Arch of the Centuries

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Arch of the Centuries
Arko ng mga Siglo
Arch of the Centuries UST, Manila.JPG
Arch of the Centuries
General information
Type Triumphal Arch
Architectural style Baroque
Location Plaza Intramuros, Manila, Philippines
Construction started around 1680
Awards and prizes National Cultural Treasure of the Philippines

The Arch of the Centuries is a triumphal arch at the Plaza Intramuros of the University of Santo Tomas (UST) in Manila, in the Philippines that stands fifteen metres away from the university's Millennium Gate along España Boulevard.[1] The present single structure puts together, back-to-back, the ruins of the original Intramuros arch, which faces the Main Building, and its replica, fronting España Boulevard. The arch was formerly the original entrance to the university when the campus was still in Intramuros during the years from 1680 to 1941.[2] It was declared by the National Museum as a National Cultural Treasure on January 25, 2011.[3]


The original campus of the University of Santo Tomas in Intramuros.
The original campus of the University of Santo Tomas in Intramuros.
The Arch of the Centuries as the main entrance of University of Santo Tomas building in Intramuros.
The Arch of the Centuries as the main entrance of University of Santo Tomas building 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.[2]

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.[4]

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.[3]


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.[4]

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.[5] Candidates for graduation, on the other hand, also pass through under the Arch during a parade after their Baccalaureate Mass.[6] 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 he graduates. If done so, an event will happen that will bar his graduation from the university.[7]


  1. ^ UST landmarks declared 'National Treasures' Manuel Maximo Lopez del Castillo-Noche, Philippine Daily Inquirer. Published 01-25-2010
  2. ^ a b Arch of the Centuries The Varsitarian Website accessed May 16, 2012
  3. ^ a b Formal Declaration of UST National Cultural Treasures University of Santo Tomas Museum Website accessed may 16, 2012
  4. ^ a b Arch of the Centuries Accessed 12 August 2006
  5. ^ Recollection and freshmen walk I Can Conquer All blog. Accessed 12 August 2006
  6. ^ BACCALAUREATE 2003 UST Webservice (originally in PDF but is linked to a Google HTML equivalent). Accessed 12 August 2006
  7. ^ The Myth of the CrossOver Fairytales of a Freedom Fighter accessed May 16, 2012

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 14°36′30″N 120°59′27″E / 14.6084159°N 120.9908434°E / 14.6084159; 120.9908434