This used to be my playground, Last of 3 Parts (our college days at UST)

IN between those anti-Marcos rallies, we found time to watch movies like “Dear Heart,” the Megastar’s hit launching film with future husband (and now ex) Gabby Concepcion (

(Conclusion) IN between those rallies as well as prelim and final exams, long before the word “gimik” gained its current meaning of youths malling aimlessly or chilling with friends in their favorite watering holes, we still had the time to party and head to such haunts as Ali Mall, Greenbelt (no need to distinguish one from the other, as there was only one Greenbelt back then), Greenhills and the ever-reliable moviehouses (those days, the word multiplex wasn’t even in the dictionary) along C.M. Recto Avenue.

We patiently lined up to see Sharon and Gabby in “Dear Heart” and “P.S. I Love You,” two era-defining monster movies whose mammoth crowds were no match to the long, snaking lines leading to the remains of the assassinated Ninoy Aquino. We found ourselves braving the same lines one heady evening in August 1983, when a friend and I decided to go to the fallen opposition leader’s wake at Santo Domingo Church.

It may sound today like an understatement, but it was the start of bigger, more historic events to come. And true enough, less than a year after we left school in 1985, Marcos was swept out of power and exiled to the United States for good.

THE way we were in between classes (alexyvergara is sixth from left)

Despite the absence of instant communication, we somehow managed to meet and catch up with each other back then. Of course, it also meant being stood up or wasting an entire afternoon wondering if perennial latecomers like Teng would show up.

We didn’t lack for hot gadgets either. Barely had we begun to crack the secret behind those ubiquitous Rubix Cubes during our freshman year, when we woke up one day in the midst of a Game & Watch craze. Poor Popeye. I wanted to kill Brutus and slap some sense into Olive!

Watching weekend drag races in Greenhills became a form of spectator sports, but not before some of us got punched drunk drinking pitchers upon pitchers of Zombie at Tia Maria. In lieu of Coke (diet colas have yet to go mainstream), we’d go for either draft beer or shandy after helping ourselves to several slices of Manager’s Choice pizza at Shakey’s España.

IF you haven’t been to UST lately, now is the best time to go and see all the changes such as this Ramon Orlina sculpture in between the graduate school and AB/Commerce buildings.

Never mind if there were no fast food restaurants within and outside UST back then. We didn’t lack for places to eat and hang out before and after each school day.

Thanks to the now-defunct UST Cooperative and ever-reliable canteen on the AB Building’s ground floor, we had endless supplies of grilled cheese sandwich, waffle hotdogs and melon shake to keep those hunger pangs at bay. Janet’s, Goldust and Diner’s were just three of the more famous eateries we frequented outside the campus.

An open-air park with strategic sheds, which students collectively referred to as the “gazebo,” used to occupy the space where the main library now stands.  Groups would often while the time away swapping stories and cramming for an exam behind those thickets of bamboo shoots and under the foot of Manuel Colayco’s bronze statue. Colayco Park is now but a memory as well.

Pardon my ignorance, but to this day, I have yet to find out what Colayco did for the man to merit a statue and park named after him. But I will always remember the place and countless other places we frequented back then as silent witnesses to many an AB students’ hopes, dreams and misadventures as we tried to understand and carve out a place for ourselves in a big, wild, unknown world that beckoned before us.

What about you, guys? Do you have stories to share about your college days? Let’s hear them then.

UST ArtLets all: Brod Pete, Butch Francisco and Ali Sotto (a.k.a. Aloha)

alexyvergara and good friend Glenda Gloria of ANC

Let’s not end our collective recollections with this piece. May it simply be the beginning as we embark on our own respective journeys back in time, back to

alexyvergara with another good friend, Teng Reyes Castillo

a place filled with virtual tapestries of pleasant as well as poignant memories.

2 thoughts on “This used to be my playground, Last of 3 Parts (our college days at UST)

  1. Hi Alex! Memories just came flashing by! I could even hear the Brit 80s new wave sound while I read all three parts. And even remembered how Solex smelled:) nice read! Missing all of the uste gang.:)

    • B, how did Solex smell? I’m intrigued. I’m more titillated than repulsed, actually. Hahaha! Thank you for reading my thoughts. Oh, yes, all those memories of our younger years rush back as I wrote this. If there’s one memory I’m not equipped giving life to, it’s all those beau cons tailor-made for the group (you know what I mean). Would you like to give it a try? Hehehe! Salamat for sharing your thoughts. I’m glad I was able to bring you back to those good old days in a good way. Take care.

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