Playing Tourists

Dad had been wanting to buy a zoom lens for his brand new dSLR since he got it from Mom last Christmas. He planned on getting one before our wedding, but he didn’t find an even better deal until post-Christmas. Yesterday, we finally found the time to go to an authorized dealer at Hidalgo Street in Quiapo where camera accessories are sold at a much cheaper price than in the malls. We parked at our Alma Mater, the University of Santo Tomas (UST), as usual because it’s impossible to find a decent parking space where we’re going. An hour or so later, we were done with our business, and Mom bought some fresh fruits and vegetables along the way. Fresh produce at 85% cheaper than in the grocery were a steal! We had a quick snack of sago’t gulaman, maíz con hielohalo-halo, and Pancit Malabon at Goldilocks along España—one of our hang-out places back in college just across the university.

It was already dark when we returned to the campus. On our way to where we parked our vehicle, we passed by the huge U-S-T blocks and a tiger statue in front of the Main Building, and almost instantly, my brother and I blurted out for a photo op! Good thing Dad had his dSLR with him, so he was able to take decent photos of us (at least nicer shots compared to those taken from a phone camera).

Proud Thomasian Family (Dad was taking this photo; youngest brother was at a party)

Perpendicular to the Main Building is the improved Benavides Park (or “Lover’s Lane” to most Thomasian students) which was adorned with letter blocks from different colleges. When we found our respective college blocks, we had our photos taken there, too!

Mom graduated with a degree in BS Education (Major in English)

The university premises underwent an overhaul a couple of years back in preparation for the Quadricentennial Celebration in 2011. So much has changed in the campus since I was a student there, but they were nonetheless refreshing. It was inevitable to relinquish our respective college days in this university, and it’s actually fun listening to stories from different generations.

Photo taken at the Arch of The Centuries

In fact, on Friday, Mom and Dad attended my youngest brother’s baccalaureate mass. It was bittersweet for this will be the last time they will witness such memorable occasion. Next Wednesday, my brother is graduating from college, and I’m sure it’s going to be equally eventful.

I always feel an inexplicable sense of pride and familiarity whenever I visit the campus. Not only did all five of us graduated from the same university, all my first cousins from Dad’s side are Thomasians, too. Now doesn’t that make UST my second home?

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  • Congratulations to your brother on graduating! I love UST’s campus, which we visit once a year. My mother got her M.A. there and my dad spent one year there before transferring to PMMA, a move he made so his brother, only one year younger, could afford to go. His three younger siblings all went there. (I was also born at the UST Hospital.) I love how just stepping onto campus, I feel immediately as if I’ve walked onto hallowed history.