democracy were the core of America's goal in developing the Philippines (which had been colonized by Spain for 300 years). Among the first, and perhaps most important, results of the American legacy was the recognition of equality of women in the Philippine islands and their right to be educated.

A result of the combined vision of seven pioneering Filipino women — Clara Aragon, Concepcion Aragon, Francisca Tirona Benitez, Paz Marquez Benitez, Carolina Ocampo Palma, Mercedes Rivera and Socorro Marquez Zaballero — the Philippine Women's College (PWC) was founded with the assistance of the prominent lawyer, José Abad Santos, who drafted the university's constitution and by-laws. (Abad Santos was appointed by President Manuel L. Quezon to the Supreme Court of the Philippines and was martyred by the Japanese who occupied the Philippines during World War II). PWU's goal was to prepare young Filipino women for a life of useful citizenship and leadership. It had an initial enrollment of 190 students.

The American colonial government recognized Philippine Women's College as a university in 1932, 13 years after the school opened its doors, becoming known henceforth as the Philippine Women's University, the first university for women in Asia founded by Asians. From 1928 up to the outbreak of the Second World War, Philippine Women's University pioneered in introducing programs aligned with its mission: Home Economics, Music and Fine Arts, Social Work, Nutrition, Pharmacy and Business. In 1938, a course in Social Civic training was incorporated into the curriculum. The academic programs were based on the founders' objectives to train Filipinas in civic responsibility.

Established families from all over the Philippines who could afford higher education sent their daughters to PWU. Most institutions offering higher education at that time were exclusively for young men, like PWU's neighbor, De La Salle College. Schools for women offering higher education were operated by secular or religious sisters of the Roman Catholic Church, including PWU's neighbors, Santa Isabel College, Assumption College, St. Paul College, Manila, Maryknoll College, and St. Scholastica's College. There was also Centro Escolar de Senoritas College which predated PWU by some 12 years, having been founded in 1907. The PWU had a more 'Americanized' curriculum than Centro Escolar.

Second World War and afterwardEdit

The Japanese occupation of the Philippine islands from 1942 to 1945 did not stop the PWU community from continuing with its mission. For a time, classes at the PWU were held intermittently due to the extraordinary conditions imposed by the Japanese. The PWU campus, a building occupying an entire city block, was converted to a hospital, known as the "Pagamutan ng Maynila."

The university sustained major damage during the war and barely survived the siege during American and Philippine liberation of Manila on February 9, 1945. The school resumed its academic programs a few months before the Philippines became a free and independent republic on July 4, 1946.

The university opened its doors to elementary and secondary education when it founded the Jose Abad Santos Memorial School (JASMS) which now has two campuses in Manila and Quezon City and is called PWU JASMS.

Outside Metro ManilaEdit

In less than 50 years since the university's founding, PWU opened similar campuses for women in the country bearing the Philippine Women's College name, such as in Iloilo City in the Visayas and Davao City in Mindanao (opened on June 8, 1953 and actively operating as 'Philippine Women's College of Davao' or PWC).[1] In 1972, the Iloilo City Colleges (now the University of Iloilo) purchased the PWC of Iloilo campus in its Jaro District. They turned the buildings into the Don Benito Lopez Memorial Hospital. Fifteen years later, in 1987, Don Benito Lopez Memorial Hospital was acquired by the West Visayas State University. It became the WVSU Hospital, a 150-bed tertiary, teaching and training hospital.[2]

PWU opened a satellite campus in Cebu City but it closed down. It was at the corner of Leon Kilat and Colon Streets.

The PWC in Davao City was granted autonomy from PWU and operates under a separate charter as a co-educational institution.

PWU started the Career Development and Continuing Education Center (CDCEC) in 1978 as a means to enable the benefits of a PWU education to reach other areas in the country. There are several CDCEC franchises in Calamba, Sta. Cruz, Baguio, Camarines Norte, Tarlac and Bulacan owned and operated by private individuals and groups.

Promoting Filipino cultureEdit

Through the efforts of former Senator Helena Z. Benitez, the university organized and developed the world-renowned Bayanihan Philippine Folk Dance Company. Among the Bayanihan's pioneers were National Artist for Music Lucresia R. Kasilag (who was Dean of PWU's School of Music) and National Artist for Dance Lucrecia R. Urtula.

Adapting to changing timesEdit

The university had its first male president in 1993 with the election of Dr. Jose Conrado Benitez who had a strategic plan to diversify and to use information technology to transcend distance and bring functional education to everyone.

  • In the 1970s, PWU opened its doors to male enrollees and became co-educational.
  • In 2003, Dr. Amelia Benitez Reyes became the eighth university president.
  • In 2009, the Board of Trustees appointed Alfredo Benitez Reyes as the Chief Executive Officer. As CEO, Mr. Reyes became the de facto head of the institution. Dr Amelia B. Reyes retired then.
  • In 2011, Dr. Jose Francisco Benitez became the ninth and second male president of the PWU.


In 2011, PWU was involved in a joint venture plan to infuse much-needed capital from STI, an educational behemoth owned by Eusebio Tanco. The deal went sour in 2014 and a legal battle ensued when the Benitez family refused to accede to STI's plans to commercialize the PWU JASMS Quezon City campus. An amicable settlement was reached by the two parties in 2016 which saw STI stepping down from all involvement with PWU and JASMS in exchange for land owned by the Benitez family, which was used to pay back PWU's debts.

Today, PWU continues with the Benitez family tradition of building educational initiatives aligned with its legacy and enduring commitment to the Philippines while addressing new global realities through excellence in teaching and dynamic and relevant research.

Notable alumniEdit

University HymnEdit

Filipino VersionEdit

Hayaang magsialay
Kanilang pamantasan (pamantasan)
Nang papuri't pagdakila
Paaralan nilang Lahat

Ngunit sa aming puso
Iisa ang sinusuyo
Ang mahal naming kolehiyo
Kayamanang walang hanggan (kayamanan)

Halina at ating tupdin
Alay niya'y ating sundin
Masayang ipagkapuri
Ating Philippine Women's University

Iba't-ibang kulay at damdamin
Nagpapahayag ng diwa (ng diwa)
May abo pula't bughaw
Puti't maroon ang sa akin

At saan man magsitungo
Kahit sa iba mang dako
Aral niya ay isaisip
Sa Diyos bansa't lahi (bansa't lahi)

Repeat Chorus

Philippine Women's University[3]

English versionEdit

Let others sing their Praises
Of their Alma Mater fair (Alma Mater)
Let Them Ponder on the Graces
of their college Great and Rare

But my Heart Beats true Forever for the
college I Love Best
I Shall Cease to Treasure Never Mem'ries of
her in My Breast (In My Breast)

Loyal May we Ever be
May We Learn Her Lessons Right
Proud May we Ever be
of the Philippine Women's University

Other Hues Thrill Other Bosoms
Red, Blue and Gray in Others' Sight (Others' Sight)
Are the Fairest tints of Bosoms
But For Me Maroon and White

Wherever we may Wander
and Wherever we may Roam
On Its Message Let Us Ponder
Love of Country, God and Home (God and Home)

Loyal May we Ever be
May We Learn Her Lessons Right
Proud May we Ever be
of the Philippine Women's University

Philippine Women's University


PWU is a member institution of Philippine Association of College and Universities (PACU), Philippine Accrediting Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (PAASCU), Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accreditation (PACUCOA) as well as the International Association of Universities and the International Association of University Presidents.


PWU is active in the Women's National Collegiate Athletics Association (WNCAA) and Women's Collegiate Sports Association (WCSA). The official school moniker is the PWU Patriots.

As of 2008:

Table Tennis

  • WCSA Champion (2006–2007 and 2007–2008)


  • WNCAA 2nd Overall (2006–2007 and 2007–2008)
  • WCSA 2nd Overall (2006–2007 and 2007–2008)


  • WCSA Champion (2008–2009)
  • WNCAA Champion [Division B] (2008–2009)
  • WNCAA 3rd Place [Division B] (2007–2008)
  • WCSA 2nd Place (2007–2008)


  • WNCAA 4th Place (2007–2008)
  • WCSA Champion (2007–2008)


  • WCSA


  • WCSA


  • WCSA


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Philippine Women’s College of Davao
  2. ^ WVSU History
  3. ^ Filipino version posted by Manuelito Torres, October 28, 2007, graduate, Philippine Women's University, Bachelor of Science in Information and Computer Science, major in Information Technology, 1997

External linksEdit