Monday, July 22, 2024

Tag: Neo-centennial Supplement

Velada Tomasina

TRAVELLING to the past need not be confined to books or the movies – Thomasians made time travel possible by recreating the atmosphere of 19th-century University of Santo Tomas (UST) through the “Velada Tomasina.”

UST stepped back in time last Jan. 25 with a “living tableau” wherein students, administrators, faculty members, support staff, and alumni in period costumes flocked to the Plaza Mayor, which was made to look like the old Plaza Santo Tomas in Intramuros, UST’s home for three centuries.

Velada Lectures

UST HAS produced 19, not 15, martyrs, a priest-alumnus claimed in a lecture during the Neo-centennial week, but said that despite contradicting researches, the fact that the University became home to holy men is proof of its capacity to hone spirituality.

Fr. Noel Abalajon, vice chancellor of the Archdiocese of Capiz, proposed two more names to the list of UST martyrs at the “Velada Tomasina Commemorative Lectures” last Jan. 25, in addition to two names he had previously “added” to the original roster drawn by the respected Dominican historian Fr. Fidel Villarroel, O.P.

La Naval revisits UST

ONE OF the reasons why UST has lasted for four centuries is the unending grace from its unending devotion to the Blessed Mother.

The high point of the “Velada Tomasina” last Jan. 25 was the procession around campus of UST’s new image of Our Lady of the Rosary of La Naval, the miraculous icon credited for warding off foreign invaders in 1646. Banners imprinted with images of the saints of the Dominican Order preceded the La Naval.

In keeping with the turn-of-the-century mood, the faithful prayed the rosary in Spanish during the hour-long procession that started from the Quadricentennial Pavilion. Thomasians wore period formal attire, complete with black veils for women.

Thanksgiving for departed Thomasians

UST WOULD not have been what it is today without the accomplishments of its illustrious roster of alumni, Caceres Archbishop Leonardo Legaspi, O.P., reminded Thomasians in the Neo-centennial Thanksgiving Mass last Jan. 25 at Plaza Mayor.

“The quality of lives and experiences of our deceased alumni place each and every one of us in debt,” said Legaspi, the first Filipino rector of the University, in the Mass dedicated to Thomasians who passed away.

Legaspi told the Thomasian congregation to “look up” to the Tria Haec of the Main Building, especially now that there are many “Catholics in high positions” who confuse others by throwing out the Church’s teaching on the sanctity of marriage and life.

Kumpisalang bayan

AN ESTIMATED one hundred priests administered the Sacrament of Reconciliation in the “Kumpisalang Bayan sa Pamantasan” last Jan. 27, allowing Thomasians to obtain spiritual favors bestowed by the Church on the last day of the year-long Quadricentennial festivities.

Priests heard confessions at the P. Noval Court and the open field an hour before the Neo-centennial Eucharistic celebration, which was to be offered in thanksgiving for UST’s 400th year and the dawn of its new century. Simultaneously held at the Grandstand was the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and the “Holy Hour,”to prepare participants for confession and the Mass.


A SEA of pastel colors and a buzz of excitement filled the entire stretch of the University’s open field as dusk fell last Jan. 27.

Then, with the first wave of the conductor’s baton, music from the UST Symphony Orchestra and the voices of some 40, 000 Thomasian erupted to drumbeat the University’s new century.

The event, “40, 000 Voices for UST’s 400” gathered the University’s children to sing—in varying voice ranges—a repertoire that featured melodies of praise (Catholic), folk songs (Filipino, past), pop anthems (contemporary), and Thomasian hymns of pride, which collectively embodied the University’s identity.

A vision, a feat

‘Chariots of fire’

FOR ABOUT 10 minutes of the Neo-centennial celebration, even the heavens appeared to be extending their felicitations to the now 401-year-old Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas. A myriad of luminosities brought the entire Thomasian community to a monumental standstill—one that surpassed previous breathtaking fireworks displays that the University has become known for.

UST has earned a reputation for holding magnificent pyrotechnic shows during events such as the Paskuhan and the Baccalaureate Mass. Dragon Fireworks Inc., the country’s largest fireworks manufacturer and exporter, has been producing these shows since 2007.

The prodigies behind the pyromusical

WHILE the Neo-centennial pyromusical hosted by UST was enough to ignite Thomasian pride, a less-known detail about the pyrotechnic spectacle topped it all—the spectacular show was executed by a team led by two young Thomasians.

In 2007, when Advertising majors Don Miguel Villarosa and John Oliver Zeng were still in their sophomore year, Dragon Fireworks, Inc. was already producing pyrotechnic displays for a number of the University’s annual special events such as the Baccalaureate Mass and Paskuhan.

Perhaps it was the default alphabetical seating arrangement that formed their friendship, but it was the same deep interest in fireworks that really made them click.

The journey of Jose Javier

THE OLDEST living Thomasian is more than a century old. At 102, Dr. Jose Javier is a living witness to one of the darkest moments in Philippine history, the Fall of Bataan in the Pacific War and the ensuing “Death March.”

Born in Laoag, Ilocos Norte in February 1911, Lolo Jose took his pre-medicine course in Letran and pursued medicine in UST back when it was still in Intramuros.

He became a full-fledged doctor in 1934, specializing in general medicine and minor surgery. Following this, he immediately applied for a six-week military training for active duty at Camp Murphy.

While on duty in Cotabato, he was among the commanding officers of the newly established medical cadres.

Ad Januam Coeli

MORE than a decade after Pope John Paul II’s second and last visit in the Philippines, the University paid tribute to the late pontiff through a display of prized collections of the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences last Jan. 26.

The exhibit “Ad Januam Coeli (To the Gate of Heaven)” showcased photos, books, and other memorabilia, such as the Pope mobile and the papal chair John Paul used during the World Youth Day in 1995, which was hosted by UST.