University of Santo Tomas

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España Boulevard, Espana, Philippines
www.ust.edu.ph - +63 2 406 1611

University of Santo Tomas Espana Reviews

cotton_foam cotton_f…
263 reviews
the oldest university in the country Jul 03, 2012
University of Santo Tomas (UST) is among my favorite places in Manila back in the 80’s. When I needed time for solitude, I like to go there just to stroll along the vast campus. UST is an open university where the public may freely enter the campus and a community church is located within the vicinity.

Established in April 28, 1611 by the Dominicans priests, University of Santo Tomas is considered as the oldest Catholic university in the Philippines. It is also among the oldest in Asia and is the only Pontifical (Catholic) University in the region that is recognized by the Vatican.

“The university’s official name was granted a title of “Royal” by King Charles III of Spain in 1785, “Pontifical” by Pope Leo XIII in 1902, and the appellative “The Catholic University of the Philippines” by Pope Pius XII in 1947. These titles make its complete name as the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, The Catholic University of the Philippines.”

UST is currently located along España Boulevard and is at the far end of the University Belt of Manila where dozens of universities and colleges are located.

At the España Boulevard gate, one will be welcomed by the Arch of the Centuries. This archway is an imposing structure that featured the university’s seal on top of it with 3 statues on top. On both sides of the Arch of the Centuries, two fountains may be found, the Fountain of Wisdom and the Fountain of Knowledge. Each fountain is shaped as a lotus flower and features a lady in the center and raises a book and the other a globe.

Behind the Arch of the Centuries is a tree lined catwalk that leads to the Main Building which is the oldest structure within the campus. While on the left side of the catwalk is a wide open parade ground with a Grandstand that is meant for open ground activities of the university.

A few meters in front of the Main Building is a mini park where the bronze statue of Miguel de Benavides, the founder of the UST, stands. It stands on a podium with four lion statues hold the four seals of the university. While behind it, in between the Main Building, is the Plaza Mayor.

The Main Building would be considered as the most recognized structure in the campus and it houses the Administration offices of the campus and the College of Science. The building itself also features an intricate architecture. At the top front of the Main Building is a clock structure with statues of 3 ladies called the Tria Haec which represents Faith, Hope, and Charity. Its main tower at the center also rises with a cross on top that is lit in blue at night and signifies the Catholic mission of the University. Another distinct feature of the Main Building is the different statues of theologians, historians, tragedians, philosophers and playwrights that stood on the roof top of the building. Among these were statues of Aristophanes, St. Augustine, Sophocles, Shakespeare, Plato, Aristotle, and others.

The UST Museum of Arts and Sciences is also located within the Main Building and houses a collection of artifacts and cultural items, some of which date back to 1682. The Museum has permanent displays for specimens of Natural History, Ethnographic materials, Oriental Arts objects, Philippine Religious images, Paintings, and Coins, Medals, and other Memorabilia. The painting collection includes works from the 17th to the 20th century. Also during WWII, the Main Building served as a concentration camp by the Japanese Imperial Forces where prisoners of war were imprisoned. About 10,000 American, British and other nationals were locked and suffered under the Japanese captors.

Other prominent structures within the campus are the Santissimo Rosario Parish, the UST Botanical Gardens, UST Hospital and the UST Publishing House. The university also houses the UST Elementary School, UST Education High School and the UST High School.

With the 400 year anniversary of the university’s establishment, the UST Quadric-Centennial Square was opened. It features a fountain in the middle of an open square. It is bounded by the Main Building and the UST Miguel de Benavides Library.

I wanted to visit this favorite “hang out” of mine the last time I was in the country but due to lack of time I was not able to visit it. But I have been there a hundred times before so I feel that I can give a reasonable review about the place. I encourage visitors especially to include a visit to the oldest educational institution in the Philippines!
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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drmcflurry drmcflur…
37 reviews
Not 'Off The Beaten' Path Nov 24, 2012
With thousands of students and faculty crawling in and out of this old institution this place hardly falls under the category of "off the beaten path". However, it's probably not one of the places you'll find in regular tours of the city. It's a university. It's old. Older than most structures around manila these days. I once found it charming to be hiking up the old stairs of the main building but after a month or two and countless moments of beating the clock I found that same set of stairs really undesirable. Officials claim the main building to be "earthquake proof", a theory that has yet to be tested with a 7.0 on a Richter scale. There's a lot of trees and greenery distributed sparingly around the whole area which provided a recluse from the smog-ridden city. The church in here was also old and had certain character that came with age; however, it is often overshadowed by the main building in terms of appeal. All the other buildings in the area are usually off limits to the public but it's not really that much interesting either unless you came here for the hospital and research center.

Overall, this place is worth a short trip but make no mistake in coming here on a cloudy day during monsoon season as you might end up visiting an underwater attraction which is more than you bargained for.
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
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junartkim junartkim
15 reviews
Royal, Pontifical and Catholic University of Manila Nov 23, 2012
The University of Santo Tomas is the oldest Catholic university in Asia. Founded in 1611, the institution was originally built in Intramuros, but was later moved to Espana, Sampaloc, Manila.

It has seen numerous graduates who have contributed much to the society. Among them is the second president of the Republic of the Philippines Manuel L. Quezon, and even great Filipino celebrities like the beauty queen/actress/host Charlene Gonzales-Muhlach and the actor/singer Piolo Pascual. Even the national hero Jose Rizal studied here. This year, UST celebrates its Quadricentenial (400th) year. Included in the top 4 universities in the Philippines, I am proud to say that I have been part of this prestigious institution. It is where I studied and attained my bachelor degree in education.

I consider it not just an educational establishment anymore, but a national heritage site - a great tourist attraction. Because of its historical and cultural significance, tourists should not miss visiting the place, regardless of religion.

Among the many things it offers is the UST Botanical Garden, the Museum, the Arch of the Centuries (front side is a replica of the original which is at the back, brought all the way from Intramuros), Benavides Park also known as Lover's Lane,Santissimo Rosario Chapel, and the grand earth-quake proof UST Main Building, among others.

Enjoy the tranquility especially at dawn and twilight, and be one with the busy institution for the rest of the day.
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junartkim says:
I'll post some. :) What places in the Philippines were you able to visit?
Posted on: Oct 21, 2012
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