16 June 2014. Today I visited my Alma Mater, the Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in Manila. It was not a planned visit though. I had to sign some papers for my son's commitment to his academics and his organization, the UST Yellow Jackets. The weather was good, the sun was out and although it was really hot and humid, the trip down to Manila was a photo-op in the making.
UST is the oldest Catholic University, established in 1611 by Miguel de Benavides, O.P. I am proud to be part of its history.
Here are the pictures of my beloved school.
This is the Arch of the Centuries. It stands facing España Blvd. A ceremonial "Freshmen Welcome Walk" is held every year, within the first month of the opening of the academic year. Superstition says that undergraduates are not supposed to pass through it on the way out of the campus, unless you want to be debarred from school. It is funny because you'd notice students walk around it instead of through it.
These are the markers that are found on the front of the Arch. It is to honor two of UST's great graduates, Jose Rizal, our National Hero, who earned his degree in Medicine in the University and Manuel L. Quezon, the first President of the Commonwealth.
Here I am standing in front of the statue of Miguel de Benavides, O.P. He is the third Archbishop of Manila and the founder of the University.
This is the Tria Haec. The three statues on top of the Main Building of UST. They symbolize the three Catholic virtues - Hope, Faith and Charity.
This is the Main Building of UST. (Of course, that is fat old me standing in front, spoiling the view. Haha). The large open space in front is the Plaza Mayor. The main building houses administrative offices and the Colleges of Science and Pharmacy. It is here were I spent 4 years of my life to earn a degree in Zoology.
This is the main staircase of the Main Building. I feel honored to use these stairs knowing that Filipino heroes Jose Rizal, Antonio Luna, Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Jacinto Zamora, statesmen and academicians walked up these same flight of stairs. (Read the full list here http://www.ust400.com/alumni and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_University_of_Santo_Tomas_people)
This is the lobby of the Main Building. It is adored with beautiful chandeliers and murals all around.
This is the Santissimo Rosario Church. Behind the church is the UST Central Seminary.
The entrance to the UST Hospital Charity Ward.
The Faculty of Medicine Building. This is where my daddy earned his degree in Medicine.
The High School building. UST has two high school departments. One is called "Education High" which is for students that are receiving academic scholarships and the other is the "Pay High" for regular students.
The UST Central Library. When I was a student in UST, the Central Library was housed within the Main Building. Now it has its own huge modern building.
Another addition to the University campus is the Tan Yan Kee Student Center, located near the Dapitan gate, across the Commerce and AB building. It is here, in the Student Center where different organizations hold meetings. It is also a "rescue center" where students can stay and be safe during storms. Flooding is a big problem in Manila.
Outside the Tan Yan Kee Building is a huge poster of the UST Yellow Jackets. This is the organization my son serves.
Parents can be assured that their children are safe within the confines of the University. CCTVs are just everywhere!
This area used to be a huge cafeteria. It has now been converted into a park called "Quadricentennial Square."
The University has lots and lots of park benches where students can rest and enjoy some time after class under the shade of century old mahogany trees.
The UST buses that ferry students to and from athletic events, outreach programs, humanitarian missions, etc.
The soccer field and the grandstand. Behind the grandstand is the old gym and swimming pool
The walkway leading to Espana Blvd. Lots and lots of trees and flowering shrubs line the path. It is funny but this walkway is called "Lover's Lane" (That's my son there)
UST is an advocate for saving the environment and it is obvious in the way they protect the trees around the campus. This is the covered walkway along the St. Raymund Building. Instead of cutting down the trees, they cut part of the roof to allow the trees to grow.
The last place I visited was the new Quadricentennial Pavillion (or Quadri-Pav as students call it). This is the new "home" of the UST Tigers. It is a huge complex and I was lucky enough to get inside and take a picture.
I was lucky to have bumped into Karim Abdul, the center for the UST Tigers Basketball team. Haha. He was game enough to stop and pause for a photo.
I could have taken more pictures but I was not able to visit the Botanical Garden, the Faculty of Law, the College of Architecture and Fine Arts, the College of Engineering, the College of Education, the Student Health Service and the Santo Tomas University Hospital, the Printing Press, the pool, the laboratories on the 5th floor of the Main Building, the carpark, the College of Accountancy, and so many other places.
Oh well, there's always a next time. It just feels so good to see UST again. The University that nurtured the talent and hunger for learning of my Dad, Mom, me, my sisters, my aunt, uncle, great aunts, great uncles, grandparents, my daughter and my sons. Who knows, maybe in the future, my grandkids would also be Thomasians? Cool!