The founding fathers of the Phi Kappa Mu were men who led and achieved.

The fruit does not fall far from the tree.

The saying never rang as true as with the Phi. The offspring grows up to be very similar to his parents and thankfully, ours were men of brilliance and distinction.

Eighty years ago, our founding fathers were drawn together by an indefinable force. Was it destiny? A supernatural coming together, perhaps? Or was it, in fact, a simple union of like minds? Of men who lead and achieve.

A glimpse at the lives of thirty-five men:

Luis F. Torres, Jr. went to Johns Hopkins as a government scholar in 1934. Upon his return to the Department of Surgery of the Philippine General Hospital, he ushered in the era of modern urology in the Philippines. He performed the first retropubic prostatectomy in the country and made uroendoscopic operations common urologic procedures. He founded and became president of the Philippine Urological Association, the first of its kind in Asia. His dedication to the University and the Philippine General Hospital, serving as Professor and Chairman of the Department of Surgery for 10 years, earned him the UPMAS Distinguished Alumnus award in 1982. Today he is regarded as the Father of Modern Urology in the Philippines.

Jose M. Barcelona had envisioned a medical honor society when he helped found the Phi Kappa Mu, not unlike the Phi Kappa Phi, of which he was already a fellow. He trained in cardiology in Johns Hopkins before joining the faculty of the Philippine General Hospital. He became Assistant Director of PGH for 7 years before becoming Director for 5 more years. He was founder and president of Philippine Heart Association and became President of Polytechnic Colleges of the Philippines before becoming Director of John F. Cotton Hospital. In 1974, UPMAS conferred him the Distinguished Alumnus Award.

Antonio P. Cañiza, Phi’s first Superior Exemplar went to the University of Vienna shortly after graduation in 1934. It was there that he trained in surgery and orthopedics. After coming home, he joined the faculty of the Philippine General Hospital where he was known for his ten minute appendectomies and that ever so quick temper in the operating theater. Eventually, he went into private practice. When the Democratic People's Republic of Korea invaded South Korea in 1950, he joined the Philippine Expeditionary Forces under the United Nations Command to help uphold the UN Charter. The Korean War saw more than 400 Filipino casualties. For his bravery and service, he was awarded the Gold Cross Medal.

Pedro Q. Lasig was president of the intern’s class on Phi’s founding year. He trained in general surgery at the Cook County Hospital in Chicago and later on established the Lasig General Hospital. His philanthropic work blended well with his vocation as a surgeon. He was cited most outstanding physician in the Batangas Province and awarded the Philippine Medical Association Plaque of Merit for being the Most Outstanding Physician of Lipa City.

Nicasio B. Sahagun, the second Superior Exemplar became president of Laguna Academy two years after graduation. It was then considered as the largest provincial private secondary institution in Luzon. A promising physician- educator, he helped established a Junior Normal College which provided better access to higher education in San Pablo and the neighboring provinces. Sadly, Sahagun died a few years before the war, without realizing his full potential.

Several founding fathers figured prominently in the political arena. Most notable was Jesus B. Lava. As a medical student, he was a carefree ladies man who loved cars and women more than books. It was a big surprise even to his older siblings, all of whom figured prominently in the Communist movement, that he would become a communist, and a general secretary of the Partido Komunista ng Pilipinas, at that. During World War II, he was arrested and tortured by the Japanese for caring for the guerillas and the American soldiers. This strengthened his conviction to join the party and to fight with the Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa mga Hapon (Hukbalahap). After the war he was elected Congressman of the first district of Bulacan in 1946 but was not allowed to take office along with Taruc and the other communists similarly elected. The huks went back to the mountains. He eventually became General Secretary of the CPP, and then, Supremo of the Hukbalahap. After years in the hinterlands the “Last of the Huks” was arrested in 1964 and was imprisoned for 10 years. Writing in his book, writer Adrian Cristobal said: "History is a master of confusion. But there is nothing confusing about Jesus Lava, a man to the manor born who took the struggle of the masses as his own, and paid for it." Lava was conferred the Bayani ng UPMAS in 1998.

Lorenzo Prieto Ziga walked a more conventional path. He was elected as Representative of the 1st District of Albay to the 2nd Philippine Congress in 1949 and again in 1954 to the 3rd Congress. Unfortunately, he died in the middle of his term in a vehicular mishap.

Jorge P. Royeca was originally from Tayag, Pangasinan, but his pioneering spirit brought him to Dadiangas, what we now know as Gen Santos City, where early settlers from different parts of the country came to start new lives. He became known as THE “settler’s doctor”.  In 1960 he was elected as mayor of General Santos. After his term, he was appointed Director of Mindanao Development Authority in 1963, and was elected Assemblyman of Southern Mindanao in the Interim Batasan Pambansa in 1978. In 1995, the University of the Philippines Alumni Association conferred him the Community Service Award for Mindanao for his pioneering spirit and for being a paragon of exemplary community service in the various positions he held.

In 1936, the Armed Forces of the Philippines under the new Commonwealth Government of Manuel Quezon was reorganized. The better compensation for doctors added to the glamour of an officer’s uniform attracted a good number to the Medical Corps. Jesus T. Mendoza was one of them; he eventually became Surgeon General of the Armed Forces and retired a Brigadier General. Pedro G. L. Galang became a medical officer in the AFP, continued to serve through World War II and retired a full colonel. Manuel V. Olympia, Jr., became an AFP medical officer as well but shifted to Aviation Medicine after the war. He would later become President of the Aerospace Medical Association of the Philippines and the Philippine Association of Occupational Medicine. Augusto E. Hocson was Wing Surgeon of the 5th Fighter Wing, Philippine Air Force, and Commanding Surgeon of the Air Base Hospital. He became Surgeon General in 1971. After retirement he became Chief Flight Surgeon of Philippine Airlines, Board Member of Board of Aviation Medical Examiners and President of the Aerospace Medical Association. He was an officer of the First World Congress of the World Association of Military Surgeons and served as Vice President of the US Aerospace Medical Association.

When World War II erupted, Conrado Topacio, Calixto Deveza and Cirilo Gonzales joined the Medical Corps of the USAFFE. Deveza served as the Battalion and Regimental Surgeon of the 52nd Battalion USAFFE, was captured and imprisoned at the POW camp in Capaz, Tarlac. After the war he trained in Internal Medicine at St. Anthony Hospital, St. Louis and Sunnyside Sanatorium in Indiana before going into private practice in San Pablo City. Gonzales like Deveza become a Prisoner of War and endured the infamous Death March. After the war he went into private practice in Industrial Medicine.

Francisco J. Dy, our fourth Superior Exemplar was a giant in the field of Public Health. He was about to finish his Masters in Public Health at Johns Hopkins when World War II broke out. His request to serve in the war was granted by his Professors, along with his Masters degree, despite being a few months shy of the required term. As first lieutenant in the US Army Medical Corps his first order was to save the US troops in New Guinea not from the enemy but from malaria. And that he did. His experimentation with aircraft spraying of insecticides saved hundreds of lives and ensured the success of the troops. For his brilliance, he was awarded the Legion of Merit, his first. His second Legion of Merit was awarded for his public health programs as deputy chief public health officer. He was by then, lieutenant colonel. When the war ended he received the Distinguished Service Star for establishing numerous dispensaries and hospitals in the country.

He became the first Chairman of the Department of Parasitology of the UP Institute of Hygiene. He was awarded by the UP College of Medicine as Distinguished Alumnus in 1954. In 1966, he became the Regional Director for the Western Pacific of the World Health Organization, a position he held until his retirement 13 years later. He was Most Distinguished Alumnus of UP in 1976. For his efficient leadership and management and his invaluable contribution to international public health he was made Emeritus Regional Director for the Western Pacific in 1979. In the same year, he was conferred the Order of Sikatuna.

Gabriel Esquivel and Antonio Lozano, like Dy, pursued careers in the public health. Esquivel served as Senior Quarantine Medical Officer in government while Lozano worked in the Institute of Hygiene. He became World Health Organization consultant and Team Leader for the Treponematosis Team in Ethiopia and Burma. He trained in dermatology and obtained a Masters degree in Public Health at Johns Hopkins. He became Department Chairman of Medicine at the Far Eastern University and Assistant Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Parasitology of UST.

Successful entrepreneurs were Patricio L. de Dios who became president of the De Dios Transportation Corporation, the biggest transport corporation in the 1940’s, Jaime Lapuz who had a flourishing fish business. Arturo A. Guanzon had Farmacia Guanzon, later on managed and became president and director of several oil and mining companies. Nicanor Padilla, Jr. served as Board Member of Medical Examiners and Board Member of UP Board of Regents but made his fortune in real estate. Leopoldo Vergel de Dios together with his wife established a pharmacy, clinic and small hospital in Pasay City. He was the founder and first President of the Industrial Medicine Society of the Philippines and a Councilor-At-Large of the Philippine Medical Association.

While Melchor S. Maniego, Jaime Barcelona, Benito ReverenteAntonio C. Gotangco, Salvador L. Gomez, Nicanor Enriquez and David A. Garcia pursued private practice as general practitioners in their provinces, Ceferino F. Cayco trained abroad as a radiologist and practiced in San Fernando, Pampanga where he was the only radiologist in the region. Ramon C. Quesada was a specialist in Pulmonology. Gregorio V. Cancio took his Post Graduate at Cook County Graduate School of Medicine, Fellowship in Nuclear Medicine, International Atomic Energy Agency, and Visiting Scientist Fellowship at the National Institute of Health, Bethesda, USA. For most of his practice, he was Senior Scientist at the Philippine Atomic Energy Commission.

Antonio del Castillo and Victor Nañagas went into surgery and became faculty members of big universities in the country. Del Castillo was one of the early specialists in surgical oncology, trained in Columbia University, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center. He was Assistant Professor in Surgery at the University of the Philippines and Chairman of the National Committee in Clinical Oncology in the Department of Health. Nañagas was a Fellow at Emory University Hospital, Atlanta, Georgia, and an ICAS-NEC Scholar in Surgery. He practiced as a General Surgeon in NGH and FEU and became full Professor in Surgery at the FEU-NRMF

Any organization could boast of its cadre of leaders, but the Phi has been producing pillars, giants, successful entrepreneurs, leaders, innovators, revolutionaries and fathers in the disciplines of Hippocrates right from the fraternity’s inception. How our founding fathers lived their lives, made their choices, stood firm on their convictions, and realized their aspirations are truly exemplary.

Thirty five lives. A legacy of excellence and achievement.  A source of inspiration and pride for us that came after and for those yet to come.

 

 

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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