INTELLECTUAL excellence is the immovable pillar of the University as epitomized by the annual intercollegiate quiz Pautakan, organized and founded by the Varsitarian.

Now on its 30th year, the activity provides a distinct venue where Thomasian brains from different colleges and faculties meet, in a stiff yet glorious academic competition, for the prized Pautakan trophy.

The annual quiz contest is not only a prominent feature of the University’s foundation anniversary. It also celebrates the bond between the student publication and the institution not only academic excellence but also camaraderie among students. Surely, the competition has added luster to the Varsitarian‘s 70 years of undaunted campus journalism.

What adds more spice to the contest is the whole-hearted commitment of the organizer’s campus journalists at that, who moved heaven and earth just to continue with a glorious tradition which was started more than two decades ago. It is during the half-year long preparation for the contest that the Varsitarian staffers set their pens and tape recorders aside become technicians, researchers, solicitors, props men, quiz masters, and what have you, to ensure the success of their commitment. And it is only until the final score has been computed during the contest proper that Varsitarian staffers return to the usual rigors of local journalism.

It was in January 1977 when young high-flying minds of the campus paper conceived the quizbee to transcend mediocre competitions confined to scores, scores, and nothing more.

Since then, the activity has become a source of healthy competitive spirits among Thomasian students. But it was only two years later that the Varsitarian staffers coined the name Pautakan to distinguish the event from other quiz contests in the University. The brainstorming nomenclature was an offshoot of the staffers’ urge to elevate the quiz contest to an exclusive repute and make of it a reflection of the Thomasian spirit.

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True to the staffers’ commitment, they again engaged in countless debates to find a more suitable name for the event. After numerous deliberations, they adopted a technical tag in 1980, Annual Intercollegiate Quiz Contest. The following year, the contest was renamed “Brainstorm” to give the monicker a more imaginative character. But in 1982, the Varsitarian finally decided to use the contest’s original name, thus, Pautakan was once again used for the succeeding years.

The Pautakan, since then, has been a veritable institution committed to fostering the Thomasian tradition of greatness. For years, it produced brain wizards beyond even the organizers’ imagination.

The intellectual flourish, however, came into a pause in 1986 due to the country’s unstable political condition that time. Then UST Rector Fr. Norberto Castillo had to cancel all extra-curricular activities in the University for the last three months of the school year 1985-86. The Pautakan resumed the following year.

The College of Science boasts of being the fist champion of the annual meet. They also bagged the crown the year after.

It was only 1979 when the Faculty of Arts and Letters came into the scene to claim the trophy. During the next six outings, the College of Science shared the limelight with the Faulty of Medicine and Surgery, both having won alternatively. But it was the latter that made back-to-back triumph in 1987 and 1988. The trend was broken when the Faculty of Arts and Letters took the throne in 1989. From then on to 1994, the title was awarded to the College of Science

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(1990), College of Education (1991), Faculty of Engineering (1992), Faculty of Medicine and Surgery (1993), and the Faculty of Pharmacy (1994).

The College of Science and Faculty of Medicine and Surgey have each won six championships, making them the two winningest teams in Pautakan history.

In 1992, the ‘V’ adopted a new format for the competition with then art editor Rommel Lugada’s new design of a Pautakan trophy bearing the names of the competing colleges and faculties. The continuing rule provides that the team that wins three championships will have the right to take home the trophy. Otherwise, the trophy will temporarily be given to the winner of a particular year.

The Faculty of Engineering was the first team to achieve this feat, having dominated the competition in 1992, 1995, and 1996. They likewise snatched the 1997 crown after they came back from a 25-point deficit in the final round to edge out the Faculty of Arts and Letters.

However in 1998, surprise winner Institute of Physical Theraphy relegated defending champion Engineering to fourth place after winning its first-ever Pautakan crown in seven years.

Not willing to stay out of the limelight too long, Engineering came back in 1999 to reclaim the title and take itself another step closer to bringing home its second revolving Pautakan trophy.

Pautakan 2000 took a big leap forward. Gone were the dragging contest hours and the dirty acetates. To answer a Pautakan question, contestants would just have to press the buzzer. With this came a more competitive Pautakan and the response was overwhelming.

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Ten teams from the different colleges and faculties joined this year’s Pautakan. Engineering, the winningest team of the last decade, was looking for its sixth championship to take home the Pautakan revolving trophy. But it was denied that right by Physical Therapy, which emerged champion. In second place was Commerce, in third, Engineering.

Held annually at the UST Cinematorium (except in 1981 when it was held at the Education Auditorium), Pautakan is financially supported by the Varsitarian and by generous donor, sponsors, and patrons sought by the staffers. Throughout the longevity of the contest, Pautakan credits its success to the staffers’ efforts which eventually find meaning once the contest begins.

As the Varsitarian staffers clean up the venue after a nerve-wracking yet exhilarating brainblitz, they recapitulate another fulfillment of an ongoing commitment to keep the treasured Thomasian intellectual tradition aflame.

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