The decade was marked by the ascent of women to top positions in politics throughout the world. Isabel Peron of Argentina became the first woman to be president of a country. Margaret Thatcher became the prime minister of the United Kingdom in 1979. The Paris Peace Accords saw the end of the Vietnam War, which also resulted in victory for the Communist North. Iran also underwent a transition from a monarchy under ashah, to an Islamic republic established under the guidance of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Filipinos, meanwhile, had to adjust to a life under martial law, which was eventually lifted in 1981.

Feb 1973. Now on its 41st year, the Phi Kappa Mu Fraternity kicked off its year-long activities with a blood-letting campaign at the Maryknoll College last July 26. The blood was donated to the PGH blood bank. A traditional affair, the campaign exemplifies the PHI’s sincerest desire to help needy patients whose financial condition prohibits them from buying precious blood for transfusion. The same blood letting campaign was conducted by the fraternity on February 15 and March 22 last year at the UP Arts and Sciences building in Diliman, Quezon City in coordination with the Phi Lambda Delta Sorority of the College of Medicine, the UP Zoological Society and the UP Pre-Med Society. Responding to the country’s cry for medical assistance in neglected areas, the PHI in coordination with SAKAP maintains a Sunday clinic program in Sapang Palay. Aside from direct medical help to the residents, Mother’s classes and Family Planning classes aimed at informing parents of the necessity of birth control and the various methods of achieving it and at educating them on the proper hygienic measures which would help a lot in warding off the more common infectious diseases, are also being conducted. Presently, the fraternity is busy soliciting funds for its scholarship project, which would be open to a needy but deserving medical students this coming school year. The scholarship grant will include free matriculation fees and a semestral book allowance. In connection with this project, a benefit dinner-dance was held at Hotel Enrico on March 24. Other activities lined up for raising scholarship funds are cultural presentations and caroling sessions during the Christians season. In the planning stage is the observance of the PHI week next semester. Last year’s celebration of PHI day, highlighted by a photo exhibit entitled Focus on PGH, included cakes and roses sale, inter-class parlor games, treasure hunt, and a creativity contest. This year’s officers are: Prospero Ma. Cinco Tuaño, Superior Exemplar; Espiridion R. Reyes, Vice-Superior Exemplar; Venancio I. Gloria, Venerable Perceptor; Ernesto C. Tan, Standard Bearer; Rufino T. Co, Brother Prior; Jesus G> Cabrera, Brother Custodian; Zenaides T. Wi, Brother Recorder; Conrado G. de Garcia and Darfrente T. Nibungco, Jr., Guardians of the Temple. Meanwhile, the fraternity included in its ranks nine new members. They are: Venerado I. Batas. Demetrio P. Fajardo, Jr., Edgardo G. Gonzales, Constantino V. Gulmatico Jr., Filemon R. de Jesus Jr., David G. Joco, Gil F. Mendoza, Ronaldo A. Paraan, and Virgilio J. Soriano.


“I don’t see how we can push through with these activities,” a brod in the back was vehemently objecting. The Phi Kappa Mu was meeting at the Guazon Hall and Vice Superior Exemplar Ricky Vinuya had just finished presenting a long list of activities to celebrate the Golden Jubilee.

Most brods were aware that these were not exactly “golden” times. During the past decades the country had borne inflation and the yoke of martial rule among things. The Fraternity was still recuperating after the seven-year suspension. After much heated arguments, Superior Exemplar Fidel Burgos banged his gavel and called for a vote. As expected, all the proposed activities were approved. At the meeting’s end the fraternity song filled the hall more resoundingly than ever before, soaring with confidence and ardor, underpinning the glowing spirit of the Golden Jubilee.


Ten years back, the same surging optimism imbued the life of the Phi Kappa Mu. Back then in 1973, the Fraternity continued to celebrate “a day with the Phi” on February 14, despite the upheavals that were beginning to surface. Amidst the organized inter-class parlor games and creativity contests, the brods manned telegraph booths while the sisses held roses and cake sales. Perhaps in search of relief from the uneasy quietude imposed on school campuses by martial rule, the “Day with the Phi” was devoted to riotous revelry, in contrast to the preceding year when the Phi, in a more quiet vein, held an “Art for the Masses” exhibit, a photography contest focusing on PGH, and a seminar on national; issues along with the cake sales. But then again, that was before martial law.


Ten years back, the Phi continued to sponsor bloodletting programs. On June, 1972, it presented the Vienna Boys Choir in concert and was thus able to raise funds to procure hospital equipment for PGH and to establish the Phi Kappa Mu Scholarship Fund. Two of its many recipients were 1977 SE Celerino Magbuhos and Febin Orlando Baricar. In addition, the Phi had begun looking beyond the confines of the hospital and had started holding seminars at Sapang Palay. With the brods and sisses providing manpower and soliciting drug samples, the clinics offered free medical consultation and treatment. The free clinics were to become the springboard for more ambitious social projects in the later years when the trend towards primary health care only served to stress its relevance. They, too, provided a chance for the Phis to reach out and touch and be moved by the plight of the masses; for younger brods, it honed their clinical skills.


Ten years back, too, the Phi Lambda Delta was four years old and the fraternity was already used to working jointly with the sorority. Born in 1969, it had rapidly gained full recognition and respect from the College. It had also provided a tempering counterpoint to the high-pressured all-male group. For sure, though, the brods had always managed to maintain an ebullient existence once safe in their hideaways. The interns had their own Phi Nest at Quisumbing Hall where they unleashed boisterous jokes and pranks on each other. The undergraduates managed the “Orosa University” above Dr. Cesar Villafuerte’s garage where Billy Kong ruled as “Dean.” The Phi held stag parties in the garage and occasionally serenaded the colegialas of St. Paul’s dorm across the street. Time and again, they also organized soirees with girls from other schools and the inevitable sorties that ensued were held at nearby Paco Park or inside the “University”


The following year, 1974, saw the transfer of the medical library to the site of what used to be a Quonset hut housing the college bowling lanes and cafeteria after the original building was weakened by the Ruby Tower Earthquake. Besides earthquake, though, the early seventies seemed to be a decade of typhoons. Almost yearly, the College organized relief teams and sent them to inundated areas. But 1974 was a particularly bad year. In August, the sixth typhoon within a five-month period was furiously lashing at Central Luzon. On that Tuesday morning, while the usual relief teams were being set up, no one else noticed the gathering clouds of a greater catastrophe. Suddenly, the tension erupted in a pell- mell of bodies flailing at each other. And thus did the first inter- fraternity rumble in the College come to pass. It was over with minutes, but more than just inflicting physical injuries on the other fraternity, it spawned a series of investigations that jeopardized medical careers as well as the very life of the Phi. Immediately, the Phi was suspended.

The years that followed after 1974 saw the fraternity attempting to hold on to its less public traditional activities, to adopt alternative, albeit covert, means of participation in college affairs. And to seek rapprochement with the medical community that still allowed the fraternities and sororities to subsist in dubious legality. The Phi managed to push through with the premiere of “The Day of the Dolphins” in 1974. “A Day with the Phi” was replaced by “Araw Natin,” later becoming College Day. The Phi contented itself with displaying a streamer at their dorm above Nemart every Valentine. The yearly Ball and the bloodletting campaign had to be given up. Membership dwindled as expected although those who still dared enter Phi during those suspension years brilliantly acquitted themselves with outstanding scholastic and extracurricular achievements. The like of Marvin Balaan, the three cum laudes of class 80 - Glenn Batiller, Horner Chen and Roberto Goo; Ruben Escuro and Vic Malabonga of class 81, the three cum laudes of class 82 - David Dy, Benjamin Rueda, and Evelyn Santos, a sis, and Ulysses Magalang, class 83 cum laude come to mind. For these Phis have not only done justice to the first Cardinal Virtue but also provided examples of well-rounded medical students. In the final reckoning, the suspension merely proved that the brotherhood that was Phi really never needed the mantle of official recognition. The strength and urgency of the friendships that bonded the founding members were never felt more keenly than during those underground years when a not unwelcome air of romance and mystery bathed the clandestine meetings and the oath of secrecy assumed living reality. Unable to fully participate in College Christmas activities, the brods and sisses took to caroling the houses of alumni. With the able direction of Marvin Balaan, musicians par excellence, writer, academician and an incurable insomnia, the caroling sprees quickly became a beloved tradition. And in the College Christmas Program of 1978, the sight of sixty or so Phis introduced by emcees Dr. Andres Makalinao as the “quolorum group” stunned the audience as they defiantly sang two of Marvin’s carol arrangements. Heart Sounds, a singing group cum jazz band that included Marvin, Ray Ballecer, Cesar Katigbak, and Dr. Nestor Bautista, made history by bringing home the first prize in the Himig competitions sponsored by the UP Corps of Cadets and Sponsors. In 1978, forty neophytes entered the initiations; only eighteen survived its rigors. The record-high drop rate spurred a series of reevaluations of the initiation procedures and eventually led to the gradual tempering of its physical and psychological demands. As far as Batch 78 was concerned, however, the controversies were just starting. Toward the end of their first year, the fraternity was involved in a college election dispute and later in an incident involving an anonymous letter. Batch 78 was no less distinguished. In fact, their impressive academic record (seven were valedictorians, three graduated cum laude), their deep bench of literary writers, Gil Katigbak, Ted Gonzales and Lito Acuin included, their amateur musicians such as Danny Senseng and Louie Taylor and their sports buffs like Charlie Lasa - all of these have made their batch reminiscent of the “renaissance” batches of the sixties. They began the Spirit of ’33, the fraternity newsletter, with Joey Dimen as editor-in- chief. They formed the major workforce that formed the “nutcracker” ballet, Phi’s Christmas project in 1978, a huge financial success.


The number of brods dorming at the Youth Hostel in Herran also began peaking in 1978. The Hostel became a veritable watering hole for everybody. It became a venue for study groups, a pub for drinking sprees, a hideaway for nobody-knows-who-except Louie Taylor and Ritchie Ragaza. It became a mahjong den to Edwin Reyes, a show house to Dennis Hernandez and a meeting place en route to Chinatown to Jerome Young.

These were already intimations of greatness during the early part of 1979. Dr. Enrique Garcia was honored by the fraternity in a testimonial dinner. The bloodletting program was being revived. But the one single event that made 1979 a turning point was the creation of UP PAGKALMA. UP Pagkakaisa para sa Kalusugan ng mga Mamamayan, was the brainchild of Bill Romero and was intended to fill up the void in socio-civic activities that the suspension caused. Bill was largely responsible for the drafting of its constitution and the eventual recognition by the University. Concurrent with his position as Vice Superior Exemplar, he became Pagkalma’s first president. The free clinics were transferred from Tatalon Estate to the Mother Ignacia community and some other areas in Paco and Katipunan. The Mother Ignacia clinic eventually became Pagkalma’s major area of concentration. A community diagnosis was made to study the health needs of the population with the aim of making the people health-conscious and equipping them with the basic knowledge in primary health care. The ballet presentation “Romeo and Juliet” on February 14, 1981 was undertaken by Phi in cooperation with the CCP Ballet Company precisely for the benefit of the Mother Ignacia community. In addition, the PAGKALMA Park was quickly built, again through the pioneering effort of Bill Romero, and inaugurated by no less than Dean Aragon during the 1980 College Week celebrations.


The annual Fraternity Ball was revived in April 1980 at the Manila Mandarin Hotel. With this activity and the birth of PAGKALMA, the era of increased fraternity involvement in the affairs of the College and its alumni was unmistakably ushered in. The trend culminated in the Superior Exemplarship of Jose Dimen with the full restoration of official recognition of the fraternity. A new constitution and by-laws drafted by Charlie Lasa , Ted Gonzales and Lito Acuin was ratified during Vic Malabonga’s term. The new constitution did not only seek to expand the scope of the 1933 predecessor. It defined the duties of each officer and created the committees on academics, sports, social services, finance, alumni relations and recruitment and admission of new members, assigning the chairmanship of each committee to a specific officer. It also safeguarded the dispositions of funds by requiring the voting power of the General Assembly prior to the withdrawal of large amounts from the fraternity coffers. A Declaration of Principles was also prepared by Charlie Lasa and was eventually approved.


A new set of rites was formulated by Bill Romero and were approved to used during every general meeting in Joey Dimen’s term. Renewed interest in the alumni members was also encouraged by holding fraternity cocktails and inviting them. In the middle of 1977, an organizational meeting in Cavite was already held but the next meeting only came two years later at Club Filipino. During Dimen’s term, a series of alumni meetings finally led to the formulation and (almost miraculous) ratification of their own constitution and by-laws as well as the articles of incorporation of the Alumni Association. Dr. Faustino Domingo was most instrumental in the making of these historical documents. Monthly cocktails were initiated by first alumnus SE Crisostomo Arcilla. The 48th Anniversary Fraternity Ball held at the Manila Hotel on December 15, 1981 was a tremendous and heartwarming success: this was highlighted by the awarding of plaques of appreciation to founding members, who included Luis F. Torres, Jr., Antonio Caniza, Jose Barcelona and Nicanor Padilla, Jr.. On January 28, 1982, the alumni foundation sponsored Repertory’s staging of “Camelot” to raise funds to the newly-conceived Phi Kappa Mu professorial chair. The fraternity sweetheart was also first adopted during Joey’s exemplarship.


The crowning glory of Dimen’s term was the lifting of the fraternity suspension and the granting of full recognition by the College administration. It took months of tactful negotiations and patient waiting but it had all been worth it. The road to an unhampered celebration of the Golden Jubilee was clear.

The College of Medicine sparkled and glowed in 1982 as it observed its Diamond Jubilee. Year-round festivities included sports tournaments, contests, symposia, and alumni gatherings. Inevitably, the Phis again rose to the occasion and figured prominently in these activities. Dr. Mariano de la Cruz steered the college teams to a triumphant finish by bringing home the Intramurals championship title. UPMAS President Cenon Cruz won the logo contest. Nestor Bautista’s composition was adopted as College Hymn. Ted Gonzales bested formidable competition and won the clinical pathological conference contest. Renato Jose led the class 84 to an unprecedented third straight win in Tao Rin Pala despite stiff competition from class 85 who entered a Jun Belizario song under Dennis Bautista’s direction. The Phi choir raised quite a few eyebrows when they intoned Bach’s second fugue from the Well-Tempered Clavier during the PGH Broadway Night at the Philippine Colombian on April 28, 1982. Meanwhile, the regular free clinics and bloodletting sessions were maintained. The fraternity held its traditional ball at the Manila Midland Hotel in December 1982.

As the school year ended, the laurels of power and achievement had once again surfaced. Pancho Flores, Tobie Abaya and Dennis Ong were elected to the UP Medical Student Council as chairman, vice-chairman, and treasurer respectively. The positions of secretary and PRO went to two sisses. It was practically an all-Phi council, a fitting tribute to usher in the fiftieth year of the fraternity. And thus did the Golden Jubilee Year come upon the fraternity of the College of Medicine. If there is anything that the brilliant and enduring achievements of the last two years preceding the golden year have proven, it is this: that the time honored traditions of brotherhood and medical excellence have only grown stronger and more profoundly rooted with the passing of fifty years. The fire of friendship that was first lit inside that college amphitheater filled with thirty-five fervent men had been sustained by the chosen few who came yearly to humbly beg admission to this most venerable fraternity of the UP College of Medicine. Now it illuminates and warms their lives with passing incandescence.


The Phi Kappa Mu has weathered the difficulties of its fledging years, the horrors of the second World War, the challenge of post-war reconstruction, its socio-political clangor of the sixties and the martial law years. As it now celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, it pauses to reminisce its past in order to be strengthened by its triumphs and to be instructed by its errors, it reaffirms its commitments to the medical community and to Philippine society, and it pledges anew to work for the preservation of what is true and beautiful and excellent in medicine. Fifty years is, after all, not a very long time. In fact, the adventure has just begun.


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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