By Patricia Villarica
Ah, UST. Its name alone—the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas, the Catholic University of the Philippines—makes you swell with pride, and in celebration of its 406th year, we've rounded up with 10 things that only a true, Tiger-blooded Thomasian would understand:
1. Dimsum Treats
Thomasians of all ages know the basic saying, "'Pag gipit, sa siomai kumakapit!" Dimsum Treats ain't your ordinary siomai—a basic meal consisting of 4 siomai and rice, worth P55, would already last you 'til your next break and leave you satiated—just look at those jumbo-sized pieces!
2. Banana RhumA
Whether you're at the España, Dapitan, or Lacson side, you'd still have heard of Mang Tootz—one of UST's best eateries, located at P. Noval. Apart from their menu staples sisig and liempo, a meal won't be complete without the Banana RhumA! It's essentially turon but with a twist—Mang Tootz uses rhum and caramel to intensify the sweetness and up the 'yum' factor. Don't believe us? The dessert dish is so good it was even featured on Kris TV!
3. Popoy and Basha
Of course, we musn't forget our honorary Thomasians, Popoy and Basha from the blockbuster hit, One More Chance. A staple movie for Thomasians, I'm sure each one of us bragged about the fact that Basha was a Salinggawi Dance Troupe member, plus an Architecture student at the same time (an excellent multi-tasker, a mark of a true Thomasian!). Not to mention, that iconic scene at the Grandstand is one for the books!
UST has a lot of catchy cheers and chants, but 'Go USTe' has officially become the Thomasian battle cry. This cheer is so popular that other schools can't help but join in whenever it's being chanted in any arena (proof: the De La Salle University crowd cheering UST on after the UAAP finals in 2013). Behind this popular chant is a dedicated group of individuals known as the UST Yellow Jackets, or YJ, as they are fondly called by Thomasians. Once they shout, "Tigers ready!" everybody sits up in attention. They're (mostly) bald and they're bold—the YJ are our unsung heroes that help us support all athletic teams as they rally toward podium finishes in the UAAP!
5. Paskuhan Festivities
Most outsiders only know about the Paskuhan concert but what people don't know is that the Paskuhan, an annual tradition that started back in 1991, is actually the culmination of UST's university-wide Christmas festivities that span a couple of days! A special treat for the Thomasian community is, of course, the Paskuhan Agape wherein multiple food stations situated around the campus give out food—for free!
6. The Pit
Located in Dapitan, students flock to this nook after class to chill with their friends and blockmates. Food and drinks are affordable, and you can even play beer pong while singing karaoke!
7. The Benavides Statue and The Arch of The Centuries
Universities are rife with urban legends, and one popular myth among Thomasians is that one must never pass through the Arch of the Centuries until the Baccalaureate Mass (which signifies that it's now your time to exit the University). Some even say that if you cross the arch, you'll get debarred (kicked out!) and then you'll see Benavides' statue pointing toward your future—which is out and beyond.
8. Ate Yema
Always greeting you with a smile and her signature spiel, "Hi guys! Would you like to buy some yema?", Ate Kaye or most commonly known to Thomasians as Ate Yema is an icon of sorts for the Thomasian community. Her small sweets business, which started in 2007 helped fund her studies in UST and now she's celebrating her 10th year in the biz with her very own online store, Ate Yema's Dessert Shop!
9. Main Building
Many visitors and new comers mistake the Main Building for the UST church, since a cross is situated on top of the building. We wonder how many times students have redirected guests with, "Hindi po ito ang simbahan. Na'ndon po sa next building. Yung Santissimo Rosario Parish po."?
10. The "Aquatic" University
Sia sings, "I'm bulletproof, nothing to lose..." but for us studying in España, the more approprite lyrics are "I'm WATERproof, nothing to lose..." since we're basically immune to the rain and floods that have plagued our campus! While other schools panic at the thought of getting stranded, most Thomasians would just shrug it off and get their slippers out of their bags, ready to brave the waters, with the thought in mind that, yes, it's just another rainy day at UST. As they say, "Hindi ka totoong Tomasino kung hindi ka nakaranas ng baha!"
What else are the things that only a true Thomasian would understand? Sound off in the comments and let's all greet our alma mater together a #HappyBirthdayUST!
ALSO READ: 15 Things Only Miriam Students Would Understand
Banner photograph from UST's Instagram account.