This was my first time to visit my alma mater, the Royal University of Santo Tomas on a school day seven years after graduation. The first visit was during a Christmas Concert Gala back in 2009. Although there were several attempts to visit Paskuhan celebrations, I declined due to heavy traffic that usually abound the area during holiday season. Unless I go there in a helicopter, I would be really happy to go there in a snap. (!)
The purpose of my trip this time was to visit Beato Angelico Gallery where there is an exhibit featuring National Artists from my neighboring town - Angono, Rizal. But before visiting the Gallery, I went around the campus and oh boy was I really excited to see massive improvements in the campus. I felt nostalgic of my 4 year college life from 2001 to 2005. Campus life. Dorm life. And everything in between.
This is the back of Main Bulding which houses the Administration, College of Science, Faculty of Pharmacy and Faculty of Civil Law. During my time, this used to be a driveway. Now it was converted as part of Quadricentennial Square where students congregate. I'm glad that UST took effort in converting spaces more suitable for humans rather than cars. Pedestrianization really is the way to go. Let people have more spaces to walk, jog, hang-out and socialize al fresco style.
We used to call this Colayco Park. The Coop Building where we have our quick snacks like kwek kwek, pancit, lumpia, hotdogs and macaroni was here too. It was demolished to make way for this - the Quadricentennial Square in celebration of the University's 400th year celebration. It was a good facelift as this Square features Ramon Orlina's sculpture, "Tetraglobal", which signifies the various stakeholders of the university represented by four figures: Two students, one male and the other, female; a professor; and a Dominican priest.
Yes. You read it right. My alma mater is 400 years old. It is the oldest University in Asia founded in 1611 and alot more:
1. Alma Mater of National Artists: F. Sionil Jose, Bienvenido Lumbera (Literature); Ang Kiukok (Visual Arts); Leandro Locsin, Ildefonso Santos, Juan Nakpil (Architecture), Rolando Tino (Theater and Film)
2. Alma Mater of National Heroes, National Scientists, World-class Athletes, Entrepreneurs and countless professionals.
3. UST Open Field, Main Building, Arch of the Centuries and the Central Seminary declared by the National Museum as National Cultural Treasures.
4. Visited once by Pople Paul VI and twice by Blessed Pope John Paul II
5. World's largest Catholic University in terms of student population located in a single campus.
6. Home of many Archbishops, Bishops and Priests of the Philippines.
7. Established the first University Museum in the Philippines.
8. Built the first earthquake-proof structure in the Philippines - the UST Main Building.
9. Declared by the National Historical Institure as National Historical Landmark.
10. And of course, garnered the most number of overall championships in the UAAP.
This is where I spent 4 years of my life from 2001 to 2005 - commonly known as the AB Building. I finished a pre-law degree, AB Legal Management but did not pursue law school. It's quite a long story. You see my grandfather who was a lawyer at the Philippine Senate during his time was my inspiration to become one. But spending 4 years in a pre law school just made me realize I wasn't cut out to be one. I'm not a fan of lengthy arguments. I don't like undergoing too many processes and things like that. I'm glad my parents were not pushy. They were like "Whatever you like, Son" kind of parents. So there, after graduation I had a brief working experience in a multinational food and beverage company then joined family business, basically running my parent's businesses for a while then now creating my own.
This is what I came for - to visit an exhibit featuring artists from Angono, Rizal. Of course I am from Rizal so I am just equally proud to be from the same province. Featured artists were Lucio San Pedro for Music, Carlos "Botong" Francisco, Jose "Pitok" Blanco, Nemesio Miranda and Orville D.R. Tiamson. I have met Mang Nemi and Orville at their galleries in Angono and they were very gracious to show me around their humble homes.
I just want to share what I read at Jose "Pitok" Blanco's board that really caught my attention:
"Kailangan hindi ka mag-rely sa mood,
masarap magpaint pag inspired ka,
masarap magpaint pag nasa mood ka,
pero, hindi basihan yun para di ka magpaint.
artist kasi ako wala ko sa mood so ayoko magpaint,
wala sa bokabularyo naming yun,
yung mood, pinapalitan ng disiplina...
Kailangan makilala muna natin mga sarili natin,
bago tayo magadapt ng foreign influences."
There again, just right on my face is the reminder to instill discipline in whatever it is that I do. Discipline is the key. Discipline is everything.