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#TWenty: The 2017 TomasinoWeb Year-ender

2016 was a merely a teaser for​ more terrible things to come—but 2017 was also the year we fought back.

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A letter from the editor

To say that 2017 was a challenging year is an understatement: 2017 was a terrible year—which is honestly funny, considering how just exactly a year ago, we were all probably tweeting how 2016 was the #WorstYearEver (it’s Twitter; sharper expletives are welcome).

If anything, the past year was merely a teaser for worse things to come, and it seems that 2017 picked up where 2016 left off: The Growling Tigers continued their dismal performance in the UAAP, securing only a single win this season; the government’s brutal crackdown on illegal drugs continue to claim the lives of thousands, even teenagers; and hazing has killed another student, and this time, it’s a Thomasian—all while the Dutertes enjoy lavish photoshoots in the Malacañang.

Mocha Uson is now an actual government official (which, more or less, gives legitimacy to her blatant misinformation frenzy), martial law is in full swing in Mindanao after a series of terror attacks, and candidates who lost to abstentions in the student council elections have threatened to take over the vacant posts.

It was a terrible year, but it was also the year we fought back.

A hashtag has given sexual harassment victims a voice to decry and expose abusers. Thousands marched in the streets of Manila last Sept. 21 to protest the government’s inhumane drug operations and harassment of farmer and indigenous communities. Mental health advocates also fought the stigma surrounding mental health conditions with a hashtag and Ariana Grande showed the world that we could respond to terrorism with love and solidarity.

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It’s undeniable that we are living in dangerous times—and that we are facing even more challenging times ahead. Despite all the things we hated this year, we are here, on the last day of the year, hoping that we could fight our way through 2018 like we did this 2017.

With that, I now present to you the top 20 people, issues, events, and trends that defined the spirit of 2017.

My comrades, Thomasians, Filipinos, netizens: Here is #TWenty.

The fight continues,
Philip Jamilla

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#TWenty

#TWenty: The 2016 TomasinoWeb Year-ender

Remember when we said that 2016 would be our year? It’s just a memory now.

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A letter from the editor

Remember when we said that 2016 would be our year?

It’s just a memory now.

Harambe has been shot dead by authorities at the Cincinnati Zoo and he has put a curse on us all. Misfortune piled upon misfortune. The Growling Tigers tanked terribly in UAAP Season 79. Miriam Defensor-Santiago is dead. Donald Trump is US President.

Can it get even worse?

There was a shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida that left 49 dead. The war on drugs has killed 6,000 people so far (we say “so far,” because President Rodrigo Duterte had asked for an extension of his six-month battle). Oh, and can we even forget – former dictator Ferdinand Marcos has been buried at the heroes’ cemetery.

But has it really been that bad?

We did get Pokémon Go, even if it easily fizzled away. The Metro Manila Film Festival finally showed quality films. UST has achieved a perfect passing rate in the Nursing boards. The Philippines has its third Miss Universe.

This year has seen a lot of good and bad, and we can either thank or curse this unit of time which we incessantly personify in order to project our inner fears, failures and anxieties onto it without taking into account all the logical steps that put us where we are now.

We took a lot of steps this 2016 and yes, some of those steps were on landmines. But our legs have not been fully broken and our will to live has not been completely shattered.

Maybe if we can survive past four or six more years, we can even get to see another supermoon in 2034.

But enough of my babbling: Here is a list of the top 20 people, things and events which left a mark on us this 2016.

Thomasians, Filipino people and citizens of the world, here is #TWenty.

Still alive despite all this,
Xave Gregorio

20. Pulse Nightclub shooting

Around 49 people were killed and 53 others wounded as Omar Mateen opened fire inside Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Florida. He then swore allegiance to the Islamic State in a 911 call.

The incident is considered to be the deadliest mass shooting by one shooter and the deadliest violence against the LGBT community. Mateen was later killed in a shootout with police.

The attack sent waves around the globe and raised safety concerns in the queer community. –Marc Dela Paz

19. Pokémon GO

Huge advancements in gaming defined 2016. Among these is Niantic’s location based augmented reality game that rocked the foundations of those dreaming to be a Pokémon Master the world over.

Pokémon Go was made available to 15 countries in Asia, including the Philippines, in August this year. It took little time for the Thomasian community to flock the 21-hectare campus searching for Pokémon and controlling the two gyms and making good use of the 32 Pokéstops within it.

Although it fizzled out the following months, Pokémon Go served as a stepping-stone for more games which will incorporate the physical, real-world environment.

One can only imagine what 2017 might have in stored for gamers. Augmented reality “Yu-Gi-Oh!”, anyone? – Jordan Thomas Pimentel

18. UST ranks second in employability survey

This year, UST was recognized by Quacquarelli-Symonds (QS) as the second best Philippine university which produces employable graduates.

With a graduate employment rate of 81 points and 90.2 points in employer-student connections, UST entered a spot in the 201+ bracket together with Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) and University of the Philippines (UP).

The University, however, fell to the 33rd place in the QS Employers Presence on Campus ranking with 90.2 points compared to last year’s ranking where UST ranked 17th with 90.3 points. UST also remained in the 701+ bracket in the recent World University Rankings and ranked 157th in Asian University Rankings. – Raye Danielle Peralta

17. First UAAP ballroom dance competition

Many were excited when the UAAP announced before the start of the season that they will be adding ballroom dancing to the list of events this season. Starting off as a demonstration sport, the competition was held at the Quadricentennial Pavillion last Sept. 2.

Students from different universities swarmed the Quadricenntenial Pavillion to show support to their respective schools. Out of the eight UAAP schools, only Far Eastern University did not participate in the event.

Despite rehearsing for only three months, the UST Sinag Ballroom Dance Company was able to capture two podium finishes in the Latin America and standard ballroom category that suited them for the silver medal while the University of the Philippines swept the competition after finishing strong by snagging gold medals in both categories.

Sinag was pleased with how the competition went despite not winning the coveted ballroom dancing crown. Head coach Danilo Gagani was happy with the performance, stating that it was a good start for the relatively young squad to finish with flying colors. Julian Elona and Patricia Isabella Romarate

16. Supermoon

Stargazers took their cameras and themselves out and marveled at the awe of the moon on November 14th this year.

A “supermoon” happens when the moon becomes full on the same day as the perigee, or the time that it is closest to the earth, says NASA.

But what made this supermoon special is the fact that the moon has not been that close to the earth since January 26, 1948. The next time it comes that close will be in November 2034 says PAGASA. – Jordan Thomas Pimentel

15. Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach

After 47 years, the Miss Universe crown finally comes back home.

Pia Wurtzbach is the third Filipino to win the coveted crown after Gloria Diaz in 1969 and Margarita Moran in 1973. Her win might be one of the most controversial in Miss Universe history because host Steve Harvey mistakenly announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as the winner only to take it back minutes later saying he “made a terrible mistake.”

The half-German beauty is a devout Catholic, but she is very vocal with her advocacy of gender equality. In an Instagram post, she said that although she was raised in a conservative Catholic country she is not afraid to fight for LGBT rights because there is no room for hate anymore.

Many took notice of her grace and beauty, in fact, she was named Google’s most-searched female personality in the Philippines this year. Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo also said last Dec. 20 that Wurtzbach agreed to become the Philippine’s tourism ambassador after her reign.

It might have started out as a mistake but Pia Wurtzbach’s colorful reign would definitely not be forgotten easily. She will pass her crown to the next Miss Universe on January 30, 2017 at the Mall of Asia Arena. – Maria Limjoco

14. Glitchy CSC elections

Evident with its voter’s education seminars and other election related programs, the UST Central Commission on Elections (UST Comelec) was determined to have a successful university-wide elections – successful, until the proclamation of the new set of Central Student Council (CSC) officers was postponed due to a “technical failure.”

On April 22, hours before the proclamation, one of the computers used for canvassing votes crashed, halting the downloading of the file which contained the results of the CSC elections from Blackboard, UST’s online learning portal. The glitch was so bad that Educational Technology Center staff had to ask assistance from Blackboard Australia and Singapore.

It was the first time a technical problem happened since the CSC election was automated in 2009. As expected, the incident drew flak from the Central Board as well as from the candidates.

On April 27, the UST Comelec finally proclaimed the new set of CSC officers with Lakas Tomasino Coalition dominating the elections after winning five out of six posts, including the presidency. – Vince Angelo Ferreras

13. First batch of SHS students

This year was witness to the first batch of senior high school students, following the implementation of the K-12 program initiated by the Aquino administration. The new school year has recorded 1.3 million Grade 11 students in 10 000 schools nationwide.

Among the 1.3 million students are the 5000 who passed through the Arch of the Centuries in the ceremonial Welcome Walk. These students now occupy the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building, which formerly housed the College of Tourism and Hospitality Management and the Faculty of Arts and Letters. – Beatriz Decena

12. Perfect passing rate in Nursing board exams

Hospitals may expect a handful of Thomasian nurses at their doorsteps after this year’s exam results.

As if to end the year with a bang, all the University’s 324 examinees passed the November 2016 nursing board examinations, with UST once again sporting a 100-percent passing rate, earning its second top performance in the boards in a row.

This year, eighteen Thomasian graduates stood in the Top 10 list. UST’s Faith Calzado Rutagines topped the exams with an 86.60-percent rating, sharing the spot with Eric Jacinto from Saint Louis University. – Carisse Niclo Dumaua

11. Vice President Leni Robredo

Before she became vice president, Leni Robredo could be seen riding a bus from Manila to Naga City along with her daughters. Indeed, her simplicity and motherly image has gained admiration from many.

Known for being the wife of the late Department of the Interior and Local Government secretary Jesse Robredo, the former Camarines Sur representative had no plans of taking higher posts in the government. Not until the Liberal Party convinced her to run along its standard bearer Mar Roxas.

Robredo surged in pre-election surveys, battling almost neck and neck with former Senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos.

This same battle was waged during the elections, where she emerged victorious by a few hundred thousand votes. She finished with 14,418,817 votes while Marcos had 14,155,344.

Despite controversies and her “irreconcilable differences” with the President, she keeps calm and continues to slay every magazine cover. – Vince Angelo Ferrera

10. US President-elect Donald Trump

“I will be the greatest jobs (sic) president that God has ever created,” Donald Trump said on July 16, 2015 – announcing his intention to run for president of the United States.

His scathing remarks on Mexicans, sexist comments and vilification of Muslims made him a controversial icon across the world, and despite all that he was still able to gather a “yuge” number of supporters – but not “yuge” enough to beat Hillary Clinton in the popular vote.

Trump, the standard-bearer of the Republican Party snagged 306 electoral votes, while Democrat Hillary Clinton won a mere 232. –Marc Dela Paz

9. Harambe

A cocktail of negligent parenting, an unusually acrobatic child, a confused silverback gorilla, a gun and the ever present mobile camera spawned what will later go down in history as one of the key moments of the year 2016.

On May 28, a three-year old boy, who apparently took Tarzan and The Jungle Book way too seriously, decided that he will enjoy his trip to the zoo by going inside a gorilla enclosure. Low and behold, the child found himself trapped inside a cage with a 440-pound raw muscle and a bad decision. The Cincinnati Zoo, fearing for the safety of the kid and probably more fearing of a hefty lawsuit, decided that the best course of action is to shoot the gorilla.

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And shoot the gorilla they did.

News about cases like this usually sputters out after a few days. However, to everyone’s surprise, the whole fiasco was blown way out of proportion and became an international scandal. Most people cried foul and blamed the parent for being negligent while some supported the decision of the zoo administration. There’s also a few who blame Harambe himself for being there in the enclosure causing all this scandal in the first place. “Aye, that monkey’s crakin up. With ‘ol the business ‘bout dragging that lad across the cage. I spilled me coffee ‘cos of that chimpanzee,” said Bert, one of the visitors of the zoo that fateful day.

Harambe unwittingly became the personification of our society’s repressed love for dark humor and also our ability as a species to be a complete and total jackass by turning harrowing events like this into memes. Vox even declared Harambe as the undeniable “meme of the year”.

It is without the question that Harambe reached a status no man, or animal for that matter, ever achieved before. No creature in the past, present, and possibly the future that will have his own phallic salute. – Jayson Cruz

8. UST hosts UAAP Season 79

he responsibility of hosting the 79th season of the UAAP fell on the shoulders of the University of Santo Tomas and of course, it did not fail to showcase spectacular things.

The season opened last Sept. 3 at the University’s Plaza Mayor, breaking the norm of the annual opening of UAAP season in major arenas in the country.

Institute of Physical Education Administration director Fr. Ermito De Sagon said that the opening ceremony aimed to show Thomasian culture to the athletes in all eight universities who entered through the Arch of the Centuries in their very own Welcome Walk. – Gabriel John Pe and Cyreel Gian Zarate

7. War on Drugs

The Philippines is in a state of war.

More accurately, the Duterte administration had declared an all out war against illegal drugs. This had been one of the most prominent changes promised by President Duterte on the campaign trail, which endeared millions of Filipinos.

He had promised to eradicate drugs within six months. In those six months, more than 6,000 lives of suspected drug pushers and users nationwide. Some of them were killed in anti-narcotics operations, after they allegedly fought police, while some were killed in apparent vigilante killings.

About a third of police operations are being investigated for alleged human rights violations. However, Duterte assured that he will defend all policemen from such charges.

The President had been in headlines both locally and internationally for his hardline measures against drugs which drew criticism from the US and the UN. With every blow of negative feedback, he simply responded with a “F*** you.”

Despite different criticisms, the latest Social Weather Stations survey revealed that he still holds good reputation at home.

In addition, Duterte pushed back the deadline of the war on drugs stating that he will continue “until the last pusher drops dead.”  – Ricmae Dorothy Arellano

6. Mocha Uson

“Anong po ang masasabi niyo, mga ka-DDS?”

Well, Filipinos have a lot to say to Mocha Uson – one of President Duterte’s ever gallant knights online. She made noise through her Facebook page, Mocha Uson Blog, by frequently lambasting established and credible news outlets—from Ateneo de Manila’s Matanglawin, to the Philippine Daily Inquirer, to the New York Times—for allegedly “destabilizing the Philippines.”

The dancer-turned-political analyst also preys on “dilawans,” or people affiliated with the Liberal Party or simply anyone who dares to be critical toward the Duterte administration, and blames them for stratifying the nation by staining the President’s image.

Unbeknownst to some, Uson is actually a Thomasian. She graduated with a degree in Medical Technology at the University, then studied at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery for two years. She dropped out to pursue a career as a singer and later on, the leader of girl group Mocha Girls.

Her online following greatly outnumbers some media organizations – a feat that she is very proud of. Her relentless support for the President, characterized by an apologist rhetoric and misinformation, had triggered online petitions to shut down her page.

However, as she said in her first column on the Philippine Star, she is still free to speak. – Cielo Erikah Mae Cinco

5. Growling Tigers’ worst season

Season 79 has been rough for the UST Growling Tigers. After an unexpected bridesmaid finish last season, the Tigers fell to the bottom of the standing with a dismal 3-11 win-loss record. The Tigers experienced their worst loss in a decade against eventual champions De La Salle Green Archers with a 38-point deficit. When things could not get any worse, it did – the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons beat UST for the first time since Season 69.

The Tigers lost their key players in Kevin Ferrer, Ed Daquioag and Karim Abdul and Embons Bonleon was declared out for the season due to a wrist injury. Even before the season started, the Tigers had to adjust to a new system only three months before the opening of the UAAP Season 79 under Boy Sablan, who replaced Bong dela Cruz after allegations of maltreatment of players and game fixing.

Veterans Louie Vigil and Jamil Sheriff almost did not make it in the lineup after a sudden decision by the league’s board to lower the age limit from 25 to 24. However, after UST contested the decision, Vigil and Sheriff were cleared to play. King Tiger Vigil led the España-based cagers with an average of 13.57 points and 3.14 assists per game. – Chelseia Jeanne Jose

4. The Metro Manila Film Festival lineup

The unveiling of this year’s lineup for the Metro Manila Film Festival is a sight to behold and a hopeful testament to the future of Philippine cinema, serving up an array of entries boasting with timely relevance – something that has been painfully missing in the festival since the start of the last decade.

It’s a much needed palette cleanser after the overextended reign of franchise tent poles and less-than-stimulating blockbusters that have now left a sour taste in some moviegoers’ mouth.

Ang Babae sa Septic Tank 2: #ForeverIsNotEnough, Die Beautiful, Kabisera, Oro, Saving Sally, Seklusyon, Sunday Beauty Queen, and Vince & Kath & James; these specially crafted films mark the point in history where the Metro Manila Film Festival tried to take back its rightful glory.

Time will tell if these titles will live up to their potential but if there’s one thing we can all take to the bank, most of these are poised to be better than what we’ve been getting since the start of the recent millennia.
Now, for the sake of Philippine cinema, you should go and watch them. – Isaiah John Mangunay

3. President Rodrigo Duterte

Rodrigo Duterte made headlines even before taking his oath and assuming the country’s highest position. He made bold promises during his presidential campaign, including eradicating illegal drugs in three to six months. His firm stance against criminality and corruption among millions of Filipinos, allowing him to win by a landslide.

His mouth was often crass and undiplomatic as he had cursed Pope Francis, US President Barack Obama, the UN and its Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon and the European Union, among a long list of other personalities. He had made jokes about raping a nun and being infatuated with Vice President Leni Robredo’s knees and other chauvinistic remarks. These were easily dismissed by his avid supporters as harmless, while critics had put him on blast.

The President was at the center of controversy when Edgar Matobato, a self-confessed hitman, claimed that the long-time mayor of Davao City was the mastermind behind the vigilante group, “Davao Death Squad.” He was again placed under scrutiny after allowing the burial of the late Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani.

Duterte emphasized improved government service during his first State of the Nation Address (SONA). He has issued an executive order for the implementation of the Freedom of Information (FOI). The pending peace negotiations between the government and New People’s Army have resumed. The President has also announced a tax reform plan and a proposed federal government.

Despite dropping four points from the third quarter, he has registered “excellent” in the last Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey, with a satisfaction rating of +72. The President recently placed 70th on the “World’s Most Powerful People” list released by Forbes magazine. – Tyra Danielle Aquino

2. Miriam Defensor-Santiago

The year 2016 marked the end of former Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago’s colorful journey through politics and life.

It was in 2014 when she announced that she was diagnosed with lung cancer and July last year when she said that she was cured. Last year in October, she filed her candidacy for president for the third and last time.

She banked on the power of social media and millennials to catapult her to the presidency.

She had a strong following among students as she topped in election surveys in several universities. However, other sectors of Philippine society were less receptive of her due to her illness, so she tanked in national polls conducted by Pulse Asia and Social Weather Stations.

During the three month campaign period she had been barely able to campaign due to fatigue and cancer treatment. She ranked fifth with only 1,455,532 votes. Despite losing in her last attempt to become the president of the Philippines, she remained positive and asked her supporters to do the same.

Four months after the elections, the so-called Iron Lady of Asia died, leaving Filipinos mourning for “the best president we never had.” – Elinor Bola

1. Ferdinand Marcos’ burial at the Libingan ng mga Bayani

It was a move by President Duterte which sought to unite the nation – but it proved to be one which fractured it even more.

The Supreme Court’s 9-5-1 ruling in favor of burying former dictator Ferdinand Marcos at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Taguig sent people to the streets in protest. When Marcos was clandestinely buried 10 days after the ruling at the heroes’ cemetery, even more went out – outside university campuses, at the People Power Monument and at Luneta Park.

The burial ignited a militant spark in millennials as they led the protests in thousands, carrying witty picket signs with references to popular culture.

While others were indignant, loyalists like the Duterte Youth and Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee Marcos was happy with the burial and was grateful for President Duterte’s fulfillment of one of his campaign promises of burying the late dictator whose regime committed thousands of human rights violations.

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#TWenty

#TWenty: The TomasinoWeb 2015 Year-Ender

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Photo credits (from left to right, top to bottom): TomasinoWeb (K-12 bus), Maria Denise Paglinawan/UJP-UST (Stop Lumad Killings), TomasinoWeb (Flooded UST Field), Manila Bulletin (Ronnie del Carmen), TomasinoWeb (Pope Francis), Karl Angelo Vidal/The Flame (ABSC President Jan Dominic Castro), GMA News Online (Krisel Mallari), TomasinoWeb (Paskuhan 3D video mapping), TomasinoWeb (Salinggawi Dance Troupe), Quacquarelli-Symonds, UJP-UST, Pacucoa, TomasinoWeb (Traffic jam), TomasinoWeb (Shake Drill), TomasinoWeb (Aktiboto), SBS.co.au (White House rainbow lights), Pharmacy Student Council (Pharmacy Type B uniform), Palafox Architecture (Proposed UST Santa Rosa campus). Poster by Howard Humphrey Litan/TomasinoWeb

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Pardon the cliché, but 2015 has truly been a wild ride.

This year was almost as unpredictable and tumultuous as a ride on our country’s well-maintained, world class and probably overpriced metro rail system. It was as if the year happened like a bright and powerful, almost blinding, flash. Abrupt, annoying, but also warm.

Warm enough that this summer warranted an alternative uniform to keep students from melting into the pavement, and bright enough that the University managed to keep its flame burning as an academic institution as it garnered accolades from different groups in the academe.

But like flames, things can easily go out of control. 2015 was a rather heated year as it was shrouded with issues in and out of the University. This year, we had to deal with the forever-lost P50,000 ABSC fund, Krisel Mallari’s admission to the University, presidential shade over a “prized soccer field,” Lumad killings, and the US Supreme Court’s legalization of same sex marriage, among many other issues.

It was a tough year, and we hustled like how the Salinggawi Dance Troupe and the UST Growling Tigers did during their bids to reclaim the Cheerdance Competition and the UAAP Men’s Basketball championship crowns. We knew that we did our best, even if, like Salinggawi and the Tigers, we only bagged silvers.

On the flip side, we are all God’s children, as pointed out by Pope Francis’ visit to the country last January which left us with enough awe and inspiration to keep us running for the whole year.

And as the year draws to a close, it would be nice to remember all these things that happened—and more—in a list of the top 20 people, events, and issues which defined our 2015 as Thomasians, as Filipinos, and as inhabitants of this tiny blue dot in the universe.

Without further ado, here is #TWenty. -Xave Gregorio

[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css_animation=”appear”]Several “Type B” uniforms have been parading in campus ever since University administrators allowed faculties and colleges to have their own alternative uniforms.

The alternative uniforms were proposed as a relief from the heat for students who would be extending their stay in the University until the summer months due to the academic calendar shift.

Some students, however, were not in favor of the alternative uniform. They questioned if it’s actually necessary when students who took summer classes before the calendar shift did not need an alternative uniform. They also said that it would only add to their expenses.

Meanwhile, in controversy-laden AB, some students still have to resolve issues with their student council regarding the distribution and quality of their summer uniforms. Issues include delays even for senior students who have not yet received their summer uniforms even after the council released several memos.

Amid negative comments, many Thomasians still bought and wore their Type B uniforms whenever their faculties and colleges permitted it. -Cristina Miranda/TW[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space height=”16px”][vc_single_image image=”17379″ img_size=”full” css_animation=”right-to-left” title=”20. Summer uniforms” css=”.vc_custom_1451539017865{margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css_animation=”right-to-left” css=”.vc_custom_1451539061230{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”]

A Political Science student sporting the Type B uniform of the Faculty of Arts and Letters asks a question during a forum on the Bangsamoro Basic Law held last Oct. 10. Photo by Adrian Castillo/TomasinoWeb

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The League of Filipino Students stage a silent protest inside the St. Raymund de Peñafort Building on Aug. 14, 2015 to call for accountability for the missing P50,000 student activity fund and for the delays of the Type B uniform. Photo by Xave Gregorio/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space height=”40px”][vc_column_text css_animation=”appear”]Lost but not yet found.

The year is about to end, and yet the lost P50, 000 council fund of the AB Student Council (ABSC) remains a mystery.

The issue sparked in October last year, when the council fund intended for the Athena Cup, non-government organization fair, and staff general assembly was reportedly lost inside the ABSC office.

As expected, this stirred up anger among Artlets and distrust in the student council. Last August 15, the members of the League of Filipino Students-UST conducted a silent protest at the lobby of the St. Raymund de Peñafort Building, demanding for accountability and transparency from the ABSC and the verdict on the issue.

A month after the protest, a resolution released by the Student Welfare and Development Board (SWDB) sanctioned former ABSC President Marie Jann Lazo and former Treasurer Julienne Avila for mishandling the fund.

To prevent an identical incident from happening, incumbent ABSC officers proposed to install a CCTV camera inside the office. -Vince Ferreras/TW[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css_animation=”left-to-right”]

2015 proved to be a fortuitous year for the University after it reaped accreditations from the Philippine Association of Colleges and Universities Commission on Accredication (Pacucuoa).

In this year alone, the University has received 13 accreditations from Pacucuoa, five of which are level IV. The programs Nursing, Bachelor in Elementary Education, Secondary Education,  Food Technology, Nutrition and Dietetics, and Medical Technology received the said level IV accreditations last June, and will be valid until 2020.

A level IV accreditation would mean that the said programs will be given full authority in managing their programs as well as offer new graduate programs under current level IV classes and extension classes without the need for CHED approval aside from the benefits given to levels I to III.

Meanwhile, the Hotel and Restaurant Management program received a level III RA, which will give the program freedom to offer graduate programs, distance and open learning programs, extension classes and transnational education along with the level I and II accreditation benefits.

The AB programs Asian Studies, Behavioral Science, Journalism, Political Science, Sociology and Communication Arts all received a level II 1st RA which will also be valid until 2020. It is the first time that the Communication Arts program received the said accreditation.

A level II accreditation means that the said programs will have the benefits of full administrative deregulation, financial deregulation in setting tuition and other fees, the freedom to revise the curriculum upon CHED’s approval, and a priority in being given awards and assistance by CHED or DepEd.

The Interior Design and Physical Therapy programs are still candidates for accreditation until 2017. -Anna Gabriela Mogato/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space height=”160px”][vc_single_image image=”17370″ img_size=”full” css_animation=”bottom-to-top” title=”18. Pacucoa accreditation” css=”.vc_custom_1451539288426{margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css_animation=”bottom-to-top” css=”.vc_custom_1451539326127{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”]

The University reaped accreditations from the Pacucoa this year. In this photo, fireworks light up the night sky during the annual Paskuhan festivities held last Dec. 18. Photo by Carmelo Culvera/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”17372″ img_size=”full” css_animation=”left-to-right” title=”17. QS Rankings” css=”.vc_custom_1451539422563{margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css_animation=”left-to-right” css=”.vc_custom_1451539505707{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”]

This year, UST became the only university in the country to be given QS stars. In this photo, UST freshmen hear mass at the UST Field after they entered the Arch of the Centuries last Aug. 5. Photo by Miguel Santos/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space height=”10px”][vc_column_text css_animation=”appear”]While numbers do not entirely dictate one’s identity, they definitely foster general impression.

This year, UST became the only university in the country to be given four out of five Quacqurelli-Symonds (QS) stars.

As the only Philippine institution to be rated, it scored one star in the specialist criteria; two stars for research; three stars for internationalization; four stars for teaching; and a perfect record of five stars for employability, facilities, social responsibility and inclusiveness.

UST also secured the 143rd spot in the Asian University Rankings and maintained its spot in the 701+ group in the World University Rankings.

The QS rankings aim to give students the power to choose potential universities on a global scale and provide a rough sketch of international education. On their website, they mentioned that UST graduates “consistently and yearly” dominate the top ten of board exams, thus proving that its academic programs are superior. -Vivien Sarabillo/TomasinoWeb[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space height=”69px”][vc_column_text css_animation=”appear”]Halfway through the year, UST participated in the first Metro Manila Shake Drill amidst the threat of a 7.2-magnitude quake hitting the metro.

The neighboring West Valley Fault has laid dormant for centuries, and the local seismology bureau has repeatedly warned of the impending doom of “the big one.”

Luckily, UST is ready for it.

The University has established a Disaster Preparedness Team and administrators have said that all buildings are structurally sound. -Xave Gregorio and Jasmine Dy/TomasinoWeb[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16719″ img_size=”full” css_animation=”right-to-left” title=”16. #MMShakeDrill” css=”.vc_custom_1451539614124{margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css_animation=”right-to-left” css=”.vc_custom_1451539940239{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”]

The University also participated in the metro-wide earthquake drill held last July 30. Photo by Johmar Damiles/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space height=”45px”][vc_single_image image=”16985″ img_size=”full” css_animation=”bottom-to-top” title=”15. Heneral Luna” css=”.vc_custom_1451540086551{margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css_animation=”bottom-to-top” css=”.vc_custom_1451540339418{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”]

Heneral Luna almost got pulled out of cinemas, but with the help of netizens, it is now the highest grossing Filipino historical film of all time. Photo from the Heneral Luna Facebook page

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css_animation=”right-to-left”]When Spain sold the Philippines to the United Sates, war broke loose and the line between self-interest and love of country was thinned. Antonio Luna (John Arcilla), an excellent yet hot-tempered general believes that the Americans will bring nothing good to his homeland. So, with his mind ready and his gun loaded he leads his men to battle and, along the way, finds out that the white-skinned conquerors may not be the Philippine’s worst enemies.

Heneral Luna was released in a hundred cinemas and grossed over P200 million, making it the highest-grossing historical film of all time. When asked about the success of Heneral Luna, executive producer, Fernando Ortigas and, producer and screenwriter, Eduardo A. Rocha both said it brought tears to their eyes because of the outstanding commitment the audience has brought to the film. “It’s a cultural phenomenon. I’ve never seen anything like it, I get very emotional. The commitment the people are giving the movie,” said Mr. Rocha and this cultural phenomenon may again happen once two more historical films make their debut and in the process complete this planned trilogy.

Set during a time of war and deceit, Heneral Luna is film that will not just save Filipino cinema but may well start the flame that has long been lost in the hearts of many Filipinos around the globe. -Nadine Dizon/TomasinoWeb[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css_animation=”appear”]

As part of the University’s plans to further encourage its students to be more proactive for the 2016 elections, the UST Central Commission on Elections (UST Comelec) launched in early September their very own voter’s education program sought to educate and better guide Thomasians in choosing their future leaders: Aktiboto.

Its grand launch was preceded by a forum that gave an overview as well as an in-depth explanation of the importance of the orientation of first-time voters and re-education of existing voters alike with rules and guidelines to be followed for a clean election.

Aktiboto has indeed kept its goal in voter’s education thoughout the year through a series of events, from advocacy concerts to satellite voter’s registration, which engaged Thomasians.

2015 served as the year of preparation and execution of UST Comelec’s carefully planned agenda, like an exam that had been thoroughly reviewed, with the result of the 2016 elections serving as the end product.

In years to come, Aktiboto would remain a solid program exclusively launched before the election periods to continue the education of the youth on the responsible voting. -Ysabel Nicole Hilado/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space height=”20px”][vc_single_image image=”17012″ img_size=”full” css_animation=”appear” title=”14. Aktiboto” css=”.vc_custom_1451540550476{margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css_animation=”appear” css=”.vc_custom_1451540597125{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”]

UST Commission on Elections Vice Chairperson Raymond John Naguit speaks during the launching of Aktiboto, the voters’ education program of the University, last Sept. 16, 2015. Photo by Johmar Damiles/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”17073″ img_size=”full” css_animation=”left-to-right” title=”13. Plans for new UST campuses” css=”.vc_custom_1451540709811{margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css_animation=”left-to-right” css=”.vc_custom_1451540758188{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”]

In his report last Oct. 16, Rector Very Rev. Fr. Herminio Dagohoy said that the University is planning to build five more campuses in the coming years. Photo by Denise Sabio/TomasinoWeb

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Unlike other big universities and colleges, UST has only one campus.

But UST Rector Very Rev. Fr. Herminio Dahogoy has confirmed in his tri-annual report last October that the University has set its eyes to build new campuses in Iloilo and Quezon City as part of the University’s plan to provide more quality education in the future.

The Taguig campus—which will be more like an extension facility situated closer to the heart of business and commerce industry in Metro Manila—will house the University’s Master’s in Business Administration program, made possible in partnership with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the largest business organization in the Philippines.

The University also plans to build campuses in General Santos and in Sta. Rosa, Laguna and their digital representations were shown during Dahogoy’s report. -Anna Gabriela Mogato/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css_animation=”appear” css=”.vc_custom_1451541167420{margin-bottom: 0px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”]After a lengthy and tumultuous legal battle which took her up to the appellate court, Krisel Mallari won in early August over her high school’s refusal to issue her a certificate of good moral character which prevented her from enrolling to the University’s Accountancy program as a Santo Tomas Scholar.

Mallari attracted attention for her salutatory address, which criticized what she claims to be an unjust grading system, was interrupted by school officials.

Sto. Niño Parochial School in Quezon City initially refused to release the certificate even after the Court of Appeals ruling in favor of Mallari, but eventually released it “with reservation, under protest, and with full intent to assail the legality, validity and authority,” a note which further delayed Mallari’s enrollment.

The certificate was forwarded to the University’s legal counsel and was deliberated on for days, and eventually, even if Mallari missed the freshmen orientation and the campus tour, she still got to enter the Arch of the Centuries-Xave Gregorio/TomasinoWeb[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=88ZZugdI-Vs” title=”12. Krisel Mallari” css=”.vc_custom_1451575981983{margin-top: 0px !important;margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1451354765467{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”]

The video of Mallari’s interrupted salutatory address. She later finished her speech on the ABS-CBN program Bottomline hosted by Boy Abunda.

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”16808″ img_size=”full” css_animation=”left-to-right” title=”11. Ronnie del Carmen” css=”.vc_custom_1451542169562{margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css_animation=”left-to-right” css=”.vc_custom_1451542280690{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”]

Inside Out co-director Ronnie del Carmen speaks to Thomasians after being given an award by the University last Aug. 10. Del Carmen is an alumnus of the College of Fine Arts and Design. Photo by Agatha Imbao/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space height=”24px”][vc_column_text css_animation=”appear”]Earning his degree at UST as a Fine Arts in Advertising major, Ronnie del Carmen migrated to the United States and that’s when he met Oscar-winning director, Pete Docter.

Del Carmen joined Pixar Animated Studios’ story team on a number of feature films including the Academy Award-winning features Finding Nemo, Ratatouille and Up, for which he served story adviser.

He co-directed the phenomenal movie Inside Out with Docter, which still features the Disney-Pixar signature “right in the feels” hit.

Though Del Carmen went on as an art director in print and television campaigns in the advertising industry, his heart was still in filmmaking. Del Carmen fell in love with animation at an early age, so it comes as no surprise that he pursued his dreams in that field.

Occasionally, he would dip into comic book work for DC, Marvel and Dark Horse. He continues self-publishing his works. -Samanthea Caballero/TomasinoWeb

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Poster by RD Daniel/TomasinoWeb

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Last October, Manila saw Lumads—the term used to collectively refer to the 18 non-Christianized and non-Islamized indigenous tribes in Mindanao—marching on the streets to air their grievances to the central government after three Lumad leaders in Surigao del Sur were killed last Sept. 1 allegedly by the Armed Forces of the Philippines-backed paramilitary group Magahat-Bagani.

UST’s Simbahayan Community Development Office joined in the calls for justice and showed their support for the Lumads through the “Dialogue of Life: Our Continuing Journey with the Anawim (Rural Poor)”, a program which included a forum and a gift giving which gave around 200 Thomasians the opportunity to interact with the Lumads. -Caryl Christine Manabat/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space height=”190px”][vc_single_image image=”17189″ img_size=”full” css_animation=”bottom-to-top” title=”10. #StopLumadKillings” css=”.vc_custom_1451543225943{margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css_animation=”bottom-to-top” css=”.vc_custom_1451543304003{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”]

Dulphing Ogan, secretary general of Kusog sa Katawhan Lumad sa Mindanao, speaks to Thomasians during their visit to the Lumad camp in Baclaran last Nov. 15. Photo by Miguel Santos/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”17048″ img_size=”full” css_animation=”left-to-right” title=”9. Transportation woes” css=”.vc_custom_1451543538034{margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css_animation=”left-to-right” css=”.vc_custom_1451543648788{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”]

The MRT gave commuters a rather bumpy ride this year, exhibiting problems from dysfunctional airconditioning to being derailed. Luckily, the government has a solution to all these – a new ticketing system. Photo by Chealsea Murphy/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space height=”45px”][vc_column_text css_animation=”appear”]The road to 2016 might still be a little too congested for people living in Metro Manila and nearby provinces.

Road congestion has gotten so bad that perhaps we would have to take up the entire stretch of Edsa to write every time we said the word “trapik.”

Transportation and communications chief Joseph Emilio Abaya considered this problem as “non-fatal” until he received a roasting from netizens, after which he apologized.

In his last State of the Nation Address, President Aquino mentioned that the effects of the ongoing improvements on the MRT would be felt by this year’s end. He also said that the several roads currently under construction are expected to be fully operation by mid-2016 or 2017. Commuters might have to wait until then before they experience the Aquino administration’s “Daang Matuwid.” -Cristina Miranda/TomasinoWeb[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space height=”30px”][vc_column_text css_animation=”appear”]

2015 had become a major adjustment for students and faculty alike as the K-12 implementation brought about major changes in the University starting with the major influx of students that amounted to more than 13,000 freshmen.

After five careful years of planning, the K-12 program, a 13 year coverage of basic education, is finally being implemented in UST next Academic Year with the University cutting programs and offering Senior High School.

The incoming Senior High School students will be using the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building. As a result, students from the College of Tourism and Hospitality Managements who use the sixth to ninth floors will be sent back to the Alberuts Magnus Building to make way for the senior high students, whose projected population is at 5,000. Meanwhile, Artlets who use the 10th and 11th floors might stick around in the building longer until further notice. -Ysabel Nicole Hilado/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”17374″ img_size=”full” css_animation=”right-to-left” title=”8. K-12 implementation in full swing” css=”.vc_custom_1451544011180{margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css_animation=”right-to-left” css=”.vc_custom_1451544063226{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”]

Reports say that the Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building would be housing the Senior High School program of the University. In this photo, the building is shown in the background during the 2015 Baccalaureate Mass. Photo by Emmanuel Vittorio Salvador/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space][vc_single_image image=”16746″ img_size=”full” css_animation=”left-to-right” title=”7. ‘Prized soccer field'” css=”.vc_custom_1451544343171{margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css_animation=”left-to-right” css=”.vc_custom_1451544385097{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”]Militants burn the effigy of President Benigno Aquino III during his last State of the Nation Address where he threw shade at the University for not allowing the construction of a catch basin under the UST Field, which is a National Cultural Treasure. Photo by Patrick Palencia/TomasinoWeb
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“Bayan o sarili?”

The quote may come from Heneral Luna, but this time, the battle is between the Philippine government and the University.

Shortly after President Aquino’s last SONA, wherein he had blamed the annual floods in Metro Manila on a certain university (which is UST in case you haven’t noticed) that declined the Department of Public Works and Highways’ plan of digging a hole in the campus’ “prized soccer field” —as coined by Presidential Spokesman Edwin Lacierda—in order to build a catch basin for flood.

While this has put the University in a bad light as it was seen as an act of selfishness, the Thomasian community did not take this issue lying down.

San Fransisco-based writer Julius Fernandes wrote in his blog that it would be a desecration to the University if the government were to make a retardant tank underneath the campus grounds.

The University administration also argued that the soccer field is one of UST’s cultural treasures, having been stood upon by three popes as well as having been a venue during the 1995 World Youth Day and Pope Francis’ Papal Visit last January. -Anna Gabriela Mogato/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text css_animation=”appear”]An overwhelming splash of rainbows, tears, and cries of exhilaration erupted in the US as their Supreme Court legalized same sex marriage nationwide after decades of queer struggle. US President Barack Obama even regarded the court ruling as a “victory for America.”

Shortly after the US Supreme Court ruling, a staggering amount of tweets related to the decision dominated social media site Twitter, making the hashtag #LoveWins reach its trending list.

Furthermore, tweets with #LoveWins or #Pride hashtags were automatically embedded with rainbow flag emojis—a symbol of the LGBT movement.

Incidentally, the same sex marriage ruling came in just in time for the Metro Manila Pride March at the Lapu-Lapu Monument in Luneta last June 26.

Several student publications and organizations, including TomasinoWeb, expressed support for the LGBT sector by coating their usual profile photos with a spectrum of bright rainbow colors along with other Facebook users. The sporting of these profile photos were met with criticism yet continuous love and support erupted, nonetheless.

The Catholic Church, however, maintained its stance that same sex marriage should be rejected-Quinn Mamaclay/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space height=”35px”][vc_single_image image=”17380″ img_size=”full” css_animation=”right-to-left” title=”6. #LoveWins” css=”.vc_custom_1451544498646{margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css_animation=”right-to-left” css=”.vc_custom_1451544579002{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”]

The Supreme Court ruling in favor of same sex marriage in the United States made waves even inside the University. In this October 2014 photo, Corky Hope Maranan of Kapederasyon waves a rainbow flag during a protest along España Boulevard calling for justice for the slain transgender woman Jennifer Laude. Photo by Emmanuel Vittorio Salvador/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”17115″ img_size=”full” css_animation=”left-to-right” title=”5. #NoToUSTHairPolicy” css=”.vc_custom_1451544999278{margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css_animation=”left-to-right” css=”.vc_custom_1451545105018{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”]

College of Fine Arts and Design student Sef Veloria posted this photo of the stricter hair policy in the college on his Facebook profile and prompted a plethora of reactions from both Thomasians and non-Thomasians.

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While other people simply comply with the administration’s regulations, several Thomasian students chose to question them.

From the months of September to October, several students called for the suspension of the implementation of a new hair policy, which prohibits “outrageous” hair colors for everyone and long hair for men. The College of Fine Arts and Design (CFAD) took it up a notch and even banned the afro and the man bun, among other “outrageous” hair styles.

These students believed that hair color and hair cut do not affect their academic performance and that it is just a form of self-expression.

Thomasians expressed their opinions and disappointment using social media. They also argued that liberalism and freedom of expression were being oppressed because of the new policy, especially in CFAD, an art school, and in AB, a liberal arts college.

However, there were also some who supported the policy and believed that the students were abusing their freedom of expression. They even went as far as suggesting that these students could just leave the University if they cannot follow rules.

The local administrators stood by their policy. AB Asst. Dean Narcissa Tabirara explained that being part of a “liberal college” doesn’t mean that it does not give the students to do whatever they want, while former CFAD Acting Dean Romeo Castro said that it is all a matter of explanation-Caryl Christine Manabat/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][vc_single_image image=”17387″ img_size=”full” css_animation=”bottom-to-top” css=”.vc_custom_1451545550080{margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css_animation=”bottom-to-top” css=”.vc_custom_1451545734255{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”]

Journalism junior Aly Samonte, sporting purple hair, poses for a photo in protest of the hair policy. This photo is part of a series launched by the Union of Journalists of the Philippines – UST chapter which garnered significant publicity. Photo from the UJP-UST Facebook page

[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xe1CqkDtFm8″ css=”.vc_custom_1451358927750{margin-top: 21px !important;margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css_animation=”bottom-to-top”]With an explosive performance in this year’s UAAP Cheerdance Competition, the striving UST Salinggawi Dance Troupe showed that they are capable of becoming champions once again with seemingly flawless stunts and astonishing tosses, en route to the top spot in the Group Stunts category.

The announcement of the winners was a shocker, as the hosts proclaimed UP as the second runner-up, garnering 610.50 points. The UP crowd and even the dancers themselves were left speechless at the result. After this, the UST crowd assumed that the two-year dominance of the National U Pep Squad will finally be broken by Salinggawi, but this was not what the judges had in mind. UST was called as the first runner-up, garnering 651.50 points, while posting the highest score in the dance category with 354 points. NU was then named as this year’s champions, completing a three-peat after posting a total of 668 points from the judges.

Despite the bridesmaid finish, the UST crowd showed their Thomasian spirit, cheering “Go USTe!” as loud as they can during the presentation of the award. Another year passed and the cheerdance crown still seemed elusive for Salinggawi. -Ralph Edwin Villanueva/TomasinoWeb[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”17388″ img_size=”full” css_animation=”right-to-left” title=”4. Salinggawi back with silver finish” css=”.vc_custom_1451545832076{margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css_animation=”right-to-left” css=”.vc_custom_1451545918552{margin-top: 0px !important;margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”]

The Salinggawi Dance Troupe celebrate after they snag silver at the UAAP Season 78 Cheerdance Competition. Photo by Brianna Cardenas/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vFGGqZ2RnjY” css=”.vc_custom_1451527834597{margin-top: 0px !important;margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1451527946696{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”]

The full performance of the Salinggawi Dance Troupe at the UAAP Season 78 Cheerdance Competition.

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A growling tiger flashes onto the Main Building as part of the 3D video mapping show by Panasonic. Photo by Johmar Damiles/TomasinoWeb

[/vc_column_text][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_nu9_gt045Y” css=”.vc_custom_1451359475726{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space height=”85px”][vc_column_text css_animation=”appear” css=”.vc_custom_1451546285353{margin-bottom: 0px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”]Thomasians had something more to look forward to aside from the usual fireworks display and concert in this year’s Paskuhan festivities.

The night of Dec. 18, although rainy and windy, was a special one because for the first time in a century that the Main Bulding stood, the iconic structure came to life.

In partnership with Panasonic and We Love Videos Manila, the Main Building served as the canvas for a 3D video mapping – a first in a Philippine university.

The façade of the Main Building was animated as the video mapping projected illusions that moved the structures of the building. The five minute Christmas themed video depicted the different stories behind the holiday such as the nativity scene and Santa’s workshop.

The video not only featured Christmas themes, it also sparked everyone’s Thomasian spirit by starting with a thunderous tiger roar and ending the presentation with the ever famous “Viva Santo Tomas” filling the spaces of the building.

The 3D video mapping started at 6:15 and played for every hour. The last presentation was capped off with the iconic fireworks display that put a seal to an eventful Paskuhan. -Maria Limjoco and Xuxa Rivero/TomasinoWeb[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_empty_space height=”136px”][vc_column_text css_animation=”left-to-right”]“No Heart, No Chance” was their mantra but heartbreak was felt by UST faithful as the Growling Tigers failed to end a nine-year drought for the elusive UAAP Men’s Basketball Championship. With no expectations from the fans, the España-based cagers surprised the crowd when they escaped last season’s runner up and eventual champions Far Eastern University Tamaraws in the eliminations but bowed down in the much anticipated best-of-three finals, 64-75, 62-56 and 62-67.

After a dismal rookie season as the chief tactician, when the Tigers missed the limelight in Season 77, Segundo “Bong” Dela Cruz pushed the emergency button for his team; it is now or never for his post. Sports analysts predicted the Growling Tigers to finish on the fourth or fifth spot after the two round-robin eliminations based from their preseason tournament outings in the Fr. Martin Cup and FilOil Flying V Hanes Cup.

Gilas standout Kevin Ferrer led the team on their campaign with a help from veterans and graduating players Ed Daquiaog and Karim Abdul where the three combined for 63% of UST’s output all season. Dela Cruz’s job will become harder as almost all of his starting line-up this season will be graduating and chances foregoing their fifth playing year. -Aaron Brennt Eusebio/TomasinoWeb[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gc8gYEBRj4E” title=”2. Tigers settle for silver” css=”.vc_custom_1451529251742{margin-top: 0px !important;margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_single_image image=”17389″ img_size=”full” css=”.vc_custom_1451394484724{margin-bottom: 6px !important;border-bottom-width: 0px !important;padding-bottom: 0px !important;}”][vc_column_text css=”.vc_custom_1451394612670{margin-top: 0px !important;border-top-width: 0px !important;padding-top: 0px !important;}”]

King Tiger Kevin Ferrer cries after the UST Tigers lose the UAAP Season 78 men’s basketball tournament championship crown to the FEU Tamaraws. Photo by Amirah Banda/TomasinoWeb

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Pope Francis waves to the crowd at the UST Field during his visit to the campus last Jan. 18. Photo by Adrian Castillo/TomasinoWeb

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Rain did not stop the Pope and the people. Photo by Miguel Aquino/TomasinoWeb

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2015 kicked off well for Filipinos and the Thomasian community as they welcomed no other than the Supreme Pontiff himself, Pope Francis, for his much-awaited visit.

As early of November last year, the national government had already announced the suspension of classes and government work in the metro, where most of the Pope’s activities took place.

Given its “Pontifical” status and title as “The Catholic University of the Philippines”, UST has always been part the itinerary of popes whenever they visit the country.

This was the fourth time a pope visited the University. It was first visited by Blessed Paul VI on 1970, then Pope St. John Paul II visited twice, the first on 1981 and during the 1995 World Youth Day.

On Jan. 18, despite the cold weather and light to moderate rain brought by Typhoon Amang, a number of people lined up around the campus as early as the eve of the Pontiff’s encounter with the youth.

The occasion was open to the general public, as some people came from different parts of the country just to witness this once in a lifetime event.

Many endured sleeping on the sidewalks with only newspaper and cardboard to protect themselves from the cold air. Road closures did not stop some people from catching a glimpse of Pope Francis as some walked all the way to España.

Who could not forget singing “We are all God’s children, we are all the same…” or chant “Viva Il Papa Francesco” even in front of their television screens? Indeed, the Papal Visit made this year a memorable one-Vince Ferreras/TomasinoWeb

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