Arch of the Centuries

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Arch of the Centuries
Arko ng mga Siglo
Arch of the Centuries UST, Manila.JPG
The arch in 2012
Arch of the Centuries is located in Philippines
Arch of the Centuries
Location within Philippines
General information
TypeTriumphal Arch
Architectural styleBaroque
LocationPlaza Intramuros, Manila, Philippines
Coordinates14°36′30″N 120°59′27″E / 14.6084°N 120.9908°E / 14.6084; 120.9908Coordinates: 14°36′30″N 120°59′27″E / 14.6084°N 120.9908°E / 14.6084; 120.9908
Construction startedaround 1680
Awards and prizesNational Cultural Treasure of the Philippines

The Arch of the Centuries (Filipino: Arko ng mga Siglo,[1] Spanish: Arco de los Siglos) is a triumphal arch at the Plaza Intramuros of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila, in the Philippines that stands meters away from the university's Millennium Gate along España Boulevard.[2] Half of the current structure, the side facing the UST Main Building is the ruins of the original Intramuros arch while the side that faces España Boulevard is a replica.[3] The arch was formerly the original entrance to the university when the campus was still in Intramuros during the years from 1680 to 1941.It was declared by the National Museum as a National Cultural Treasure on January 25, 2010.[1][4]


The original campus of the University of Santo Tomas in Intramuros.
The original campus of the University of Santo Tomas in Intramuros.
Top view of the Arch of the Centuries.
Top view of the Arch of the Centuries.

The Arch of the Centuries was originally erected around 1680 at Intramuros, where UST was originally established. After World War II, the university transferred to its present location at Sampaloc. The Arch was also carried piece-by-piece and was re-erected at the present Plaza Intramuros in 1954.[3]

The original Arch which faces the Main Building was the main doorway to the university building before it was destroyed during World War II when it was at Intramuros. A newer arch faced España Boulevard, which is a reconstruction of the original arch.[5]

In January 25, 2010, it was declared a National Cultural Treasure, along with the University Main Building, the Central Seminary Building, and the university field, by the National Museum of the Philippines.[4]


The Arch contains Doric columns, but is Baroque in its details. The inscription on the arch says "Gateway to the history of the finest breed of Filipinos," a reference to the numerous alumni who have made an impact in Philippine history. On the left pillar of the facade facing España Boulevard is commemorative plaque honoring national hero José Rizal, and on the right pillar is another plaque honoring President Manuel L. Quezon; both being UST alumni.[5]

On the sides at the top of the Arch are panels depicting the life of Saint Thomas Aquinas, the patron saint of the university and of all Catholic educational institutions.

Current traditions[edit]

All incoming students (freshmen and transferees), as parts of their initiation rites into the university, known as the Thomasian Welcome Walk are required to pass through under the Arch.[6] Candidates for graduation, on the other hand, also pass through under the Arch during a parade after their Baccalaureate Mass.[7] This tradition started on June 2002. Fireworks display ends the passage and signals the party afterwards. The parade, either of freshmen or graduating seniors, is done per college/faculty in random order.

There is an old superstition that while studying at the university, one should not pass under the arch until they graduate. If done so, an event will happen that will bar their graduation from the university.[8]


  1. ^ a b Untitled (Plaque inside building) (in English and Tagalog). UST Main Building, near the front entrance of the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences: National Museum of the Philippines. 25 January 2010.
  2. ^ del Castillo-Noche, Manuel Maximo (25 January 2010). "UST landmarks declared 'National Treasures'". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Archived from the original on 28 July 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Arch of the Centuries". University of Santo Tomas. Archived from the original on 20 February 2013. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  4. ^ a b Formal Declaration of UST National Cultural Treasures Archived 28 July 2013 at the Wayback Machine University of Santo Tomas Museum Website accessed may 16, 2012
  5. ^ a b Arch of the Centuries Archived 13 March 2005 at the Wayback Machine Accessed 12 August 2006
  6. ^ Recollection and freshmen walk I Can Conquer All blog. Accessed 12 August 2006
  7. ^ BACCALAUREATE 2003 UST Webservice (originally in PDF but is linked to a Google HTML equivalent). Accessed 12 August 2006
  8. ^ The Myth of the CrossOver Fairytales of a Freedom Fighter accessed May 16, 2012

External links[edit]