“A man can leave no better legacy to the world than a well-educated family.” These are fitting words for the man hailed as the Father of Modern Anatomy in the Philippines. As far back as he can remember, Brod Mariano Vinluan Dela Cruz has been sharing knowledge with his family of students and fellow brods. And with this lifelong gesture, he has secured a bright future filled with the service and excellence of the lives he has touched.

Every great man has his beginnings. For the young Mariano, inspiration towards a career in medicine came in the form of his local doctor back home. Everybody used to call and seek help from him when they got sick. He was good at his job, did not change much or let greed overpower him, and was able to heal the people he attended to. Brod Mariano looked up to this man and felt like he wanted to do that too. It was this sentiment— this passion for service, that helped him through his schooling years up into the College of Medicine.

During medicine proper, Brod Mariano believes that he had an easier time than most of his classmates. Unlike many of his peers, he drove to and from school though he lived only a couple of blocks away. Information came easily as well as Mariano’s mother deeply valued her son’s education and quickly provided him with the books he asked for.

Brod Mariano’s first encounter with PHI saw him hanging out with no less than the Superior Exemplar himself Brod Hilario De Dios, who, as fate would have it, lived right in front of Mariano’s house. The two would get together at times and Mariano was promised that if he ever decided to join PHI during that year, he would protect him come initiations. The two grew close, and Mariano was eager to follow his good friend’s lead in joining the Phi Kappa Mu.

Like most brods, the challenging odyssey that is a PHI initiation was the hardest experience Brod Mariano had ever gone through. But he never gave in. And as PHI welcomed Batch 1949, another excellent brod was added to its roster.

The Fraternity back in his time was quite different from what it is today. Besides the annual ball, there were hardly any activities that brought generations of brods together. As witness to the lifelong evolution of PHI, Brod Mariano is pleased with what the Fraternity has become. Now, the PHI remains stong and with numerous gatherings and activities, continues to grow stronger as the flame of brotherhood spans generations and crosses oceans and continents bringing both resident and alumni brothers together in celebrating the glory of the Phi.

Nowadays, Brod Mariano Vinluan Dela Cruz is held in high esteem as the Father of Modern Anatomy in the Philippines.  Interestingly, as is the case with most men of achievement, eminence was not something he was gunning for. It came simply as a by-product of his passion for excellence in his chosen field. Several years after graduation from medical school, he took a professorial position and taught several subjects in Anatomy. What set him apart from other colleagues at that time was that he chose not to limit his scope to one body system. From the thorax inside-out to the extremes of the extremities, he taught it all. He was driven by a sense of responsibility to excel in his work and to know enough in order to impart faithful knowledge to the students under his care. Day after day his dedication and fervor shone through, earning him the favor of his students as well as the respect of his peers.

Brod Mariano’s passion and ethics in teaching were influenced by a colleague of his back in the day. He had seen him giving grades to his students, but he never gave a 1.0 – the coveted uno that was the top score. That colleague of Mariano’s would always tell his students that they were not better than God, and that his giving them a 1.0 would have implied their superiority over the Creator. To Mariano’s ears, this was absurd. In his mind, if a student showed the willingness to learn and the eagerness to display his knowledge, then that deserved a 1.0.

Mariano had always wanted to communicate that being a doctor comes with a passion for learning and sharing, with the goal of healing others. Good grades were beside the point. To Mariano Dela Cruz, a doctor should strive to heal first above all else. And with that creed, everything else would follow. 

 

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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