UST Quadricentennial Celebration

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The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas celebrated its 400th anniversary in 2011. The agenda ahead of the University's quadricentennary in 2011 includes the introduction of new academic programs, improvements in the University's infrastructure, and other projects to raise UST’s national and international prominence and promote its role as a social catalyst.[1]

Plans to open satellite campuses in Santa Rosa, Laguna and another in General Santos City are being put in place.[2]

Physical developments for the Sampaloc campus are ongoing. The Plaza Mayor in front the Main Building, together with the Quadricentennial Square which will feature the Tetraglobal sculpture, the Quadricentennial Fountain, and the Quadricentennial Alumni Walkway were constructed in 2006.[3] To accommodate the needs of extra space for the growing number of student activities, the UST Tan Yan Kee Student Center was built in front of the Miguel de Benavides Library. The more than 80-year old Main Building, and the artifacts and art works in the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences were recently placed under the preservation of the UST Heritage Conservation program in December 2008.[4]

The UST Benavides Cancer Institute, part of the five-year redevelopment plan and expansion of the UST Hospital for its 60-year celebration and the quadricentennial celebration, was also established in the year 2006.[5]

Part of the University's infrastructure modernization is the construction of an P800-million, four-storey gymnasium capable of seating 5,792, designed by Thomasian architects José Pedro Recio and Carmelo T. Casas. The construction is now in full swing after university officials, led by Rector Rolando V. de la Rosa, O.P., led its groundbreaking ceremonies last August 2008.[6]

The UST Publishing House in 2001 launched its quadricentennial project, “400 Books at 400!”, publishing books in a range of disciplines, from theology to literature to medicine, written in both Filipino and English. The Publishing house is more than half way in completing this objective.[7]

Quadricentennial Commission[edit]

A Quadricentennial Commission was formed to formulate preparations for the celebration of UST Quadricentennial Jubilee. The commission is headed by the UST Rector, Rev. Fr. Rolando V. de la Rosa, O.P., as chairman. The following are its members:[8]

  • Chairman (Rector)
  • Vice Chairman (Vice Rector)
  • Secretary (Assistant to the Rector for Administration)
  • Committees
    1. Quadricentennial Committee (Assistant to the Rector for Grants and Endowment)
    2. Major Infrastructure Projects Committee (Facilities Management Office Director)
    3. External Relations Committee (Office of the Alumni Affairs)
    4. Grand Celebrations Committee (Secretary General)
    5. Documentation and Publication Committee (Office for Public Affairs / Executive Secretary of the Rector)
    6. Media and Publicity Committee (Office for Public Affairs / EdTech)


The Tongues of Fire, the official Quadricentennial logo


The Tongues of Fire is the official logo for the Quadricentennial celebration of the university. This logo features the outline of the UST Main Building Tower as a concrete symbol of the stability, integrity and 400 years of existence of the university. From the cross of the Main Building emanate four tongues of fire that spell out U, S, and T. The tongues of fire reference the future of the university, some ideals, and are reminiscent of the stripes of the Tiger, the school's mascot. The Quadricentennial logo was designed by Dopy Doplon, a Thomasian.[9]

Quadricentennial Song[edit]

The Ako'y Isang Tomasino composed by UST Faculty of Engineering alumnus Gerry de Leon, is the official theme song of the Quadricentennial celebration. It bested four other finalists in the Q Songwriting Contest Grand Finals held last Dec. 10 at the Albertus Magnus Auditorium. It was performed by Sam Velarde, a long time friend of Gerry de Leon, and a PSBA-Manila alumnus. The song was launched during the “400 days to 400 years Countdown” on Dec. 18 at the UST Football Field.[10]

Quadricentennial Prayer[edit]

The Quadricentennial prayer was unveiled to the public during the “400 days to 400 years Countdown” on Dec. 18. It was recited by Fr. Pompeyo de Mesa, O.P. with a candle-lighting ceremony.[11]

Quadricentennial Flag[edit]

The Quadricentennial flag consists of two horizontal stripes of equal width, the upper one gold and the lower one white. The two colors are defined as school colors of the University because of its Pontifical status. Embroidered with 2011, the flag features the sun and the colors yellow and blue taken from the logo of the University.[11]

Quadricentennial Countdown Clock[edit]

The countdown clock, which is a Swatch Beatman, is produced by a Swiss watch company Swatch. It is designed by the former Varsitarian art director Jonathan Gamalinda.[11]

Quadricentennial Mascot[edit]

The mascot is named QUSTER which stands for Quadricentennial University of Santo Tomas Tiger.


UST Quadricentennial Fountain

University Marker[edit]

A one-foot-by-three-feet marble marker in Plaza Intramuros near the main vehicular entrance of the campus was unveiled on February 4, 2010.

It was designed by Archt. John Joseph T. Fernandez, Dean of the College of Architecture and Archt. Froilan M. Fontecha, faculty member of the same college. It bears the name of the university, its seal on the left, and the year 1611 on the right.[12]

Quadricentennial Square[edit]

Replacing the old Colayco Park and its adjacent UST Cooperative Center, the Quadricentennial Square was built as a memorial of the University's four centuries of existence. It has two main features: the Quadricentennial Fountain and the Quattromondial. It is located between the Main Building and the Miguel de Benavides Library. The Colayco Shrine, an iron statue commemorating the World War 2 victim Capt. Manuel Colayco, was nowhere to be found since its removal from the site in 2006.

Quadricentennial Fountain[edit]

It is a recreational water attraction and interactive fountain was unveiled in 2007.

It was designed and built by Industron Inc., the same designer of Cultural Center of the Philippines and Liwasang Bonifacio fountains in Manila.[13]

The fountain has sun-like floor patterns to pay tribute to the University’s patron saint, Thomas Aquinas. It also has four cornerstones that highlight UST milestones during its first, second, third, and fourth centuries of existence.[13]

According to UST Facilities Management Office administrator Antonio Espejo, the fountain uses recycled water treated with chlorine. It runs three times a day (6AM to 8AM, 11AM to 1PM, and 5PM to 8PM).[13]

There is a superstition that to counter the effect of passing through the Arch of the Centuries while studying in the University, One must take a shower in the fountain as it will cleanse the student and will prevent the happening of an event that will bar the student from graduating in the University.


An artwork and piece of structure was unveiled for the Quadricentennial celebrations last January 27, 2011.[14]

The Quattromondial is a monument built made of bronze and glass. It is a ten-meter-high structure made by artist Ramon Orlina, a UST alumnus.[15]

The monument features four figures representing the young Filipino student, the young Filipina student, the Thomasian teacher, and the Dominican monk-scholar. These were modeled by actor Piolo Pascual (Filipino student), Orlina’s daughter Monina (Filipina student), beauty queen Charlene Gonzales (Thomasian teacher), and Fr. Rolando V. dela Rosa, O.P. (Dominican friar).[16][17] Upon the four near-naked figures, whose genitals are covered by a long strip of ribbon, rests a globe; and like the earth, it tilts 23.5 degrees.

According to Orlina, the four figures represent the four centuries of excellence (Filipino student), erudition (Thomasian teacher), spirituality (Dominican monk) and tradition (Filipina student) that the University has displayed and inspired in every one of its stakeholders. The globe represents globalization, with all its benefits and hindrances, such as environmental degradation and cultural divisions.

The ribbon with an inscription in Latin signifying accomplishment, scholarliness and wisdom streams out of the globe.[17] It reads:

UST Gymnasium and Sports Complex[edit]

Replacing the original UST Gymnasium and the old Engineering Sports Complex, the construction of the 800-million-peso UST Sports Complex began after the Vatican gave its "blessing" to the project.[18] It is set to be inaugurated on August 15, 2011.[19]

Officially named as Quadricentennial Pavilion, the sports complex was designed by Thomasian architects Jose Pedro Recio and Carmelo Rosas. It will stand on what used to be the Engineering Sports Complex, basketball courts, and the adjacent football field. It will house training areas for gymnastics, aerobics, taekwondo, judo, table tennis, fencing, and badminton at its ground floor. Some features include a ticket counter, a museum, a dance hall for the Salinggawi Dance Troupe, and a fitness room. Its main attraction is a basketball court surrounded by bleachers rising up to the fourth level.[18]

Thomasian Alumni Center[edit]

To be built on the site of the original UST Gymnasium, the alumni center will be used as a venue for alumni gatherings, various university events, and lodging services for visitors. It is according to the pursuit of the university's Office for Alumni Relations to build a center to cater the needs in catering the growing number of UST Alumni. The existing Olympic-sized swimming pool located nearby would be kept and refurbished.[20] It is projected to be completed and opened in 2012.[21]

The design was chosen from seven winners in a competition among students organized by the College of Architecture. Abelardo Tolentino Jr., an outstanding Thomasian alumni for Architecture, worked on the design to produce the final blueprint.[20]

US-based Thomasian medical practitioners raised and donated USD 1 million to assist the construction of the alumni center.[21]

UST Hospital Extension Building[edit]

The blessing of the construction site of the UST Hospital's extension building was held on 23 January 2012, the first day of the closing week of the Quadricentennial celebrations. Once constructed, the services in the USTH Medical Arts building will be transferred there. The medical arts building then be demolished to give way to another construction of a new medical arts facility.[22]

University Sites as National Cultural Treasures[edit]

Four structures within the University campus were declared National Cultural Treasures by the National Museum. The declaration was made on 25 January 2010. The following sites were:

  • The Main Building (the first earthquake-resistant building in the Philippines)
  • Arch of the Centuries (the remnant of UST's original building from Intramuros)
  • Central Seminary (the home of the oldest college of Ecclesiastical Studies in the Philippines)
  • The Grandstand and Parade Grounds (the venue where a mass celebrated by Pope John Paul II was held)

The Cultural Properties Preservation and Protection Act describes National Cultural Treasures as unique objects found in the Philippines that possess outstanding historical, cultural, artistic, and/or scientific value. These are considered as significant and important to the Philippines.[23]

Pre-2011 Events[edit]

4 horas, 4 dias, 4 hundred days, 400 taon[edit]

The Quadricentennial countdown to 2011 coincided with UST's Christmas tradition Paskuhan held on December 18, 2009. The theme was called as such because the party lasted for 4 hours on December 18, which is 4 days before December 22, which is 400 days before January 28, 2011, which is the Grand Opening of UST's Quadricentennial Celebrations.[24] The official kick-off and launching of the countdown was intended to be held on December 22 but the university was expected to be already on its Christmas vacation during that day.

January 28 is the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas, the patron saint of the university and from where it was named after. UST was founded on April 28, 1611.

The Paskuhan festivities and the Quadricentennial Countdown were hosted by UST alumni - beauty queen Miriam Quiambao and TV personality Kim Atienza.

Simbahayan 400[edit]

Simbahayan 400: "Tomasino para sa Simbahan at Bayan" or Thomasians for the Church and the Country is a socio-civic activity that would start on January 2010.[15] The Quadricentennial's "centerpiece project", according to the Rector Rev. Fr. Rolando De La Rosa, O.P., aims for UST to adopt some 400 villages with the help of non-governmental organization Gawad Kalinga.[15][25]

Thomasian Global Trade Expo[edit]

The three-day event will be led by Thomasian tycoons such as Jollibee Foods Corp. president Tony Caktiong, and Mercury Drug president Vivian Que-Ascona in July 2010.

It is a three-day exposition of businesses owned and/or managed by Thomasian students or alumni. It was held at SMX Convention Center in Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City. Started on October 15, 2010, the expo featured a job fair; shopping bazaars; wellness festival; arts, design, and construction booths; celebrity shows; food and beverage stalls; entrepreneur workshops; and advocacy seminars.[26] Jollibee Foods Corp.’s Tony Caktiong, Mercury Drug’s Viviene Que-Ascona, and Joel Cruz of Aficionado were among the Thomasian businessmen who joined.[27]

The expo is a joint project of UST Alumni Association, UST Office for Alumni Affairs, and the UST Thomasian Alumni Leaders Association.

Some of the proceeds of this event will fund the building of the Thomasian Alumni Center.[26][27]

Lumina Pandit[edit]

UST's rare book collections and historic documents will shown to the public through an exhibition in Miguel de Benavides Library.[15] Lumina Pandit is a Latin phrase that means spreading the light. The exhibit will showcase "Doctrina Christiana," the first book published in the Philippines.[25] Other books and documents that will be shown include a rare copy of Copernicus' book and academic records of UST alumni such as those of national heroes José Rizal and Apolinario Mabini;[15] four Philippine presidents; six Supreme Court chief justices; and other significant alumni.[25]

Grand Living Rosary[edit]

Quadricentennial Week[edit]

The highlight of the Quadricentennial celebrations were opened with the Opening of the Jubilee Door and a Mass held on January 24, 2011.

Opening of Jubilee Door[edit]

Q Parade[edit]

The Q Parade, held simultaneously with the Icusta opening, was joined by 7,200 students and 150 registered alumni.

The parade passed from UST to Morayta and then Recto and Mendiola. There were five floats, one each representing the four centuries of the University, and the "Q" float.

The first float represented the first century of the University with a replica of the statue of the founder, Msgr. Miguel de Benavides, O.P. The second float showed a model of the Arch of the Centuries. The third float was designed after the Main Building which was built on the España campus in the 1920s. The fourth float was patterned after the UST Central Seminary with the Fountains of Wisdom and Knowledge. The Q float showcased models of the yet to be unveiled Quattromondial, the future Martyrs' Monument, and the Tria Haec, or the statues representing faith, hope, and love atop the Main Building.

The first to fourth floats carried candidates for this year’s Search for the Ideal Thomasian Personalities (TSITP) while the Q float carried reigning Thomasian Personalities, Ms. Earth - Eco Tourism 2009 Angela Fernando, businessman Joel Cruz, and alumni who have won beauty pageant titles.[28]

Cheermania XVI[edit]

The annual competition was held on January 26, 2011. The University also invited other school's dance companies to compete with each other featuring different Philippine Festivals.

The Cheermania was won by College of Commerce Cheering Squad and the Philippine Festivals Inivational Competition is won by FEU Dance Company organized by the UST Student Organizations Coordinating Council (UST SOCC).

Unveiling of the Quattromondial[edit]

Grand Q Program and Countdown[edit]

Grand Alumni Night and Gala[edit]

2011 Events[edit]

International recognition[edit]

Holy See's recognition[edit]

UST being a pontifical university, Pope Benedict XVI was invited, but sent a special envoy.[29]

The pope declared a Jubilee year form January 2011 until January 2012 coinciding with the University's quadricentennary. Although not present, the pope arranged to deliver a recorded video on January 28, feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas and a thanksgiving mass was to be held. No UST officials were sent to Vatican City as the Vatican Press Office recorded the papal greeting.[30]

In December 2010, the Roman Catholic Church's Apostolic Penitentiary allowed in a decree Archbishop Gaudencio Cardinal Rosales to bestow a papal blessing carrying a Plenary Indulgence in the Jubilee Mass held on January 24, 2011.[30]

Upon the request of Rector Magnificus Fr. Rolando dela Rosa, O.P., a separate decree granted plenary indulgence to participant.

Visit of Spain's Royal Crown[edit]

The King of Spain Juan Carlos I has also been invited.[25]

UNESCO Exhibit[edit]

ICUSTA Conference[edit]

Commemoration and memorabilias[edit]

A 200-peso bill with the UST Quadricentennial Logo and Philippine Postage Stamps featuring UST landmarks and symbols.

Commemorative bills and medals[edit]

Unveiled before the press conference held on January 21, 2011, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) issued commemorative 200-peso bills with the UST Quadricentennial logo overprinted on it. BSP is set to release two-billion-peso worth of these 200-peso bills - in general circulation and legal tender (a total of 10 million pieces). In addition, the central bank will also release 400 copies of uncut two-piece 200-peso bills (amounting to PhP 400.00).

Aside from the peso notes, BSP will issue commemorative gold and silver medals featuring the image of Msgr. Miguel de Benavides, O.P., the University's founder.

Commemorative stamps[edit]

Named Unending Grace stamps,[31] Philippine Postal Corp. issues four commemorative stamps with 7-peso denomination. The designs featured were:

  • UST Main Building
  • Central Seminary
  • Arch of the Centuries
  • The Foundation of the University of Santo Tomas painting

The PhilPost will produce 100,000 pieces of these stamps. 10,200 copies of souvenir sheets worth Php 37.00 each will also the issued.

2011 Thomasian Planner[edit]

UST Quadricentennial Watch by Swatch[edit]

The Swiss company, Swatch, produces four different designer watches to commemorate the University's 400th jubilee year. The watches were named:

  • The Thomasian
  • Dominican Duo - White
  • Dominican Duo - Black
  • Quadricentennial Swatch

Closing ceremony[edit]

Dubbed as Neo-centennial Celebration, is a closing ceremony for the University's quadricentennial founding anniversary celebration which runs from January 23 to 27, 2012.


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  5. ^ A Higher Level of Caring, retrieved 26 December 2009
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