The clear blue sky, the soft white sand, the radiant sun overhead, and the freedom that only comes around once a year; for most people, summer is a time to cut loose and bond with family and friends. However, for Brod JP Mariñas, the idea of cutting loose and bonding means more than just relaxing at the beach. For him, it means serving his community with his loved ones through a series of medical and surgical missions, because to him, there is nothing more worth doing than giving back and living a life of service to others.

Dr. John Paul Emerson Serrato Mariñas, Φ2004B, performing an excision at "Araw ni Inang"

Dr. John Paul Emerson Serrato Mariñas, Φ2004B, performing an excision

Brod John Paul Emerson Serrato Mariñas, Φ2004B, or “JP” as he is fondly called by younger brods, has always had a special place in his heart for the tuli/surgical missions of the Phi Kappa Mu even before residency. These missions include the annual missions of Brod Che Jamir in Cavite, Sis Girlie Teotico’s Boracay Mission, and the Puerto Galera Mission of Brod Cis Daytec. Ever a man of service, Brod JP took to these missions instantly with keen enthusiasm. Little did he know then that it was only a preview into the life of service that he would soon live; in fact, Brod JP shares, it was his exposure to these service missions that inspired him on to specializing in Surgery-Urology in the UP-Philippine General Hospital.

But one can only do so much for his or her own community while training in the country’s foremost tertiary hospital. With the call of service beyond the wards came Brod JP’s answer in the form of a medical mission, one held by his own family for their local community in Antipolo City. Hence, “Araw ni Inang”, the Mariñas family medical mission, came to be.


“Araw ni Inang” was conceived in one of Brod JP’s family gatherings shortly after he had started taking up surgery. Among those present in the gathering were his eldest sister, Doc Trina, an OB-Gyne ultrasound specialist, and his Aunty Cely, a self-made chef and entrepreneur. The medical mission was named “Araw ni Inang” as a tribute to their grandmother, Cristina “Inang Tinay” Mariñas, a truly influential figure in the community, whose memory they wanted to honor by doing charity work and also by having a venue in which to bond with the family.

The concept started out as a family activity during the time of May. Banking on the support of Phi, Brod JP took advantage of the busy summer schedule to render medical services that catered to the needs of the community. Summer time used to be “family time”, where the Mariñas family would campaign for their grandfather, Felix Mariñas, a former Mayor of Antipolo. Holding the missions bonded his family and, in addition, gave Phi an opportunity to serve and give back to the community. The Mariñas family believes that many are willing to volunteer given the proper venue, so they wanted to create a program in which a lot of people can help. Hence, what started out as a small mission in their house in Antipolo ended up becoming a mission that had to be conducted in the village basketball court with the help of the local barangay due to the sheer number of patients, with 270 circumcisions performed at the most recent "Araw ni Inang" held last April 25, 2015.

The “Araw ni Inang” Mission has offered various medical services during the 6 years of its humble run - circumcisions, OB-Gyne consults/ultrasound & pap smears, ophthalmological consults, minor surgical operations, dental extractions, laboratory examinations, vitamin supplementation, and even a blood drive. Of course, these services were not present all at once. The blood drive started two years ago, with 50 donors present. The minor surgical “bukol” excision only started last year upon Brod JP’s initiative through the support of brods and sisses in the Department of Surgery. The mission also includes a feeding program or soup kitchen to the patients, as well as a drive for donating shoes, glasses, and clothes, extending the generosity their grandmother was known for. All of the services offered during “Araw ni Inang” were made possible by various benefactors with hearts of gold.

Brod JP performing another excision with fellow Phi student brods

Brod JP performing another excision with fellow Phi student brods

Brod JP also explains that the mission was never meant to prioritize medical consults; instead, what the mission sought to achieve initially was to bring surgical and dental services to the community. Circumcision, while optional, has benefits that definitely outweigh the risks: it decreases the probability of penile cancer and UTI and promotes the psychological growth of the child especially in the Filipino setting where it is a cultural and religious practice. The mission also provides the opportunity to examine possible Urology cases such as undescended testes and hypospadias in the young, and discourages the continuation of hazardous practices such as “pukpok circumcision”. Likewise, the surgical mission is not meant to prioritize actual excision procedures, but to provide proper screening and inspection of potentially malignant masses or “bukol” in patients, and to adequately advise them for referral to multi-specialty centers such as UP-PGH for further work-up or treatment.


These missions would not have been possible without the steadfast support of Brod JP’s family, Familia Mariñas, who provide the logistics, networking, organization and funding necessary for Araw ni Inang. Brod JP’s elder sister, Yasmin, shines in managerial work as the overall supervisor; his brother, Myk, heads the registration and logistics department. Other members of the family also help out and show support. They gather financial support from different NGOs, their relatives abroad and concerned members of the community. This proves the saying, “pag nag tulong-tulong, madaming magagawa”.

For Familia Mariñas, holding "Araw ni Inang" serves many purposes. They are one way for the family to share their blessings with others, a means to give back to the employees of their various businesses and their families. Moreover, the mission stands as a continuing legacy that ensures that the kindness and generosity of Brod JP’s grandmother lives on through the younger generations. Future plans include an “Araw ni Tatang” or “Araw ng Familia”, aimed towards visiting homes for the aged and orphanages respectively.

Much is achieved through the collective effort of Phi brods and sisses. To give back to the services of the brods and sisses, Brod JP treats them afterwards for a mini fellowship in their resort overlooking Manila, Cristina Villas Resort, also named after their grandmother. Good food, good company, and a night of sharing laughs and trading stories after a long day of hard work and service are what keep the brods and sisses coming back year after year.


Brod JP’s notion of service is straightforward – one can only give to others what one has, so in order for one to give more, one has to be more and train more. This does not only apply to material things, but to talents and skills as well. “If you have material blessings, share your blessings,” Brod JP says. “If you have talents and skills, hone them. To render true service, the other three pillars of the Phi Kappa Mu Fraternity come in. To render true and dependable service, you have to show Excellence. You need Leadership if you are to provide the best service. In the provision of true service, the vision of one is not enough. You need Brotherhood, a vision that is carried by many. We do not claim a monopoly on service; it is free to those who wish to live a life for others.”

Brod JP with the Phi brods, sisses, and volunteers of the recent Araw ni Inang, held last April 25, 2015

Brod JP with the Phi brods, sisses, and volunteers of the recent Araw ni Inang, held last April 25, 2015

Thankful to the Phi Kappa Mu for all the Fraternity’s support, Brod JP shares that the Fraternity is something he cannot take away from himself, his identity, his values, his aspirations and his goals in life. For the brods, he shares, the cardinal virtues are not there merely as a guide through a brod’s journey in the fraternity; they are there for the Phi to embody and live by in their lives, as Brod JP has selflessly and tirelessly done year after year.

 

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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