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.
Last week, me and my whole family flew back to Manila for a whole week for a vacation with my our relatives back home and to celebrate the first birthday of our youngest daughter Jade. And where else do celebrate it? None other than the happiest place for kids in the Philippines, Jollibee.
Well, I guess it has become sort of a tradition to many Filipinos to celebrate their kids’ parties in Jollibee. Jollibee is well loved by Filipino kids and adults alike mostly due to the food they serve that is very close to the Filipino taste, plus their mascots. Jollibee is the most famous fastfood brand in the Philippines beating McDonald’s.
Jade was born on 8th of July but we have booked her party on a 14th in the Shangri-la Mall branch in Mandaluyong City. We have invited relatives and some close friends to join us. Well, the party is more for the kids and so we booked and made sure that Jollibee’s 5 mascots will be there to join us.
Southeast Asia has been one of the most famous destinations for many backpackers and holidaymakers coming from Europe or the Northern Americas. Among the more famous tourist routes include Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Malaysia. Tourists would usually go straight to Bangkok or fly to Singapore. Some would include Indonesia to visit Bali.
With tourist arrivals are high on these countries, the Philippines is still trailing behind. Well maybe, I guess, is due to the fact that the countries I’ve stated all border each other, except most of Indonesia. This makes backpacking easier as tourists can simply take a bus or take hours long of train rides to reach the neighboring country. This is compared to the Philippines wherein the main means to reach is by air travel.
With a more challenging means to reach the Philippines, many simply skip the country. Many probably do not know much about the Philippines except maybe that it’s a group of islands and maybe because of the thousands of shoes of Imelda Marcos, plus the other political problems we had in the past.
And so, what do tourists are probably missing as they skip the Philippines in their itineraries?
January in the Philippines has been dedicated by the Vatican to be that special month to celebrate the feast of the most revered Catholic image of the Holy Child Jesus or most known locally as the Sto. Niño. All over the Philippines the feast of the Sto. Niño is celebrated almost every week of January wherein the most notable among these festivals are the Sinulog Festival of Cebu, Dinagyang Festival of Iloilo, and the Ati-Atihan Festival of Kalibo.
The great following to the image started from the arrival of the first image of the Sto. Niño brought by explorer, Ferdinand Magellan. This was first given as a gift to Queen Juana, the pagan queen of Cebu during that time, when they were baptized to the Catholic faith. But Magellan died later on and the Sto. Niño was left to become a pagan idol by the local tribes. It was only after 44 years when Miguel Lopez de Legaspi arrived and revived the image as a Catholic symbol.
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.
Manila, Metro Manila that is, is not only a city rich in history that dates back to the 16th Century. Manila and its surrounding cities may also offer great shopping experiences from the upper class shopper to a bargain-bug. The following is a list of major shopping malls or districts around the metro.
Currently is the third largest mall in the world in terms of gross floor area, a 386,000 square meters in total. It is composed of 4 buildings that are interconnected by walkways. Aside from providing a wide range of shopping experience, the mall also features several theaters and cinemas, restaurants, the Philippine’s first IMAX cinema, a Science Discovery Center, an Olympic sized ice skating rink, bowling alleys, billiard halls, and a supermarket. It also houses Dell Inc.’s contact center which adds to the growing number of Philippine call centers.
The mall is located at the reclaimed area on Bay City in the city of Pasay and faces the Manila Bay. It has also been the location of the annual World Pyro Olympics where countries from around the world compete by their beautiful fireworks display on the bay.