Vision is of extreme importance to mankind. It has helped us perceive our world, helped us to survive and helped us appreciate the beauty of God’s creation. Some people take this gift for granted; some do the opposite and devote their lives to protect it. Let us take a look at the colorful life of Manuel Bautista Agulto Φ ‘69A, physician, family man, ophthalmologist turned chancellor, truly an exemplary Phi.

Brod Manuel B. Agulto, grew up in Nueva Ecija in a modest family headed by their maternal grandmother as the family matriarch. Early on in their childhood every night, Manny’s grandmother would place her hand in Manny’s head with the blessing; "May you be a good doctor”. This was of huge importance to the young Manny. This drove him to dream high. He aimed to fulfill his grandmother’s prayers.

His early Methodist upbringing brought about discipline in studying and a healthy dose of sibling rivalry helped build his drive to be the best. Manny also loved books and was a wide reader since he was young. He learned the value of education very early on and as having come from humble beginnings, Manny grew up knowing the value of a single centavo. Together, all of this fuelled Manny’s desire for continuous self-improvement. He wanted to do his best and as he says to follow God’s will all his life.

In order to prepare himself for his medical education he took up Bachelor of Science in UP Diliman. Manny continued to study hard while still being involved in extracurricular work. He was president of Christian Youth Movement, a student Organization in UP Diliman and a member of the prestigious Model Company of the ROTC whilst maintaining high enough grades to ensure his entry to the UP College of Medicine.

As Brod Manny entered medical school, he had his first encounter with the Phi Kappa Mu Fraternity. Manny always believed that two heads are better than one. When people who he was close to decided to join Phi, he decided to take that leap of faith and enter the venerable fraternity. Brod Manny admits that he was a loner before he joined Phi. Afterwards it was apparent that he joined the better group academically (as he shares that he had joined a group he could study with), in its values and in its camaraderie. “Life in Phi is great, both during medical school and more so after. To be a good man is to be a Phi. If you put it into your heart the virtues that the fraternity teaches us you cannot go wrong."

Brod Manny was as a jack of all trades in medical school, he made it a point to do well in all his subjects and rotations.  In everything that he did, he made sure that it was complete and irrefutable. He continued to focus on his studies, despite all the challenges that he had encountered along the way.

As Brod Manny was about to graduate, tragedy struck his family; his closest brother was murdered aboard the ship that he was working in. This was a hard blow to his family. Manny wasn’t able to attend his graduation because of this incident, but in spite of this tragedy his family grew closer together. Brod Manny pushed on to become a great doctor, not only for himself but also for his family.

After Medical School, Manny spent a year in community service. He practiced for a while in his home province, giving back what he learned before applying for a residency program. Being a Jack of all trades in medical school, Manny aimed to apply for family medicine. Then a fateful telegram from a Phi brod came and told him that they needed people to apply for the ophthalmology residency program. He agreed to do so and this thrust him to the world of Ophthalmology, the field where his name would be made known. He finished his residency and eventually became Chief Resident of the department. Brod Manny has never looked back to regret his decision.


During his Ophthalmology residency, several patients told him that there were no pure eye doctors in Pampanga. He started his practice in San Fernando and even established an eye department in the Regional Hospital. He also eventually established a residency program for Ophthalmology in the same hospital. His efforts in the City of San Fernando and the province of Pampanga has even garnered him awards for being an exemplary physician.

Brod Manny’s desire to help his fellowmen led him to Glaucoma, a relatively new and uncharted subspecialization in the country at the time. This was a valuable niche for Manny who was just starting out. To bring the best glaucoma care to the country, Manny was sent to the United States of America to study intensively under the world’s best Glaucoma experts. Manny returned to the Philippines, where he imparted his training and knowledge to countless students.

Brod Manny served as a professor in the UP College of Medicine, wherein he became chair of the Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences from the year 2000 to 2005. In his term, he was able to facilitate, from planning to completion, the construction of the Sentro Oftalmologico Jose Rizal. The Center, a donation of the Kingdom of Spain, is still up to this day the biggest and the best eye center in the Philippines.

Brod Manny also served as Director of the Institute of Ophthalmology a part of the National Institutes of Health and Chair of the Ethics Committee of the Philippine Journal of Ophthalmology. He values research intensely as he sees it as a way to impart new knowledge to the world.


When asked how it is being a chancellor, it would be an injustice not to use Brod Manny’s own words.

“I ran for chancellor because I knew that things could be made better. I have the will to do it and the group that will accomplish it with me. I wanted to continue my life of service. What is 3 years more to give back to UP, UP that gave me everything that I have right now? “

“Phi has helped me reach where I am today and on how I now manage UP Manila. Brods were the ones who nominated me for the position of chancellor and they all continue to support me up to this day. I have no regrets in joining Phi. I only have honor and gratitude for the fraternity. As now a chancellor, it is my challenge to live up to the expectation and to reach the bar that the fraternity has set for me. “

“I don’t take myself too seriously. I know what I can and cannot do. I do what I can, what I cannot do, I ask for help. I only wish that my term be remembered as when the students, faculty and staff were made proud to be from UP Manila.”

“Being chancellor is no different than being a physician, but instead of patients, you help heal the nation. Instead of medication you help churn out the best possible healthcare professionals.”

Through it all Manny remains humble and credits everything to God. Manny does not consider himself  a religious person, but he believes in living a life for God. He views his life humbly as such; “I live a favored and a charmed life. I consider our lives as prayers, if you follow God’s will He will take you where He needs you to go.”

Manuel Bautista Agulto has lived a very colorful life. He came from humble beginnings and is living proof that hard work, faith in God and perseverance can lead you beyond your wildest expectations. The world today is an ever-changing field. We are presently confronted with new problems and for this we need novel solutions. We need to change how we perceive and confront issues. We need to collaborate and communicate.  For all this we need to have someone to lead us and move us forward. We need someone with a dream, a Vision to heal our nation. Manuel Bautista Agulto is that man.




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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