What advice would you give to younger medical students/people starting their medical journey and to people who may be considering medical school?
Medicine is arguably one of the more popular professions to pursue. Those who aspire to become a doctor have various economic, social, and personal reasons which have to be carefully examined. First, be honest with yourself. Are you really interested in becoming a doctor, or are your parents or relatives just pushing it on you? Do you feel that it is the path to becoming financially well-off? Some reasons may be valid, but being a doctor isn’t as glamorous and probably not as financially rewarding as you may think. The most important reason for applying to medical school should be an interest in medicine itself. Halfhearted applicants may get into the program, but many end up quitting because of the grueling load they encounter. Your passion for the field will be what carries you through 48 to 72-hour calls, seemingly endless exams, and what is almost literally a lifetime of learning. Once you have made your decision, focus on preparing for it. Joining your local pre-medical society can help you meet people with similar interests and provide you with various opportunities such as attending healthcare lectures and doing medical volunteer work. You can also consider applying as a research assistant or conducting your thesis on a biomedical interest. These will help prepare you for medical school in addition to enhancing your application.
For those who are already in medical school, congratulations! It is not an easy road but the journey itself can be enjoyable with the proper mindset. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Making it through medical school may be the hardest thing you will ever do, but there are even times when consultants miss and reflect fondly on student years when life was simpler. Enjoy your journey and good luck!
If you have any questions, feel free to message me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Victoria Grace C. Dimacali, MD, DPBO
1. How is your local community doing amidst the pandemic? Are you involved in some locally grown initiatives?
My community- the US Territory of Guam- is currently battling a surge in COVID 19 cases. We have one of the higher incidence rates among US States and Territories.
Back in March, when Guam had its first cases, I volunteered at the Dept. of Public Health and Social Services (DPHSS). I served as an adviser to the Director, and helped to establish Guam's designated Isolation Center. It reminded me of the days leading up to the People Power 1 revolution in the Philippines - it was like a guerrilla campaign against an unknown enemy. I was briefing staff from the back of a pick-up truck!
In April, I suffered a setback, when I was diagnosed with skin cancer, and had to scale back my involvement with DPHSS. When the DPHSS Director retired in June, our Governor and Lt. Governor asked me to take over as Department Director (the Director is like the Philippine Secretary of Health), but because of my health issues, I had to decline. Then in August, my husband fell and fractured his right arm! So it has been a challenging period for us, but we've managed to be resourceful and steadfast.
2. What public health measure for you think should be adapted to best mitigate the increase in the number of cases in the country?
It's important for everyone to realize that right now, all we have to protect against this virus is distance. This is challenging because of our essentially gregarious nature, but it is critical to acknowledge that every individual's actions affect everyone else's risk for infection. We are trying to echo the message to "Stay home so everyone can stay safe."
The government can issue policies and mandates, but at the end of the day, it is up to every one of its citizens to ensure implementation. The measures are simple: physical distancing, consistent mask-wearing, and good hand hygiene. Ultimately, our success or failure in containing this pandemic rests on a citizenry that has at its heart civic-mindedness and
collaboration for the common good.
3. What is the first thing you want to do once the pandemic is over?
That's simple - head to our Boston home to visit our grandson, "Sisig Boy" Shane, and our kids! Family is our priority. This pandemic teaches us to re-examine what is valuable in our lives. It also challenges us to be resilient and to build up our patience and fortitude. We can live our lives very simply, and still manage to survive. It's all about a mindset that sees the pandemic as an opportunity to re-align our values and priorities.
Being a doctor in the middle of the pandemic can be a herculean feat. We asked one of our sisses, Eileen Mabul Malapaya-Manalo MD, MSc, to share with us her experience for the first feature of Humans Of Phi.
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝘀 𝗶𝘁 𝗹𝗶𝗸𝗲 𝘁𝗼 𝗯𝗲 𝗮 𝗱𝗼𝗰𝘁𝗼𝗿 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗶𝘀 𝗽𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗺𝗶𝗰?
In the beginning of the pandemic, I was really scared; scared of dying, scared of bringing the virus home to my family. But I had so many patients to take care of, especially my IVF (in-vitro fertilization) and high risk- pregnancy patients who needed to be monitored and subsequently delivered. In March, we didn't even have the proper protective gear. Masks, especially N95's were scarce. I was lucky to have patients who gave donations of masks, alcohol and goggles, which I shared with other OB-Gyns in Asian Hospital & Medical Center, Makati Medical Center, St. Lukes Global and PGH. Together with my patient contacts, and OB-Gyn colleagues, we outsourced and bought our own PPE's. Large PPE donations (over a thousand), I coursed through PGH, which had been converted into a COVID hospital, and other secondary hospitals. Soon, doctors I didn't even know started contacting me for donations - and I became a conduit for these donations coming from donors. Face shields, goggles, gloves, masks, hazmats, rubbing alcohol, aerosols. You name it, the donations came pouring in, and were sent to government and private doctors and hospitals. The more donations I sent to hospitals, the more requests came, and my waking hours were spent coursing the donations to the corresponding doctors and hospitals, and watching Netflix (which I never watched pre-COVID).
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗲𝘀 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝗳𝗮𝗰𝗲 𝗲𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘆 𝗱𝗮𝘆?
With the lockdown, I asked permission from the Medical Director of Asian Hospital who happens to be a brod, Dr. Lito Acuin, to see my high-risk & problematic patients. So, weekly I held clinic seeing 20-25 patients each clinic day. Gynecologic surgeries and IVF cases were put on hold limiting my practice to OPD and deliveries, which I looked forward to, I was the only person in Asian Hospital holding clinics. We reveled in our new look: the hazmats, the goggles, the face masks, but surgeries became extremely challenging - the hazmats were too hot, the goggles and face shields caused too much fogging making surgical visibility next to impossible. How I was able to do over 20 surgeries without complications was nothing short of a miracle. Truly God's divine intervention. The PAPR ( Powered Air Purifying Respirators) that I ordered in April, came in June and was truly heaven sent. Surgeries became a breeze after that.
As I was saying, I kept buying PPE's. I knew we were in this pandemic for the long haul and I together with my husband (Dr. Atoy Manalo, a brod, & daughter an incoming intern as well as my non- medical family members) might as well be well- equipped for it. Every so often, I give residents and fellows these PPE's / hazmat suit.
𝗖𝗮𝗻 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘀𝗵𝗮𝗿𝗲 𝘄𝗶𝘁𝗵 𝘂𝘀 𝗮 𝗴𝗹𝗶𝗺𝗽𝘀𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝘆𝗼𝘂𝗿 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲 𝗮𝘀 𝗮 𝗱𝗼𝗰𝘁𝗼𝗿 𝗶𝗻 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝗶𝗱𝗱𝗹𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗮 𝗽𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗲𝗺𝗶𝗰?
I now have almost regular clinic days but am just seeing about a third or a half of my patient load compared to the pre-COVID era. I have been exposed to about 5 asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic COVID patients and have undergone RT-PCR swabbing four times. I miss doing all the things I excel in- singing, lecturing (locally and abroad), and doing challenging gynecologic laparoscopic surgeries. Traveling too. So far, I've done one webinar lecture, with 2 more coming up. I've moderated in one webinar. I am literally sick and tired of webinars, zoom meetings, but I know I have to face them and accept them as the new normal.
𝗪𝗵𝗮𝘁 𝗶𝗻𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗲𝘀 𝘆𝗼𝘂 𝘁𝗼 𝗸𝗲𝗲𝗽 𝘀𝗲𝗿𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗽𝗲𝗼𝗽𝗹𝗲 𝗱𝗲𝘀𝗽𝗶𝘁𝗲 𝘁𝗵𝗲𝘀𝗲 𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗹𝗹𝗲𝗻𝗴𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝘁𝗶𝗺𝗲𝘀?
You know what I think? Those of us left behind are given a chance to purify ourselves, to be of service to others, to repent, to be better human beings, to show more love, greater kindness, patience until our time comes. As doctors, we are given the best opportunity to do just that.
By: Katrina Diane B. Puguan, Class 2024, Φ2020
Staying true to their advocacy, the Phi Lambda Delta Sorority held their 6th annual Children Fair last February 29, 2020, entitled Children’s Fair: A Galactic Affair. In partnership with Alay Kapwa Kilusang Pangkalusugan (AKAP), around 70 children from the community of Brgy. La Paz Makati experienced an exciting, space-themed, learning activity combined with fun, games and delicious snacks.
The event kicked off with opening remarks from Sophia Amabelle Fajardo De Chavez, current Sister Caritas of Phi Lambda Delta Sorority. Children were then able to explore different booths put up by our partner organizations, pledgers, and volunteers: U! happy events, Little Hands UP, UPM-OMAKE, UP College of Public Health Student Council, Sibol PH and Phi Lambda Delta Sorority. There were various fun educational booths such as a dental hygiene booth where children learned the proper way of brushing their teeth, a coloring booth that gave opportunities for the kids to express their creativeness, and an Ano-to-my booth where children learned about basic body parts. Other game booths added to the excitement such as the Face Painting booth, Rocket Blast game booth, and the popcorn and cotton candy booths.
In the middle of the event, a theatrical performance of "Ang Paglalakbay ni Juanita: Leprosy, 'Di Mo Ako Kayang Talunin" also taught the kids social awareness and the value of acceptance, humility, and braveness. As the event came close to its end, a series of games were hosted: “Paalis na ang Rocket ship”, Calamansi Relay, and Jack and Poy war. The children were ecstatic as each winning team won a coloring book of their own. This enthusiasm was carried through a dancing session that highlighted the kids’ talents. Closing remarks were given by Ana Beatrice De Vera Constantino, current Superior Sister Exemplar. Later on, loot bags and food were distributed as the event ended with happy faces painted on the kids and volunteers alike.
By Pauline A. Alibin, Class 2023, Φ2019
Last November 20, 2019, the Phi Lambda Delta Sorority celebrated the Golden Foundation Ball – the Sorority’s 50th anniversary at the Rigodon Ballroom of The Peninsula Manila. Sisses from all over the world came and celebrated the Sorority’s momentous milestone.
The program was hosted by Eri Neeman and the Sorority’s very own Lalaine Samson Quinan, Φ2018B. Two of the eleven founders, Dr. Zenda Biano Garcia Lat, Φ1969 and Dr. Anita Tuason Velasco-Paves, Φ1969 together with the Sorority’s first adviser, Dr. Eva Poblete, graced the Ballroom with their presence and launched the program with their Founders’ and First Adviser’s Walk. This was followed by Dr. Zenda Biano Garcia Lat, Φ1969’s moving speech about how Phi has grown from a group of eleven courageous women to a premier sorority with more than 900 members.
As the sisses enjoyed the sumptuous dinner, Ana Beatrice de Vera Constantino Φ 2016, SSE 2019-2020, introduced the 50th Executive Council and showcased how the Sorority continued to uphold its core values of Excellence, Leadership, Service, and Sisterhood during the golden year. Each member of the 50th Executive Council also shared their past projects and current plans with the sisses to keep them updated about each office. The presentation was followed by a number of performances by talented sisses across various batches. The Phi Band and the Phi Choir serenaded the sisses with lovely songs while the Phi Tao Rin Pala Core (TRP Core) stunned the audience with their electric dance number.
The Sorority also recognized sisses who exemplified its core values of Excellence, Leadership, and Service. Sisses who went above and beyond their call of duty were awarded the Excellence award. Among those awarded this prestigious honor were Dr. Jennifer Co-Vu, Φ1996B, Dr. Marie Paz Anette David-Rubio, Φ1982A, Dr. Maria Antonia Esteban-Habana, Φ1984, Dr. Iris Thiele Isip-Tan, Φ1991, Dr. Eileen Malapaya-Manalo, Φ1985, and Dr. Geraldine Tong Zamora, Φ2005. The Leadership award was awarded to pioneers, founders, and catalysts of change who paved the way onto greater things. This award was given to Dr. Maria Luz Casimiro-Querubin, Φ1984, Dr. Charlotte Chiong, Φ1981A, Dr. Maria Angela Medina-Lavadia, Φ1978, Ma. Corazon Wilhelmina Kasilag Ochoa-Strattan, Φ1972, Dr. Lisa Prodigalidad-Jabson, Φ1989B, and Dr. Zenda Garcia-Lat, Founder of the Phi Lambda Delta Sorority. Next, the Service award was given to those who continue to selflessly provide sustainable service to the Filipino people. This award was given to Dr. Rhodora del Rosario Ocampo, Φ1983, Dr. Lourdes Inciong Publico, Φ1973, Dr. Josephine M. Carnate, Φ1985, Dr. Josefina Isidro-Lapeña, Φ1977, and Dr. Belen Lardizabal-Dofitas, Φ1983B. Lastly, sisses from the UPCM Class of 1994 were called on stage and were recognized as the Silver Jubilarians, having celebrated 25 years as alumnae from UPCM.
At the end of the program, Ana Beatrice de Vera Constantino Φ 2016, SSE 2019-2020’s gave her closing remarks, which was followed by the sisses' renewal of rites. To conclude the night's festivities, the sisses sang the Phi Lambda Delta song in unison to honor the sisterhood that will always be deemed timeless and boundless in our hearts.
By Leslie T. Lim, Ф2019, Class 2023
Last October 11, 2019, the Phi Lambda Delta Sorority had a career talk on surgery and anaesthesiology entitled “Phi in the OR”. The event was held in PGH’s RCB OR Conference Room and was graced with four speakers from the Department of Surgery and Anesthesiology namely: Dr. Esther Alinsunurin Saguil (Ф1986, Class 1991), Dr. Jeryl Anne Silvia Roxas Reyes (Ф2000A, Class 2005), Dr. Maria Teresa Sabas Flores-Paelmo (Ф1990, Class 1995) and Dr. Arlene Dejera Jimeno-Hernandez (Ф1990, Class 1995). Apart from these, resident sisses from these two departments also shared their stories.
The speakers talked about their life as medical students, interns, residents, and as successful doctors. Tips and advice were given as well. Moreover, how to have a love live and how to build a family despite the toxicity of becoming a doctor was also tackled.
The career talk also began with snacks from Amber’s and Sushi Nori sponsored by the alum sisses. Truly, the event was a success as more sisses in the resident body were inspired to take surgery, and even anaesthesiology as their specialty in the future!
This event was headed by Aurora Nakpil (Ф2017), and co-headed by Leslie Lim (Ф2019).
By Maria Antoinette M. Valdez, Ф2019, Class 2023
Milk Matters, the flagship project of the Phi Lambda Sorority, holds milk drives concurrent with public health lectures (PHLs) in partner communities so as to educate mothers about the importance of breastfeeding, how to properly express milk, as well as give them the opportunity to donate their breastmilk to the babies of the Philippine General Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (PGH NICU). For this year’s Service Month, another Milk Drive was held last October 5, 2019, at the Risen Christ Parish Church, Silang, Cavite, in the spirit of Phi’s commitment to this advocacy.
The day started on an energetic note as a PHL for the mothers on breastfeeding and immunization was hosted by Marie Pauline Adame Abilin Ф2019 and Nicole Rose Inos Alberto Ф2019. Proper latching for breastfeeding was first taught to the mothers through the acronym “G.A.T.A.S.”, after which mothers were encouraged to actively participate in synthesizing their learnings through a fun-filled game of pictures of latching to which they shout “Tama” o “Mali” to indicate a proper or improper latch. Next was the demonstration of the different breastfeeding holds, namely the cradle hold, cross-cradle hold, football hold, and the side-lying position by Isabelle Rose Inos Alberto Ф2019.
It was also important to clear up any misconceptions the mothers may have regarding breastfeeding, which was achieved through active participation of the mothers in another round of ‘Tama o Mali’. Most of the statements centered on when or when not to breastfeed, as well as debunking traditionally held beliefs such as avoiding breastfeeding when tired or sick. Next up, the entirety of WildPHIre, Batch Ф2019, touched on the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding. Each member held up a poster as a visual aid as they expounded on each.
A segment on vaccination was then added to this year’s PHL. Given the resurgence of vaccine-preventable diseases nationwide, it was important that mothers vaccinate their babies early and that they be able to recognize that vaccines are in fact, safe and effective. Thus, an active Question and Answer-type discussion regarding the different vaccine-preventable diseases such as polio, hepatitis B, and tuberculosis was conducted by the hosts, along with educating the mothers about the life-threatening manifestations that each may have. Stephanie Isabelle Cruz Paredes Ф2019, and Mary Grace Li Enriquez Ф2019, then stepped in to discuss to the mothers the multitude of benefits that come with vaccinating their babies. During their discussion, cards containing the DOH Immunization Schedule were distributed to the mothers which they could conveniently refer to in making sure that their babies have been given the shots needed at particular ages.
Finally, the hosts also mentioned that although breast milk has the capacity to protect babies from certain illnesses, vaccination remains superior in terms of effectivity in protecting their children from life-threatening illness that cannot be cured once acquired—only managed. Thus, the PHL was then closed by asking the mothers to repeat the hosts’ chant of “Basta kumpleto, protektado!”, in the goal of emphasizing to the participating mothers the importance of practicing timely and complete vaccination for their children as an endnote.
The breast milk expression station was then opened to the mothers, with the PGH NICU nurses facilitating the milk expression. All sisses present during the event were also given the opportunity to facilitate milk expression firsthand. As the morning came to a close, a total of 2 liters of breastmilk were collected; around more than 30 mothers, with some carrying their babies, left with smiles on their faces; and the whole resident body, ended the milk drive with an intensified desire to keep on holding more in the sorority’s years to come.
By Christina Hedriana Baroña, Ф2019, Class 2023
Last October 8, the Phi Lambda Delta Sorority held EmpoweRED: An HIV/AIDS Awareness Campaign at the Gregorio Perfecto High School. Students from Grades 9 and 10 were given lectures on the different aspects surrounding the condition, namely, its medical and social aspect.
Dr. Winlove Mojica, a consultant of the Philippine General Hospital-Division of Dermatology, gave the lecture on the medical aspect of the condition—its prevalence, how one contracts it, how it is transmitted and how it can affect the body, as he clarified medical myths surrounding the disease. This part of the talk aims to dispel any misconception about the condition that could easily contribute to the stigma, thus effectively stopping it from forming in this particular set of young minds in the first place.
The speaker of the social aspect of HIV/AIDS, Mr. Manuel Labro, who himself is a Person Living with HIV (PLHIV), was introduced by first having Dr. Mojica show a video on the life of a PLHIV, which turns out to be him. Mr. Labro then emerged from the audience and continued his lecture. Through this unorthodox introduction and a moving speech, Mr. Labro was able to effectively demonstrate how people living with the condition look no different from those without it, whilst silently, but successfully fighting a fierce battle with one of the most devastating infectious diseases humanity has ever had to face.
This is but one of the many events in the EmpoweRED Talk Series that aims to break the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, by teaching correct information and raising awareness in the youth, the demographic most concerned by the subject given its rising sexual activity and thus, rising risk of exposure to the disease. With the help of the consultants who take part in educating the youth about it, and the PLHIV who share their experiences living with it, the Phi Lambda Delta Sorority urges everyone to be aware, be informed and be empoweRED.
By Marie Angelica U. Marquez, Class 2023, Φ2019
The Phi Lambda Delta Sorority and the Phi Kappa Mu Fraternity, kicked off another episode of their annual joint bloodletting event, Bloodline, last October 1, 2019 at the 2nd floor of Calderon Hall, UP College of Medicine.
Bloodline, as part of the Sorority and Fraternity’s Phi Service Month, aims to help address the pressing needs of PGH patients for blood units. Throughout the busy day, several UP students, and other individuals passed by to support this important cause. A total of 14 blood bags were collected and donated to the PGH Blood Bank.
The Phi Lambda Delta Sorority and the Phi Kappa Mu Fraternity would like to thank the PGH Blood Bank, and all our blood donors for making Bloodline a success. We hope to see you again at the next installment of Bloodline.
By Mary Grace Li Enriquez, Ф2019, Class 2023
The Phi Lambda Delta Sorority, in partnership with the UP Manila Ugnayan ng Pahinungod, brought back the Sorority’s Gynecological Mission to Calatagan, Batangas, after three years. The Gynecological Mission is an annual project of the sorority where it adopts different communities with little or no access to healthcare. This project aims to help women empower themselves by providing public health lectures (PHL) on basic feminine hygiene, breast examination, and free cervical cancer screening through visual inspection using acetic acid (VIA).
In preparation for the event, sisses from LU3, LU4, and LU5 attended a lecture and skills training workshop guided by Dr. Doris Ribudal Benavides, Φ1991, Class 1996. This provided sisses with the basic skills needed for the gynecological mission, and proved to be a great foundation for the youngest sisses who had not yet been exposed to the experience before.
On March 16, 2019 at around 4:30 AM, a bus loaded with excited sisses left for Calatagan, Batangas from the Philippine General Hospital (PGH). After more than three hours of travel, the sisses, headed by Dr. Joanne Karen Sarmiento Aguinaldo, Φ1997, Class 2002 finally arrived at the Enrique Zobel Technical Center (ENZO Tech). Volunteers from ENZO Tech and UP Manila Ugnayan ng Pahinungod had already started setting up the beds and partitions in the examination room. With a few more preparations, everything was in place and ready for use.
But there was a huge challenge – there was only one doctor (Dr. Aguinaldo) and a long line of patients waiting to be examined. Normally, there would be several doctors and sisses from the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Unfortunately, there was a conflict in their schedule, and the other doctors were to arrive later in the afternoon.
“It is possible, and I have done this before,” said Dr. Aguinaldo as she gathered the sisses. Despite the pressure of being the sole doctor to see the patients, Dr. Aguinaldo remained calm and delegated the tasks systematically. She was to be assisted mainly by the two clerk sisses present, Ana Beatrice de Vera Constantino, Φ2016, Class 2020 and Gianne Rosales Pagulayan, Φ2016, Class 2020. The current ICCs, PHIreflies (Φ2017), were assigned to do take the patients’ history and vital signs. The younger sisses, DiversiPHI (Φ2018A), UniPHIed (Φ2018B), and WildPHIre (Φ2019) were tasked to do history taking, take vital signs, and facilitate the registration and flow of the event.
Everyone went to their respective posts, and the event officially began. The mothers first registered, then were led to the waiting area where they were given a series of PHLs. PHIreflies, DiversiPHI, and UniPHIed taught the mothers about feminine health and hygiene and breast examination.
An interactive PHL for the children was also prepared by WildPHIre. This centered on the proper way of handwashing and tooth brushing. This PHL was not only informative for the children present at the event, but also entertaining as the sisses acted, sang, and danced with colorful props and costumes.
The Gynecological Mission was a huge learning opportunity not only for the patients but also for the sisses. DiversiPHI and UniPHIed eventually took over the job of history taking as the PHIreflies went on to perform breast examinations and VIA, guided by Dr. Aguinaldo and the clerks. WildPHIre shadowed the process and eventually were able to interview the patients and take vital signs as well.
Fortunately, by 3:00 PM, four residents from the PGH arrived at the venue. Dr. Louie Baldomero Caluban, Dr. Viktoria Ines Matibag, Dr. Kimberly Maniulit, and Dr. Priscilla Alameda took over the examination of patients while Dr. Aguinaldo finally got to take a break. By 5:00 PM, a total of 61 patients were examined.
The event finally came to an end. Challenges and obstacles to the event were conquered through patience and cooperation. After packing up, the sisses, together with the other doctors, headed back to Manila with numerous new learnings in tow.
Coming back to the community after three years, the Gynecological Mission remains true to Phi’s brand of service – sustainability. There were former patients coming in for a follow up from the last Gynecological Mission, as well as new ones. The community was receptive to the lectures, and many attendees said they appreciated all that they learned through these lectures. Despite the long and arduous day, it was rewarding to know the impact the project has created on the people. It may be a few years until the Gynecological Mission comes back to this community, but the empowerment it has taught the people will surely remain for a long time.