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Competent, committed and compassionate: Meet these remarkable Thomasians ‘imbued with unending grace’ in their fields

By Kirsten Hallie Santos Published Jul 09, 2021 6:57 pm Updated Jul 09, 2021 9:02 pm

As the oldest Catholic school in Asia, the Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas has helped its students uphold its three core values of competence, commitment and compassion—values that distinguish themselves from other universities in the country and the world.

Now on its 400 years of existence and excellence, let us take a look at some of the remarkable alumni the university has produced who all made an undeniable impact in their own fields.

Maricar Reyes-Poon 

Maricar Reyes-Poon took up Medicine in the University of Santo Tomas. On a 2019 Instagram post, the actress-turned-entrepreneur said despite not pursuing to be a full time doctor, she still takes care of her staff, friends, family and workmates who are sick as a general practitioner, since medicine is a part of who she is now.

Maricar has been serving delectable cakes in golden tin cans since 2015, and she has kept her business, Maricar’s Chocolate Cakes, afloat amid the pandemic.

Ice Segeurra

The former child actor and songwriter finished his degree in the UST Conservatory of Music. As a singer since his teenage years, he has produced well-known OPM hits such as Pagdating ng Panahon and Pakisabi na Lang. Besides being a big influence on the Filipino music industry, he was appointed as a chairperson of the National Youth Commission by President Rodrigo Duterte in 2016.

Hayden Kho and  Vicki Belo 

These celebrity surgeons both completed their degrees in Medicine and Surgery in UST. The couple met at a beauty contest in the university’s Medicine faculty, “Mr. and Ms. Medicine,” where they were both judges. The dermatologists continue to bring beauty to their client portfolio, that are now stacked with various A-list personalities.

Take a look at the couple supporting the UST Tigers at a UAAP basketball game in 2019. 

Piolo Pascual 

Actor Piolo Pascual studied General Education at the UST Faculty of Arts and Letters before shifting to Physical Therapy. In an interview, he said that Teatro Tomasino, the official theater guild of UST, paved the way for his acting. He mentioned that UST changed his life, and if not for the school, he wouldn’t have been an actor.

Piolo had the honor to be one of the sculpture models in the Quattromondial Monument for the celebration of the University's 400th anniversary inside the campus. The monument represents UST's four centuries of excellence, spirituality, tradition and erudition. Pascual was modeled as a Filipino student embodying “excellence.”

Charlene Gonzales

The 1994 Binibining Pilipinas Charlene Gonzales graduated with a degree in BS Psychology. After graduating, she entered the glitz and glamor of showbiz, and remained thankful to her alma mater, saying that the university became an integral part of her life. 

Charlene, along with Piolo, was one of the sculpture models in the Quattromondial Monument in UST, where she represented a Thomasian teacher symbolizing “erudition.”

Janine Tugonon 

When it comes to carrying the Thomasian excellence in beauty and brains, Janine Tugonon certainly fits the bill. The Miss Universe 2012 1st runner up finished her pharmacy degree as a cum laude in UST. She was also crowned as “Miss Pharmacy and Miss Thomasian Personality” at the University in 2010. 

Lourd de Veyra 

The TV host, musician, poet, and three-time Palanca Awardee is a UST graduate under the journalism program. Lourd De Veyra was a newspaper scholar in his last two years of college at UST, and has since published poetry books Subterranean Thought Parade, Shadowboxing in Headphones and Insectissimo.

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Florin “Pilo” Hilbay 

Atty. Florin “Pilo” Hilbay is an AB Economics graduate at UST. The lawyer topped the 1999 bar examinations and became the youngest Solicitor General in the country up to this date. Hilbay was also one of the key figures in winning the Philippine case at The Hague that the Aquino administration lodged against China over the latter's claim of claiming the West Philippine Sea.

Lourd and Pilo were classmates during their Sophomore year in the Faculty of Arts and Letters at UST. On a 2019 facebook post, De Veyra shared that Pilo was class president before while he was vice president, and that their class once complained due to their "absolute absence of interest in organizing a Christmas party."

Brillante Mendoza

The 62nd Cannes Film Festival Best Director winner Brillante Mendoza took up Advertising in the UST College of Architecture and Fine Arts in 1982. In a 2010 interview with the Varsitarian, the Pampanga native shared that he arrived late to his BS Psychology entrance exam and only the slots for Advertising in the university were available for him to take.

Fate leading him to this path turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as his brilliance in filmmaking made an impact for both the local and international audience.