The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, the Catholic University of the Philippines. This the full name of the University of Santo Tomas (UST). UST is among the oldest universities in the Philippines. It is also the oldest Catholic university in Asia. Established in April 1611, it was founded and managed by the Dominican priests. And today, it is one of the top universities and most respected educational institution in the country.
Well, I’m a proud to say that I one of its alumni who graduated from its College of Commerce in early 2000.
UST is currently located in a squarish 21.5 hectare lot in locality of Sampaloc in Manila. It is bounded by España Boulevard, named after the Philippines’ former colonizer, Spain. In exchange, Madrid named its own as Avenida de Filipinas where the replica of the Rizal monument stands. But originally, the university was located within the walls of the Intramuros. It was only in the 1927 when the Dominican priests decided to move to a bigger location outside the wall. The Intramuros campus remained operational until it was destroyed by the World War II.
Like what I’ve posted last week about my trip to Bicol, here I’m going to share about my very first trip on board an airplane. This was a trip back in June of 1999 to my father’s home province in the Visayas region on the island of Leyte.
My father along with his siblings were all born in the small town of Tabontabon in the province of Leyte in Eastern Visayas before they moved to Manila when they were older. And since back in the 90’s, my father together with one of her sisters have been flying back to Tabontabon once every year during the town’s fiesta to check out the parcels of land left by my grandmother. And in June 1999, my father tagged me to join them along with my cousin to fly over Leyte with them.
This was my first time to fly on an airplane. We took a Cebu Pacific Air flight to Tacloban City, the only major airport on the island of Leyte. Back then, Cebu Pacific was fairly new in the market where it only started it airline operations in 1996. There was even a joke then that when you fly on Cebu Pacific, you fly out from Cebu and arrive in the Pacific. The joke came out after some airplane crashes Cebu Pacific had in its early years along with the then Asian Spirit (renamed to Zest Air but now operated as AirAsia Zest under AirAsia) which got the joke of flying as an Asian and arriving as a Spirit.
Being a resident of Manila, traveling around it is just part of my routine. I have been to almost every nook and corner of Manila. But I’d just try to write up something about the nation’s capital in this article.
Manila lies along the inland shores of Manila Bay at the central area of the island of Luzon, the northern major island of the Philippines. It was born from the banks of the Pasig River near its mouth that open up to the Manila Bay. It has acquired its name from an extinct mangrove tree that bloomed a beautiful white flower, called ‘Nilad‘. The nilad used to be abundant near the river delta. Local people called the place ‘may nilad‘, which meant ‘where there is nilad‘. Eventually the name became from May Nilad to Maynila, in Filipino verbage and Manila in English.
The city is the current seat of the democratic government of the Philippines and has been a center of political power for more than 400 years, except during the Commonwealth regime in the 1940’s. The city has been part of the Philippine history and dates back to pre-Hispanic occupation until in 1570 when it was ceded as the capital of the archipelago named in the honor of King Philip of Spain.
In continuation of our trip last September 2006 in the island of Bohol, our group of 17 people ferry ourselves to one of the key and most historical cities in the Philippines. Cebu City is part of now the great metropolitan region of Metro Cebu which lies in the middle section of elongated island province of Cebu.
Cebu (pronounced as ‘Se-boo’) is the center of commerce and trade in the Visayan region of the Philippines and is connected to most domestic airports and some international airports through the Mactan-Cebu International Airport. This makes Cebu as the second major gateway and second most important trade center of the country after Manila. The Port of Cebu also connects the island to other islands in the country.
Aside from it’s importance in the Philippine economy, Cebu is also very rich in history as it is considered the oldest city in the country. It marks its existence in history for more than 439 years ago, before the first Spanish expedition came in the islands in 1521 which led to the Philippines’ official discovery, putting it in the map. The expedition led by Ferdinand Magellan that year has seen a thriving settlement with an organized social structure led by a datu. And the settlement was already a center of trade by trading Chinese, Japanese, Malays, Indians, Burmese, and Arabs.