Domestic Servants of Colegio de Santo Tomas, Manila, circa 1854
As the Royal and Pontifical University of Santo Tomas in Espana, Sampaloc, Manila ends her Quadricentennial celebration (1611-2011), many accolades and tributes have been given to her illustrious products (Thomasians of science, arts, education, law, theology, etc.). As a footnote to historical memory, we should not forget that many unknown and unsung Filipinos served UST during her 400 years of history. No, we are not talking of her professors or educators, but literally, of her servants.
In the National Archives of the Philippines, among one of the bundles of the “Censo de Poblacion,” can be found a list of domestic servants (serving individuals, businesses, religious institutions). The document, Servidumbre domestica-Padron General, contains data related to the name (and age) of the servants and to the names of the “amos” as well.
Image: List of Domestic Servants, Colegio de Santo Tomas
For the “Colegio de Santo Tomas,” the Dec 31, 1854 list contains 20 names with an average age of 26 years. Fermin Bartolome, 46 years old, was the oldest while Simon Fermin and Eugenio Bonifacio were the youngest at 16 years old. Again, just a historical footnote, 154 years ago, the Colegio de Santo Tomas relied on the loyal and dedicated support of 20 domestic servants. Do you know anyone of them?
How did the Colegio de Santo Tomas compare with the other “walled” Dominican institutions in terms of the number of domestic servants? While there were only 20 domestic servants who worked for the Colegio de Santo Tomas, the Convento de Santo Domingo contained the names of 46 domestic servants with an average age of 23 years. One wonders how many priests and seminarians lived at the Convento de Santo Domingo at that time in order to require the services of 46 domestic servants. Among the domestic servants of the convento, Rufino Vergara served as the oldest at 64 years of age. There were nine (9) domestic servants who were at the youngest age of 16 years old.
Image: List of Domestic Servants, Convento de Santo Domingo
The Colegio de San de Letran (http://www.letran.edu/main/thecolegio/history/?) had a total of 38 domestics servants, or about 18 more servants than the Colegio de Santo Tomas. The Colegio de San Juan de Letran servants averaged 31 years of age or seven years older than those of the Colegio de Santo Tomas. Santiago de la Cruz at 66 years of age was the oldest among the domestic servants.
Image: List of Domestic Servants, Colegio de San Juan de Letran
Source: Censo de Poblacion 1854-1863, SDS 19549.
National Archives of the Philippines: http://www.nationalarchives.gov.ph/