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The University of San Carlos (USC) is the largest and most prestigious university in Cebu, Philippines.
It is also the oldest college in the Philippines and in Asia, having been first opened in 1595 by the Spanish Jesuits under the name of "Colegio de San Ildefonso".
In 1967, the Museum of the University San Carlos was opened, with sections on ethnography, archaeology, natural sciences and history (including the Spanish colonial period).
On display are numerous items from the pre-Hispanic (that is, pre-Spanish) period including stone and iron implements, pottery, burial jars, coffins, and jewelry and other body ornaments. Item from the Spanish colomial period include ecclesiatical relics.
There are also items from various ethnic groups throughout the central and southern Philippines. Periodically items are displayed from neighboring Asian lands.
The natural history collection (previously kept separately as the University of San Carlos Biological Museum) has an excellent marine biology, entomology and natural history. This collection was founded back in 1952 by the German priest/entomologist Enrique Schoenig. He began a tradition of annual field trips throughout the central Philippines for the purpose of collecting specimens.
These days this natural history/biology collection is one of Asia's most impressive. Apart from large collections of specimens preserved in botles, there are other popular exhibits such as the stuffed six-leg carabao (buffalo).
Philippines's oldest college but not the oldest university
It is important to dispel a myth. The University of San Carlos is not the oldest college in the Philippines. It is not the oldest university in the Philippines (although it is sometimes claimed to be). Though the University of San Carlos is now a university, it only received its charter as a university in 1948.
The honor of the oldest university is in fact the University of Santo Tomas in Manila, which was established as a university in 1611.
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Author: David Paul Wagner
(David Paul Wagner on Google+)