Friday, May 11, 2007


Reputedly the oldest museum in the country, the UST Museum of Arts & Sciences began collecting and classifying specimens as early as 1865. In the beginning, it was merely a co-curricular arm of the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery, but it eventually began amassing a number of items which were not necessarily related to the medical endeavor.

The museum was founded in 1870 by Fr. Ramon Martinez Vigil, professor of Natural History. However, it was Fr. Casto de Elera who systematically gathered, identified, and catalogued most of the specimens needed for a natural sciences museum. Armed with well-documented collections, the university soon participated at several international exhibits where it won precious awards.

It was only in 1941 when it also became a Museum of Arts. It came about after the organization of the First National Painting Exhibit by Fr. Silvestre Sancho who was then the university rector. The museum began acquiring paintings of the masters of that time — Carlos B. Francisco, Galo Ocampo, Vicente Manansala, Fernando Amorsolo, and etc.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of space, there is no formal art gallery within the UST museum; most of the collections are hung along the walls, while the rest are stored in cabinets for security and protection. Besides the problem of space, the museum also faces the high costs of cleaning and restoration. The antiquity of most of these paintings and the lack of optimal maintenance magnify the great need for many items in its collection to be restored. Many frames, which are works of art by themselves, also require much-needed repairs.

Some of these paintings and murals are displayed outside of the UST museum. In the lobby of the main building are four large murals by Antonio Garcia Llamas which depict the university’s history. Along the sides of the wide stairway and on the landing leading to the entrance to the museum are the large paintings by Carlos “Botong” Francisco, Galo Ocampo and Dante Fabie. Likewise, in the Medicine Building lobby are murals by Vicente Manansala, which portray the history of medicine in the Philippine Archipelago.

The UST museum also boasts a wide collection of rare books and printing paraphernalia, native santos, coins, medals, Oriental ceramics, and ethnographic artifacts. It also exhibits the university’s memorabilia such as antique chasuble, gold monstrance, and various ceremonial items.

The museum was able to safeguard its extensive collections when it moved from Intramuros to its present location; hence, avoided the massive destruction precipitated by the American carpet bombing sorties during the Battle of Manila. The campus was also declared a neutral zone during the war, while the Japanese converted it into an internment camp for their American prisoners of war.

The museum’s current special exhibition is the 60th Anniversary of the Liberation of the Santo Tomas Internment Camp.

The UST Museum of Arts & Sciences
Mezzanine, Main Building
University of Santo Tomas
Telephone: 781-1815
Open Tuesdays to Fridays - 9:00am to 4:30pm
Admission fee: Students - P20.00 / Adults - P30.00



posted by Señor Enrique at 7:13 AM


Anonymous Anonymous said...

the building in your night shot....isn't that the main building? the massive front doors of that building is (presuming it's still there) in itself is a museum piece.

May 11, 2007 8:25 AM  

Blogger carlotta1924 said...

oh man! until when is the exhibit?

May 11, 2007 9:35 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Look at how that cross glows in the dark. I have never set foot in UST and I notice that you post quite a few pictures here in your blog. It must be your favourite university. :)

May 11, 2007 9:51 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Yes, DatuPanot, that is the main building with massive doors.

Hmmm ... someone ought to photograph only old wooden and iron doors in Manila. We do have interesting ones like the doors of San Agustin Church which might have come from Paete with its intricate carvings. The doors of Manila Cathedral is another work of art.

May 11, 2007 11:34 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I've a feeling it will still be here until you come back from your travels, Carla. The gift shop sells an interesting commemorative T-shirt, btw.

May 11, 2007 11:35 AM  

Blogger Wil said...

My mom graduated from UST but I don't really know anything about the university. Looks like an interesting collection of specimens though. Good thing it escaped the WWII bombings also.

May 11, 2007 11:41 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

The campus is not too far from where I live, Irene. I pass by it often, and sometimes go in and enjoy the shaded roads and the tranquil setting. It reminds me of when I used to stroll the grounds of Columbia, NYU, Yale and other campuses back in the States.

In Manila, yes, UST is my favorite and would have loved to have studied there. I have a couple of friends in NYC who studied medicine in this famous university.

May 11, 2007 11:42 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

And I'm sure, Wil, that your mom remains proud of having graduated from this fine school. If ever you come to Manila for a visit, please include this campus in your itenerary; it is rich with history.

Many of our fellow bloggers received their college degrees here -- such as Sheilamarie, Ipanema, and Toe.

May 11, 2007 11:50 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...


you hafta do it! doors and windows theme.
those doors at the main building, are they still riddled with bullets holes from ww2?


May 11, 2007 12:56 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You know, now that you mentioned it, DatuPanot, I will give it a closer look the next time I go back. I didn't know about those bullet holes at all.

Someone with a decent background in our local architecture, I believe, is best suited for that kind of photographic task :)

May 11, 2007 1:29 PM  

Blogger Gita Asuncion said...

am proudly a thomasian, senorE. but i graduated from there sooo looong ago that this museum didnt look a bit like it does today. i have to come by and see this once more. soon. thanks for posting about this.

May 11, 2007 3:33 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That is surely nice to know, Gita! Another Thomasian!

A few years back, Ambeth Ocampo did mention that the UST museum was mostly closed -- that you have to bang on its doors and hopefully, someone inside will hear your knocking. However, nowadays, I believe they are doing a good job on keeping it as a regular attraction for students and the entire public alike.

Yes, please visit it soon :)

May 11, 2007 4:24 PM  

Blogger Nashei said...

wow!!!!i've never been a fan of museums..i consider them boring but looking at your pictures makes me want to go and have a look.

May 11, 2007 5:14 PM  

Blogger sheilamarie said...

Lovely shots, Eric! The last time we visited the museum, we bought keychains naman. LOL!

as you said, it's great that they've improved the place. It wasn't as spacious nor as attractive as it is now. they're gearing up for the 4th centennial celeb. on 2011

May 11, 2007 5:15 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

I used to share the same perception, Nashei, but my friends in New York changed all that -- they literally dragged me along with them to visit some museums. And you know what? I did begin to appreciate it so much that I would at times even go on my own. It was wonderful.

I'm so glad that I am begiining to discover our local museums nowadays, because in a lot of ways, museums tend to make me appreciate where I came from. It's good for the soul :)

May 11, 2007 7:37 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Sheilamarie!

Now, aren't you proud of your alma mater's museum? It's really nice inside and so much to absorb!

I actually bought their museum book at the gift shop, and after reading it, I am more inclined to return because I will now at least have a better idea of what I would be looking at the next time around .... hehehe!

But you can sense so much history from being inside that museum. Artifacts and specimens from hundreds of years ago! Amazing that we have them collected here in the Philippines.

May 11, 2007 7:42 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your photos are AMAZING!!! Got any of Mt. Makiling?

May 11, 2007 10:13 PM  

Blogger NOYPETES said...

I went to grade school at UST, spent most of my early years around the community surrounding UST. The campus was our weekend playground. The main building museum looks a lot cleaner and spacious now than how it used to be with most of the artifacts and museum items just laying around. The big python next to the crocodile in one of your photos used to scare us kids. That used to sit on a display glass case next to the front entrance guarded by a statue of a Japanese warrior in full regalla. There used to be a way up to the lighted cross on top of the buildng but it was always a challenge to get there. The security office used to be located on the rear ground floor across the UST cooperative store and cafeteria. There were many myths told about the durability of the concrete structure. From stories told that many indios blood was mixed in with the concrete foundation to make the foundation more solid and stable. I heard stories also that the building engineers were the pioneers in the "foundation on ball bearings" theory. You could do a lot of close up shots of the concrete exteriors itself and come up with a lot of suureal photos. Thanks for sharing the photos which brought me back memories of my old stomping grounds.

May 11, 2007 10:32 PM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice pictures. looks like they were taken someplace else. haven't seen this building ever before. :)

i've finally posted something in my blog. hope you like it senorenrique.

May 12, 2007 12:00 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow! This I gotta see!

Know what, Eric, rock star son's gf is studying at UST. :)

May 12, 2007 12:58 AM  

Blogger Aja said...

Hi Senor Enrique, I'm from UST myself. And, what I really like about the museum is the peace and serenity it provides to its visitors. Kung pwede lang tumambay palagi jan para malayo sa ingay ng Maynila, gagawin ko. :P

BTW, Senor, I believe the museum is located on the Mezzanine Floor of the Main Building, and not the Second. :)

May 12, 2007 7:29 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Noypetes!

Sadly, they've put away the Japanese warrior.

From what we were told, the entire main building was built as four structures and supposedly, earthquake-proof!

I will go back and take shots as you had recommended. Thanks, Noypetes!

May 12, 2007 7:37 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's UST's main building, djklump! Right in the heart of Manila.

I just came from your site. Is that a video clip you have posted? I've a slow connection :(

Will return again later.

May 12, 2007 7:51 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

You have to, Rhoda. You might also want to ask rock star's gf to show you around the campus :)

May 12, 2007 7:52 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Ooops! Thanks for pointing it out, Aja. I will do the necessary correction.

Yes, somehow you can think more clearly in such quiet settings. Besides, there's so much absorb from all around :)

May 12, 2007 7:54 AM  

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm an expat from Canada who was visiting Philippines last month when I was given a tour of this museum, courtesy of UST's Medical Tourism Director. I was quite impressed as I'd never seen a lot of those artifacts before. Also, I'd never been to UST prior to this visit so I was very thrilled to see the whole lot. These pictures reminded me of my recent visit and they delighted me extremely. Thank you for posting them...these are terrific!

May 12, 2007 10:00 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Hi Queens Quay Gal!

So glad to know that my photos brought back fond memories of your visit to UST! Thanks for dropping by as well!

May 12, 2007 6:02 PM  

Blogger -= dave =- said...

Do they still collect animal samples? Given the country's biodiversity, it's an insurmountable challenge. Maybe some of those in the display are already extinct.

May 15, 2007 9:48 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Not sure if they still do, Dave, but not all those stuffed animals are indigenous to the archipelago, which I thought they were; some are from Africa.

May 16, 2007 5:50 AM  

Blogger U.T.O.Y said...

i graduated from UST and the museum has been my playground since. Hehe.

There are also a collection of sorts at the medicine building.

paintings can also be found inside the main library which is 7 floor high.

if you want to have a view of the original class card of rizal and the grades of his other 12 classmates during his stint in UST, you can also find it there "INTACT!". galing no?

May 23, 2007 9:18 AM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

"If you want to have a view of the original class card of rizal and the grades of his other 12 classmates during his stint in UST, you can also find it there "INTACT!".

Where? In the museum or library?

May 23, 2007 7:27 PM  

Blogger reyd said...

Hehehe, ni hindi ako nakatungtong sa loob ng museum ng UST, the only time na pumupunta ako sa main building is to pay my tuition fee.
Eng. bldg. lang ako at gym madalas. Minsan pala sa library to wait for my gf.
Anak ng tokwa, nabansagan na Thomasian pa naman ako( more of Tomador). O well, some other time maybe.
But in 2003, I walk all around the campus to recall the past, hiningal ako. :)

May 25, 2007 3:18 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

That's a big campus, Reyd! Hehehe!

So, Thomasian ka pala. You should be proud of it :) UST is a great school and many could only dream of attending it; I am one of them.

May 25, 2007 6:41 PM  

Blogger  gmirage said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

June 27, 2007 4:23 PM  

Blogger  gmirage said...

Tomasino din po ako! My 3rd year and 4th year in college were spent mostly in the Main Building (AB ako talaga), those were sleepless nights writing, editing, layouting the Varsitarian. I was able to go into the Museum once, during a painting exhibit...from your photos I can see that nothing changed much...thanks for posting these photos, nostalgic ah hehe.

Btw, above air looking down, UST is the 'greenest' part that you can see in Manila. Yun nga lang pag umulan ewan ko na, though when I was abut to graduate there were pipe diggings e. Saka sa paglabas ng gates hehehe, ibang sight na....lalo na sa Lacson pag gabi.....Sir, next time yun naman po sana. =)

June 27, 2007 4:27 PM  

Blogger Señor Enrique said...

Guess what, G_mirage? Wala na masyadong baha! But I was told that in Espana, the flood water would go as high as up to the waist.

I am actually planning to do a night photo shoot of Dapitan Street up to the UST area. However, at this time, I can't promise you when because I have to plan this accordingly and include bodyguards ... hehehe.

You really must have put in so much effort during your final two years in UST. And I'm sure you were duly rewarded for such.

June 27, 2007 10:14 PM  

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Life in Manila as observed by a former New Yorker who with a laptop and camera has reinvented himself as a storyteller. Winner of the PHILIPPINE BLOG AWARDS: Best Photo Blog in 2007 and three Best Single Post awards in 2008.


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