University of Santo Tomas

College was one of the best times for me. It was so much fun, because it’s where I got to know some of my best friends, with whom I still have contact. Our reunions are always fun – we’ve been to an arcade, sang karaoke, had cheesy studio pics taken (we loved to get neoprints, and when our budgets allowed, studio pics taken) and had many a meals with even more funny stories and laughs. During my last visit in December, we decided to meet up at our old stomping grounds – our college, the University of Santo Tomas.

University of Santo Tomas

Founded in 1611, the University of Santo Tomas is the oldest university in Asia and is the alma mater of Filipino heroes Jose Rizal, Emilio Jacinto, Marcelo H. del Pilar, Apolinario Mabini, presidents Manuel L. Quezon, Sergio Osmeña, Jose P. Laurel and Diosdado Macapagal, and most importantly, Yikee.

University of Santo TomasYikee, what my friends and I call our group. The UST varsity team (which of course none of us un-athletic bunch of people were part of) is called the UST Growling Tigers, hence the “roar” pose.

This spot in front of Miguel de Benavides’ statue is also where class pictures were taken. I heard a story about how the Japanese military apparently hid gold under that spot before they left the country when World War II ended. Only Benavides knows.

University of Santo TomasChanneling Benavides while waiting for my friends.

University of Santo TomasThe Arch of the Centuries. There’s an inside joke that passing through the arch will transport you to another time and dimension. I tried it a few times, but nothing happened. 😦

University of Santo TomasRobbie didn’t want to take a photo with the very touristy sign (it wasn’t there yet when we were students), but we insisted and it turned out great.

How was your college life? Were there some urban myths or inside jokes about your campus that you remember?

Walking in the Walled City: Intramuros, Manila

Manila has not been my home for the past seven years, but I will always have a soft spot for it. Whenever I am in the Philippines, I always squeeze in a few trips to the city to see my friends and go shopping. The visits have become quicker and less frequent, I admit, because I enjoy doing absolutely nothing but eat, watch TV, and read in my parents’ home in Batangas. A few days after I arrived in the Philippines last December, I went to Manila to attend the last day of a workshop that my boss has organized for one our Asian projects. The last day was mostly for concluding the meeting and to take the participants to Intramuros, the walled city and historic center of Manila. It is one of my favorite places in Manila.

Intramuros I love the classic coolness of this coachman.


IntramurosSpot the napping coachman!


Intramuros Comparing the Philippines’ National Hero’s footsteps to mine

Intramuros Jose Rizal’s well-preserved wool coat

Intramuros This would still be very stylish today

Intramuros Words that sparked a revolution