FINDING love within UST isn’t difficult. For this Thomasian couple, all it needed was a magical moment on the veranda of the Albertus Magnus Building and a classroom in the Fr. Roque Ruaño O.P. building.

Patricia Jacinto, a secondary education student at the time, and VJ Co, studying civil engineering, met in a manner reminiscent of an iconic scene in Taylor Swift’s music video for “You Belong With Me.”

In 2013, Jacinto found solace in the comfort room of the Albertus Magnus Building after a challenging encounter with a professor during her first year at the University. Once she had calmed down, she joined her friends on the building’s veranda, which faced the windows of the Ruaño building.

Patricia and her friends were surprised by an unusual sight from across their building: a group of civil engineering students displaying messages written on yellow paper that said, “Smile always” and “Sana napasaya namin kayo, ate.”

The veranda of the Albertus Magnus Building, which faces the windows of the Ruaño building.

“Na-timing na umiyak ako noon, tapos nabasa ko sa yellow paper yung, ‘Hi, smile na po kayo,” so parang ako, noong time na ‘yun, parang destiny,” Patricia said.

One of the unfamiliar faces from across the window caught Patricia’s attention, prompting her to make it her mission to find the group of friends immediately after their cute encounter.

Fortunately for Patricia, Thomasians had already launched their online forums by that time.

After scouring the then-go-to community pages for Thomasians on Facebook, such as the pages “Overheard at UST” and “UST Secret Files,” she was lucky enough to find a post by one of the engineering students about their encounter, leading to them discovering each other’s Facebook profiles

“Ang small world pa, kasi ‘yung roommate niya, kaklase ko sa Educ (College of Education). And naging bridge pa ‘yun para lalong nagkamabutihan kaming dalawa.”

Once they started talking to each other, their dates followed the typical Thomasian couple’s pattern: strolls along Lover’s Lane, meals at the UST Carpark, and walks at Plaza Mayor.

“Kung walang UST, siguro single pa rin ako ngayon,” Patricia said. “Kasi honestly, ang mga Thomasian talaga, sobrang friendly. Kahit makasalubong mo lang, ang friendly na nila. Dahil sa environment na ‘yun, naging open ako makipag-connect sa ibang tao.”

With their relationship now a decade long, VJ said that while they had a cute story, maintaining trust and communication were essential to prolonging the relationship.

“You need to trust your partner 100 percent, tapos kailangan din mag-communicate during the good times and the bad times,” he said. “I-communicate dapat ‘yung mga problema nang walang sumabatan, at ‘yung purpose ng communication ay ma-correct ‘yung behavior.”

The couple tied the knot last year and is now expecting their first child.


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