The students have grown restless, cannot help but stare at the large, yellow, standing
man and holding a swatch watch; counting the remaining days of a such great and once in a lifetime celebration. The people have gone busy with the preparations, beautifying the whole university, and thoroughly organizing the sequence of events for the upcoming event. Finally, after a year waiting since the kick-off party last Paskuhan 2009, the long-awaited event launched its blast.
On the vigorous evening of January 27, 2011, right after the unveiling of the Quattromondial at the quadricentennial park, the speakers of the stage boomed its sounds away to start the UST’s Quadricentennial Grand Celebration. The univeristy grounds were filled with bright lights, and of students, faculty members, Dominican priests and even people from outside, eager to see the spectacular event of the year. Several booths were standing near the grandstand field where people buy UST memorabilia, food and other fun stuffs.
The celebration was cordially opened by a doxology participated by various students holding candles that shine light upon the dark field.
A splendid opening act of a man rappelling from the top of the main building, air dancing in the grandstand, a motorcycle show in the plaza mayor, and a dance number byHotlegsand Manuevers with a single blow of fireworks welcomed the crowd.
The opening remarks was lively given by Fr. Pablo Tiong O.P., the Vice Rector of the university, thanking the Almighty God for having the university reached its four hundredth mark in the history as the oldest, royal, pontifical university in Asia. He ended his speech with an advice to his“fellow and dear quadricentennialThomasians” to study harder to achieve their desired goals and to remain faithful to God.
A loud expression of the infamous tagline “Me Ganon?!” came out after, revealing the famous host, Mr. Fu, who was a communication arts alumnus from Faculty of Arts and Letters. He fondly recalled his days in the university as a student that amused the audience, bringing them all to laughter.
After a while, he introduced Aiko Melendez who gave praises for the university. Mr. Fu then introduced the oldest living alumna of the university, the 100-year-old Amadea Medina, who graduated Magna Cum Laude with the degree Bachelor of Science in Education, major in English and minor in Home Economics. Lola Amadea went upstage with a smile on her face and talked to Mr. Fu, reliving her memories as a student. When she was asked what the university looked like back her time, she gladly said that the grounds were still filled with trees and there were no buildings unlike this generation. She added that the corridors in the buildings were separated from boys to girls. Her short story brought amusement to the students who in turn cheered for her. Before Lola Amadea bid farewell, she left words of encouragement to all students saying, “magingseryososapag-aaralangmga mag-aaral, magkaroonngisang goal, at positive thinking lagi.”
After the short yet inspiring talk with LolaAmadea, Mr. Fu narrated the brief history of UST founded by the former Archbishop of Manila, Miguel de Benavides, O.P. It was followed by a video clip and various folkdance numbers representing the four centuries that the university has gone through.
Shortly, comedy-actor Archie Alemaña came on stage and relived his days being a member of the UST Yellow Jackets. Like Mr. Fu, Alemaniawas also a communication arts graduate and said that he was proud being a student of Arts and Letters. He later introduced one of the matinee idols of the 80’s and 90’s who is a graduate of Faculty of Engineering, Mr. Albert Martinez.
Martinez also reminisced his experiences in the university, leading to throwing light jokes with Alemaña which brought the crowd to laughter. Both of them introduced the next guest, the Broadway singer, Robert Seña, who awed the crowd with his astounding voice. He was soon followed by numerous guests such as Apple Chiu who is an alumna ofthe College of Fine Arts and Design; Janine Desiderio; RJ Jimenez, from the Faculty of Engineering; Jamie Rivera who graduated from the Faculty of Commerce; and John Lapuz who graduated from the College of Tourism and Hotel Management in the year 1989 and was an active member of the TeatroTomasino back then.
Like the other celebrity alumni, Lapuz told his story during his stay in UST, comparing the surroundings way back his time to today and the infamous flooding around UST. He later on introduced the oldest choral group of the university, UST Action Singers, founded on 1972.
The group was then followed by the alumni of the UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe and its present members, dancing together with the Hotlegs. After the dance number, Student Organization Coordinating Council’s (SOCC) president, Luis Asistio III together with Ms. Philippines Eco-Tourism Angela Fernando introduced the next guest, Erik Santos who sang “This is the Moment”;
Pop Princess Sarah Geronimo, who spent her first two years in high school at the UST Education High School, rendered various song and dance performances one of which is a rendition of Michael Jackson’s “They don’t really care about us.”
Itchyworms whose lead singer, Jugs, approached the audience and shook hands with them made the crowd even livelier with their band performance.
Pure Energy, Mr. Gary Valenciano, performed a special dance number with the Maneuvers and sang two of his great hits. He surprised the students with his awesome dance moves and later gave some inspiring message for the students.
AizaSeguerra from the College of Music also performed. She was followed by this year’s SOCC Cheer Mania Competition Champion, the BS Commerce and Business Administration Dance Troupe, who rendered a Chinese-themed dance number.
The event has finally came to the much awaited ending as Desiderio, Rivera, Jimenez, Chiu and the UST Action Singers sang the quadricentennial song “Ako’yIsangTomasino” and the UST Hymn as the flags of different colleges and faculties of the university are presented. Yellow confetti blasted from the sides of the stage and along with it were the boisterous sounds of the students as fireworks had its way in the vast field.
With a final cheer, the students shouted “Go USTe!” proving themselves that they were one, true, loyal Thomasian.
Another 100 years has come for UST. The spirit of St. Thomas Aquinas and Bishop Benavides will remain to Thomasians who have passed its door from its foundation until the coming years in eternity. TW
By Danielle Marie B. Jordan