Monday, June 16, 2014

My Beloved School - The University of Santo Tomas Manila

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 and

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! 


  1. Wow! Those are so fantastic pictures. =) Your school looks wonderful. Thanks for sharing this. =)

  2. Wow I really liked the pictures, your school looks absolutely beautiful!

  3. That is one beautiful school. Thank you for giving us a tour of it.

  4. Hello fellow Tomasian! I was surprised when I last went there some years ago. The LCD outside, the parking building that made it look like a commercial place, I could hardly tell it was the same place I graduated from a decade back. UST holds a lot of memories in my heart. :)

  5. Maka-balik tanaw naman ang mga photos mo. My eldest daughter graduated din sa UST. Madalas ako noon dyan , the reason is ,,alam mo.. chics. ha,ha,ha..

  6. Thanks for the virtual tour :) I've never been inside the campus.

  7. Great school and how lucky you are to meet a basketball star. My former boss graduated there too.

  8. Wow what a beautiful school. Your pictures are beautiful as well. Beautiful structures. Karim Abdul,is one tall guy!

  9. awwwwwww....brings back good memories! You're pretty lucky to be one of the alumni of the best and prestigious school in the country.

  10. Your post reminds me of my Arts and Letters days at UST. I've never been there again after college graduation. I guess it's time I pay our Alma Mater a visit.

  11. Wow! What a beautiful university and looks so green :-) I bet it brings back so many fun and memorable school memories with your friends and classmates :-)

  12. OMG! Eileen, the campus changed a lot. I'm a Thomasian myself, and I spent my years at the Main building too, just like you to complete my degree in Medical Technology.

    I should make it a must to visit the campus on my next visit. Thanks for sharing. Bigla kong na-miss ang college days ko.

  13. i had a postcard of this..feels good na makabalik ng alma mater no? brings back so much memory.

  14. I haven't entered yet UST, thanks for this post I've seen what is inside the university. :)

  15. Viva Tomasino! I am an Alumna of UST, graduated 1988 BS Tourism :) a lot has been modified, the former lovers lane (fronting UST Pay Hosp.) is now a parking lot. I wonder if Plaza Tinoko is still there? Haven't been there for a decade hehe

  16. Hi Eileen,
    I am writing a World War II book on the Philippines and one of the individuals that I am covering was held at Santo Tomas during the early days of the war. He wrote the following in a letter to his wife regarding where he was staying in the main building on the campus, “I still sleep in the goldfish bowl – the mezzanine – the mezzanine is actually the staircase landing in the main building between the 1st and 2nd floors.” Is the staircase that you took a picture of the same location? Sorry to be vague, but I have little to go on. If it is, may I include it in my book, with attribution.
    Thank you for your consideration.


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