The decade was sorely marked by assassinations: of President John F. Kennedy in 1963, of Nation of Islam leader MalcolmX in 1965, and of Martin Luther King in 1968. A counterculture known as the “hippie” culture was also espoused by innumerable young people. Drug abuse, especially of LSD, made popular by various music groups, was rampant. Opposition of the still-ongoing Vietnam War became part of contemporary culture. The decade also witnessed the increasing intensity of the Cold War in space exploration. Yuri Gagarin of the Soviet Union succeeded in becoming the first man in space, Valentina Tereshkova the first female; but America won the race to the moon, through the landing of Apollo 11 in 1969. Surgery also achieved an unprecedented milestone, as Christaan Barnard of South Africa succeeded in performing the first heart transplant. In the Philippines, Carlos P. Garcia instituted the “Filipino First” policy, and a young Ferdinand Marcos ascended to the presidency and started a regime that was to span two decades. In 1972, amid political unrest, Marcos declared martial law.

 

On a cool October evening of 1964, the Phi Kappa Mu presented “Galliard”. The program included T.S. Elliot’s “Murder in the Cathedral”, Conrado Joaquin’s “Voices of Laughter”, Nick Joaquin’s “ The Innocence of Solomon”, Wallace Steven’s “ The Idea of Order in the Key West” and William Butler Yeasts’ “ Crazy Jane Talks to the Bishop”. The all Phi cast of players and interpreters performed with dogged seriousness and conviction. The air in Science Hall crackled with the impact of vulgarity colliding with exaltation. The PGH audience reeled with disbelief and amusement , bewildered by the unlikely marriage of a title that promised Old World charm and a program that teetered between insanity and inspiration. The self proclaimed critic differed no less violently in their opinions. One praised the camaraderie that accrues from working together at a common endeavor another called the effort pretentious and pathetic.

“Galliard” typified the spirit of the Phi and its fourth decade of life. The temperament of these men who managed to survive the alembic of the initiations were not only widely different but also each wildly unpredictable. That there was nothing consistent or predictable in the string of activities they produced might be expected. That they were able to pull each off well was a bit more astounding. For instance a year before the elitist “Galliard” Phi mounted a bucolic five act play, “Paniningalang-Pugad”. Now who would have thought that the same men who so eloquently plot Thomas Becket’s murder could also scheme devious courtships and secret weddings? And who would have expected that two months after the esoteric “Galliard”, these same men would comment with the same deadly seriousness of the weather, on the newly opened Cinerama, on the newly paved Azcarraga and the brighter lights of Mean Garden, and this during the soiree, then the “in” thing with a sorority from Quezon City?

The dawning of the 1960’s ushered in a breath of the Renaissance within the fraternity and in the College of Medicine itself. But Renaissance began quietly, almost unself-consciously. First there were the Medics articles on Music, on doctors turned painters, on jazz bands. Poems and literary essays soon made regular appearances. Finally, in 1962, Strauss Jr. sparkling operata, “Die Fliedermaus”, and Lapena’s winning play, “Sepang Loca” bloomed onstage.
Ever so often a Phi would shine, disclosing a portion of the wealth of talent that the fraternity managed to keep within the bonds of brotherhood. Rollando Villanueva was the 1964 Medics Newsette editor in chief. Through him, together with Adriano Laudico, who wrote lengthy poetry and painted in oils and Victor Rivera, the Newsette maintained a precarious and daredevil existence. Rovil soon developed stress ulcers. He was foolhardy enough, though, to head the next year’s Philippinesian and preside over the PGHPA only a little later. Rovil was succeeded by Enrique Sajor II who led an editorial board literally swamped by Phis. Ike might have organized his literary life a bit better than Rovil but he occasionally reached new heights of adventure that his predecessor never dreamed of. When the interns laid siege on the women’s dorm in the annual raid, Ike stole a piece of lingerie, hung it on a Christmas tree and touted a grand prize to anyone who can identify its chagrined owner.

1964 also saw the Sports editor Johnny Brawner sing the solo bass part of Victoria’s Ave Maria with the Schola Cantorum, an all Phi male choir conducted by Siegfredo Nadela, who wrote the music to Paniningalang-Pugad in 1962. The same year saw Nestor Bautista performing with the Medical Arts Symphony Orchestra of Kansas. Back home, Benjamin Canlas Jr. was the new pathology chairman. Both Salvador Salceda and Benjamin Limson won the PMA-Abbot Research Awards.

The following year, on April 15, 1965, Phi staged “Stalag 17” with Marcelito Custodio directing and set designers Nap Apolinario, Joe Laceste and Rolando Oro contenting themselves only with the real props borrowed from the nearby barracks. Gerry Paulino looked heinous as German corporal. But it was Edgardo Llamas Arcinue, 1966 medical student council president , three times class prexy and basketball center who stopped the show by taking a bath naked in a drum onstage, thus baring more than just another hidden talent.

It did not come as a surprise to anybody, therefore when this company of bass soloist, actors, musicians, editors and bathing beauties participated in the 1965 UP Lantern Parade with a float that depicted a primi-gravid in lithotomy position, garbed in the pink OB gown, in the throes of virgin birth.
The decade at hand was a time of soaring spirit and introspection of the entire UP-PGH community. Science Hall became a home for the performing arts and a listening room at the second floor was sanctified by Beethoven’s piano ties and Bix Beiderbeck’s trombone. On September 20, 1966 Gilopez Kabayao recalled his PGH audience with a feast that included Tartini’s “Devil’s Trill Sonata”. The UPSCA and UPCM choirs, short on rehearsals but long on fervor, gave performances under the direction of Sieg Nadela.

Caught in a furious whirl of cultural rebirths, the Phi Kappa Mu launched a series of projects unprecedented in richness then and now, that further strengthened the fraternity’s commitment to the arts. The winners of the recently concluded Elizalde-NPC Photo Journalism contest were exhibited on August 17, 1965 at the medical library. Volsklied I and II were organized in 1965. The Phi-nuts, culled from the host of repressed singers of Phi, performed Volkslied II. The movie “The battle of the Villa Florida was premiered on September 1966. Before the year ended, the fraternity not only managed to squeeze a nostalgic folk dance presentation entitled “El Baile Quire Ser Luz” but also feted Drs Eugene Stransky and Emilio Horilleno in Bienvenido Cabral’s residence. Dr. Horilleno was a Phi stalwart and a distinguished member of the faculty of surgery.

1966 was also the year when Martin dela Rosa became SE. Mars Custodio, director of many a Phi play became Venerable Preceptor and Kansas University Exchange student. Gregorio T. Lim Jr. succeeded Ike Sajor as Newsette Editor and Antonio Repotente, voted the most capable player of the college basketball team, took over the Sports Section. Dr. Oscar Tangco was back with a Masters degree from the University of Minnesota and Dr. Manuel Macapinlac with a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt.

In 1967, a neophyte of a well-known fraternity died from hazing, sparking a fairly inquisitorial atmosphere that filtered through the College in the form of a circular banning the recruitment and admission of new fraternity members. The Phis held peace, haunted by the specter of the 1960 suspension. 1967 was not a year for visionaries and idealists. Thirty dead men were sprawled on Taft Avenue after the Lapiang Malaya clashed with the PC. The remarkable violent 1966 elections left the country weary and despondent. Even Imelda temporarily laid low.

1967 was indeed no year for dreamers. In PGH, however, one of the most stubbornly idealistic of Phis took the chairmanship of Surgery. He was Dr. Enriquez Garcia. And on Sept 6, 1967, a foolishly idealistic movie “ Alfie” was premiered by Phi at the Capitol Theater. In the reception line was a pride of Phis headed by Dr. Reginaldo Pascual, Drs Enrique Garcia, Florentino Herrera Jr., Quintin Gomez, and SE Silverio Santiago Jr.

The 1967-68 University Basketball Intramurals ended with the UP College of Medicine bagging the championship. The winning team included Antonio Repotente, Nelson de Lara , Joseph Soliman, Fernando Tibayan, Herbert Miranda, and Domingo Tablan. Most of these Phis were physical giants, capable of unintended displays of strength. Occasionally the results were catastrophic. Such was the day when post- duty Fernando Tibayan took a bath while clinging to the top of the bathroom shower and went to bed bringing that piece of plumbing with him. Those who live in the second floor were amused because many unwary intern has fallen prey to the firecrackers of Ramon Pimentel Jr. who usually waited for his victims hidden inside the Phi Nest. When a firecracker went off in the john while an intern was using it, word got around that the Nest was again high and dry.

1967 might not have been a year for dreamers but it did not matter much. The Phis continued to relish the earthy pleasures of Ermita, the midnight saunters to Luneta for hotdogs and cokes, the music of crickets singing in the basketball court at two in the morning (Alvin Panahon once half-dragged a groggy security guard to even out the teams so they could play) or the spectacle of a brod spewing out the tenderest curses upon waking up in the middle of that same basketball court in broad daylight because the double bed he slept on has been carried out of the dorm during his non-REM sleep. 1967 was not a year for dreamers.

On the other hand, 1968 was not a year for Don Quixotes either, but for a Don Juan. The brilliant George Barrios graduated magna cum laude, ending a four-year career distinguished by consistently topnotch grades in the classroom and the in the clinics, and this despite an incurable habit of reviewing his notes written on the back of jai alai tickets amid the din of the fronton just before exams. Along the way, George managed to be part of the “Galliard” cast, Phi Standard Bearer in 1967 and PGHPA secretary during Rovil’s term in 1968. His brods, Antonio Alfonso and Silverio Santiago, Jr., might have graduated cum laudes by traveling straighter, narrower paths, but this did not matter. The triumph of this gambling, gallivanting, all around, utterly “regular” guy marked a very special year for the great majority of medical students who have always tried to fuse their academic and their more epicurean interests. 1968 vindicated the prodigal sons.

The editorship of Newsette was regained for Phi by Jose Munoz in 1968; Jose Tiongco succeeded him in 1969. Munoz, however, became the 1968 UP-KU exchange student and thus did the editorship pass to his managing editor, Jesus Calimlim Reyna. Once more, Newsette teemed with Phi, constantly reminding the College of their presence. More concrete means of exerting influence were taken by staging Nikolai Gogol’s “ Inspektor Heneral “ in 1968 and “ Escapade” in 1969. The former was a translation ( or a gross mistranslation, as some called it ) by Sarah Joaquin. The latter featured the return of “Voices of Laughter” to the stage with Jesus Martinez Jr. , directing, and the presentation of “New Yorker from Tondo” by Marcelo Agana with Manuel Castillo directing.

Perhaps the decidedly socially bent of both “Inspektor Heneral” and “New Yorker” was an indication of the ideological ferment then vigorously brewing. Tarlac was fast becoming the political hotbed of the sixties just like Pampanga in the fifties. The poverty-ridden peasants of Central Luzon, paralyzed by servitude and indebtedness to their warlords, now lay cowering in the midst of a war among the Beatles, Monkeys and the Gorillas. Violence and bloodshed rocked the 1969 polls in Batanes, Cebu, Lanao and Sulu. The Muslim threat to secede was never more serious and in Cotabato, the land was warm with the blood of both Christians and Pagans. Meanwhile, consciously or unwittingly, the slogans from the “Little Red Book” along with bits of Marx’s theory of revolution filtered down to hard-core visionaries to the less discerning, more naïve urban students. The intentions of this dissenting elements might have often been less than noble but the very impact of their febrile and simplistic gospel colliding head-on with the restiveness of the oppressed masses sparked a fission which was commonly referred to as the First Quarter Storm. On February, 1969, the Moreno Bill was proposed. It sought to “strengthen PGH in order that it may become a vital instrument in the advancement of medical science and the promotion of better health.” It also recognized the hospital’s “impressive and great service to the nation in the last six decades.” Proponents hailed its more precise definition of residency training programs. Critics denounced its proposed Hospital’s Board that included three presidential non-medical appointees. The general response from PGH quarters was altogether vigorous, understandably so but still exceptional, considering that these were people who previously contented themselves with more “bourgeois” preoccupation. Slowly, the Phi concerts and plays gave way to medical missions to Sapang Palay led Epimaco Bool and visits to the “house of Unwed Mothers” at Bulacan in 1970. At least six “Operation Blood Brothers” were organized in 1971, spearheaded by Prospero Tuaño in coordination with Maryknoll. Adamson and the UP Zoological Society. These bloodletting campaign were intended to replenish the constantly inadequate depots of the PGH Blood Banks. But on August 21of that year, “Operation Blood Brother” spelled the difference between surviving and dying for the victims of the Plaza Miranda Bombing who suddenly thronged in PGH.

On January 26, 1970, the streets of Legarda, Azcarraga, and Mendiola swelled and spewed forth a host of defiant students, teachers, laborers and professionals galvanized by the tantalizing dream of reform and radical change. Luneta, Agrifina Circle, Plaza Miranda, and Plaza Ferguson all repeated the sounding anger. In an emergency meeting a 2:00 P.M. on January 27, the Medical Student Council resolved to support the next projected rally on January 30 by boycotting all classes and joining the demonstrations. The boycott became unnecessary, though, for classes were suspended. The impassioned marches and picket lines once more claimed the streets and student speakers took turns in exposing and denouncing the imperialists and feudalist crimes.
Herbert Miranda, then SE, and Jose Tiongco, Medics editor-in-chief, led several other Phis in attending teach-ins and live-in seminars proliferating in the wake of the demonstrations. They formed part of the medical teams that stood witness to the parliaments of the streets. and that took care of the numerous casualties.

Sept 1970. The Phi Kappa Mu officers for the year 1970-1971 are: Herbert H. Miranda, Superior Exemplar; Francis J. Verde, Vice-Superior Exemplar; Epimaco G. Bool, Venerable Preceptor; Francisco Y. Betinario Jr, Standard Bearer; Jose C. Gonzales, Brother Custodian; Edgardo B. San Luis, Brother Recorder; Manuel C. Tan Jr. and Victor S. Ejercito, Guardians of the Temple. The fraternity is presently sponsoring a weekly Medical Mission to the indigents of Sapang Palay. The Mission is headed by Mac Bool and Tito Ejercito. A movie premiere will be presented by the fraternity sometime in November to start a serires of Fund-Raising Projects for the indigents of Sapang Palay and the Charity patients of the PGH. A Blood-letting Campaign is being launched to help the PGH Blood Bank.

Typhoon Yoling lashed at Manila on November, 1970, and what proved to be memorable was the sight of PGH interns (class ‘71) picketing the hospital and soliciting the support of residents and consultants alike. Their demands included the improvisation of sorry hospital conditions, increase the salaries of residents and their inclusion under the WAPCO and the ouster of the PGH director. Residents took over the vacant posts until an interns’ skeletal force took over when the first two demands were granted. Activism had finally and truly caught up with the most phlegmatic of all UP colleges.

Two hand grenades exploded in Plaza Miranda in August 21, 1971, wounding 95,killing 9, and prompting Marcos to suspend the writ of habeas corpus. The people were far from hailing the move because the victims of Plaza Miranda almost toppled the Nacionalista senatorial ticket in the 1971 elections. Two months before his electoral victory, Ninoy Aquino spoke before a packed audience at BLSR- East on September 7, 1971. For a moment, the tidal wave of opposition seemed truly capable of overthrowing the status quo. On September 21, 1971, however, martial rule was imposed. The tidal wave was stemmed, almost incredibly. The ranting press was silenced. The accusers became the accused. And for those who dreamed of revolution, the life of the hunted became a harrowing and almost totally unforeseen way of existing.

As student councils were shut down and activism outlawed, The Phi Kappa Mu, together with the rest of the organizations in the college, was forced to lead a clandestine life. The flamboyant poems, the ardent songs, the giddy and reckless plays and the literary musical experiments were over. Science Hall, both anactual and allegorical wellspring of the arts in the college, was finally closed down, weakened by physical and spiritual earthquakes. A medieval temper invested the consciousness with sobriety and circumspection. The practical jokes and the private parties continued but for all those who have lived through the decade, Renaissance was over.

Nov 1971. Operation Blood Brother of the Phi Kappa Mu reached the mark of 319 donors when it tapped some 66 students of Maryknoll College September 24. The blood campaign was undertaken as a joint activity of the fraternity and the student council of Maryknoll – after negotiations were made by Rolly Tuaño, over-all coordinator of the project. The sixth in the series of blood letting sessions, the Maryknoll campaign is another let-up to the fraternity’s continuing assistance to the UP-PGH Blood Transfusion Service, where blood supply is continually low. Other blood-letting sessions had been conducted in the past: at Adamson University with the cooperation of the AU Speech Club; at St. Paul’s College with the SPCM College of Nursing; and at UP Diliman with the UP Zoological Society as sponsor. Adamson U has been a campaign site for already two occasions – once in May when the project was first launched and another last August. Aside from their two sources, the fraternity itself had its qualified members donated blood in July. Operation Blood Brother, a pet project of the fraternity under the able leadership of Billy Cabellon, is expected to gain more donors as arrangements are now being made with different student organizations in St. Theresa’s College, St. Scholastica College, Ateneo U, San Beda College, and again Adamson University.

 

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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