After more than two years, in-person Christmas festivities at the University of Santo Tomas are back.
On Friday, December 2, UST lit up its Pinoy superhero-inspired decorations including a 70-foot Christmas tree for the month-long holiday celebration.
This year’s theme seeks to honor those who lent their hands to help the country brave through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This Paskuhan is for us everybody, to inspire us [and] to be joyful in the midst of pandemic [and] loneliness. We have a hero within us. We are capable of sharing this joy in celebration of Christmas,” UST Facilities Management Office Director Fr. Dexter Austria said.
Alongside the lighting ceremony, the UST community had a Christmas feast called Agape. During this feast, the university distributed free food to students, teachers, staff, and alumni.
While the community enjoyed their meal, the UST Conservatory of Music, Symphony Orchestra, Coro Tomasino, and Salinggawi, among others performed Filipino Christmas songs.
Some students who are experiencing the university’s 31-year-old Christmas festivities for the first time described it as “magical.”
“It felt magical in a way to see na yung community nag-gather ulit tapos yung opening ng lights,” Gwy Nandwani, a sophomore advertising arts student told Interaksyon.
“Super nice, super magical in a way ang ganda nung lights and ang ganda ng feel and vibe,” said Jeriko Banawa, a third-year painting student.
A student also said that the lighting ceremony and Agape served as a breather from their exams.
“Since first year ko po dito sa UST, it’s very memorable. Parang relief po siya dahil nangyari po ‘yung Agape during the exam week which is very stressful po and ‘yung Agape po parang pahinga po namin and nag-enjoy po kami, sobra,” Lara Lorraine Ong, a Grade 11 STEM student said.
Non-Thomasians may also visit the university to witness the Christmas decorations, said Austria in an interview.
The public may also attend the Simbang Gabi in the university’s chapel starting December 16.
The university is set to hold the Grand Paskuhan concert on December 19, Monday, which will be exclusive to Thomasians.