In the center of the capital of the Philippines, there is the Arch of the Centuries. The National Museum declared this unique monument a heritage of the country. This grand creation reminds the Filipinos about the Spanish past, and it is the symbol of the past and present times connection. The center of the city is very diverse, and the best hotels of Manila are concentrated here.
The Door to Knowledge through the Arch of the Centuries
Next to the Arch of the Centuries, there is the University of Santo Tomas. These two structures are inextricably linked by the historical past and symbolic meaning. The arch is a kind of gate to knowledge. More than one generation of Filipino students has passed through it. Among the students were the national hero José Rizal, whose body rests in the Paco Park, and Manuel L. Quezon, the first president of the independent state of the Philippines.
The Arch of the Centuries was built in 1611. The construction appeared near the first university of the country, in the old district of Manila, Intramuros. Later the university together with the arch moved to Sampaloc. It was demounted and rebuilt once again but in a new place. The Arch of the Centuries is a central entrance to the University.
World War II destroyed this symbolic monument. But the arch was destined to have a second life: the Arch of the Centuries was reconstructed and its original architecture had been preserved.
The Ceremony of Initiation for the Philippines Students
The Arch of the Centuries is a sample of the Baroque architecture. The main elements of it are the Doric columns. The inscription on the top of the structure says: “Gateway to the history of the finest breed of Filipinos”. And it is really so. Many of the university graduates became well-known persons in the history of the Philippines.
According to a tradition, every student who enters the University of Santo Tomas should pass under the arch. The ceremony is obligatory also for those who leave the walls of the university with a diploma. However, only in these two cases, the students have a right to go under the Arch of the Centuries. But there is a superstition that those who break this rule may invite trouble during their education.
Address: UST, España Rd, Sampaloc, Manila, 1008 Metro Manila, the Philippines.