By Anne Josepphine Espano 


A GROUP of thirteen YS11 learners from Angelicum School Iloilo, accompanied by their class moderator and principal, recently participated in the University of Santo Tomas Experiential Learning Program (UST-ELP) from March 16 to March 19, 2023.

The program, led by Fr. John Stephen P. Besa, O.P., the principal of Angelicum School Iloilo, provided the students with a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the university environment.

The first day of the program began with a tour of the UST Main Building, UST Plaza Mayor, and UST Museum. The students also had the privilege of meeting UST’s Rector, Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P. 

A warm welcome awaited them at the UST Blessed Pier Gerogio Frassati building, where they enjoyed a lunch with Mary Erika N. Bolanos, the UST-SHS Principal, UST SHS staff members, and current Student Council Officers. The students were then treated to a program on the library and a tour of the impressive 22-floor UST-SHS Building.

We were greeted by kind, welcoming Thomasians and their teachers, we then got to write our names and signatures in a book that contained the names and signatures of those who previously visited the UST-JHS building, we then proceeded to their programming classroom got seated, and waited for the program to start. We were given 30 minutes to interact and talk to ust jhs students leaders, I had the pleasure of talking to the social studies club president and the art club president, we talked about what it’s like in Manila compared to Iloilo and Angelicum compared to UST,” said Lawrence Aceyork Lames. 

One participant, Kyla Mariel Pasaporte, described the tour as an exciting opportunity to explore the building and experience the close-knit community at UST Manila. The students were impressed by the architectural beauty of the structures and the warm reception they received from the senior high school students. Despite feeling a bit overwhelmed by the elevators and experiencing a minor earthquake, they left with a desire to enroll in UST.

After a day filled with exploration, the students enjoyed their free time at the Mall of Asia, where they had the chance to try different dining options and visit stores that were not available in their hometown.


“We mostly spent the day going to museums and on tours such as the Museo ng Pag-Asa and the National Museum of Fine Arts, which I and my classmates really had fun with. Our day concluded with a tour inside the walls of Intramuros and we had dinner with an amazing view of the city at The Bayleaf Hotel’s skydeck,” said Kiera Garcia. 


The second day started with breakfast at Eva’s Grill, followed by a program at UST-JHS, where the Angelicum learners engaged in conversations about academic life and discovered commonalities with their UST-JHS counterparts. Lames, one of the participants, shared their experience of meeting kind and welcoming Thomasians and engaging with student leaders from various clubs. They discussed the differences between life in Manila and Iloilo and compared Angelicum to UST.

The learners also visited UST-ANGELICUM College, where they met Fr. Herminio V. Dagohoy, O.P., the Rector of the college, and took a tour of the campus. The day continued with visits to the Museo ng Pag-asa, National Museum of the Philippines, Rizal Park, and Intramuros. The evening concluded with a delightful dinner at The Bayleaf Hotel’s skydeck, offering a magnificent view of the city.

On the third day of the program, the learners had the opportunity to explore places beyond UST-Manila. They visited UST-Santa Rosa in Laguna Campus, had lunch at Caleruega, and spent the afternoon at Sky Ranch Tagaytay. 

Ray Christian Juntado, another participant, shared his enjoyment of the trip, including the scenic view of Taal volcano and the thrilling rides at Sky Ranch Tagaytay.

“I was so excited when I found out that we were going to the UST chapel to go to church. I was even more excited because we were going to see Fr. Paul Talavera, OP. After we met with Fr. Paul and had breakfast, we went around UST to take pictures in different places and that’s when I realized that it was already the last day of the UST-ELP. I was feeling both sad and happy because it was the last day and we were able to go to UST. Even though we felt a mix of both sadness and happiness, I am sure that these memories will be cherished forever,” said Cesar Antonio Buyco. 


Capping off their 4-day Manila adventures was a final tour and photoshoot around UST-Manila before heading to the airport and returning to Iloilo City from their afternoon flight.