ONE HUNDRED years ago, the life and times of the University in Intramuros could hardly be visually recorded as evidenced by the limited number of existing photographs in the University archives.
A century later, UST can’t get enough of the overflowing stills of the present campus and the year-long Quadricentennial celebration. And so an exhibit—aptly of 400 of the best photos of UST—was in order.
The colossal photo exhibit kick-started the week-long festivities of the University’s Neo-centennial celebration at the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences and Main Building lobby from Jan. 20 to Feb. 10.
Titled “400 Shots to Immortality: Timeless Photographs of the University of Santo Tomas Towards its Neo-centennial,” the exhibit featured shots of the UST campus and Thomasian life by Paul Allyson Quiambao, a fifth-year Architecture student and former Varsitarian photography editor.
“It was meant to showcase the beauty of the University highlighted through the structures, events, and most especially the persons that comprise the Thomasian community,” Fr. Florentino Bolo Jr., O.P., secretary general of UST, said.
The photographs at the Main Building lobby, which Quiambao documented beginning 2007, were categorized into eight sections by University archivist Regalado Trota-Jose.
Thomasians in their day-to-day vignettes—including athletes practicing at the open field and students wading the knee-deep flood during the onslaught of typhoon “Ondoy”—were clustered in the section “Unguarded Moments,” while the Dominican priests in their solemn rites were featured in “Our Fathers.”
“Royal, Pontifical, Spectacular” exhibited UST landmarks and buildings at their astonishing angles, while annual Thomasian festivities like the Baccalaureate Mass, Christmas Concert Gala, and Paskuhan were presented in “Showcase of Thomasian Culture.”
“We are the Champions” captured Thomasian athletes in their captivating poses as well as the breathtaking stunts of the Salinggawi Dance Troupe, while aerial shots of the Largest Human Cross formation, which qualified for the Guinness World Record, were contained in “Record Breaker—13,266 Strong.”
Notable ‘Q’ affairs held last year—such as the opening of the Jubilee Door at the Santisimo Rosario Parish, ‘Q’ Thanksgiving Mass celebrated by the Pope’s extraordinary envoy Archbishop Zenon Cardinal Grocholewski, and the ‘Q’ Grand Variety Show—were enveloped in “Quadricentennial Celebration.”
The special cultural exhibition of UST at the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization headquarters in Paris, France last September was shown in “UST in Paris.”
Upstairs at the UST Museum are larger reproductions of 40 photos—said to be Quiambao’s best—that are printed on canvas.
“Voted to Maria,” included a fish-eye aerial shot of the giant living Rosary and the letters “Ave Maria” mounted by about 24,000 members of the Thomasian community last Dec. 8, coinciding with the Feast of the Immaculate Concepcion.
“Larger than Life” depicts the unveiling of the 10-foot bronze and glass sculpture QuattroMondial by Architecture alumnus and renowned sculptor Ramon Orlina, mobbed by thousands of spectators at the Quadricentennial Square on Jan. 27, 2011.
“The Promised Land”—a personal favorite by Quiambao—is a twilight shot of the Main Building tower illumined with purple lighting and whose reflection is seen on one of the flooded areas of the building’s rooftop. The photograph has only two reproductions, the one being auctioned from P100,000, and the other already given to the Rector himself.
Quiambao said these photographs will soon be distributed to various University offices for display and the 40 best shots will be available for sale. Proceeds will be donated to the victims of the typhoon ‘Sendong’, Prelli Foundation, Inc., and to the Quadricentennial centerpiece project, “Simbahayan.”
“These [photographs] are the memories of the Quadricentennial event,” said Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., Rector of UST. “While we look forward, Paul Quiambao is giving us a chance to look back with joy and with appreciation at what has happened.” Rafael L. Antonio