Different facets of life obtaining in a 400-year-old academic institution—from the intensely spiritual such as Dominican monks in prayer, to the celebratory such as campus fireworks display—are memorialized in a massive photographic exhibit that will be mounted in connection with the 400th anniversary of the University of Santo Tomas as Asia’s oldest institution of higher learning.
The exhibit, “400 Shots to Immortality: Timeless Photographs of the University of Santo Tomas Towards its Neo-Centennial,” will open on Jan. 20 at the UST Museum of Arts and Sciences and will run until Feb. 10.
The exhibit is one of the key activities of the UST Quadricentennial. It is set to welcome UST’s fifth century this month after a yearlong papal-approved celebration of its 400th anniversary. (UST was founded by the Dominicans in 1611.)
To open the exhibit is UST Rector Magnificus Fr. Rolando V. de la Rosa, OP. Invited guests during the opening ceremonies include notable alumni such as sculptor Ramon Orlina and physician Vicky Belo.
The UST Singers, two-time Choir of the World champion, will perform.
The exhibit documents UST from a student’s perspective. It could also be described as a tour of the 21.5-ha UST campus right in the heart of Manila—a campus that has been declared a National Treasure by the National Museum and National Historical Institute, and an institution that was the subject of an international exhibit in Unesco Paris, the only Asian university to be given the honor so far.
The photographs are all taken by fifth-year UST Architecture student Paul Allyson Quiambao, who has been appointed by Fr. Florentino Bolo, OP, UST secretary-general, as official photographer of the UST Quadricentennial.
Quiambao joined the Art Petron Hall of Fame in 2009. He was official Philippine delegate to the 2011 Asean Cultural Youth Camp. He is also immediate former chief photographer of the Varsitarian, UST’s official student paper.
The exhibit will feature 40 rare photos of UST and 360 documentations of UST life at large. It is divided into eight sections.
“Royal, Pontifical, Spectacular” maps out the UST campus, showing all its key historic landmarks at their most spectacular angles.
“Unguarded Moments” documents day-to-day vignettes of Thomasian campus life.
“Showcase of Thomasian Culture” displays photos of annual colorful affairs in UST, such as the Paskuhan and the Baccalaureate Mass.
“Record Breaker” documents the successful attempt last year of the world’s largest Catholic university to form the world’s largest human cross, which has been entered into the Guinness World Records.
“UST in Paris” documents last year’s event when Unesco paid tribute to the Quadricentennial by hosting an exhibit on UST in its Paris headquarters.
“We Are the Champions” documents UST’s athletic programs that have made the university a sports powerhouse with the most number of UAAP general championships.
“Our Fathers” gives glimpses of the Dominican fathers as they combine spirituality, scholarship and teaching, and pastoral ministries while managing the difficult operations of a very large international university.
“Quadricentennial Celebration” recaps the yearlong celebration of UST’s 400th anniversary.
Photos in the exhibit will be available for sale. Part of the proceeds will be donated to the victims of Typhoon “Sendong” and to the Simbahayan, the centerpiece project of the Quadricentennial celebration in which UST will rehabilitate 400 villages throughout the country via medical, literacy, community and peace “interventions.”