by Jonah Bongcayao on www.facebook.com/academic.clinic

UST Survival Guide: Culture and Campus Life

The royal and pontifical University of Santo Tomas, or UST, is a Roman Catholic private university.  St. Thomas Aquinas is the university’s patron, while the patroness is St. Catherine of Alexandria.  It was founded on 1611 by Miguel de Benavides and it is considered one of the biggest Catholic universities in the world.

UST is composed of a number of autonomous faculties, schools, colleges, and institutes.  Each confers undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate degrees, as well as basic education units.

The university is presently situated in España, Manila, Philippines and occupies an area of 220,000 square meters.  It houses a mixture of old and recent architecture that includes the various buildings for different colleges.  The College of Education and the Conservatory of Music are both in the Albertus Magnus building, the College of Science is in the UST Main Building, the College of Architecture and the College of Fine Arts and Designs are located at the Beato Angelico, the College of Commerce and Business Administration at the St. Raymund de Peñafort building,   and the College of Nursing and College of Rehabilitation Sciences are at St. Martin de Porres building.

Student Life and Culture

Thomasians are generally level headed and are known to have diverse but interesting personalities.  They are principled, resourceful, and disciplined.  Majority of the students who go to UST comes from middle-income family and others are even self-supporting.

The culture that the university promotes is the one that highlights Christian morals and values.  The different traditions are aimed at giving balance to the life of the students while upholding camaraderie and creativity.  Some of the events that are being celebrated include the Misa de Apertura, the Thomasian Welcome Walk, the USTv Students’ Choice Awards on TV, UST Paskuhan, and the UST Baccalaureate Mass, the Ceremony of the Light, and the Sending Off Rites.

Student Organizations in UST

Because the population of UST is composed of students with different personalities, interests, and orientations, the list of the organizations that they can join in is vast.  The most prominent one is the UST Central Student Council; others are Batas Tomasino, Youth for Christ or YFC, UST Community Achievers Association or COMACH, MEDIARTRIX, Musikang Sikat ng mga Tomasino or MUSIKAT, People Undertaking Reforms for Excellence or P.U.R.E., Red Cross Youth Council or RCYC, UNESCO Club of UST, UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe, UST Pax Romana Central Coordinating Council, UST Medical Missions Inc., UST Mountaineering Club, UST Scarlet-Filipino-Chinese Organization, UST Alpha Kappa Rho Fraternity, UST Alpha Kappa Rho Sorority, UST Tau Gamma Sigma Sorority, UST Tau Gamma Phi Fraternity, UST Unicef Volunteers, UST Tiger Dragons Towing Crew, UST Yellow Jackets, UST Yoga Club, and many more.

The UST Growling Tigers is a member of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines or UAAP.  Its original name is “Glowing Goldies” but was renamed Growling Tigers starting the 1992-1993 season.  The team of the women is known as “Tigresses.” while the high school teams are called the “Tiger Cubs.”

The organizations and activities that UST offers are quite helpful in developing the students to become better members of the society.  Joining worthy clubs further develops not only the skills of the Thomasians but their confidence as well.

UST Survival Guide: Living Near the UST Campus

UST or University of Santo Tomas is situated at España Boulevard, Sampaloc, Manila.  The location is known to be prime and ideal especially to those who are in the thick of things and enjoy the busy lifestyle.  The area outside of UST, however, is very prone to floods.  Students who happen to live near the campus can attest to the fact that during rainy season, there is a tendency for the classes to be suspended.  The reason for this may be blamed for poor drainage and geography, but although this is a given, it is undeniably true that many parents and students still appreciate the university for its ability to produce top students in different fields.

Where to Eat and Unwind

Nowadays, UST is a far cry than what it used to be.  Gone are the days when you simply go to the canteen or cafeteria for a meal.  The university has evolved into a more student-friendly place especially in terms of food choices.  Inside UST, you can find Goldilocks, Tokyo Tokyo, Reyes Barbecue, Mc Donald’s, Rice in a Box, and many more.

Thomasians find it a treat as well to be surrounded by hip places to hang out during their free time such as the Pacific Suites and Shakey’s.  Mayrics is for those who enjoy listening to bands while hanging out with friends.  There are plenty of food establishments around UST including Jollibee, Mini Stop, and Mc Donald’s.  There are also numerous food kiosks and eateries in Dapitan wherein students who are craving for home-cooked meals can go to.  Those who are in a budget truly appreciate the small side streets that serve inexpensive food because they can save up their allowance.

Living near UST

There are plenty of dormitories, boarding houses, and apartments within the vicinity of UST.  Students particularly find renting a place near the university quite practical.  Since classes normally get suspended due to floods, Thomasians find it a treat to be able to go home immediately upon learning that classes have been cancelled.  Developers are presently capitalizing on having townhouses and condominiums near UST because they know that the school remains to be a top choice among those who want to have affordable and good quality education.  Some of the establishments near UST are the España Grand Residences, University Tower 2, Crown Tower University Belt, etcetera.

Others are wondering why the University of Santo Tomas is still one of the most preferred schools despite its reputation of being a flood prone area.  To date, there are countless successful Thomasians who made a name for themselves in the field of medicine, journalism, politics, and more.  This is just an indication that the school is indeed an institution that provides high caliber education while instilling sound values to its students.  UST, with its sterling reputation, is the only Pontifical university in Asia that continues to shine and embrace change with the intention of giving its students nothing but unparalleled excellence in the field of education.