I wasn’t a model student nor studious nor the brightest in the class. But I love my school and I take pride bearing that name/title Tomasino. It was my home for  four years  and the Main Library was my room.    I have so much regret when I was in UST. As I have said I wasn’t a good student then. If I can bring back time I will definitely do good in my studies, help enough my partner in our thesis, never to cut class and never drop a subject. I should have given more emphasis on my academics rather than orgs and student council. Past is past I can never bring it back.   

  I went back to UST Saturday afternoon to reminisce my days in the grounds I did not appreciated that much before. I entered the Espana gate and passed thru the Arch of the Century. The Arch is one of the National Cultural Treasure of the Philippines* along with three other more landmarks inside the campus. The arch was originally build in the main entrance of the formerly Intramuros Campus of UST. During the Second World War the university was almost pulverized thus the need to relocate the whole campus. The Dominicans brought the big chunk of stone and placed it in the Sampaloc Gate of the new University. That street inside the campus adjacent to Espana Blvd is called Intramuros Drive. The front of the arch is the replica of the original piece which can be found on its back. 

Arch of the Century

We formally began our university life in the arch of the century. We ceremoniously walked in the arch as our initiation rights. Likewise, the candidates for graduation exits in the arch before the baccalaureate mass in the UST Grandstand – another National Cultural Treasure of the Philippines. That moment was victorious and emotional for some. I remember hugging my thesis partner when we exited in the arch as a sign of my sorry and reconciliation.  

Plaza de Benevidez There is a myth that one must not pass through the arch of the century while he is still in the university studying. Unless he does so, he will not graduate. If you will ask me if I passed through when I was still studying, yes I did it several times and I graduated on time. The myth might be true to you so better not pass through it until you are a candidate for graduation. It’s just for fun anyway.   

Quezon DriveNamed after one of UST’s prominent alumnus – Manuel L. Quezon

  One must not miss the Thomasian Freshmen Walk where the seniors will tour you around the University and will impart that Thomasian pride in which you will forever cherish.    After passing through the arch of the century and walked on the manicured Plaza de Benevidez we settled in front of the Main Building or the Plaza Mayor for the formal program of the Thomasian Freshman Walk. There we were making roar for our respective colleges. It was there where we learned the best ever cheer of the UAAP – yeah I mean that. Dr. Cabral – everybody’s favorite economics professor – taught us to say “GO USTE, GO USTE” with pure love and passion for our beloved university.   

  Every university has its own “school yabang” I heard so much of it when I was on high school but the one that takes a real hit was the one that our senior tour guide told us. He said that failing students goes to the statues of Thomas Aquinas (picture above) during midterms and final exam to pray. According to him Thomas Aquinas has one answer; with his right hands pointing to the west side of the university, “There’s ____ and ____,  you can transfer” (I intentionally didn’t put the university he stated) I didn’t prayed in front of St. Thomas simply because I am not a Catholic.     

UST Main Building  – a National Cultural Treasure

UST Grandstand and Parade Grounds I remember my days in the Main Library not studying but reading journals and newspapers and sometimes sleeping. The Main Library was like my room and UST was my home. I like to hang out not because it was a cozy place to stay nor it has air conditioning, even before I love reading books and I like being surrounded by books. The cafe at the lobby was my starbucks and I felt like I own the place. I think before I memorized what’s in each floor of the 6 storey library. Well dont ask me now.      

Clockwise: Engineering Building, UST Hospital, the The UST Miguel de Benavides Library and the new UST Sports Complex

After an hour or two of strolling around the campus I have to eat again my favorite  budget meal. Although there are restaurants inside UST in front of the hospital, I prefer to eat outside especially during month-end where my pockets were out of cash. Since my building, St. Raymunds or the Commerce or AB building is near Dapital, most of my food trippin’ are located in Asturias, Antonio, Conception and Dapitan.  

Dapitan gate where Rizal was exiled. Joke. I always use this gate whenever I go to class or skip class. hehe   Who never tried the foot long or burger steak with rice  match with creamy mango shake of Lovelite in Asturias? What about the perfectly grilled barbecue for Php25 at Orange House? Or did they increase the price already? At Orange House you can asked the ate to put some viand sauce in your rice for free. Orange house is located at Antonio St corner Laoong Laan. I wanted to visit the Siomai street vendors along Dapitan and Conception but time was against me because I had to proceed to Makati for a meetup. Maybe next time I will comeback with my close friend/classmate for four years/former crush Abby and maybe with Jeff also for another photo walk and food trip.    

  Even if I am not a Catholic – though I am a Christian so I at least know what our professors were talking about in our 15 units theology subjects – I will be in allegiance with UST  forever . My love and respect will never diminish. Forget about the owner’s (the priest of course) stand in social issues. All I got is the basic Christian doctrines and morals  for me to think critically about my surroundings. Every Thomasian is painted yellow but every mind is free.

Let the 400 years of excellence and existence speaks of its legacy. Us students and alumni has a lot to prove in the corporate world and the real world bearing that name Thomasian. Not every graduate are excellent but the morals and values are what we all have when we go out of the University. I am striving to be a good bearer of the school and its values. In every decision and action I could tell, at least , that UST has taught me one of the greatest thing in life –  Veritas in Caritate

*Earlier written as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I regret the error. Thank you.If this helps you or inspired you please share this in any Social Media platform or comment here if you wish to ask for more =) 

This is the travel blog of Jherson Jaya – banker by profession, adventurer by passion. Everything written here were based on his experiences. The lust of seeing new places thrilled him to explore both the explored and unexplored world. Old and new architecture fanatic; lover of food, both exotic and indulgence; and founds peace in long bus and train rides – that’s how he describe his way of traveling.    Follow his adventure by liking his Facebook Page LonelyTravelogue and following him on Twitter and Instagram