Two months ago, I had another opportunity to take shots of one of my favorite subjects, my alma mater, the University of Santo Tomas, officially known as the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, the Catholic University of the Philippines. UST or USTe as we alumni fondly call it is the oldest existing university in Asia. In terms of student population, it is the largest Catholic university in the world in a single campus. The institution was established through the initiative of Bishop Miguel de Benavides, O.P., the third Archbishop of Manila. I blogged about it more than any other subject I encountered. You see, I am a proud alumna of the University spending nine years of my life since high school in this revered institution.
The UST Main Building with its massive, imposing and seemingly solid facade is one of the best city landmarks in Metro Manila. Designed by Fr. Roque Ruaño, O.P., priest and engineer, it has the distinction of the first fire-proof building in the country. The building is composed of forty independent structures separated from each other by a gap of one inch, which is filled with loose cement. One of these structures rises beyond the level of the fourth floor to form the tower in the center of the huge box-like stone mass.
Back in high school, I was never curious what the statues and monuments atop the main building stand for. Being a student who saw them everyday, they were just part of the campus and the lovely facade of the building. It’s when you have left its portals that you get to appreciate it better and you’re proud, so truly proud that after all these years, you are still welcome in its bosom.
The trio of statues represent theologians and historians: St. Augustine, the Doctor of the Church, St. Raymond de Peñafort, O.P., doctor of Canon Law, and Vincent de Beauvais, O.P. French historian. And the three statues facing A.H.Lacson St. are those of the playwrights: the Spanish Lope de Vega, the Greek comic Aristophanes, and the French neo-classical comedian Moliere .
The wide campus in front of the UST Main Building.
The cross atop the tower symbolizes the University’s mission to impart knowledge in the sacred and civil sciences. Slightly in front of, and below the tower is the “Tria Haec” clustered around a giant clock in the center facade of the fourth floor. The hooded and robed figure “Faith” brandishes a cross up high and occupies the top of the clock. Lower and to the left of the clock stands “Hope” and to the right, “Charity”. All these statues communicate with their varied expressive poses magnified in stone. They teach in silence.
These three figures represent the great philosophers Aristotle, St. Albert the Great and Plato.
This is the inner quadrangle of the Main building. The surrounding rooms here used to be the UST Main Library (back in my time, that is).
I walked these halls countless times during my student days and working for almost three years as a student librarian instilled in me the love of books. Those were the days and I really miss you, USTe!
Hmm…just want to remember, this is my 855th post, thanks WordPress!
Goal of 855 Posts Completed. Congratulations!