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Tribal day in UST

By: Jullie Y. Daza

ABS-CBN sat beside GMA. Across them was IBC. Manila Bulletin and Manila Times were close enough to rub elbows.

Giovanna Fontanilla, UST head of public affairs, remarked, “How chummy-chummy you were.”

I could’ve told her the chumminess happens only when they’re not working, for the reality is that beneath the surface of garrulous fraternalization, journalists are expected to work against each other. Either that, or as Ninoy Aquino once gleefully observed without a hint of malice in his voice, journalists tend to be incestuous (which may explain why the romantic alternative is tribal intermarriage, in my opinion).

Fr. Herminio Dagohoy, O.P., rector of University of Sto. Tomas, was spared from such tribal chit-chat when he hosted an appreciation lunch last week for media persons, several of them being UST-made. Part of the program was to introduce the UST Speakers Bureau, composed of professors from a multitude of disciplines, from Marxism to marine biotechnology, museum and exhibit design to “world Englishes,” food engineering to Limnology (the study of fresh-water bodies), DNA barcoding (of plants) to detecting chemicals in arson.

For me, the headline of the day was Father Rector confirming that the Sta. Rosa, Laguna campus, all 45,000 sqm or more than twice the size of the present España property, is well within visualization. “Site development will begin this August,” he said to me only (because I was the only one who asked, see what I mean about how we work?). “By 2020,” he promised, Thomasians new and old should see more than a building or two in the neighborhood of the Ayalas’ Nuvali and the Lucio Tan Group’s Eton.

The bad news is that a spate of scary news is to blame for the continuing decline in Korean enrollees and cancellation of the summer program by other foreign students. On the positive side, UST High now has its own 28-story building on España – “just cross the road” from the main gate and its Arch of Centuries.