Ever Your Valiant Legions, Imbued With Unending Grace!


My post title is a verse from the University of Santo Tomas’ university hymn. The complete verse, is here:

God of all nations
Merciful Lord of our restless being
Sweep with Your golden lilies
This fountain of purest light

Trace with the sails of the galleons
The dream beyond our seeing
Touch with the flame of Your kindness
The gloom of our darkest night

Keep us in beauty
And truth and virtues, impassioned embrace
Ever Your valiant legions
Imbued with unending grace

UST is my Alma Mater. Founded by the Dominican priest Fr. Miguel de Benavides, the third Archbishop of Manila. He bequeathed 1,500 pesos and his personal library to start a “Seminary-college” for would be priests. The original campus was located in Intramuros, The Walled City of Manila. We were declared a university by Pope Innocent XI in 1645. We survived the British Invasion of 1762. In 1785, King Charles recognised the efforts of the faculty who fought against the British and formally granted the status of a royal university. In 1865 Queen Isabella II gave the University of Santo Tomas the power to direct and supervise all the schools in the Philippines and the Rector of the University became the ex-officio head of the secondary and higher education in the Philippines. In 1902, Pope Leo XIII made the University a “Pontifical University” and by 1947, Pope Pius XIII bestowed upon the title “The Catholic University of the Philippines”. In 1927, due to continuing increase in enrolment, the University transferred to its present location in Sampaloc, Manila, with 21.5 hectares of land.

In the history of the University, academic life was interrupted only twice: In 1898 to 1899 due to the second phase of the Philippine Revolution and the American-Spanish war, and in 1942-1945, when the Japanese Occupation Forces coverted UST into an internment camp.

Whew. A look back to the past. A long prologue, actually. See, our country has been/is being ravaged by strong monsoon and left the Metro Manila and other surrounding provinces flooded. My beloved university, being at the heart of it all, was not spared from the disaster.

Let us all take a look at these stunning photos by fellow Thomasian Paul Quiambao, whose stunning photographs show the richness and the beauty of our Alma Mater.

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The Main Building

In my four years as a University student, I have walked on these grounds tirelessly, most times with friends, where we laugh aloud, we share stories while walking, all the while holding books and food. Sometimes I walk alone, pensively, aimlessly striding slowly, looking at my fellow students. Sometimes I just sit down somewhere and eat my to-go rice box, with a stray cat sharing a seat with me. I always felt safe inside the university grounds. I’ve seen changes, developments.

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Tower

On the top of the Main Building, there in the Tower, is a small cafeteria. My friends and I have had the pleasure to try their bibingka or rice cake – and it was delicious! It was, I remember, a fairly cloudy and windy afternoon. Such a pleasant time that was. Oh and, it was after we visited the Faculty of Medicine building – where we’ve seen cadavers, human body parts… for our Experimental Psychology project. Oh but it was fun. I never thought about it anyway while gobbing up my bibingka!

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The Fountain of Knowledge

This is the Fountain of Knowledge. I pass by here when I exit through the Espana gate. This has a twin – The Fountain of Wisdom – on the other side.

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Below, the promenade. Seen here, ominously standing atop, the “Tria Haec” (Fides, Spes, Caritas) symbolises the spiritual and intellectual aspirations of the University.

The promenade! Ah, we’ve spent a lot of afternoons sitting on benches, talking about trivial and serious things, and looking for campus crushes – in the hopes that we catch a glimpse of them in a very wonderful afternoon. Oh yes we’ve seen them quite a lot. And they have stopped by to say hi a few times, even. 🙂

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UST’s Neo-centennial celebrations! 🙂

The goosebumps! 🙂 This is how we usually celebrate big things in UST – fireworks display. I was not able to attend the NeoCentennial celebrations, but I was able to attend the Quadricentennial celebration last January 28, 2011. It was fantastic! The whole Thomasian community was in the mood to celebrate our University’s history, the greatness, the camaraderie, and the great pride we hold deep inside us. You won’t believe the number of students and alumni alike who attended the celebration. We ended the event with an amazing pyromusical display, while singing our school hymn written above this post. It made me cry – everybody singing the song, our eyes toward the Main Building, to that great cross – that was definitely an event in history we will never forget. Oh and yes, the traffic was unbelievable! 🙂

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Tria Haec and the Moon

EVERYTHING is gorgeous, right? 🙂

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A La Real y Pontificia Universidad de Santo Tomas Aquino Universidad Catolica de Filipinas: Lumina Pandit

How we shine!

UST is not new to disasters – be it man made (wars) or natural (flooding and typhoons). We’ve always experienced flooding in the past. I don’t know when it started but in my four years of stay there, perhaps the worst I have experienced is that thigh-high flood.

The recent typhoon Gener and the strong monsoon that hit us in the past two weeks resulted in a very tragic flood inside and outside the university grounds. Almost all of Manila is submerged, and these photos show just how badly UST was hit.

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Pontificia et Regalis Sancti Thomae Aquinatis Universitas Manilana: Seen here, the Main Building, and the UST field submerged in water.

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Buildings, tree tops, and water. UST grounds.

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The Main Building: Standing strong. Staying solid. The pathway leading to it is the Lover’s Lane.

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Seen here, the Arch of the Centuries – the only original piece of structure left from the old UST Campus in The Walled City. This is where the symbolic “Walks” happen – first during your Freshman year and the last, after your Baccalaureate Mass.

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Main Building and the Chapel entrance

Fade to Black. UST surrounded by mist.

Sailing happily!

Ah. my beloved UST. You have survived invasions and wars. You have been standing tall for 401 years. You have seen four centuries pass. You have witnessed the fluctuating growth and decline of the country. You have let out in the competent, compassionate and committed individuals who tirelessly work to give glory to God, the country, the family, and to you. You will always be a symbol of knowledge, wisdom, spirituality, strength, hope, faith, and love. You are the Royal and Ponitifical Catholic University of the Philippines. You will always be our beloved Alma Mater. We are your children; and we will do everything in our power to restore you. Forever, imbued with unending grace!

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