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Difficult beginnings towards a fulfilling end: Behind-the-scenes of the first online baccalaureate mass

“We cannot accommodate all of the problems […] I know it’s not enough, but this is all we can do for now [and] for you,” De Mesa said.

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UST Minecraft’s Arch of the Centuries and camera setup. Screengrab provided by Charles Nobleza

While they admit to feeling pressured throughout the event preparations, Thomasian student-leaders remain hopeful as they take charge of the baccalaureate festivities. 

In a series of interviews with TomasinoWeb, Central Student Council (CSC) President Krizia Bricio, UST Minecraft founder Charles Nobleza, and send-off concert supervising producer Ashley de Mesa recalled the satisfaction they felt during the last weeks of preparations for the baccalaureate mass and send-off concert.

“Noong una, medyo uncertain ako […] pero kanina sa orientation, medyo na-alleviate na ang negativity na na-fifeel ko kasi marami naman willing mag-participate,” De Mesa said.

Despite the initial backlash it received, UST Minecraft ignored the negativity and focused on improving the virtual campus.

“[W]e designed [it] to feel as if you were in the event in real life. We did not add any new additions for the server [and] just focused on the main aspects needed such as fireworks and the attire of the graduates,” Nobleza said.

Given the present COVID-19 restrictions, the baccalaureate festivities and traditions will be done on Minecraft with 500 students and administrators representing their respective batches and programs.

UST Minecraft started as a student-initiated project back in the second quarter of 2020. Its first university-wide event was #USTeXP: UST Minecraft Tour, a virtual campus tour for Freshie Week 2020.

Since then, they have participated in several university-wide events such as Paskuhan and one of UST’s Leadership Training Webinars.

Commitment to service 

To compensate for the absence of in-campus ceremonies for batch 2020 and 2021, Tiger Media Network suggested having a send-off concert for the graduates.

“We had the send-off planned as early as February or March kasi akala namin May na siya mangyayari,” De Mesa said.

Bricio favored this idea as it gave the graduates something to look out for.

Naka-set na sa atin na grand ang celebrations for students […] Unfortunately, ‘di na yan nasabayan ng virtual version kasi hahanapin din nila ‘yung interaction,” Bricio said.

The send-off concert will feature the tribute features of batch 2020 and batch 2021 as well as pre-recorded performances such as those presented during Paskuhan 2020.

Similar to last year’s Paskuhan festivities, the production of the entire event shall be “hybrid” wherein the hosts and a number of the technical staff would work on-site while the rest worked online.

“We did our best” 

Despite its early planning dates, the University only announced the final date for the baccalaureate mass in June.

Given the time constraints and difficulties of coordinating online, several aspects of the event were left unaccomplished, such as the virtual personalization of each batch when exiting the Arch of the Centuries and the sending of  tokens to those who cannot attend the event.

“We cannot accommodate all of the problems […] I know it’s not enough, but this is all we can do for now [and] for you,” De Mesa said.

Bricio also mentioned that the best solution they came up with for those who cannot participate in the festivities was making the livestream available on Facebook.

Despite these lapses, they assured that each batch and program were well-represented.

The staff and groups involved in the program hoped to improve in the virtual events that would follow and for the batches to still enjoy the traditions and festivities of the university.

[H]aving it virtual in Minecraft is a band aid solution. Despite it being online, I hope that they would enjoy the festivities stored for them since we devoted a lot of time and effort into creating this for them,” Nobleza said.

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UST places 2nd top school in June 2022 architecture boards; three among top ten

UST registered an 88.24 percent passing rate or 255 out of 289 Thomasian examinees making the cut.

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(Photo by Marc Valmoria/TomasinoWeb)

The University ranked second among top-performing schools in June 2022 Architect Licensure Exam (ALE) with three Thomasians landing on the top ten highest scorers, results showed by the Professional Regulation Commission on June 22, Wednesday.

UST registered an 88.24 percent passing rate or 255 out of 289 Thomasian examinees making the cut. This is higher compared to the 87.94 percent passing rate from January 2022’s exams.

Gian Vincenz Dela Cruz led the new batch of Thomasian architects, placing second with an average of 81.90 percent.

Dela Cruz was followed by Thomasians Jam Scott Manalo and Oscar Kevin Castro who ranked fifth (81.50 percent) and ninth (81 percent), respectively.

The University of the Philippines Diliman was hailed as the top-performing school for the said boards, posting a 97.01 percent passing rate.

Meanwhile, the national passing rate for this month’s architecture boards rose to 63.72 percent with 3,037 out of 4, 766 examinees passing, higher than January 2022’s 62.13 percent where only 1,370 out of the 2,205 takers passed.

Justine Xyrah Rennzel Garcia
Reports Writer | + posts

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UST maintains spot in QS world rankings

The University maintained its ranking since the year 2018.

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Photo by Jacqueline Martinez/TomasinoWeb

The University maintained its spot in the Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) World University Rankings released on Wednesday, June 8 with the rank of 801-1000.

The University maintained its ranking since the year 2018.

Among the top four Philippine universities, Ateneo de Manila University placed second with the rank of 651-700. Meanwhile, De La Salle University tied with UST in the 801-1000 bracket.

The University of the Philippines remained as the top university in the country despite its 13-spot decline in the world rankings, placing 412th globally.

UST received the rating in the following criteria: Academic reputation (10.8%), Employer reputation (23.9%), Faculty/Student ratio (15.4%), Citations per faculty (1.2%), International faculty ratio (40.3%), International student ratio (8.5%), International research network (12.1%), Employment outcomes (20.7%)

 

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Thomasian alumna sits among 8 new National Artists

Lim-Higgins is one of the eight newly-declared national artists this year and the 19th addition to the Thomasian roster of National Artists.

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Photo from Slim's Fashion and Art School

Thomasian fashion designer Salvacion “Slim” Lim-Higgins has been posthumously declared a National Artist for Fashion on Friday, June 10.

Lim-Higgins is one of the eight newly-declared national artists this year and the 19th addition to the Thomasian roster of National Artists.

In 1940, she majored in painting in the then UST Department of Architecture and Fine Arts under the tutelage of fellow Thomasian National Artist, Carlos “Botong” Francisco.

One of her greatest hallmarks included Slim’s Fashion & Arts School founded in October 1960, the country’s first and oldest fashion school. In 1947, she established her atelier which was also named after her.

Photo from Inquirer Lifestyle

In 1956, she completed an ensemble of a gray asymmetrical point terno which is one of her most famous pieces. The piece was acquired by the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. 

Slim’s son and Slim’s Fashion & Arts School co-director, Mark Higgins, sent the piece as it “best represented” his mother’s style at the peak of her career. 

“My mother talked about it all her life. It’s one of her masterpieces. It’s spontaneously sculpted on a human form. This is the ‘holy grail’ for designers to replicate. It is impossible to recreate it,” he said in an article from Lifestyle Inquirer. 

Meanwhile, the Vinta Gallery described it as “a complex terno dress with a geometric silhouette, origami-like side pleat and crinkled draping, all held together with only one seam.”

The Thomasian alumna is known for being one of the pioneers on modern ternos as well as her “structurally complex” and “theatrical” works on female couture. World-renowned luxury fashion designers Christian Dior and Cristobal Balenciaga were her influences.

Lim-Higgins is the newest addition to the list of Thomasian National Artists which include Carlos Francisco, Nicomedes Joaquin, Victorio Edades, Vicente Manansala, Gerardo de Leon, Antonino, Buenaventura, Leandro Locsin, Rolando Tinio, Arturo Luz, Jeremias Elizalde Navarro, Ernani Cuenco, Daisy Hontiveros-Avellana, Francisco Sionil José, Ang Kiukok, Bienvenido Lumbera, Ildefonso Santos, Jr., Cirilo Bautista, José Marίa Zaragoza, and Francisco Mañosa.

Seven other national artists proclaimed this year were: Nora Aunor (film), Marilou Diaz-Abaya (film), Tony Mabesa (theater), Agnes Locsin (dance), Fides Cuyugan-Asencio (music), Ricky Lee (film), and Gemino Abad (literature).

Angela Gabrielle Magbitang Atejera
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