At the 80th Anniversary Ball of the Fraternity held at the Manila Polo Club last December 17, 2013, the Phi Kappa Mu Fraternity of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine formally introduced the Outstanding Phi Award, a brainchild of the present Executive Council and the Phi Kappa Mu Alumni Association, headed by Brod Gil Martinez Vicente Φ1976.

As a medical fraternity envisioned to be a bastion of excellence in diverse fields, the Phi Kappa Mu introduced this award to recognize the brods who have both lived the Fraternity’s virtues and became more than exemplars in their careers in terms of Excellence, Leadership, Service and Brotherhood.  The five brods, who were among the firsts to receive the award, are the following:


Ramon Fabella Abarquez, Jr.  Φ1948 & Augusto D. Litonjua Φ1952


Brod Monching Abarquez, a prominent doctor-researcher, has authored and co-authored 215 papers in cardiology throughout his career. His groundbreaking contributions to the field of medicine include proving the utility of Digitalis in treating persistent hypertension-related heart failure, the “Abarquez Hypothesis” for distinguishing normal from medication-related normalized blood pressure, and countless other innovations that have been saving lives since then. He also founded the Philippine Society of Hypertension in 1999. In addition to this, he has received the honor of being an Academician at the National Academy of Science and Technology in 1993, along with the cultural heritage award by the Philippine government. At 84, he continues to uphold excellence today by being Professor Emeritus at the UP College of Medicine, as well as by maintaining positions in various groups and consultancy at the PGH Department of Medicine.


Augusto Litonjua is a name that continues to resound in the history of Philippine Medicine. This is because Brod Tito, as fondly called by his Fraternity brothers, is none other than the “Father of Philippine Endocrinology”. His contributions are invaluable and immeasurable, especially in managing and treating diabetes. He has authored and co-authored over 165 scientific papers and is credited for the founding of the Philippine Society of Endocrinology and Metabolism. For these, he has already received the International Clinician Award from the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists. At present, he keeps the flame alive as a Professor Emeritus at the UP College of Medicine, and continues his practice of endocrinology. Present to receive his award was his son, Brod Augusto Maria Ampil Litonjua Φ1982A SE 1985-1986.



Felipe Aquino Estrella, Jr. Φ1950 & Manuel Bautista Agulto Φ1969A


Brod Ipe Estrella graduated from the UP College of Medicine in 1955 and specialized in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Serving as a faculty member in the said institution, Dr. Estrella was called to become Vice Chancellor for Administration of UP Manila, then as Director of the Philippine General Hospital, a position he successfully held for 8 years. Under his term, PGH has been cited as one of the “33 Centers of Excellence in Government Service”. He served as the Department of Health Secretary under then President Joseph Estrada.

As a young doctor, Brod Manny Agulto already took initiatives that led to the establishment of an Eye Department and an Ophthalmology Residency Program in the Regional Hospital in Pampanga. This feat, along with spearheading the PGH Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences as its chairperson, makes him no stranger to leadership. As a matter of fact, it was under his stewardship that the Sentro Oftalmologico Jose Rizal of the Philippine General Hospital was built. Due to these achievements and his leadership potential, in 2011 he was aptly named as UP Manila’s newest Chancellor, following brods Florentino Basa Herrera, Jr. Φ1936 and Alfredo Ticson Ramirez Φ 1956 as the 3rd PHI brod to hold the position. 



Enrique Tangonan Ona, Jr. Φ1957

Brod Ike Ona presently holds office as the Department of Health Secretary of the Philippines. Under his administration, Brod Ike has facilitated the passing of two landmark health reforms in the Tobacco and Alcohol Excise Tax Reform Act of 2012 and the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012. But even before holding office, Brod Ike has already been recognized as one of the top surgeons in the country specializing in Vascular and Transplant Surgery. He was part of the team spearheading the first multi-organ transplants in Southeast Asia at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute. Under his term as Executive Director, NKTI has been acknowledged as a world class kidney transplant center. For his contributions to the betterment of life in the Philippines, he has already received the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) award in 1979, the Most Outstanding Alumnus of the UP College of Medicine and the Honorary Fellowship of the American College of Surgeons. The present DOH Undersecretary, Brod Teodoro Javier Herbosa Φ1979 received the award for Brod Ike.



PHI Kappa Mu International, Inc.


Also conferred a plaque of recognition last anniversary ball was Phi Kappa Mu International, Inc., for their countless contributions to the Filipino people, as well as their support and guidance to the Fraternity. Present to receive the award was Brod Silverio Buenafe Cabellon, Jr., president of the UP Medical Alumni Society in America and former president of Phi International. Conceived in the mid-1990s, Phi International is a California-based, non-profit organization which aims to improve Philippine healthcare and to help the needy and disenfranchised. Since then, it has been living up to its guiding principles by supporting programs such as the Project OPERA (Operating Room Assistance program, which provides holistic surgical assistance to pediatric patients), ETM (Empowerment Through Mobility, the Fraternity’s wheelchair distribution project), and Project RICE (Rehabilitation, Improvement and Child Empowerment, supporting Bantay Bata 163’s Children’s Village).

 The hall thundered with applause and warm cheers from brods as the each of the awardees were called upstage and presented with certificates of recognition and a plaque bearing the Phi Seal. It was a merry gathering indeed, and celebrating the lives and endeavors of these five brods is a reminder that to be a Phi is to go above and beyond a life of excellence, leadership, service and lasting brotherhood. 


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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