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The USTMED150 Sesquicentennial Commemorative Timepiece: A Legacy and Tradition

By Dr. Jason Letran

How it Begun:

 

During a fateful trip last February 2019, while on a bus ride back to the hotel from the Nikko Botanical Garden in Japan, a group of University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Surgery alumni, all urologists but trained in different institutions, mulled over what they could contribute as their share for the 150th activities. Drs. Jason Letran,  Juliano Panganiban, Gerry Albano, Apol Lasala, Carlo Bisnar, Roderick Arcinas, Johnson Sy and Adviser Dr. Samuel Ang immediately agreed on a fundraising "Commemorative Watch Project."

 

Our horologist-in-residence, Jason Letran, ran through a list of watches to pick from, contacted Dean Dr. Ma. Lourdes D. Maglinao, for approval, got her resounding "OK" for the watch project, and by the time we got to our lodgings, we had the mechanics of the plan all done and set.

 

The only thing that was missing was the timepiece,

 

The Search is On:

 

So, the search is on for the ideal timepiece, befitting the Thomasian physician's qualities: excellent and unassuming, innovative yet respecting of tradition, with an unending drive to continue, challenge, and conquer.

 

In the end, we have identified one of the best-kept horological secrets. But first, we needed to get approval to use the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery's seal and the USTMED150 logo, to which Dean Odette Maglinao and Father Angel Aparicio were most helpful. Then, we had to convince a high-end watchmaker to produce just one hundred fifty units of exclusively hand-crafted individually numbered timepieces, all with the USTMED150 logo distinctively engraved at the case back.

 

We had to present our story, our rich heritage, tradition, and of course, our purpose to the watchmaker. Lastly, we had to find one hundred fifty alumni willing to own one of these one hundred fifty timepieces at a premium price. In retrospect, it seems so coincidental that the entire project was conceptualized in Japan, the birthplace of our Chosen One.

The Chosen Timepiece:

 

The chosen timepiece, symbolic of the 150 years in the pursuit of excellence in medical education, must carry the qualities of precision, timelessness, versatility, and elegance, which would embody the virtues of a Thomasian physician.

 

Grand Seiko combines luxurious mechanical watchmaking craftsmanship with modern electronically generated movement unmatched by any other brand with its unique spring drive technology.

 

The result is truly Thomasian—an exclusive timepiece bearing the four colors of the University seal. The gold stands for royal patronage and pontifical roots, the black and white represent the color of the Dominican order, and the Marian blue symbolizes the Blessed Virgin Mary.

 

The one hundred fifty years of excellence in medical education is distinctively marked with the unique serial number represented by each of the 150 generous Thomasian physicians.

 

The USTMED150 sesquicentennial commemorative timepiece, truly ...... a piece of history .... and ...... tradition.

 

The Purpose:

 

This project raised a total of Fifteen million pesos (PHP 15,000,000.00) which was earmarked for the Simulation and Research Building Project in raising the next generation of Thomasian physicians.

 

The Turnover Ceremony:

 

A group of dedicated Thomasian Medical alumni headed by the Dean, Ma Lourdes Maglinao, Catherine Teh, Johnson Sy, Juliano Panganiban, Larry King, John Solamo, John Domingo, Karl Morales, Mayette Valencia, and Jason Letran braved the modified extended community quarantine to claim the 150 watches and took responsibility in distributing the watches to the rightful owners.

 

The chosen date for the turnover ceremony was 26 September 2020. The feast day of Saints Cosmas and Damian, the patron saints of Medicine.  Initially, it was planned to be a grand gala night attended by the 150 proud owners of the timepiece with their respective spouses/partners or significant half.  The Father Regent, Fr. Angel Aparicio, and the Dean will complete the invitees.

 

As it turned out, the world came to a standstill with the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, not even a pandemic could stop the spirit of the group. Like the resilient Thomasian physicians that UST FMS is known to produce, the plan shall go on.

 

In an unprecedented move, the very first online gala celebration was held to commemorative the turnover ceremony of the fifteen million pesos (PHP 15,000,000.00) donation for the cause of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery.  It was a night of fun, glamour, loyalty, and nostalgia as we unveiled the timepiece that everyone has been patiently waiting for.

The 150 Owners of the Sesquicentennial Watch

Dr. Jason Letran

Dr. Karl Morales

Dr. Pedro Lantin III

Dr. Richard Olalia

Dr. Harry Longno

Dr. Ronnie Cacas

Dr. Juliano Z.K. Panganiban

Dr. Johnson Sy

Dr. Edwin Yu

Dr. German Jose Albano

Dr. Charles C. Cuaso

Dr. Buenaventura Jose Reyes

Dr. Reynaldo Sebastian

Dr. Romeo Nelson Lee

Dr. Randy Pablo Talamayan

Dr. Dennis Agapito

Dr. Jaime Songco

Dr. Carlo Bisnar

Dr. Teddy Opulencia

Dr. Steve Lim

Dr. John Arnel Solamo

Dr. Marcelino Morales, Jr.

Dr. Timothy Dy

Dr. Daniel Alonzo

Dr. Michael Louis Gimenez

Dr. Editha Fernandez

Dr. Mellmont Ocampo

Dr. Samuel Ong

Dr. Raymond Norman Casipit

Dr. Argyll Arcigal

Dr. Jose Fernando Syquia

Dr. Hayden Kho Jr.

Dr. Widmark Dy

Dr. Reynaldo Perez

Dr. Jaime Anthony Arzadon

Dr. Jose Bonifacio Rafanan, Jr.

Dr. Gary Avendano

Dr. Anna Lissa Ruste-Chan

Dr. Rufino Agudera

Dr. Jaime H. Morales

Dr. Don Edward Rosello

Dr. Michelle Luciano

Dr. Edward Yap

Dr. Mario Magcalas

Dr. Esteban V. Almeda

Dr. Luzcielo Roxas

Dr. Rodelio D. Lim

Dr. Ramon Jose Angelo A. Casipit

Dr. Rodrigo Hipol III

Dr. Allan Policarpio

Dr. Roderick Arcinas

Dr. Ernesto Gerial, Jr.

Dr. Jose Rizalito Catipay

Dr. Ferdinand Antonio Tolentino

Dr. Herman Sorongon Jr.

Dr. Nelson Co

Dr. Maria Elena Mendoza-Aoanan

Dr. Francis Roasa

Dr. Aldrin Joseph Gamboa

Dr. Norberto Martinez

Dr. Mateo Ilano

Dr. Medel A. Reyes

Dr. Dakila De Los Angeles

Dr. Raul Castillo

Dr. Kennedy Lim

Dr. Pavio Buac

Dr. Louis Francis Tanco

Dr. Glenn Angeles

Dr. Dante Eugenio

Dr. Melvin Marcial

Dr. Steven Chan

Dr. Rogelio Lagasca

Dr. Hermenegildo Jose Zialcita

Dr. Ramon Torres

Dr. Samuel Ang

Dr. Dennis Jose Delgado

Dr. Jonnel Lim

Dr. Brian Christopher Ang

Dr. Victor Lopez

Dr. Steve Lim

Dr. Rene Chan

Dr. Rosemarie Aguirre-Castro

Dr. Nelson Maglinao

Dr. Michael Mendoza

Dr. Purificacion-Hency Marquez

Dr. Rollo Milante

Dr. Edison Guerrero

Dr. Benito Tan Jr.

Dr. Ferdinand Tan

Dr. Jose Joel Eclarinal

Dr. Elna Fajardo

Dr. Edwin William Tan

Dr. Catherine Teh

Dr. Aldrin Cuasay

Dr. Narciso Atienza

Dr. Ian Paredes

Dr. Jose Ernesto Roces

Dr. Rudie Frederick Mendiola

Dr. Rudolfo De Guzman

Dr. Pio Purino

Dr. Ma. Lourdes Domingo-Maglinao

Dr. Miguel Arambulo III

Dr. Nines Bautista

Dr. Roberto Uy

Dr. Juvido Agatep Jr.

Dr. Valerie Floro-Herbosa

Dr. Aristotle Bernard Roque

Dr. George Co

Dr. John Knight Gulla

Dr. Noel Aypa

Dr. Sammy Cunanan

Dr. Joseph Michael Abcede

Dr. Romulo Buzon

Dr. Florimond Garcia

Dr. Pascualito Gutay

Dr. Jade Jamias

Dr. Jesus Querubin, Jr.

Dr. Claro Ziegfriedo Nacorda

Dr. Eduardo Tin Hay

Dr. Carlo Antonio Romero

Dr. Sigfred Ian Alpajaro

Dr. Gabriel Eala

Dr. Alex Clemente Santarina

Dr. John Kenneth Domingo

Dr. Raphaell Giancarlo B. Mordeno

Dr. Jorge Jose Antonio R. Mendoza

Dr. Louis Salinas R. Hudencial

Dr. Larry S. King

Dr. Nelson Lim

Dr. Ericson B. Reyes

Dr. Raymundo R. Dimaculangan

Dr. Peterson M. Paner

Dr. Hildegardes "Heal Doc" C. Dineros

Dr. Widmark A. Dy

Dr. George V. Aczon

Dr. Constancio C. Reyes

Dr. H. Rommel R. Seno

Dr. Rafael R. Vera Cruz

Dr. Jocelyn Cobankiat

Dr. Francisco E. Tan, Jr.

Dr. Joselito V. Casipit

Dr. Sjoberg Ang Kho

Dr. Allen A. Valencia

Dr. Rex A. Madrigal

Dr. Apolonio Q. Lasala, Jr.

Dr. Benjamin L. Ramos, Jr.

Dr. David T. Bolong

Dr. Robert M. Magsino

Dr. Rodrigo D. Segui

Dr. Freddie Yap Sy

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Thomasian Feature for August 2021: A True Kindhearted Man

A true kindhearted man, “Beb” or as we all know him, Dr. Ferdinand “Ferdie” Ramos, is a well-decorated Thomasian Doctor with a drive to serve others.

Born in San Fernandro, La Union to parents of hardworking meat vendors, they have always been instilled the value of education. Through their hard work, all of them, seven (7) sisters and four (4) brothers are all college graduates. The apple does not fall far from the tree as they say, as Dr. Ferdie exemplified the same amount of perseverance his parents had throughout his life. This has made excellence follow him, from graduating as class valedictorian in elementary to being a Bene Meritus awardee in UST-FMS. As if he is not academically inclined enough during his days in the University, he was also active in Teatro Tomasino Actors Guild, Brotherhood of Student Titans- Sigma Beta Tau Phi, and Medical Missions Incorporated. Where he developed a sense of passion in serving underserved communities.

 

He later then migrated to the United States with his wife, Dr. Evelyn, to have their internship. After working at Queens General Hospital in New York, they then pursued their Anesthesia residency and practiced in cities within Illinois. They then transferred to Indiana and held several positions in several hospitals as full-time pain management specialist. He is also a highly specialized interventional pain management doctor; his works include implantation Spinal Cord Stimulators and Morphine Spinal Pumps for chronic intractable pain.

 

Due to the nature of his work, and the ongoing opioid crisis in the States, he had given lectures on pain management at USTMAAA, as well as, in Vancouver and Washington. In his practice, he offers both opioid and non-opioid therapeutics.

 

Aside from being a competent and committed doctor, his most known trait is his compassion. He has founded and co-founded several foundations and accomplished several medical missions in the Philippines. Within these medical missions, they have seen more than 6000 patients, with each one with varying health concerns that may need a simple consultation up to major surgeries. Even with the looming pandemic in the early months of 2020, they were still able to go on medical missions. Since then, they have spearheaded several Donation drives to provide personal protective equipment, and COVID 19 virtual seminars. Other endeavors include raising funds for the Titans USA Scholarship Program and University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Medicine and Anargyroi: FMS Foundation Inc., specifically for the creation of the state-of-the-art Simulation Laboratory & Research Center that is due to break ground this incoming January 2022.

 

As you may know by now, Dr. Ferdie always answers the call of someone in need, thus with the untimely passing of his good friend, Dr. Peter Legaspi Yu, he did not hesitate to take on the role of USTMAAA Foundation President for 2020-2021. Even with the difficulty caused by the pandemic, USTMAAA, with Dr. Ferdie, had always stood behind and have supported their beloved Alma Mater.

A truly blessed man shares his blessings with others. Dr. Ferdinand “Ferdie” Ramos exemplifies what it means to be a Thomasian Doctor.

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Year-Ender for RSP Class ‘21

The end is just the beginning of something new.

 

We bid our bittersweet farewells to our Regent’s Scholarship Program pioneer Class. To formalize the start of their next step to being a full-fledged Thomasian doctor, the first Year-ender was held last August 28, 2020, at 9am to 11AM 8+GMT. Initially set to be held on-site at the University of Santo Tomas, this year’s Year-Ender was held online. It was attended by our graduates, current RSP scholars, RSP Chair and Selection Committee and Board of Trustees. The ceremony was opened by a prayer led by one of the recent graduates, Jochebeth Joi Trocino. Fr. Angel Aparicio gave the opening remarks.

 

After Father’s message of encouragement, Evelyn Songco, Ph.D., Chair of the RSP Program, provided the rationale of the program. This was followed by a video presentation prepared by the current 2nd year and 3rd year RSP scholars to say goodbye to their older brother and sisters. A light-hearted story of perseverance and wit was then shared by Class ’67 alumnus Dr. Peter Fang, an advisor of AFI. Another message came from Dr. Antonio Penilla, also of Class ‘67 and a Board Member of AFI. The life lessons shared are priceless. Their stories showed that there is no clear-cut way of pursuing medicine.  The glitz, the glamor that most of us associate with medicine are filled with hardships, mistakes, and sacrifices along the way. It is sometimes easy to lose track when faced with all of this, but it is how we move forward that makes us better people. Both speakers have told the students to stay steadfast. Lastly, they reminded the scholars to take risks, achieve excellence, but remain to be gracious and humble.

Another presentation was shown from the 1st year and 4th year RSP Scholars. Followed by a message from the graduates represented by Patricia Si, RPh. A surprise Thank you video from the graduates was also shown.

To commemorate and bless them in the next chapters of their journey, the commissioning rites was presided by Fr. Aparicio. A bag of tokens was provided to each graduate, and each item was symbolic as explained by AFI DO-AR Executive Director, Ms. Annette Ward.

While the students were unpacking their bags of tokens, Ms. Ward reassured the graduates that they have found a family in the Foundation and will still be cheering them from afar. The program ended with the singing of the UST-HYMN.

 

The Foundation is thankful to be a part of the lives of these amazing young men and women, but this would not have been possible without the support of many of our alumni donors, their families and friends.

 

As Father Aparicio said,

 

“You are our crown. The fact that ordinary Filipinos can achieve a dream to be a Doctor of Medicine of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery in the University of Santo Tomas, could you have imagined that 4 years ago? 10 years ago?”

 

Mabuhay and congratulations! This achievement is for us all.

 

You may watch the full event here on our Anargyroi FMS Foundation, Inc. Youtube Page:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IQRlbOKaRC8

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Upcoming Annual Report: Charity amidst Adversity

This year has been challenging. This pandemic has pushed us all to adopt and adapt to new ways in such haste. The excitement for welcoming a new decade started with the eruption of the Taal Volcano and was further dampened with the announcement of the global pandemic.

The University also prepared for the sesquicentennial celebration of the Faculty of Surgery and Medicine, 150 years of Thomasian excellence. There was already a year-long preparation of welcoming this momentous milestone, and some were fortunately done before March 2020, such as the Med Gala, and “Fore to 150” a UST FMS Sesquicentennial Golf Invitational.

However, some of the events had to be postponed, and most had to be held online or reconfigured to adapt to the new guidelines set by IATF. Today, just like a year ago, we are again in high alert as Metros in the Country are put in the strictest and highest form of community quarantine. It is understandable that everyone is growing weary and tired of what seems like an endless cycle.

The Foundation, with the help of the Faculty of Surgery and Medicine, as well as our Alumni Associations, have all contributed to help our frontliners in need, may it come in the form of donation drives, posting for calls for action or even just webinars to “KamUSTa” them.

We are truly grateful for the commitment our Thomasian doctors have. Wherever they may serve, they do. There is no hesitancy to support AFI, FMS, and colleagues. With your contributions, we were able to help already five (5) students fulfill their dreams of becoming doctors, and two (2) others have just started theirs.

Your actions, efforts, have never shone brighter in the darkness of times and it is truly a testament of God’s act through hands of men and women.

This is only a fraction of what we can do with your help, and we would like to share more of our successes in this challenging year. Our Annual Report will be released soon and you'll be the first ones to know!

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Confluence ’21

Our first batch of scholars had an added experience before leaving the portals of the University of Santo Tomas. Our Regent’s Scholarship Program Chair, Prof. Evelyn Songco, PhD, invited speakers from both the private and public practices, to share what our new graduates may expect in their internship. Our Anargyroi: FMS Foundation, Inc./Development Office and Alumni Relations Director, Ms. Anna Ward opened the Confluence, and followed it with the introduction of our speakers, Dr. Alfred Belmonte and Dr. Ma. Teresa Tricia Guison-Bautista.

Dr. Bautista is a family medicine practitioner, who also has interests in occupational, geriatric medicine, sports medicine and palliative care. She is well-published nationally and internationally. Her practice is mostly among communities, but she also serves as the Faculty and Residency Training Officer of UST. As a doctor with numerous and myriad of experiences, she shared her journey through medicine. She gave a simple acrostic for our young doctors to remember along their medical life journey which is “PIES” (Patriotism, Integrity, Excellence, Spirituality ); Patriotism, she said that despite her experiences and opportunities abroad, as a community doctor, she knew the inequalities and inaccessibility of our current health system. Thus, she urged the scholars to always put the country at heart. Integrity is one of the most important virtues a Thomasian Doctor must uphold, to be followed by Excellence and Spirituality. As doctors, she reminded them of the oath to serve the sick, sick people who are existential beings. Also, to constantly pursue excellence, with a heart.

Dr. Belmonte is a practicing general surgeon with decades of experience and has held several posts in the University including Chairmanship of the Department of Surgery and the Clinical Program Director. He was the immediate past Social Welfare and Development Coordinator of the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. Dr. Belmonte provided a more pragmatic view of life after medical school. He even shared that in contrast with Dr. Bautista who shifted specialties, he earlier on had already decided on being a surgeon. He presented the possible specialties, job opportunities and other important choices they might make as they go along their journey. He also shared a word of caution for possible challenges, and unpleasant experiences they might also encounter.

An open forum was then moderated by Dr. Songco after a lively discussion. The Regent of the Faculty and Medicine, as well as Board Member of AFI, Fr. Angel Aparicio, O.P. bid them farewell and wished them blessings on their way as their internships started the day after (August 1, 2021).