The Secret of University of Santo Tomas

University of Santo Tomas was one of the oldest universities in the Philippines. Even our national hero Dr. Jose P. Rizal studied here. The original building of the university was actually in Intramuros, then they transfered in Sampaloc (the present location of UST).

The university is a private, Roman Catholic, teaching and research university run by the Order of Preachers in Manila. Founded on 28 April 1611 by archbishop of Manila Miguel de Benavides, it has the oldest extant university charter in the Philippines and in Asia and is one of the world's largest Catholic universities in terms of enrollment found on one campus.[1]

The Legend

[Taken from Internet:[2]]

beneath it was something, hidden for almost nine millenniums, waiting for something...
There's a popular myth in the Philippines that the University of Santo Tomas was hiding something beneath it. It was said that there is a secret underground passageway beneath it and it also hides plenty of secret doorways. They said, that it was St. Thomas Aquinas who planned and wrote the testament order to be given to the Dominican priests to build that kind of passages. It was said, that from the Arc [Arch] of the Centuries towards the Main building, you will see unexplainable [inexplainable/inexplicable] languages, words, and symbols being etched at the side [in the walls] of the hallway. And that's true! I've seen those prints because I'm a student of this university. Although three of these secret doorways has been revealed, there is no passageway that we could find directing us into the main underground passageway. We are wondering if this is only a myth or reality. And we are thinking, if we could crack the codes etched through the hallway, maybe it can lead us through the secret underground passageway where secrets are meant to be secrets forever.

The big question is...

Why does St. Thomas needs [need] to order those Dominican priests to build this kind of passageway?

What's inside this passageway, and what does it contains [contain]?

How come that this passageway has been able to be kept for almost nine millenniums without the knowledge of our fellow university men?
[How did they hide this passageway for almost nine millenniums without the knowledge of our fellow university men?]

What does [do] the codes mean?

Does the positioning of the University or the above photo* of the university can give us hints?
[Can the position of the University or the above photo* give us hints?]

Does [Do] the Quadricentennial square of this university and its 'arc of the century' have a relationship to this so called "myth"?

I'm just wondering because I'm a student of this university...

*I don't have the photo the author was talking about.


As written above by the original author of the narrative, it was a "popular 'myth'". Thus, many people knew it.

One of our readers noticed something, about St. Thomas Aquinas. He (the original author) said that the Saint planned and ordered the construction of the 'secret passageway.' However, St. Thomas had died earlier (on March 4, 1274) before the main building of UST started its construction (in 1924). Even though the university was founded in 1611, it's still too late; and the European (esp. Spaniards) even came in the Philippines in 1521.

The author also claimed that (s)he personally saw those symbols or languages inscribed in the walls of the said hallway (Arch of the Centuries towards the Main building). (S)He considered the symbols to be a puzzle that may reveal the way to the secret passageway.

The Arch of the Centuries (s)he is talking about was originally erected in 1611 at Intramuros.When UST transferred in Sampaloc, the Arch was also carried piece-by-piece and was re-erected at the present Plaza Intramuros in 1954. The original Arch which faces the Main Building was the main doorway to the university building before it was destroyed during World War II when it was at Intramuros. A newer arch faced España Boulevard, which is a reconstruction of the original arch.[3]

While the Main Building, its construction was handed over Fr. Roque Ruaño, a Spanish Dominican who had graduated at the top of the first graduating class of the UST's Faculty of Engineering in 1912. He conducted a research about earthquakes of the country.[4] Thus, the main building was built as an earthquake proof.

(S)He also mentioned the Quadricentennial Square. Ramon Orlina’s sculpture, “Tetraglobal”, is the centerpiece of it, which signifies the various stakeholders of the university represented by four figures: Two students, one male and the other, female; a professor; and a Dominican priest.[5]

Being the oldest university in Asia, it is possible that such school may hide some doorways beneath its buildings. Even the old monumental buildings (esp. Castles) in Europe contain secret passageways that may lead you from here to there. My first impression with this legend is, the author considered the university campus like that of Hogwarts. Well, I can't blame him/her. I admit, I also love mysteries and discovering places not been discovered.

It made me remember the stories my uncle told me about the province where he grew up. I am eager to go there.


The above story in the box is unedited. The 'I' on it is not the author of this article himself but the original writer of the story. The italicized words were inserted to make it clear and understandable for the readers.