A Glimpse of UST and its Lumina Pandit 400-year old Exhibit

University of Santo Tomas (UST) located in Sampaloc, Manila is Asia’s oldest existing university even older than Harvard’s. In its 400th annivesary it showed the Lumina Pandit: An Exhibition of Historical Treasures” which offered the rarest and most valuable items in the archives of Miguel de Benavides Library. Contrary to the usual negative connotation of friars during Spanish time, it was a moment worth acknowledging about these Dominican missionaries who did priceless efforts to help the Filipinos to enrich the knowledge about education, science and language particularly at that time.

These books, documents, photos, retablos, sculptors, maps that are completely sealed were exhibited since June 2010 and just last Friday it was officially closed. It will be returned to their safe and temperature-controlled vaults which will be opened in perhaps in another hundred years.

Among the books that intrigued me the most are Nicolaus Copernicus 1st edition of book that explains geocentric idea that the Sun not the Earth is the center of the universe. His book was published a year after he died so it was Galileo Galelei who was persecuted by the Catholic Church which supports heliocentric idea the opposite of that of Nicolaus principle. The only existing sample of a real estate transaction in the 16th century written in “baybayin” or the alphabet used by our ancestors which is about a document selling a house. A picture of the first rector of UST was there too and he is in fact still alive, a bishop in Naga said by the student guide. Rosaries from 16th century looked so colorful and I regard them as jewelries




           World Map in 1507 that does not include yet the Philippines .



Baybayin Document





Any idea how old are these books?

University of Santo Tomas (UST)


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