With the turning of a new century, the world is at the threshold of peace, prosperity and opportunity. For the first time in recorded history, Europe has attained sustainable peace. People in India have attained independence and China has finally opened its gates to the world, ushering an era of a new and powerful synthesis of east and west. Barriers between countries begin to blur as the pull of Globalization grows in momentum. As though proud of its own shrinking, the world had nicknamed itself a ‘global village.’ But utopia remains elusive. The distribution of wealth maintains or widens rather than narrows the chasm between First and Third World countries. Preventable communicable diseases, including tuberculosis and AIDS, continue to threaten the health and well-being of many nations. The 9 -11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York made ‘terrorism’ a household word, and became an epicenter of both fear and vigilance.

Despite the economic growth of its neighboring countries, the Philippines struggles against poverty. The government is as it has always been, despite two EDSA revolutions. Hope becomes the currency of national elections rather their the result. Economic crises and unstable national security issues hamper the processes of repair in a country just getting back on its feet, already forgetting it was once the tiger of Asia.

Through the bright sunny days and the dark stormy nights, the most venerable Fraternity of the UP College of Medicine, the Phi Kappa Mu rolls with the blows, but never falls. The Phi look backward only to laugh and to learn. Already looking ahead, the Fraternity makes ready to take on the challenges a new century will surely bring.


A golden era for the Fraternity had just ended, resplendent with crowning achievements and outstanding leaders in different fields of medicine. The first 50 years of the Fraternity were a splendid testament to the Fraternity’s strength through the years. By 1983, the Fraternity had surmounted obstacles and surpassed the greatest of storms. Not even the violence and bloodshed of the Second World War or the suspensions of student organizations in the country during the 70s were enough to quench that ever-strong Phi brotherhood.

And though the celebrations had come and gone, the praises of its illustrious members had been sung, and projects had been successfully launched, Fraternity life had to go on. The tradition of its four hallowed pillars of excellence, leadership, service, and brotherhood had to be preserved.
Nay, it had to be strengthened even further.

The 1980’s was a decade of revolution and change, which augmented the challenge to the Fraternity to continue to lead and achieve in medicine, both in general and in the different specialties.

Another pervading theme for that decade was unity. Around the world, unity was so beautifully demonstrated, either in retaliation to decades of
oppression or in the quest for economic and social progress. It was in this decade that the European Union was strengthened, with its common goal of unifying its constituent economies and working together for progress and development in the region. Such a demonstration of unity eventually paved the way for the erstwhile Iron Curtain, dividing Europe into communist east and capitalist west, to shatter at the hands of the peoples it divided for decades. The Iron Curtain received its deathblow during the Collapse of the Berlin Wall in Germany, and the restoration of democracy in Eastern Europe. Super economies also started emerging in this era as South Korea, India, and China slowly came of age.

Closer to home, the extant Marcos regime appeared to have loosened its claws with the lifting of martial law in the early part of the eighties. The political landscape, however, was as intense as ever, with the killing of Ninoy Aquino in 1983. This was eventually followed by the Snap Elections of 1986, and the famed EDSA revolution, which toppled the Marcos regime.

In the Philippine General Hospital, a massive renovation was in progress which culminated in the construction of the eight-storey Central Block building. This feat was accomplished by fundraising projects initiated by then Director Felipe Estrella Φ50. This unmatched achievement gave Dr. Estrella the title “Father of the Modern PGH.” He eventually became Secretary of Health during the administration of President Joseph Estrada.

The College of Medicine, which celebrated its Diamond Jubilee just a year before Phi’s Golden Jubilee, also underwent many changes. One of the major ones was the implementation of the Integrated Liberal Arts and Medicine (INTARMED) program, a legacy of the administration of Dean Gloria Aragon. Its most revolutionary provision was the establishment of the direct entry track to the College of Medicine’s medical proper curriculum. Top scorers of the University of the Philippines College Admissions Test (UPCAT) were qualified to take an accelerated two-year pre-medical program leading to a sure slot in the College of Medicine. The first batch of INTARMED direct entrants entered the medical proper program in 1984.

In the same year, Eugen Palma, Dennis Serrano, Lito Bautista, and Jette Esteban, became the first INTARMED students initiated into the Phi. Their batch was notable as well for having broken the 20-mark in the number of neophytes that entered since Beinte Quatro Oras of Batch 77; thus, their name: The Renaissance Batch.

In keeping with an already established yearly College tradition, the Phi stepped up its annual participation at the Tao Rin Pala (TRP), the College variety show organized by the Medical Students Society. It started during the junior year of the Renaisance Batch of 1984, in which 10 of them represented the Fraternity and performed a dance number in the TRP. It was such a hit that the entire Fraternity danced in the TRP the following year. Thus began the tradition of one of the most awaited portions of the TRP – the Phi performance. The Phi dances, both of the Fraternity and its sister sorority Phi Lambda Delta, are always looked forward to by those who take the time to watch this annual showcase of UPCM talent. A highlight of the Phi dance is the solo segment of the SE which never failed to bring the house down.

The following years saw the emergence of the contemporary culture that the Phi has been known for until today. The “Anim na Itlog” trio of Iggy Agbayani, Jojo Jocson and Jonas del Rosario of the Quarterstomers were renowned for their hosting talents and onstage antics. They never failed to rock the halls with laughter and cheer, be it at the TRP, class parties, or any Fraternity gathering.

A fundamental need eventually had to be addressed: a house that the Fraternity could proudly call its own, reminiscent of the Villafuerte apartments in years past. When the Quarterstomers entered the fold in 1986, several of them occupied an apartment on Bocobo Street. For almost 15 years it served as a haven for fellowships and spur of the moment raffles, as well as an indispensable venue for meetings, both formal and casual, for generations of Phis. There were many Phi Houses that followed after, but none compared to Bocobo.

A Phi must be a good medical student. But, time and again, the Phi proved to be more than just that.
True to its tradition of leadership, the Fraternity produced Medicine Student Council chairpersons Jette Esteban Φ84B, Damaso Bueno Φ87, and eventually, Ge Abesamis Φ05.

Meanwhile, exemplifying Phi’s commitment to academic excellence were board topnotchers Eric Legaspi Φ82A, and former SE Marlo Leonen Φ83. Soon, topnotcher Brods Jun Quion, Choy Remulla, Lito Bautista, Jegit Inciong of Φ84B; Jonas del Rosario, Jayson Liu, Francis Jamilla, and Henry Ty of Φ86; Stanley Go, Primo Lara, and Damaso Bueno of Φ87; Richard To and Racel Querol of Φ90B, Alfredo Blas Φ93, Vince Cunanan Φ00, and Patrick Sia Φ03 also joined their ranks. In addition to being topnotchers, they also led their respective classes academically, ranking in the class top 20.

Brods later to achieve Latin honors were Eric Legaspi Φ82A cum laude, former SE Marlo Leonen Φ83, magna cum laude, and recently, Ronnie Baticulon and Vinci Villafuerte, both Φ03 and cum laude.

Phi’s tradition of excellence shone luminously in the arts as well. In the 60’s, the Phi Band had Repot Repotente Φ65 as lead guitarist, Budz Robles Φ65 as the music director and pianist, Sol Apostol Φ66 played the clarinet and the saxophone, Boy Belizario Φ66 on rhythm guitar, Chuck Chua Chiaco Φ67 on bass, and Johnny Fong Φ66 on drums. They would practice at Chuck’s house and overwhelm the other band during the Christmas presentations in PGH. The 70’s prize winning Phi Band included Marvin Balaan Φ75, Ray Ballecer Φ75, Cesar Katigbak Φ77, and Dr. Nestor Bautista Φ50.

A decade later, Denet Dimaculangan, Richie Yusay, Vlady Samonte and Bufo Gatchalian, all members of the premed band Bufo and the Tadpoles revived this great musical tradition when they joined the Fraternity in 1989. Gap Legaspi Φ83 provided the saxophone and flute accompaniment and Jejit Inciong Φ84 provided the baritone to Vlady Samonte’s tenor. Later on, Batch 91’s Maloy Calaquian, former SE Jojo Castillo and Dan Calleja took charge of the vocals while Kaloy Aleta strummed the guitars. The band easily became well known in the campus, even fronting for the popular Eraserheads and Side-A at one time.
Winston Umali Φ89B later on contributed his musical wizardry and magic on the keyboards. He eventually took the helm of the Phi Choir and was the main leader of the Phi caroling, assuming the mantle of previous Phi music legend Ato Jose, Φ80. During his time at the college, Winston also became the head of the UPCM Med Choir.

Other organizations in the College also evolved under the leadership of Phi Brods. In particular, campus journalism in the College of Medicine flourished as Phi Brods assumed editorship of the official College student publication. These were Ting Tiongco Φ66, former SE Brix Pujalte Φ85, Godwin Vivar Φ01, Ronnie Baticulon Φ03 and Jimjim Lopez Φ06. Meanwhile, the UP Medical Students Society, famous for its annual Tao Rin Pala variety show, has been led by Brods Henry Ty Φ86 and Mercky Mercado Φ00. Eman Prudente Φ97 became head of UP Pagsama, a socio- civic organization.

With the implementation of the new INTARMED program in 1982, the program brought back with it a provision compelling UP medical students to finish internship at PGH as a requirement for graduation. This ultimately necessitated bestowing the highest office of the Fraternity to an intern instead of a clerk. It will be remembered that when PGH still allowed medical students to spend internship in other hospitals, the office of the Superior Exemplar was given to a clerk.

The interns’ batch then, Renaissance Φ84, already had an SE within their ranks, Jegit Inciong. Ultimately, another Brod from the batch, Choy Remulla, was elected. As a result of this change, the Renaissance batch earned the rare distinction of producing more than one Superior Exemplar. Later on, ‘Eight is Enough’of Φ89B produced two SEs, Hadji Desquitado and Rex Poblete; and Siyampoy Φ91 produced SEs Jojo Castillo and Do de Padua. A decade later, ‘The Great Commission’ batch of Φ02 achieved this feat, with Nimrod Firaza and Dhhooogz Tan assuming the top post.

The latter years of the decade were marked by contrasting trends. In other parts of the world, although the Velvet Revolution of Czechoslovakia and the rise of Solidarność in Poland successfully triumphed against oppressive communist regimes, the demonstrations in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square were less triumphant, instead resulting in bloodshed. At home, violence marred the infamous Mendiola Massacre of 1987 and the numerous coups d’etat that attempted to topple the Aquino presidency.

The College was not spared in the political turmoil of the time. Forever etched into the history of the College was the Walkout of 1990 which ensued after the controversial admission of six students three years earlier. The Chancellor, then Ernesto Domingo, had backed their enrollment, despite the adamant refusal of Dean Marita Reyes and the College administration. The crisis divided the faculty and ultimately the student body. Because two of the notorious students belonged to another Greek-letter organization, there was an attempt to muddle the issue as one of affiliation rather than principle. Nowhere was it more fractious than in Class ‘92, to which the students belonged, and where the class president, Felix Tiongco Φ87, and the Medicine Student Council Chairman, Damaso Bueno Φ87, were both Brods. The walkout culminated in a rally in UP Diliman where Phi was a major presence. The rains that day did nothing to dampen the spirits of the faculty, staff, students, and least of all Caloy Suguitan Φ89B. The weather had triggered an asthma attack but he carried on and joined the rally. His condition turned for the worse the following day. He went into status asthmaticus then cardiac arrest. Caloy survived but now suffers from residuals. It was a tragic incident made worse by the Board of Regents ruling, which allowed the six students to continue their studies and graduate with their class. Inevitably, UPCM faculty bowed to the authority of the ruling, under pain of administrative charges.

Soon, even the reputations of fraternities were stained because of unrestrained physical initiations.
The Fraternity saw a peak in the numbers of those who wanted for themselves the honor of the Phi brotherhood. Twenty-five new Brods entered in 1986 and 30 in 1987. But early in 1991, Lenny Villa, a first year law student, died during the initiation rites of a law fraternity at the Ateneo de Manila University. This event naturally sparked a cascade of crackdowns on Greek-letter organizations. The Phi was not spared the smeared image
projected of fraternities during that time. It was in this context that the number of those who joined the fold dwindled, with batches numbering from a modest 8 to even 3.

Under the leadership of SE Denet Dimaculangan Φ1989A, ceremonial traditions, such as the sashes of the Executive Council, the Anniversary Mass and the Omega Rites were instituted. Activities were also organized to strengthen the Phi presence in the university, with activities such as the Phi Run and Phi Strong, a revival of the Bunong Braso competitions of the early ‘80s, later on morphing into various sport competitions from 3 on 3 basketball games to indoor soccer. It was also during this time that Phi stepped up its charitable activities, most notable of which is the revival of the Operation Blood Brother, a landmark project initially organized by the Fraternity in the ‘70s.

The Phi tradition of excellence in sports has been strongly demonstrated since its inception. The Fraternity has, until now, produced fine athletes who have represented the College of Medicine in both inter-college and inter-university events.

BAKBAKAN, the university-wide tournament, became a showcase of Phi athletic prowess. In the tournament’s entire history, the fabled Phi basketball team, comprised mostly of members from the Renaissance batch of ‘84 and the Quarterstormers of ’86, emerged as the only team from the College of Medicine to bring home the championship trophy.

In volleyball, the College of Medicine team dominated with an unbeaten championship record since the tournament started. Phis from Batches ‘89 and ’90 comprised most of the team: Allan Tenorio, Ricky Luna, Nick Nicomedes, Jun Garcia, Robbie Sian, Randy Zamuco, and Eric Taclawan. After Batch ‘91 was initiated, Jojo Castillo and Boy Saranglao, a volleyball varsity superstar from UST and a member of the Philippine Youth Team, provided the needed numbers for Phi to be able to field its own team. The championship rounds of the succeeding three years saw fierce competition between Phi and the College of Medicine, each time ending with the crowning of the Phi team.

A Phi assumed the Deanship in 1991. It was the beginning of Alfredo T. Ramirez’s golden years in the administration. Four years earlier, Ramirez Φ56 was Chairman of the Department of Surgery of the PGH, trailblazing with innovations which led to the creation of the Trauma Division, the Division of Surgical Care, and the Division of Burns. As Dean, he instituted lasting achievements that ensured a brighter future for the College. He initiated the Dean’s International Circle and the Resource Development Office. It was also during his term that renovations for the Basic Science Lecture Rooms and Calderon Hall were undertaken. Helping Ramirez throughout his administration was Assistant to the Dean Nestor Pareja Φ58. Joined at the hip, they exemplified the quintessential Phi brotherhood, supporting each other especially through Ramirez’s courageous term as UP Chancellor. After Florentino B. Herrera Φ37, Ramirez was the second Phi who held the revered positons of UPCM Dean and UP Manila Chancellor.

In addition, a Phi assumed the directorship of the Philippine General Hospital in 1997. Dr. Napoleon Apolinario Φ63 became PGH Director after his stint as Vice-Chancellor during the term of Chancellor Perla Santos- Ocampo.

Before anyone in the Fraternity could notice, another decade had passed. The Fraternity celebrated its 60th year in 1993. It was a celebration most noted for the renewed cooperation and stronger ties between the undergraduate Brods and the alumni. Two years prior, efforts to reach out to the alumni were undertaken through the revival of the Spirit of 1933 newsletter during the term of SE Albert Rafanan Φ87. He also created the 60th Year Committee, headed by Lionel Bañez Φ90A, to prepare for the celebrations. Letters to the alumni along with the Spirit were sent to brods in the Philippines and in the US to invite everyone to gather and show their support for the celebrations.

One of the first Brods to respond to the call was Gloc Sagisi Φ59. He had not heard from the Phi since going to the US after graduation, but after receiving the letter from Phi, the brotherhood in him was rekindled. Through his generous assistance, scholarships for underprivileged Brods were set up, and sponsorships for the Phi basketball and volleyball teams were provided. His unconditional support for the student Brods would later inspire other alumni who had lost communications with the Fraternity to renew their ties with the Phi. The culminating activity of the 60th anniversary was the Fraternity Ball, held at the Manila Galleria Suites. The event was made all the more special by the attendance of Founding Fellows Tony Lozano, Jess Lava, and Jorge Royeca.

By then, the Fraternity was traversing the crossroads of changing times. Recent history deserves that cliché more than most eras, because of the acceleration of change. For one thing, the ease with which ideas, goods, and even people flowed internationally achieved more rapidly what was once attributed only to conquest and warfare: the softening of borders into a constant state of flux. In an age where a properly equipped individual could access so much so soon, would old values like brotherhood still have a place? The Fraternity faced the challenge of adapting to these changes while being faithful to the Phi Spirit that had thus far been preserved by its vigorous exercise.

Notably, the first years of the third millennium witnessed yet another unseating of a president, with the hope that another EDSA revolution would change the country for the better. The times had not been kind to the Fraternity movement either. Isolated flares of violence and irresponsibility of a few fratmen have been played up by tabloid journalism, effectively smearing the collective names of Greek-letter societies. An anti-hazing law had been passed condemning traditional initiations as base criminal acts. At the time, the Fraternity perceived the new legislation as a threat to our proud spirits and ironclad beliefs. But the Phi stood tall, rode the swells of the deluge that threatened to overwhelm us, and adapted. And grew. In the beginning, none of the first PHIs applied, in the usual sense, to become members. The only way into the Fraternity was by invitation; one had to be asked to apply. The eligible were those who fulfilled several criteria, among which were good grades, good moral character, and requisite qualities understood among gentlemen of the time. Stringent and prestigious, the young Fraternity needed no physical rites to guard its walls. Some of the requirements imposed on applicants included community work and such assistance as required by senior members. As time passed, the Fraternity grew stronger in both membership and the requirements set to attain it. Adapting constantly to the times, and heeding the voices of its members, Phi ensured that always, and by any standard, only the best became brothers. Eventually, to ensure the mettle and dedication of those who aspired to join, a rigorous program of initiations came into being during the early years of the Fraternity. It was an arduous rite of passage from which a chosen few would be baptized into brotherhood.

But change proved its constancy with the approach of the new millenium, and it did so through the characters that peopled this time. Superior Exemplar Francis Daytec Φ94 presided over a meeting held one fateful evening in Paz Mendoza building. The Brods debated through the night whether the present breed of medical students was ready to receive the blessing of Phi without the rigors and trials of “old school” ways. Arguments rained from both sides until it was decided by the body to put the decision to a vote.

And that night, the Fraternity bade farewell to an old friend.

Then Brother Prior Christopher Victorio Φ97 was tasked to revise the program for the incoming batch of neophytes. Creating one as effective and efficient as the original was a difficult task. Like most transitions, the entry of the first batch under the revised program was filled with significant amounts of guesswork and huge amounts of patience. But thankfully, the Fates once more smiled upon the Phi and the new program proved to be a success. The Fraternity welcomed and embraced Headstrong Batch 2000 with the same zeal and jubilation as it did previous batches. They, and the next batches that followed kept the dignity and honor and excellence of the Phi way and at the same time infused the Phi spirit with the fervor, passion and innovation of this new age.

The advent of the information technology and the internet provided better, easier and faster ways of communication. The world was never quite the same again. Phi readily rode on the wave of technology. Rod Tanchanco Φ87 set up the first Phi website in 1996. Former SE Jojo Castillo Φ91 improved on Rod’s work and with the help of Romy Isidro Φ77, created PHIKAPPAMU.COM. The Phi Network was established making any brod anywhere around the world just a mouse click away. Through the newly opened gateways of the modern globalized age, brotherhood too could flow – the Phi Kappa Mu became proof of it.
Along with this development, the turn of the century ushered in the rebirth of alumni passion for the College and for the Fraternity. From both of sides of the Pacific, the Phi Alumni Association and the Phi Alumni Association in North America, as it was then known, worked with unprecedented fervor for their beloved Phi. The giant, a two headed one at that, has been awakened.

By 1998, the Phi Network had reached hundreds of Brods around the globe. Phis from the US who had not participated in any Phi activity since they left the country, save for the small reunions in the UPMASA Homecomings, were suddenly immersed in up-to-date news of what was happening in the College. A massive organization of the Phi Kappa Mu in the US took place and Phi Kappa Mu Alumni Association in North America (PKMAANA) was born. Jimmy del Pilar Φ61 was elected President with Jess Socrates Φ66 as Vice President. [see related Feature “In Whatever Lands We Meet’]

The UPMASA reunion in Baltimore in 1998 became the starting point for the Brods to officially form the Phi Kappa Mu Fraternity Permanent Endowment Fund, a brainchild of Tony Donesa Φ54, Jimmy del Pilar and Jess Socrates. Romy Isidro Φ77 launched the PKMAANA website to document the Fund’s progress. Socrates rallied the Brods into contributing to the Phi PEF. By the time Socrates assumed the presidency of Phi International, it had become the largest endowment fund within the UPMASA-PEF. Projects funded by the PEF included scholarships for UPCM students, repair and upgrading of the UPCM Histology Lab, and construction of the Dr. Mariano de la Cruz Anatomy Lounge.

The Phi Kappa Mu Alumni in North America streamlined its name into Phi Kappa Mu International after the Constitution and By-laws prepared by Tony Donesa was ratified in 2000.

Meanwhile, the Phi Alumni Association was reactivated, under the leadership of Ven Gloria Φ70, Ted Herbosa Φ79, Iggy Agbayani Φ86, and Chuck Chua Chiaco Φ70. Agbayani took over the Phi Alumni Association Presidency in 2001. The Alumni Board, comprised of relatively young members, was organized and quickly got down to business. The “Black and Gold,” the Fraternity newsletter which replaced the Spirit of 1933, saw worldwide distribution to make sure all brods knew what was going on in the Fraternity.

A Phi Congress, the first of its kind, was held at the Hyatt Regency Manila in 2002. It was a call to all alumni to reaffirm their love for Phi and their commitment to our principles and the Cardinal Virtues. Over a hundred delegates attended and various matters were discussed: the general negative public perception of fraternities resulting in the decline in the number of recruits, how to improve academic performance of the student Brods, and the perennial shortage of funds among others. For the number of issues that demanded attention, one congress was not enough. But the doors of communication had been thrown wide open; the alumni had loudly declared that the Phi Spirit is alive and well.

The annual UPMASA reunions became virtual Phi congresses as numerous Brods regularly attended the Phi reunion and business meetings. Phi International was incorporated as a fully tax exempt corporation through the efforts of Arnel Joaquin and Romy Isidro with Tony Donesa as its Chairman of the Board.
The Phi Diamond Fund was launched with the aim of raising at least 10 million pesos or 200,000 US dollars within five years or less. The fund would be used to promote the objectives and aspirations of Phi Kappa Mu Alumni and Fraternity with the completion date before the Diamond Anniversary of the Fraternity in the year 2008.

In anticipation of the Diamond Year, the 70th Ball celebrations were held at the EDSA Shangri-la, April 12, 2003. The second Phi Congress was subsequently held that July In that event, the Phi Kappa Mu Alumni’s Election Code was ratified. A move was also raised to reflect on the Fraternity’s vision-mission, in order to set the Fraternity’s direction and define what the Phi truly stands for.

Alumni-sponsored fundraising events included the Healing Hands concert, featuring concert pianist Raul Sunico, held during the Phi Alumni Homecoming in December of 2003. This event was held under the leadership of Iggy Agbayani Φ86, in cooperation with Phi Lambda Delta Alumnae Association. Coincidentally, the pianist Sunico is a son of a Brod, Faustino Sunico Φ39, departed pathologist.

Keeping with the spirit of alumni support for the Fraternity, Jack Arroyo Φ79, one of the founders of American Eye Center, instituted that year free LASIK surgery for Brods.

Individually, the loyal sons of the Phi have been in the service of the Alma Mater as well. Departments of the Hospital have been chaired by Brods, leaving behind legacies that brought their respective departments to greater heights. Jose Gonzales Φ69A brought unprecedented changes to the PGH Department of Surgery as its Chairman. He later became Chair of the UPCM Regionalization Program Committee. Lewy Pasion Φ64 headed Orthopedics while Egay Ortiz Φ72 captained the Department of Pediatrics. Noel Guison Φ77 chaired Anatomy. Che Jamir Φ69 and Gene Abes Φ71 took turns in taking charge of PGH Otorhinolaryngology. The massive renovations within the PGH Departments of Ophthalmology and Emergency Medicine, both sponsored by the Spanish government, were completed under the leadership of chairs Manuel Agulto Φ69 and Ted Herbosa Φ79, respectively.

Within the University, Benjie Vitasa Φ65 became Dean of the College of Public Health. Outside the University, Mariano dela Cruz Φ49, a leader in the modern study of Anatomy in the Philippines, and Noel Guison Φ77 (both former chairmen of the UPCM Department of Anatomy) became
deans of San Beda College of Medicine. Filemon T. Gozum Φ49 became founding dean of the Fatima College of Medicine, and Salvador Salceda Φ54 of Emilio Aguinaldo College of Medicine. Countless hospitals in the country and in the world, especially the United States, also have Phi Brods as medical directors, department chairs, and professors.

Thirteen Phi Brods also reaped awards during the Centennial Celebrations of the UP College of Medicine in 2005, for their lasting contributions to the practice of medicine in the Philippines. These brods are former SE Florentino Herrera Φ37, first Chancellor of UP Manila, and founder of the UP School of Health Sciences Palo; Quintin Gomez Φ40, pioneer Anesthesiologist in the country; Luis Mabilangan Φ47, an institution in the field of Philippine Pediatrics; Ramon Abarquez, Jr, Φ48 eminent cardiologist and developer of the dynamic exercise ECG test; Guillermo Damian Φ48, Father of Rehabilitation Medicine in the Philippines and the founder of the College of Allied Medical Professions of the UP; Alendry Caviles Φ49, leading hematologist and immunologist; Romeo Espiritu Φ49, leader in Ophthalmology; Manuel Macapinlac Φ50, eminent teacher and researcher in biochemistry and nutrition; former SE George Viterbo Φ50, model community doctor; former SE Augusto Litonjua Φ52, Father of Philippine Endocrinology; Antonio Limson Φ53, eminent teacher- researcher; former SE Benigno Agbayani Φ54 eminent allergologist and researcher; and former SE Alfredo T. Ramirez Φ56, Father of Burn Surgery in the Philippines.

In addition, Phis have been given the highest recognition accorded by the University to its professors: the title of Professor Emeritus. These Brods are former SE Conrado Dayrit Φ38, Benjamin Canlas Φ46, Romeo Fajardo Φ47, Luis Mabilangan Φ47, Ramon Abarquez, Jr, Φ48, Romeo Espiritu Φ49, Alendry Caviles Φ49, Augusto Litonjua Φ52, Florante Gonzaga Φ53, former SE Benigno Agbayani Φ54, Salvador Salceda Φ54, and Clemente Amante Φ58.
Nationally recognized Phis included the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) awardees: Augusto Litonjua Φ52, Alfredo Ramirez Φ56, Quintin Kintanar Φ56, Reginaldo Picache Φ57, Enrique Ona Φ57, Egay Ortiz Φ72, and Ricky Quintos Φ86. and Jonas del Rosario Φ86. Ricky Quintos also received the Ten Outstanding Young Scientists (TOYS) award for the Health Sciences, as did Bunds Balgos Φ76 and Jun Belizario Φ81. The prestigious Dr. Jose P. Rizal Memorial Awards, given to outstanding Philippine physicians by the Philippine Medical Association, has been given to Tony Lahoz Φ48, Alendry Caviles Φ49, Ramon Abarquez Φ48, and Bunds Balgos Φ76.

The national elections of 2007 saw the candidacies of Martin Bautista Φ84, who courageously ran for senator under the Ang Kapatiran Party, and Carlo Diasnes Φ93 who ran for congressman for the Lone District of Batanes. Diasnes easily won a seat in the 14th Congress. Bautista, despite his popularity among netizens and the blogosphere, did not garner enough votes to win a seat in the Senate. But people did take notice, and in his own words, he “achieved a beginning, advanced the cause for reform, and awakened a hope that such reform is possible.” Gerry Lahoz Φ82, meanwhile, became board member of the province of Ilocos Sur. These achievements mirror those of distinguished Phi alumni since the time of the Founding Fathers. [see related Feature “Semper Phi: What Became of the Founding Fathers”]

Trips to Boracay and Dagupan became annual outings usually sponsored by Phi alumni and Phi Lambda Delta alumnae. This solidarity was also seen during the construction of the new PAGKALMA Park, home of the Fraternity and Sorority. To give way for the building of Alvior Hall, the UPCM Faculty Lounge, the PAGKALMA Park was moved to a new location beside the Bobby dela Paz Hall in 2005. Alumni involvement in this project flowed from both the Fraternity and Sorority. The new PAGKALMA complex was blessed the year after, during the Alumni Homecoming celebrations.

At the advent of the Fraternity’s 75th year, Phi made its first steps in breaking beyond the confines of the College and becoming more global in
scope and relevance. Through the leadership of SE Vince Varilla, Phi Alumni Association President Chuck Chua Chiako and Phi International President Romy Isidro, numerous projects were instituted both within and beyond the walls of the UPCM.

In the College, projects undertaken include the construction of two modules of the Multi-Disciplinary Laboratory (MDL), the Katigbak Classroom on the third floor of Calderon Hall, the renovation of the Intern’s quarters, and the creation of the Phi Faculty of the Year Award.

The Adopt a Phi, Phi Baon and Phi Easy scholarship programs were also initiated to provide professional and financial support in advancing the Brods’ medical careers. PhiKapwaMo, a brainchild of Gil Mendoza Φ73, was launched to help Brods in need of any form of assistance in the US. The Phi CAN (Career Assistance Network) was set up to assist Brods seeking training and job positions in the US.

Through the efforts of Phi International, the Fraternity is now more relevant than ever to Medical Education. Phi students are provided with PDA’s and laptop computers to augment their diagnostic acumen and treatment skills with updated current literature, Scholarships, the Phi Student Research Grant, the Overseas Phi Exchange Student Program and Online E-Learning Network assisted by Phi consultants in all specialties were created to further the education of the Brods.

Within the University, Iman Lat Φ68 spearheaded a project with the aim of providing safe housing for UP Manila students. The project so far has raised $400,000, one of the Fraternity’s biggest projects in terms of monetary commitment.

Within the hospital, the OPERA (Operating Room Assistance) program, a brainchild of former Senior Guardian of the Temple Melvin Valera Φ06, began operations. The program provided financial support for indigent pediatric surgical patients, Ambu Bags were donated to various departments of the UP-PGH and Oxygen Saturation Monitors to the operating room of the Department of Surgery.

On a national level, Brods have been instrumental in the conceptualization of the Health Education Reform Order project (HERO), and demonstratedimmense support and participation in its nationwide implementation, The project integrated health education in primary schools. The Handog Ngiti project and the Phi Van were also conceived and realized with the goal of serving indigent Filipinos with cleft lip and palates in need of surgical repair. Iman Lat, the Phi Van’s creator, envisioned a roving van travelling around the entire country bringing with it the gift of smile.

Through Phi International, the Fraternity also supported the Missionaries of the Poor Housing for mentally retarded children in Naga City, and made a donation to World Vision to provide relief to the victims of typhoons and flooding in Quezon province.

Crowning these Diamond achievements is the Empowerment Through Mobility project, a partnership between the Fraternity and Free Wheelchair Mission, an international Christian NGO. With the concerted effort of alumni, led by Ruffy Co Φ71 and undergraduate Brods, more than 1500 wheelchairs have been distributed in almost all corners of the archipelago to differently-abled and needy Filipinos who depend on wheelchairs for mobility. The launching of the project in 2007 was attended by no less than Senator Panfilo Lacson, Manila City Mayor Alfredo Lim, UP President Emerlinda Roman, and UP Manila Chancellor Ramon Arcadio.

But SE Vince Varilla’s and the 75th year Executive Council’s term will be most remembered for the Diamond flagship project, Diamonds in the Rough, a nationwide search for outstanding young community doctors that was organized by the Fraternity with the Rotary Club of Paco. A brainchild of then Standard Bearer Alvin Anastacio Φ06, the program selected three exemplary doctors, one from Luzon, one from Visayas, and one from Mindanao. The winners were selected on the basis of sustainability of health projects and services, and the impact of the doctor’s decision to stay and serve the community. The program aimed to highlight excellent role models for the practice of community medicine, and ultimately to inspire future physicians to stay in the country or return home after honing their skills abroad.

With all these projects as feathers in its cap, the Fraternity culminated its celebration of the Diamond year with the Phi Diamond Ball held at
the Makati Shangri-La on December 18, 2008. More than 200 Brods from all parts of the world attended the event. The exhilaration and warmth among Brods from different generations were overwhelmingly palpable. These are exciting times to be a Phi.

We have arrived.

It is prudent to stress that this new age, with all the changes it brings, is not built upon the ashes of dead old ways. Nor is it built on the establishment of something new. Truth be told, there is no such thing as “old school” or “new school” Phi, for there is only one Phi. Its fire was lit 75 years ago in the amphitheater above the morgue of the UP College of Medicine. It is the same fire we carry to this day. As former SE Brian Cabral said in a toast, this age marks “The Renaissance of Phi”.

We endured the numerous adversities of the times and setbacks large and small, but now we step back and see that we have done well.
To fragile man, 75 years would mark the culmination of a lifetime. To the immortal spirit of Phi, it is but a coming of age. The past has formed it well. The future shall serve as witness to the undying strength of the only Fraternity of the College of Medicine.

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.

Tensions were intense between the victors of World War II: the allies of the United States, and the Communist Bloc, led by the Soviet Union. This eventually led to the Cold War. Focal points of this con杍ict were the Korean War, which witnessed the partition of Korea into North and South; the Vietnam War; and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1961, in which America faced an almost tangible threat to its security at the hands of the Communist bloc. All fields of endeavor, from space exploration to the discovery of new elements in the periodic table, were all tainted by this conflict between capitalist and communist ideologies. Meanwhile in Africa, Kwame Nkrumah of the British Gold Coast proclaimed the independence of a new country: Ghana. This started a cascade of independence proclamations from virtually all of Africa. In keeping with this spirit of freedom, the Civil Rights Movement in America was gaining ground, its growth being strengthened by the Rev. Martin Luther King. Back at home, the Quirino presidency was busy giving birth to an industrialized Philippines, a struggle which was given more popularity during the ascent of immensely popular Ramon Magsaysay.


Brotherhood has its own excuses which, unfortunately, other organizations cannot so readily avail of.
If that sounds rather smug and self-righteous, it is probably because we have grown used to the idea that everything must be done for some “worthy cause.” And so we expect balls and dances to be dedicated to some charitable project in an attempt to exorcise the demons of frivolity in us. Some curious malady peculiar to our times has prevented us from drinking and dancing as recklessly and as guiltlessly as we can. But long before democracy and socialism claimed our minds for their own, when the country was still emerging from the nightmares of war, when the fever of repair and reconstruction raged not only in the gutted hospital walls but also in the tattered souls of the people, the natives of the UP College of Medicine knew exactly what to do after the war. They danced and they drank. Recklessly and guiltlessly. And so did the Phis.

The decade dawned upon a hospital struggling with the enormous post-war problems of repair, reconstruction, and rehabilitation. Existing hospital equipment were inventoried (the first time ever) by the Property Supply Office. The shattered edifices had to rebuilt. Plumbing and electrical facilities had to be restored. The hospital itself was in shambles and patients and personnel had to be relocated to clear the bedlam.. With characteristic aplomb, everybody, from PGH Director to attendant, rose the occasion. Others who met the challenge with equal fervor included Clemente O. Sta. Romana who topped the 1952 board with a grade of 86.06%, Juan Belisario, Jr., president of the third year class, who captained the committee for the Medical Ball of 1952, and Ramon Abarquez, Jr., poor ER intern who left in the middle of that same Ball upon being paged.

On January 12, 1952, the Phi Kappa Mu sponsored a fraternity ball at the Fiesta Pavilion of the Manila Hotel. The roster of prominent guests was headed by Secretary of Health Juan Salcedo, Jr., Manila Mayor Arsenio Lacson, and Colonel Benvenuto Dino. Pablo Virtuoso, Sylvia La Torre, Pancho Magalona, and Katy dela Cruz, accompanied by the bands of the Philippine Constabulary and the Malacañang Guards, entertained the well-dressed crowd. The fifteen- member ladies committee was headed by Miss Lita Ganzon and included Miss Baby Villareal, Miss Philippines 1951. The ball was a huge success and only a few people who were caught in the joyous delirium ever remembered that the ball was supposed to be “for the rehabilitation of PGH wards.”

The four magnificent murals that adorn the PGH lobby were unveiled on May 12, 1953, Hospital Day. Their then anonymous creator: Carlos V. Francisco. Leland Villadolid was president of the clerks’ class. Pathology just hauled in a prize catch in the person of Dr. Lorenzo Katigbak. Dr. Florentino Herrera, Jr., a non-believer in metaphors, brought home a real marlin--Isthioporus Orientalis--9 ft. by 5 ft. by 3/16 in. caught southeast of Cabra Island in a fishing trip with Drs. Rotor, V. Reyes, Apelo, and Sarmiento.

The Pandora Tennis Clubs bristled with such bellicose teams as the Siga-Siga with the late dean ABM Sison, Drs. Jose Barcelona, and Ambrosio Tangco, “Brute Force” with Drs. Quintin Gomez and Jose Villanueva, Jr., and the “Maniacs” with Drs. Florentino Herrera, Jr., and R. Apelo. Competition was furious and in 1954, Dr. Barcelona was able to post a 6-1, and Dr. Herrera, a 6-0, win over their opponents. Drs. Tangco and Gomez, respectively. Benigno Aldana, Jr. laid claim to a greater victory by placing second in the 1954 board exam, after graduating cum laude.

Brotherhood has its own peculiar excuses. One of them is loneliness. The instinct to belong is primal; the fear of solitude is often overwhelming. And for all the baleful and bull-headed individualists who laid claim to the appellation, “Phi,” brotherhood still stands as an inscrutable proof of the terrifying power of loneliness, driving men to huddle together in search of each other’s warmth.

Fraternity initiations were suspended on June 21, 1957 for alleged irregularities. The investigating committee later relented when no formal complaints were lodged by the aggrieved parties, when physical examination of the neophytes showed nothing more than scratches and occasional bruises, and when fraternity leaders pledged anew to uphold the university rules governing initiations. The Phi inducted twenty-five new brods on June 23, 1957, among them being future 1961 SE Reginaldo Picache. Florante Gonzaga was Medical Student Council prexy; Salvador Salceda was vice. The former was also president of the interns’ class; the latter, of the clerks. Augusto Abela was president of the juniors, and later, member of the University Student Council. Alfredo T. Ramirez was elected to the Student Council Board with 218 votes; he became Superior Exemplar in 1960 and graduated at the top of the class in 1961. Along the way, he picked up the Rookie of Year award when the PGH residents captured the Inter-Hospital Basketball Tournament crown. His teammates included German Castillo, Richard Tiongco, and Antonio Lahoz. Quintin Kintanar won the college chess tournament in 1957. He was to garner the Burke Award for Cardiology in 1961.

The statue of medicine triumphing over death, donated by class ‘33 installed in front of the College in 1958. Clemente Gatmaitan, Jr., the Superior Exemplar, topped the board that year with a grade of 90.0%.

Ritual is another. We are all ceremonial creatures who define who we are by the rituals of religion and of society. But the more we pretend to be rational and scientific, the more our rituals lose their primeval power to define, to confirm and to recognize our individual worths. Is it surprising, therefore, that a medical student, after devoting nearly twenty years of his life to the classroom, should ache all the more for these the half-forgotten rites of passage? Is it any wonder then that the ceremony of initiation, for all its ill repute, has never failed to exert a tantalizing fascination on neophytes? Here is where manhood, bereft of the sexual ambiguities of this age, is publicly confirmed. Here is the terrible unknown that defines. Here is the madness that justifies. That the fraternity took long to recognize the legitimate need for sister organization is proof of how rites of passage had consummately satisfied this need to be defined, to be justified.
And because the fraternity was able to satisfy these needs so completely, it became, in a sense, a perfect organization, fully developed and sufficient unto itself as the day it was born. To speak of a Phi History in a biographical evolutionary sense, hence does disservice to its nature. The needs that impelled its birth are basic. They are eternal and unchanging as human nature. Why should not the fraternity itself be largely so?

And so from still extant sources and from reminiscences of alumni brods, we look for projects and charitable activities that the Phi undertook. Indeed, we find a few. But the overriding preoccupation was to celebrate brotherhood and to celebrate it well. In each initiation and in each drinking spree and in each fraternity ball. War might have precluded the unbridled and undiluted celebrations of brotherhood. But the collective consciousness of an organization reconciled to the idea that it existed primarily for itself alone was kept alive.

PGH acquired the blood bank in 1959. It was donated by the WHO-UNICEF. The cancer ward was formally opened by Dr. Jose Barcelona, then acting PGH Director. Fortune and men’s eyes continued to favor the hospital. President Garcia assured UPMAS and the UP-PGH medical society of his whole-hearted support “to make PGH not only one of the best but the best hospital in the country and help it regain tits pre-war prestige.” Juanito Billote placed sixth in the 1959 board with a grade of 84.25%. Dr. Crisostomo Arcilla won the UP-PGH inter-resident table tennis tournament. Benigno Agbayani was Superior Exemplar. On March 13, 1959, the Phi honored its graduating members, Felipe Sese, Jose Villalobos, Jr., Roberto Dator, and Rudy Santos, with a dance party at Wally Cruz’s residence.

The prodigal parties continued. The annual fraternity ball and the induction party became major regular events of Phi life. The fraternity balls were usually gaudier. The 1955 ball was held at the Jai-Alai Skyroom. The Silver Jubilee Ball in 1958, under the exemplarship of Felipe Sese, was held at the Winter Garden of the Manila Hotel. The alumni committee was chaired by Dr. Antonio Caniza. On January 8, 1961, a grand reunion ball at the Skyroom was held to honor
Drs. Jose Barcelona, the PGH Director, Luis F. Torres, Jr., Florentino Herrera, Jr., Conrado Dayrit, and Benjamin Canlas, Jr.. On November 29 of the same year, Phis and their partners filled the Petal Room of the Manila Hotel in the traditional fraternity ball. Jam Sessions I and II, actually dance parties, with live combo music, were sponsored in 1958 and in 1959.

It was only later, as earlier intimated, that the pressures of democratic notions awakened the fraternity to more altruistic courses of action and imparted to it an orientation that was decidedly socio-political. But for the third decade of Phi, we still note a few activities that departed from the usual

On December, 1952, the Phi organized a conference with Dr. Lalla Iverson, visiting professor of pathology from Georgetown University, who talked on the pathology of the thymus. Dr. Barcelona introduced the speaker and rounded up the affair with a talk on the history of the Phi. An annual spelling bee was begun in 1954 under the leadership of Crisostomo Arcilla and was continued up to the middle sixties. “Oedipus Rex” was presented on September 17, 1957 in cooperation with the UP Dramatic Club. And in 1961, the fraternity staged a comedy entitled “Psycho-Anal-Lysis,” written by F.B. Farrales
and directed by F.V. Llamido.

The September 1960 issue of Medics Newsette featured an article on Dr. Gregorio Lim, a surgeon and a painter. Unknowingly, it heralded the flowering of an ideal that breathes of the Renaissance, and ideal that animated the sixties with its play, concerts, and poetry. This man who brilliantly fused art with science, who became chief surgeon of PGH and director of the Chinese General Hospital while winning prizes on various art tilts abroad and wielding the presidency of the Art Association of the Philippines from 1956 to 1958, was to become a half-recognized springboard for the intellectual spirit of the next decade. UPSCA later sponsored a “Song and Story Fest” in 1961; Strauss’ “Die Fliedermaus” was performed in Science Hall in 1962; Lapena-Bonifacio’s award-winning “Sepang Loca” was performed on the same year.

The fraternity was suspended from August 30,1960 to December 31, 1960. The reason was the much-bewailed “...the practices (of)inflicting physical injuries, knowing...that occasionally even trivial injuries may lead to serious complications.” And it was perhaps in a spirit of self-vindication and ingratiation that the Phi honored its outstanding alumni in a grand reunion ball immediately after the suspension was lifted.

Winning by a popular vote, the best lecturers in 1960-61 included Drs. Nestor Bautista, Conrado Dayrit, Elpidio Gamboa, Espiridion Reyes, and Luis Mabilangan.
Dec 1960.The Phi Kappa Mu Fraternity will celebrate its 27th anniversary with a Formal Reception and Ball to be heald at the Jai-Alai Sky Room on January 8, 1961. The occasion will serve as a reunion of alumi members since 1933, the year the fraternity was founded. Five distinguished members of the fraternity will be honored during the ball for assuming key positions in the U.P.-P.G.H. Medical Center. The five are: Drs. Benjamin D. Canlas, Jr., Head of the Department of Pathology, Conrado Dayrit, Head of the Department of Pharmacology, Florentino Herrera Jr., Secretary of the College, Luis F. Torres Jr., Head of the Department of Surgery and newly-elected President of the Philippine College of Surgeons, and Jose Barcelona, Director of the Philippine General Hospital. The fraternity has already organized a Ladies’ Committee headed by Miss Edita Vital, Miss Philippines of 1960. Members are: Misses Editha Fargas, Carminda de Leon, Isabel Rodriguez, Diana Carlos, Criselda Lontok, Anabelle Harmon, Jojo Kierulf, Chinky Arellano, Irma Cruz and Cecille Taylor. In the Reception Line will be Alfredo t. Ramirez, Superior Exemplar of the Phi Kappa Mu, Editha Fargas, Dr. Quintin Gomez, Isabel Rodriguez, Dr. Oscar Liboro, Diana Carlos, Reginaldo Picache, Vice Exemplar, and Carminda de Leon. Introducing will be Danilo Torres.

April 8, 1961. The Phi Kappa Mu Fraternity in a meeting held at the Guazon Hall last March 25, 1961 elected its new set of officers for 1961-62. Unanimously elected Superior Exemplar was Reginaldo S. Picache. Other officers chosen are: Oscar dela Paz, Vice-Superior Exemplar; Diosdado A. Garcia, Custodian; Napoleon Carandang, Standard Bearer; Romeo B. Atienza, Venerable Preceptor; Victor Nañagas, Recorder; Edgardo Adiarte, Prior; Jaime R. Hilao, Guardian of the Temple. The faculty-advisers are Dr. Jose Barcelona, Dr. Emilio Horrilleno, Dr. Oscar Liboro and Dr. Clemente Gatmaitan, Jr. To facilitate and coordinate the fraternity activities, an advisory council was formed composed of Roman L. Belmonte, Jr., Eugenio A. Picazo, Enrique T. Ona, Arceo B. M. Laano and Danilo Aberin. Plans outline by the new head include a musical comedy to be participated in by fraternity brothers, a ballet presentation, a movie premiere, a monthly seminar and a fraternity newsletter. After the election, an informal party was held at the residence of Alfredo T. Ramirez, outgoing Superior Exemplar.

Sept 1961. One cold, drizzling evening in August, the third year Phi’s retired to an ornate chamber, hoping to save the occasion all for themselves. They were sadly wrong-some clinical clerks and interns enviably possess the proverbial nose for delectable news. The party went on (the show must go on!) against an as delectable motif of chandeliers, a piano, fresh red and white roses and a bunch of carntion that wouldn’t cater to bees’ peregrinations. And while Thorne Banez cryptically viewed the whole show in a corner, with a glass of Coke on the rocks, Lito Millan was gracefully dancing his way into the hearts of the Diliman guests, Mike Castro was hoping for more “sweets” and Nani de Guzman was assiduously holding on to a fleeting acquaintance, a petite bundle of pale beauty whose pale-pink ensemble delicately outline her silent charms. The ladies: Nita Ventura, Tessie Raymunda, Pris Navarro, Marita Tolentino, Josie Dominguez, Thelma Tupasi, Lispet Evora and more.

Brotherhood might have its own excuses, but at the third decade of its life, the Phi began recognizing other and equally valid reasons for being. And shaping the intellectual and socio-political life of the UP medical community was one of these. Beneath the self- contained and elitist surface, energies stifled by the war were being marshaled, strength was being gathered. The apparent hiatus that marked the decade stored the potential energy that fueled the fireworks of the years which followed.

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.

A country’s struggle to become all over the world as enshrined in its erstwhile national anthem (“Deutschlandi nü bera lles”) led to the bloodshed, violence and terror that is the Second World War. While Hitler’s Germany was to seek domination of Europe, half a world away, in Japan, national pride and the desire to enlarge its controlled territory through its “Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere” led to the spread of the war to Asia. The Philippines, being in an extremely vulnerable location, was invaded in 1942. Its liberation from the Japanese more than 2 years later led to the near-total destruction of Manila, which was the most damaged city in the world next to Warsaw, Poland. The following years saw the granting of Philippine independence in 1946 and the bittersweet journey of a young nation with a multifaceted past to rise from the ashes of war to national progress.


“Oh, God! This is it,” the thought gripped Dr. Quintin Gomez. He stood, paralyzed, face to face with a Jap less than twenty feet behind the rubble.

The aimed bayonet met his gaze and held him thrall. But only for a while. For the Jap, without so much as widening his slit-like eyes, lowered his gun. Dr. Gomez then remembered to breathe once more and the crushing, burning sensation in his chest began to ebb. Once more, he could hear the shelling above the din of his own heart thundering in his ears. He remembered what he should be doing. Like a friend, he tore at the streets, his arms full with bags of plasma, dextrose bottles and bandages. He would have to go back inside the Manila Doctors Hospital where he was doing his first hear of residency. There were more patients there waiting to be transferred to Dr. Ricardo Alfonso’s house across the street. Perhaps the Japs would see him again. Perhaps this time, the Red Cross arm band he remembered lamely pointing to would not be respected. He felt like a convicted man. He felt this way only once before. That was five years ago when he reported to the Phi initiations at dusk. Back then, the sense of impending doom hovered heavily inside the dark morgue as the “doctors” began treating him exactly like a cadaver. Before the night was over, though, the pranks and the antics ended and they were Phis.
Now it was useless to try to understand what compelled him to go back for their patients huddled beneath the crumbling hospital. Suddenly, “bravery” sounded empty and “sense of duty” failed to evoke a noble thrill. It became a question simply of seeing what was the most logical thing to do and of realizing that no one else but you could do it. Dr. Gomez saw it that way. He went back. Again and again.

A few hundred yards away, at St. Paul’s College and the Red Cross building, the Japanese were massacring a good number of physicians and nurses who were quartered there.

It was the early part of 1945. The grand Japanese dream of a “Co-Prosperity Sphere” was rapidly succumbingto wave after wave of combined Filipino and American attack. And like the sinking of monstrous and grotesque vessel, that the dream really was, it was slipping into a maelstrom that threatened to suck in hundreds of innocent lives. Already about seven members of UP medicine class ‘41 fell prey to Japanese atrocities. More senior alumni suffered the same sad fate. That these young and wealthy men and women were killed at their prime only grimly pointed to the supremely impartial way in which war discharged its cruelty.

Not earlier than four years ago, however, the UP medical student, characteristically a product of bourgeois upbringing, had been so apolitical that right up to the year when Pearl Harbor ignited a series of detonations that moved closer and closer to the heart of Manila, the annual traditional medical ball at the Sta. Ana Turf Club was still one of the best-attended affairs of such sort. The midnight snacks, the Nurses Home socials, the pillow fights and the conquest of that nasty barbed wire fence behind Dorm 5 livened the hospital routine. Among the Phis, stag parties, picnics, the Ermita saunters, the study groups and the occasional medical missions to ease the social conscience mad up the yearly string of frat activities. The annual fraternity ball was an eagerly anticipated event.

The gaunt figure of one Phi, Dr. Jesus Lava, stood in bold relief against the prevailing political ennui. A long tradition of dissent distinguished the Lavas of Pampanga. While most people pinned their hopes on American military might aimed at rendering a Japanese attack foolhardy, Dr. Lava clearly saw the reality of Japanese imperialist threat. He later became vice-chairman of the Youth Congress, an anti-Japanese organization. Years later, his classmates were to remember him for having “championed a lost cause.” But when he wistfully remembers his halcyon days with the Hukbalahap, in the mountains of Zambales and the fields of Floridablanca, the political triumphs and the interminable detentions, he clearly reminds one of the words of a poet who, coming upon two roads diverging in the woods, “took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”
When the war erupted on December 8, 1941, PGH was suddenly deluged by victims of grenade blasts and firearms. The dean of the College of Medicine required clinical clerks to render virtually the same services that interns did in the treatment of casualties. The third year students who could not leave for home and were sheltered in PGH helped out as stretcher bearers in the gangrene wards. An official notice calling all able- bodied men to active duty sent spasms of apprehension on the students. Dean Sison, however, announced that a moratorium was granted to medical students, postponing active duty until after graduation.

The cataclysm forced the Phi Kappa Mu into subdued existence. Those who were able to push on with their studies tried their best to stoke the embers of brotherhood in a time when both living and dying had their own horror and their own sweetness.... The Phi, then led by SE Dr. Florentino Herrera, Jr., kept up the initiations and the study groups. Later, several benefit shows were mounted and chairs and books were donated to the medical library. The raucous dorm raids and the pillow fights succumbed to the tense and vigilant atmosphere, giving way to quiet dice and card games.

At the crest of their military triumphs, the Japanese adopted an expansively, condescendingly benevolent attitude toward their occupied nations. Doctors, more than any other professional, enjoyed the most number of privileges including extra food and alcohol fuel rations. That Japanese soldiers would prefer PGH residents to their own doctors, despite the presence of Japanese medical officers assigned to PGH, was a tribute to the skill of Filipino physicians. It was only during the later part of World War II when the Japanese empire began tottering that doctors began to be treated like common citizens. One by one the lives of medical personnel were sacrificed to the crazed whims of the paranoid conquerors.

The spectacle of class ‘43, as its members marched silently from the Ateneo Chapel after their baccalaureate mass, arm-in-arm and in one solid file across the width of Padre Faura, past sentry guards and back to the hospital where they had spent two harrowing years with the mangled, whimpering victims of war and from where they were now to quietly depart, marked for PGH the second year of the Japanese occupation. By now, less terrified by air raids and bomb blasts so close that the dissection rooms were gutted, the medical students came to classes with baons wrapped in banana leaves, took circuitous routes to avoid labor conscription, kowtowed to Japanese sentries with the help of the teachers who promptly came back after the bombings and who continued to lecture and give exams, and eventually fell into an uneasy routine. The slow, unhurried shuffling of Aproniano Tangco came to serve as an effective neuroleptic to many a frayed nerve of class ’48. A few intrepid ones made and passed around copies of news bulletins from short wave sets on allied victories.

Manila was liberated on February 3, 1945. It ushered an era of even more dogged heroism. The shelling gored the floors and walls of the dissection rooms. Instructors came and steadfastly maintained regular lecture hours. Enrollment steadily rose and in 1948, eighty-one freshmen, the biggest crop after a long time, entered the gutted halls.

The Phi quickly recuperated. By 1947, the year when Andres Makalinao, Luis Mabilangan, and Ernesto Cruz entered the fraternity, the annual Phi Ball became an affair as well-ensconced into tradition as the weekly drinking sprees. Free community clinics, bloodletting programs and fund-raising activities such as premier nights, became staple fare for Phis. In 1949, the DDT gang--Deng Dungo, Deutsch Castillo, and Tony Lahoz--were initiated into fraternity life. In 1950, Gerardo de Leon topped the May boards with a score of 86.72% while Ponciano Manalo placed fourth.

Initiations were expanded to week-long affairs. They consisted mostly of the familiar “ungguyan” sessions. A sizable group of consultants always came to attend and to share in perhaps one of the most exhilarating and rejuvenating activities of the Phi. Initiations were held in various public places, usually including the Nurses’ Home (to the delight of its denizens) and mainly depending on how flighty the “doctors” fancies were. Measuring the perimeter of the College of Medicine with a match stick took the neophytes to the very edge of Herran Street. Asking aghast Paulinians to sign their eggs, usually soft- boiled, brought them to the other side of that street. After a week of tribulations, their hubres maimed and their bodies more spent than really sore, the neophytes were blindfolded and paraded around the hospital. The moving final rites followed.

Meanwhile, the College itself was springing back to life. And, as if to spite the troubled past just ended, class ‘52 soon acquired the reputation for picnicking and partying at the drop of a stethoscope. The forty or so members of the class who lay stricken with food poisoning after a whole day picnic in nearby Paranaque was mute testament to the savage vengeance with which they enjoyed themselves. Armed conflict had passed. As everyone emerged from it, they blinked their eyes still bleary from the sting of gun smoke and wild emotions and celebrated the renewal of life.

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  1. The Spark of Creation


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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