Don Buenaventura de Erquiaga

Don Buenaventura de Erquiaga (1896-1959)

A Basque who spent his life in Southern Luzon, Philippines, Don Buenaventura de Erquiaga started out as a clerk to become a wealthy copra (dried coconut meat) exporter of that region.  As “partial payment of his debt of gratitude to the land and people who generously built him up”, he founded in 1948 a nonprofit school for the region, recruiting the best faculty his wealth could afford.   The school was originally named Legazpi Junior Colleges, later renamed Legazpi College in 1952.
A lover of the game of chess, Don Erquiaga allowed chess playing among members of the faculty during lunch breaks and recess and enjoyed watching the games.  The sight of my favorite teachers playing chess, with him hovering around intently and quietly studying the moves, impressed in me as a youth, the thought that chess, as Benjamin Franklin wrote, “is not merely an idle amusement”.
His influence in my life is not confined to my high esteem and love for chess.   A true philantrophist, he let me finish high school free of tuition fees when I became most destitute in my freshman year, even when the school was starting to have its own financial problems.   And without that high school education things might have been a lot different in my life.  The excellent instruction I received at Legazpi College, enabled me to compete for and win a five-year all-expenses paid training in geodetic engineering at the University of the Philippines.  (After his death, priests of the Dominican Order acquired Legazpi College which shortly became Aquinas University of Legazpi.)  My “favorite teachers” not named in the Introduction to my 1980 book 100 Mini Gems of Chess were my math teachers Miss Natividad H. Lapastora who taught algebra, and Mr. Bernardo V. Cequerra, Sr. who taught plane geometry.

Miss Lapastora was one of the pioneer teachers of Legazpi College, later joined the faculty of Aquinas University. She gave me much support and encouragement during my high school years and was, also, a great influence in my life.

Mr. Ceguerra was also a pioneer teacher of Legazpi College and became principal of its high school department. Before teaching he was mayor of Libon, a town in Albay province, Philippines. At Aquinas University, he was English professor.

 

 

Natividad H. Lapastora

Natividad H. Lapastora (1907-1978)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bernardo V. Ceguerra, Sr.

Bernardo V. Ceguerra, Sr. (1905-1990)

 

 

– Cesar L. Pineda, July 2015