UST Main Building

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300px UST Main Building facade (Photo: “UST MAIN BUILDING” by Dean Ang, c/o Flickr. Some Rights Reserved)

The University of Santo Tomas (UST) Main Building serves as the house of the administrative offices, non-academic departments, Museum of Arts and Sciences, and of the three colleges--Faculty of Pharmacy, College of Science, and the Faculty of Civil Law—of UST. It was constructed in 1924 by Fray Roque Ruano. The building is considered as the first earthquake-proof structure in the country.



The building was the first structure in the Sampaloc campus and was engineered by Fray Roque Ruano, who once served as dean of the Faculty of Engineering. It consists of statues standing atop of the roof, which symbolizes the spiritual and intellectual aspiration of the university. The statues were created by Italian expatriate sculptor Ricardo Francisco Monti, who once taught at the UST College of Architecture and Fine Arts in the early 1950s, the statues were installed between 1949 and 1953.


  • Above the main doorway of the building is a group of three statues symbolizing the three virtues also known as Tria Haec (Latin for “These Three”)
    • Faith
    • Hope
    • Charity
  • Facing the building, one sees to the left of the Tria Haec are the statues of theologians and historians
    • Vincent de Beauvais, O.P.
    • St. Augustine
    • St. Raymond de Peñafort, O.P.
  • To the right are the statues of the philosophers
    • Aristotle
    • St. Albert the Great
    • Plato
  • On the side facing P. Noval Street are the three great writers of tragedy
    • Calderon dela Barca
    • Sophocles
    • William Shakespeare
  • On the side facing A. H. Lacson Avenue are the statues of great playwrights
    • Lope de Vega
    • Aristophanes
    • Moliere.


From its inauguration in 1927 until 1963, the first class of the building began on 2 July 1927. On the other hand, it was also occupied by the following: the priests as their residence and the home of the Ecclesiastical Faculties (1923-1927), Faculty of Medicine (1927-1950), College of Philosophy and Letters (1927-1967), Faculty of Engineering (1927-1950), College of Education (1927-1950), Central Library (1927-1992), College of Commerce (1930-1967), UST High School (1930-1946), and the radio station DZST (1950-1963), which later became Radio Veritas.

Japanese occupation

During the Second World War, the Main Building was used by the Japanese military forces as an internment camp for allied prisoners. It was used to hold civilian prisoners of war (POWs) , and classrooms for sleeping quarters from January 4, 1942 - February 3, 1945. In total, there were 3,787 prisoners: 3,792 Americans, 733 British, 200 Australians, 61 Canadians, 51 Dutch, 8 French, 1 Swiss, 2 Egyptians, 2, Spanish, 1 German, 1 Slovak. All were held for a total of 37 months, and 466 died in captivity. Three attempted escape February 15, 1942. Two were shot and one successfully escaped in January 1945.


The UST Main Building is recognized and declared by the National Museum as a national treasure, citing its historical and cultural significance along with the Central Seminary, Arch of Centuries and the open grounds.


  • Statues Atop the Main Building [1] University of Santo Tomas (Date acessed: August 4, 2010)
  • Main Bulding [2] University of Santo Tomas (Date accessed: August 4, 2010)
  • UST Edifices named National Treasures [3] Manila Standard Today (Date accessed: August 4, 2010)
  • UST landmarks declared “National Treasures” [4] Inquirer Lifestyle (Date accessed: August 4, 2010)
  • Santo Thomas University [5] Pacific Wrecks. Org 1995-2010(Date accessed: August 4, 2010)