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Mundane meets magic: Places in UST that reminds us of Studio Ghibli movies

3 min readDiscover the places inside the UST campus that may remind Thomasians and Ghibli enthusiasts of the nostalgic and whimsical worlds of Studio Ghibli movies.
Profile picture of Denise Julianne Pangan

Published over 1 year ago on November 29, 2022

by Denise Julianne Pangan

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(Photo from The Secret Life of Arrietty)

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For many Thomasians, UST feels like home. With its green scenery, endless walkways, the iconic main building, and skies that look dreamy and unreal, one would definitely say, “There is no place like home.” The University campus evokes a sense of belongingness and nostalgia, just like Studio Ghibli movies and its whimsical world full of magic, warmth, and color.

Personally, I am an avid fan of these movies because watching them feels like getting a tight, warm hug and a cup of hot chocolate with little marshmallows floating above it. And some of these movies remind me of places in UST and the few times I have been there.

Discover the places inside the campus that may remind Thomasians and Ghibli enthusiasts of the nostalgic and whimsical worlds of Studio Ghibli movies.

A tiny person navigating a big world: The Arch of Centuries and ‘Arrietty’ (2010)

 (Photo from The Secret Life of Arrietty)

(Photo from The Secret Life of Arrietty)

The Secret World of Arrietty follows the story of Arrietty, a tiny person who lives under the floorboards with her family. Her life is filled with adventures as she secretly explores the inside and outside of Sho's mansion while borrowing sugar cubes here and there. Arrietty is always in awe of everything she sees during her escapades, much like how we all felt during our freshman ceremonies or Thomasian Homecoming Walk.

Walking through the Arch of Centuries for the first time and realizing how big the University is would make you think that --- within these buildings, you are a tiny person. You might feel as if you do not belong, but like Arrietty, this should not stop you from exploring. Stop hiding under the floorboards and discover UST's secrets and wonders.

The beating hearts of two realms: UST Main Building and ‘Spirited Away’ (2002)

(Photo from Spirited Away)

(Photo from Spirited Away)

Spirited Away follows the story of Chihiro, who accidentally gets lost in the world of gods and spirits. She embarks on a fateful quest when her parents turn into pigs. To save them, she works for Yubaba, the witch who owns the Bathhouse for the Gods, one of the most iconic trademarks of Studio Ghibli, much like our very own UST Main Building.

As the University's beating heart, the main building not only prominently stands in the center of the campus; it is also a breathtaking center of attraction for everyone who sets foot in UST. Some may have not seen yet what its different floors have to offer. But its mysterious beauty on the outside is enough to draw us in, just like what happened to Chihiro when she found herself in front of the nocturnal bathhouse.

Mumbling words on paper: UST Miguel de Benavides Library and ‘Whisper of the Heart’ (1995)

(Photo from Whisper of the Heart)

(Photo from Whisper of the Heart)

Whisper of the Heart follows the story of Shizuku, a junior high school student who always has her nose stuck in a book. Her aspirations drastically change when she finally meets Seiji, the boy whose name is coincidentally always written on the library cards of every book she reads. The animation in this film features rows of shelves filled with endless titles, high windows, long tables and chairs, and the quietness of the ambiance, reminding me of our very own UST Miguel de Benavides Library.

Only some people will find this place as enticing as we bookworms do. But remember, a book always has something to offer; you just have to find the right one. And once you do, who knows? It might help you change the whispers of your very own hearts, just like what Seiji did to Shizuku. Maybe leaving your umbrella in the library is still a step you take after all in finding a newfound love for books and strangers.

Thomasian’s very own knob dial: Streets of UST and ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’ (2004)

(Photo from Howl’s Moving Castle)

(Photo from Howl’s Moving Castle)

Howl's Moving Castle follows the story of Sophie, a skillful hatmaker, who was cursed with old age by the Witch of the Waste. She then finds herself aboard an unusual and asymmetrical castle that never settles in one place. There, she fatefully meets Howl, the wizard who is feared by many despite his charming looks. In his magical castle, there is a door that opens to four different locations depending on the colors on the knob dial: green leads to the Waste, red to Kingsbury, blue to Porthaven, and black to Howl's portal.

This door is reminiscent of the different gates in UST that lead you to the streets of Manila, where the best food stalls and restaurants are. At first, it could really be confusing, and you could even get lost. But once you get the hang of it, UST will be your own moving castle. The only difference is this castle will stay while you move forward after spending four years with the University.

There are still a lot of places in UST we have yet to explore and memories to make. When the current situation gets better, I hope we can all have the chance to embark on an adventure to discover more places on the campus that will remind us of the nostalgic and whimsical worlds of Studio Ghibli movies.

Movies

Animation

Studio Ghibli

UST

Japanese

Profile picture of Denise Julianne Pangan

Denise Julianne Pangan

Blogs Writer

Denise Julianne Pangan was a Blogs Writer at TomasinoWeb. Denise is a journalism major exploring the many faces of popular culture and its intertwinings with society. Though she has yet to discover her beat as a newbie blog writer, she writes easy-to-read listicles and social commentaries. When she's not drinking too much coffee, she watches anime and EN-O'CLOCK vlogs, reads fiction novels and Twitter seryes, and romanticizes cleaning her bookshelf.

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