The Philippines is home to some of the oldest and most historic universities in Asia. Some of these universities have stood strong against time and have since carried with them stories from years ago.
Stories from these universities are inspiring, though some might just send a shiver down your spine. In this article, Pinoy Builders looks at the history of some of the Philippines’ old and “haunted” universities for this year’s Old Hallows’ Eve.
6 Old & Eerie Universities in the Philippines
These universities carry with them eerie stories that will surely send a chill up your spine. While some stories revolving around these institutions sound believable, there are also those that seem to be farfetched. Regardless, we’ll be looking at the history of these universities and some haunts in their hallowed halls.
University of Santo Tomas
A list like this won’t be complete without the oldest universities in Asia.
Founded in 1611, the University of Santo Tomas (UST) was ascribed to Miguel de Benavides, the third archbishop of Manila, who first came to the country in 1587 with the first Dominican mission. While Benavides wasn’t able to see the rise of the university, frays Francisco Minayo, Bernardo Navarro, and Baltasar Fort signed UST’s act of foundation. The university was first called the College of Our Lady of the Most Holy Rosary before being renamed to Colegio de Santo Tomas in 1619. They renamed the university to its current name, University of Santo Tomas, in 1908 under the name of Real y Pontificia Universidad de Santo Tomas de Manila.
Indeed, the University has seen a lot, and it still continues to make history today.
While UST is best known for being the oldest university charter in the country and in Asia, many Filipinos also know the university because of its famous haunts. Among these include a haunting in the Beato-Angelico building where a guard saw students through the newly installed CCTVs when the school was already empty. Another story involves the UST Hospital, where a staff member encountered the ghost of a man while they were on the way to the morgue.
St. Paul University Quezon City
Also known as SPUQC, St. Paul University Quezon City was founded in 1946 by the Sisters of St. Paul of Chartes. They established it to cater to the growing students of Saint Paul College of Manila and the Novitiate and Provincial House of the SPC post World War II.
It was first an all-girls institution, but they later converted it into a co-ed institution in 2006. With a majority of the school tucked in the quiet streets of New Manila, it’s hard to miss the school but if you board a train on the LRT Line 2, you’ll be able to see parts of the Paulinian institution. Because of its tranquil and quiet spaces, it’s hard to imagine that this university would be home to spirits of the years that have passed.
According to several alumni, a famous haunting in the school is the reason certain restrooms in the university aren’t fashioned with mirrors, even though holes and wear suggest that there were mirrors at one point. According to stories, the ghost of a student used to show herself through the mirrors, which is why the school took them down and never put them back-up. Most of the hauntings in the university center on the St. Paul Building – one of the oldest buildings in the university – and the James B. Reuter Theater.
Ateneo de Manila University
Ateneo de Manila University or AdMU was founded as Escuela Municipal de Manila in 1859 by the Society of Jesus. The institution began as a small private school but was elevated to offer secondary education in 1865 as the Ateneo Municipal de Manila. It also offered the bachillerato and technical courses that would provide students with certificates in surveying, agriculture, and business.
They destroyed the original university in World War II, leading to its transferal to Plaza Guipit in Sampaloc. The AdMU opened its present campus in Loyola Heights sometime in 1952. Ateneo officially became a university in 1959 – its centennial year.
There are a couple of haunts associated with AdMU and one of them revolves around a janitor and a security guard who seemed to have encountered a rather messy situation. One of the more popular stories that surrounds the school states that the campus’ Communications Department building houses a vortex to another dimension.
University of the Philippines Diliman
Hailed as the national university of the Philippines, they established University of the Philippines Diliman or simply UP Diliman in 1949. It is the fourth oldest and the largest constituent campus of the University of the Philippines System in terms of faculty, student population, library resources, and degree-granting academic units.
Much like most of the universities in this list, UP Diliman was not spared by the onslaught of World War II, with the development of its area being stalled by the war and with the enemy aliens occupying some buildings. By the time the war ended, the university transferred to its present campus from Manila and welcomed new institutes and programs. To this day, UP Diliman continues to offer some of the best programs in the country and stays true to its name as the national university of the Philippines.
Partially because of the size of the campus and its history, there are many haunted tales that circulate about UP Diliman. The most popular tale associated with the university is that of the student who boarded one of the IKOT jeeps one night. As she neared her stop, the student asked the driver to pull over, but the driver didn’t stop. They would then proceed to an alternative route with led to the student’s building apprehension. When they got to her dormitory, she immediately got off the jeep but not before being told by the driver to burn her clothes because she had no head when he looked at her through the rearview mirror.
Formerly known as Maryknoll, the Maryknoll Sisters of St. Dominic established Miriam College in 1926 as the Malabon Normal School. By the time that World War II ended, the Maryknoll sisters transferred to Marikina in 1952 and formed Maryknoll College. The college would permanently settle in their Loyola Heights campus sometime in the late 1950s. While the institution isn’t as historic as the others in this list, it has its fair share of the country’s history and holds a legacy of its own.
Famous haunts in the university mostly center on two of its oldest buildings – the grade school and high school building – that was used as a headquarters and makeshift hospital in World War II. Stories say that if you ever find yourself in the restrooms of these buildings and feel something brush against your shoulder, you shouldn’t look up as you might see the spirits of women hanging from the rafters.
Established in Silliman University or simply, Silliman, is known as the first American and Protestant-founded institution of higher learning in the Philippines and Asia. Americans ran and operated it before World War II. Filipinos would later assume more administrative positions at the university and would later see the appointment of the university’s first Filipino president in 1952.
The Japanese Kempeitai used the university as a station during World War II. Because of this, many of its buildings – including three of its dormitories – are considered haunted by the souls of those who were tortured and killed during the war.
Many know of the haunts that these schools have and even students exchange their own spooky stories. Regardless, these institutions have stood the test of time and carry with them a piece of the country’s history that is unique to them.
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