YOU KNOW España, Dapitan, Lacson, and P. Noval. But how well do you know streets inside UST?
Most of the time, Thomasians base their sense of direction on campus according to landmarks and buildings such as the Santisimo Rosario Church and the Main Building.
It’s probably reflective of the general Filipino attitude toward directions.
“It’s actually part of our culture because before the Spaniards came, the streets had no names for Filipinos to base their direction,” sociologist Precious Velasquez of the Philippine Association for Sociology of Religion explained.
The 19 streets in UST make up a large part of the University’s history graced by national heroes and other illustrious alumni.
In Norberto V. de Ramos’ book I Walked with Twelve UST Rectors (A.G. Ablaza and C. de Ramos Ablaza, 2000), it took 32 years from UST’s relocation to Sampaloc from Intramuros in 1927 before the streets were named. Luis Ablaza, former president of the Central Board of Students, submitted a resolution for this purpose in 1959.
“It was the idea of the Central Board of Students [to name the streets] at that time because UST was like a city within a city,” university archivist Fr. Fidel Villaroel, O.P. told the Varsitarian.
Some 100 names of exemplary alumni were submitted to then Rector Fr. Jesus Castañon, O.P., who referred the list to secretary general Fr. Antonio Gonzales for implementation. After about three revisions in the list, the name plates were inaugurated and installed for the respective streets on March 7, 1960, which used to be the University Day and the Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas before the Roman calendar was revised in 1969.
The Intramuros Drive that welcomes Thomasians when they enter the campus through the España gate faces the Fountains of Wisdom and the majestic Arc of the Centuries. Thousands of students pass through the Arc every year. But of all the streets in the campus, only the Intramuros Drive retained its antiquity.
On the right wing is the Araullo Drive, named after Justice Manuel Araullo, while the left wing is Arellano Drive, named after the first Filipino Chief Justice, Cayetano Arellano.
Students from different colleges can usually be found whiling away or rehearsing for class presentations in the three lanes of the Arc that lead to the Benavides plaza. The lanes were named after the martyr Fr. Jose Burgos and national heroes Dr. Jose Rizal and Marcelo H. del Pilar.
But since young couples frequent the place, it eventually gained the more popular tag “Lover’s Lane.”
UST is also proud of having produced two presidents. It’s shown in the main alleys that connect Dapitan and España Streets that were named after Sergio Osmeña and Manuel L. Quezon.
The Tamayo Drive which runs parallel to the Beato Angelico Building and the IPEA Gymnasium was named after Fr. Serapio Tamayo, O.P. who became the University’s longest-serving as rector for four terms.
The pavilions along Gonzales Drive were named after a great theologian and philosopher, Fr. Ceferino Gonzales, O.P.
The area is also where majority of the University’s affairs can be viewed from a distance with the football field and grandstand in sight.
The Lladoc Drive, named after Msgr. Casimiro Lladoc, is quite hidden since it extended behind the Botanical Garden.
With the earthquake-proof Main Building as the living testament to its builder, Fr. Roque Ruaño’s name was installed on the street along the Engineering Building where he served as the faculty’s former dean.
Known for producing outstanding medical practitioners, the University also named most of its streets after its prominent doctors.
People from all walks of life frequent the Ma. Guerrero Drive that lead to Arsenio H. Lacson Street. The street was named after Dr. Leon Ma. Guerrero, a foremost Filipino botanist, linguist, and former dean of the Faculty of Pharmacy.
Four other streets surrounding the Medicine Building pay tribute to successful Thomasian physicians. They are Dr. Luis Guerrero, a famous internist and former Medicine dean; Dr. Joaquin Quintos, one of the discoverers of the Vitamin B1 in the Tiki-Tiki for cure of beriberi; Dr. Gregorio Singian, and Dr. Juan Miciano.
Thomasian educators are also commemorated in streets near the Dapitan exit. The two streets sandwiching the Tan Yan Kee Student Center were named after Dr. Alejandro Albert, one of the founders of Escuela de Farmacia del Liceo de Manila (today known as the Manila Central University), and Justice Ignacio Villamor, the first Filipino president of the University of the Philippines.
Roads no more
According to Jose Victor Torres, UST historian and journalism professor, today’s buildings affected many roads in the past.
“Some of the streets had to give way to the new buildings and landmarks when the campus started to expand,” he said.
When the Plaza Mayor and the Quadricentennial Park were completed in 2006 as part of UST’s preparation for its 400th anniversary, the Benavides Drive and the Ampuero Drive had to be scrapped from the new UST map. They used to occupy the opposite sides of the Main Building along with adjacent parking lots before them.
The Benavides Drive was named in honor of Fr. Miguel de Benavides, the founder of the University along with the central plaza where a bronze monument of him stands. The Ampuero Drive took its name from Ramon Ampuero, the last Filipino lay secretary general who served UST for more than 30 years.
A comparison of the 1959 campus map with its latest version would also show that the Apolinario Mabini Drive that used to be found along the High School building did not survive.
‘Walk in history’
Campus streets are not just concrete beneath one’s shoes, but a link of the present to the past. For Torres, the historical facet of the streets did not have to be related with a particular historical event.
“By walking inside the campus itself… you can say that you are walking through time and through something special,” he said. “A walk in UST is a walk in history.”