It has been thirty years since I left the portals of UST, how time has flown! I was about eight or nine years old when I first set foot at the University when my father took me to his office (UST High School) one summer break. What left an indelible mark was the vast field of greens and the imposing and awesome facade of the UST Main Building. I promised myself that won’t be the last time that I would visit the place because I wanted to study there too.
That dream was nurtured by my father’s desire for all his children (my three brothers and I) to embrace a good Catholic education. And so in the summer of 1969 (you might say, it’s so ancient), I took the high school entrance exams at the UST Education High School. I remember, I had it at the office of the principal, Mrs. Gloria Hernandez since I was late for the official date of examination for new students. Graduating from a public school during my elementary years and from the province at that really made me quite nervous. I never thought I would pass the qualifying exams for incoming high school students. That started my nine years of stay at the university.
Back then, UST High School which we know as “pay high” was a one-storey affair at the back of the Main Building fronting what used to be called the Resto. I was already in college when that building was burned down and it was then that the present High School building was erected. My father worked there for almost thirty two years and he retired from office in 1987. For those who are not aware, UST has two high schools, one of which is the Education High School, a training institution for graduating students at the College of Education. It extends support to bright but financially handicapped students by means of lower tuition fees. The former building of Educ High was located in front of the UST Hospital. I think it was only during our sophomore year that we transferred to the present site, the Albertus Magnus Bldg. (Education Bldg.).
What I remember most during my student years? Plenty – the ice cream vendor near the Canteen of the Education building, College Inn in Espana, “cornik” and “mani” laced with hot and spicy oil in Dapitan, “banana q” at P. Noval, the knee-high deep waters during typhoons, the evening walks along Espana while waiting for a ride home with some classmates and friends, the early morning masses at the UST Chapel, the occasional walks at the quadrangle area with classmates, the fear of not passing the qualifying exams for Economics majors, (thank God I did it) the struggle of solving problems in our Statistics class, the research works and feasibility studies in our Economics subjects and a lot more. But what really made my stay in UST worthwhile was my three-year stint as a student librarian at the Humanities Section of the UST Main Library. If you ask me, I would say, those were the best years of my teenage life. It was there that I met all my wonderful friends, it was there that I learned the value of work, it was there that I got to know that there is a different world out there – the world of books!
I had a chance to go back again and took pictures of the place last Saturday, February 14, 2009. Some moments to treasure, a few minutes reminiscing on the UST that I knew which is indelibly etched in my mind.