At first glance, one wouldn’t think of Dr. Nestor Bautista as an academician. His coiffed hair, military-like demeanour, and tall stature make him look too fashionable for the part. His artistic prowess is evident in the paintings he hangs and the musical instruments he proudly keeps in his residence.  At 80, this gentleman—a neuroanatomist/ educator/ researcher/ violinist/ classical guitarist/ cyclist/ marathon runner/ visual artist/composer—seems like he’s larger than life, joining the ranks of renaissance men like Jose Rizal.  Truly a man of countless talents he is: as a matter of fact, he is none other than the man who designed the logo and wrote the hymn of the UP College of Medicine, a legacy that shall always remain for as long as the hallowed halls of this venerable institution stand. 

Starting out from humble beginnings as a promising student of Rizal High School, Brod Nesting sailed through his school-years as the batch salutatorian, a graduate of the prestigious BS PreMed program of UP Diliman, and eventually of the UP College of Medicine in 1955. He was recruited as a faculty of the college right away, and voted best lecturer a number of times. After which, he went to the United States for a Master’s degree in Neuroanatomy. To call his performance exemplary is an understatement; he finished his two-year research course in a year garnering straight A’s. While also working as a research fellow, he wrote research papers on the brain which were published in international scientific journals.  He taught American students, being described as a Filipino professor who used no notes whatsoever in his lectures on the nooks and crannies of the brain.  Again he was voted best lecturer in the American university where he studied. 

What most people do not know is that his artistic growth parallels his academic career. No hiatuses were spent in between: Brod Nesting always found and made time. In his youth, as a young student he already had an affinity for playing the violin. Eventually it was the clarinet; and as he went to the States for his master’s degree, he honed his skills with the guitar, mainly because it allowed him to play quietly, in solitude inside his dormitory. He considered classical guitarists Pedro Concepcion and a young student of John Williams as his mentors.

Brod Nesting as a student (L) and clinical associate professor (R) of the UP College of Medicine.

Brod Nesting’s curriculum vita of talents does not end there. Juggling between academics, music and social life, he also spent time as a visual artist, and one of his masterpieces is a charcoal portrait of his wife which he still keeps to this day. He considers himself an athlete as well. He wanted to pursue motorcycle riding but was dissuaded by his friends due to risk of injury of his fingers. He pursued cycling instead, as well as running full marathons. He loved challenging himself.

And then there was the Fraternity. Brod Nesting recalls how it was fashionable to join a fraternity in medical school, let alone in the prestigious University of the Philippines College of Medicine. Phi Kappa Mu was considered then as the “macho frat”, thus it was his natural choice to sign up. “Phi already attracts the best”, he quips. “They always put their hands on your shoulders, and say, good luck brod!” This was how Brod Nesting remembers the Fraternity as always present and always there to give support, in whatever form that may be. In observation of the Fraternity’s tenets, Brod Nesting voluntarily shared his talents to the group, leading the Fraternity as Brother Defender and Initiations Chairman in 1954-1955.  

 

ON THE HYMN 

One of the testaments to Brod Nesting’s musical prowess is the story of how he composed the College Hymn.  He recalls that it was in June of 1982, as part of the College’s Diamond Anniversary, that he was informed of a song-writing competition for the college hymn. The lyrics for the song were already chosen, and he decided he would write its melody. It was a “flash of brilliance” that made him decide he wanted to write a song read review. He used the pseudonym “Tarrega”, the name of a famous classic guitarist, in his submission. Lo and behold, that song came out a winner. On December 14, 1982, 8:30 in the morning, the awarding was held and the momentous playing of the song followed. To this day the song is still played in all functions of the College.

 

ON THE SEAL

Another testament to his brilliance is the story of how he designed the seal of the UP College of Medicine. Quite a few people recognize him as the man behind it. However, he recounts, “Many people know that I designed the logo. They don’t know what happened behind.” It all started when then-UPCM dean Gloria Aragon asked him to judge the logo making competition of the college. He refused, and asked to compete instead. His design won. He considers the logo an “original artwork, made from flashes of brilliance where [he] became very creative”. He explains that the five rings found at the base represent the five health science colleges of UP Manila. Surrounding the logo, he wrote the words “science, culture and empathy” in alibata by himself, because nobody knew the exact translation of these words. He chose the University Oblation instead of the familiar Aesculapius because he wants the University to be the center of it. “If anybody sees it, they will say, that’s UP”, he mentions.

The original copy of the logo of the UP College of Medicine created by Brod Nestor Silayan Bautista ϕ1950

The original copy of the seal of the UP College of Medicine created by Brod Nestor Silayan Bautista ϕ1950.

Asked whether or not there was financial compensation for winning the competition, his eyes lit up in reply, “Nothing. The prize is the perpetuation of the logo for all time. I think that’s more than enough of a prize”. He considers making the logo as “doing something for the alma mater, by making a priceless contribution”. The logo remains present in all of the college’s publications, stationaries, office souvenirs and is embroidered on many a doctor’s coat in the hospital. 

Unknown to many, brod Nesting has made another achievement. Years after he retired he wrote and won the search for the official hymn of the UP Medical Alumni Society in America (UPMASA), making his contributions to the college a grand slam of sorts-- a legacy that will last forever.

* * * * *  

Brod Nesting had only one thing to say to the aspiring doctors of today: “Find something that you like. No one’s gonna do that for you. Don’t do something that they like. For whatever reason, choose what you want to do.” Perhaps it is this assertiveness over one’s life that enabled him to pursue his endeavours in diverse fields. Perhaps it is his natural knack for doing things. Whichever it may be, Brod Nesting definitely embodies the qualities of a Phi, and will always be an example not only to the Fraternity’s young brothers-- but also to the College’s young and aspiring achievers.

 

Find something that you like. No one’s gonna do that for you. Don’t do something that they like. For whatever reason, choose what you want to do.

 

 

Established in August 1933 by the UP College of Medicine's best medical students, the PHI KAPPA MU (Fraternity of the College of Medicine) continues to uphold its tested tradition of Excellence, Leadership, Service and Brotherhood in the College, University and in our country.

Through the Fraternity's ideals and pillars, her Loyal Sons continue to lead, innovate and excel in the practice of medicine worldwide and in preserving the honor and integrity of the medical profession.

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