Some 14,000 freshmen from the University of Santo Tomas (UST) were officially welcomed to the oldest Catholic school in Asia during the annual Thomasian Welcome Walk held last Friday (July 24, 2009) at the UST Grandstand in Sampaloc, Manila.
The program started with a parade of all Thomasian freshmen students from the 19 faculties and colleges of UST. The welcome rights includes the ceremonial passage through the Arch of the Centuries, the historic facade of the University's old Intramuros campus which was destroyed during the liberation of Manila in 1945.
Fr. Isidro Abano O.P., UST Secretary General, explained that aside from officially welcoming the students to the university, the event is significant because this will help install to them (students) a "sense of belonging and pride in being a Thomasian".
Abano's message was contained in a memorandum circulated around the university early last month.
The annual welcome walk, according to Abano, also forms part of the university's calendar of activities in preparation for its Quadricentennial celebration in 2011.
The freshmen welcome rights was highlighted by a con-celebrated mass officiated by UST Rector Fr. Rolando dela Rosa, O.P., as main celebrant and homilist, followed by the Thomasian Welcome Rite, where the University formally opened its "door of knowledge" to its students.
Later in the night, a concert featuring the country's hottest rock bands such as Chicosci, Spongecola and Taken by Cars, was also held.
The UST Yellow Jackets and the eight-time University Athletics Association of the Philippines (UAAP) cheer dance champions, Salinggawi Dance Trope (SDT) together with ASAP's G-Force also performed to the delight of the freshmen and guest who attended the event. (Francis T. Wakefield)