Photo by Jilson Seckler C. TiuTHE UNIVERSITY stepped back in time today as Thomasians participated in a “living tableau” that recreated the atmosphere of 19th-century UST.

Students, administrators, faculty members, support staff, and alumni in period costumes flocked to the campus and attended the “Velada Tomasina” at Benavides Park, which became “Ciudad Santo Tomas” — a recreation of the old UST campus and Sto. Domingo Church in Intramuros.

At 9 a.m., a wreath was laid at the Benavides Monument as “a ceremonial gesture of reverential recognition” to Msgr. Miguel de Benavides, O.P., third archbishop of Manila and the University’s founder.

A historical marker at the base of the monument was unveiled by Vice Rector Fr. Pablo Tiong, O.P., Secretary General Fr. Florentino Bolo Jr., O.P., National Historical Commission of the Philippines (NHCP) chair Maria Serena Diokno, and National Commission for Culture and the Arts executive director Emelita Almosara.

Ang Unibersidad ng Santo Tomas ay isang pambansang palatandaang pangkasaysayan sa bisa ng NHCP board resolution bilang lima na may petsang ika-14 ng Mayo, 2011,” Diokno said. “Saksi ang Unibersidad sa maraming makasaysayang pangyayari mula pa noong panahon ng España hanggang sa kasalukuyan.

Lubos na mayaman ang koleksyon at arkibo ng UST, isang dahilan kung bakit ito naiproklamang pambansang yaman,” Diokno added.

UST Deparment of History chair Augusto de Viana said the marker was supposed to be placed at the Main Gate on España Boulevard, but was installed instead at the side of the Benavides Monument facing the Main Buliding, due to “traffic issues.”

Inilagay ‘yung marker upang hindi na maka-abala iyon sa traffic sa España dahil masyado nang crowded doon,” De Viana said. Placing the marker at the Benavides Monument was more significant as more Thomasians would be able to see it, he added.

The brains behind the Velada Tomasina, Assistant to the Rector for Student Affairs Evelyn Songco, said the event was a way for the University to remember its past and prepare for its future. “Ang Velada ay isang Kastilang salita na nangangahulugang malaking pagdiriwang. Kaya ang Velada Tomasina ay isang pagdiriwang na naglalayong magbalik-tanaw at gunitain ang makabuluhang kasaysayan ng ating Pamantasan upang paghandaan ang kaniyang kinabukasan,” Songco said.

Members of Artistang Artlets, the official theater guild of the Faculty of Arts and Letters, portrayed renowned Thomasians Emilio Jacinto and Apolinario Mabini,while the history of UST was told by students from the College of Education.

The Velada was also a tribute to the Lady of the Rosary — after which the University was originally named. At 4 p.m., an image of Our Lady of the Rosary of La Naval processed in the campus, followed by the faithful still in their period costumes, complete with traditional veils for women. De Viana said the procession recreated the one held during the tricentenary celebration in 1911 in the old Intramuros campus of the University.

Music professor Tonton Africa, one of the organizers, said more than 1,500 students and faculty members joined the procession. The La Naval passed by the following campus streets: Quezon Drive, Albert Drive, and Osmeña Drive. The procession ended at Plaza Mayor.

Spirituality and heritage

Meanwhile, a Dominican theologian opened the Velada Tomasina Lectures at 11 a.m. by claiming that UST produced 19 martyrs, not 17,

Fr. Noel Abalajon, O.P., who wore the traditional black priestly cassock and biretta in keeping with the day’s festivities, added the names of St. Jacinto Castañeda Puchasons and St. Clemente Ignacio Delgado, O.P. to the roster of UST martyrs.

St. Jacinto Castañeda Puchasons, O.P., was a student of the Faculty of Sacred Theology from 1763 to 1765, while St. Clemente Ignacio Delgado, O.P., studied in the same faculty from 1786 to 1788.

The other UST martyrs are St. Antonio Gonzales, O.P., St Domingo Ibañez de Erquicia, O.P., St. Guillame Courtet, O.P., St. Lucas del Espiritu Santo, O.P., St. Thomas Hioji de San Jacinto, O.P., St. Vicente Liem de la Paz, O.P., St. Domingo Henares, O.P., St. Jose Ma. Diaz Sanjurjo, O.P., St. Pedro Jose Almato Ribera Auras, O.P., St. Jeronimo Hermosilla, O.P., St. Melchor Garcia Sampedro, O.P., Blessed Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P., Blessed Jesus Villaverde Andres, O.P., Blessed Pedro Ibañez Alonso, O.P., Blessed Manuel Moreno Martinez, O.P., Blessed Maximino Fernandez Marinas, O.P., and Blessed Jose Ma. Lopez Carrillo, O.P.

Abalajon also said in his lecture that out of the 219 Filipino bishops produced by the Philippine Church, 111 or 51 percent came from UST, while 80 or 70 percent of the 111 Dominican priests were “Centralites” or from the UST Central Seminary.

UST archivist Regalado Trota Jose meanwhile presented some interesting documents, like the last page of the Foundation Act of the University in 1611, old volumes in Philosophy (1636), Theology (1564), and Canon Law (18th century), and the oldest known plan of the University in Intramuros, dating around the 1680’s.

Historian Jose Victor Torres showed in detail the plans and events of the 1911 UST Tricentennial, as well as trivia like the menu during the banquet and sports competitions held during the celebration.

“The Tricentenary was a grand celebration given by UST in a time of trials of change. It proved one thing, not only to the Dominicans but to the Filipinos it has long served to educate, that the University was there to stay … in the years to come,” Torres said. James Bryan J. Agustin, Patricia Isabella B. Evangelista, Reden D. Madrid and Charmaine M. Parado


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