The lessons of the floods in Espana

Today, I attended my sister's college graduation in UST. I guess, this will be the last time that we will be attending graduations in the family since she's already the youngest of the brood. It was held in the newly constructed gymnasium near Espana gate. It was a drizzling when we entered the University campus. A sudden breath of nostalgia hit me. Rain and UST. Sigh. I tried not to bother.

Rites and traditions filled the commencement exercise, and I realized why UST made sure that traditions are always present. I guess, amid the ever changing things, these are the only things that bind generations of Thomasians together.

The representative of the University in the conferring the degrees was a priest that was close to my heart, a friend-- Fr. Deng Dela Cruz, OP. Memories and conversations quickly passed in my mind. I smiled inside. In his address to the students, he posed the question "Who is a Thomasian?" 

As a graduate myself, I tried to search for answers in my head. Of course, what came to mind was the "staple" answer of being a 3C--Competent, Committed and Compassionate human being. Yes, he did mention that but first tickled everyone by enumerating trivial characteristics of a Thomasian like eating Mang Tomas ice cream and being stranded during rainy seasons. UST must come up with a compilation of short stories from each student new and old about their personal experiences with rains and floods. Little did we realize that this seemingly annoying and peculiar mishap of Thomasians shaped our distinct character as individuals.

He vividly pictured how each of us would prepare greatly for anything (an event or an exam) but once a dark cloud comes across the sky with the threat of heavy rains, we forget of how much we have toiled but merely succumbed to prayer and humbly ask God for mercy for the rain not to harm us. It is then we realize that after pouring in excellence, in the end, God is still is in control. Hence, our humility in prayer is what defined each of us as Thomasians.

Hearing this humbled me greatly. It was a little reminder that as a Thomasian with roots deeply planted, I have to live by the lessons of the floods in Espana.

He sent off the Neo-Centennial batch (They are called such since this year is the beginning of a new century for UST after it celebrated its 400 years last 2011) with a reminder of the prayer we say in our UST hymn. We say, "Keep us in beauty...." He said that beauty comes from vigor which comes from a sense of mission. Without the sense of mission, we lose our vigor then we lose our beauty. UST remains beautifully standing through 400 years because it never lost its purpose. I guess, it was a timely reminder for me to go back to my purpose as I head on new challenges in life. With a sense of purpose armed with the lessons of humility in prayer, each Thomasian will definitely not fail to be competent, committed and compassionate as we go live in the real world far from the streets of Espana.


A video was created by some students for this graduating batch and I want to share it with you. Salamat sa pagmamahal, UST!

Bakit Mo Mahal Ang UST? 

Music and Lyrics: Patrick Henry CastaƱeda
Director: Karla Mides Toledo
Musical Arrangement: Roman Gerard Enguerro,
Vocals: Maia Marasigan, Jasper John Jimenez, Patrick Henry CastaƱeda
Musical Score: Tonton Africa

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