Arts and Health





















Successful Aging


Six-Word Memoirs* For Year 2021

by Irene Mison-Estores MD, Publications Committee Chair

How was the year for you? Sum this up in six words.


Replies from UPCM Class’87

I am doing well so far! 

                         Irene Mison-Estores MD, Gainesville, Florida


It’s my pandemic Trip Van Wrinkle. 

                        Cynthia Reyes-Dungo MD, Quezon City, Philippines


Online connection has prevented pandemic isolation.

                        Marilou Patalinjug-Tyner MD, Nashua, NH


Pandemic flux changes me to “WE”. 

                        Carminia Rita Edralin-Davidsohn MD, Houston, TX


Unnerving Pandemic, Medicine Acts, Science Answers.   (Note the creative acronym for UPMASA!)

                        Edward Claro Mader MD, New Orleans, LA


Limited depth of field, unimpaired vision

                        Cristina Salazar-Ng MD, Algonquin, IL


Sanguinely positive but apprehensively negative always.

                        Cynthia Sison MD, Yuma, AZ


When will it end for good?

                        Veronica Valdez-Wiseman MD, Tupelo, MS


The pandemic gave us priceless memories

                        Regina Dalmacio-Cruz Singson MD, Moorpark, CA


*The Six-Word Memoir began as a project by Smith Magazine, following the example set by Ernest Hemmingway for a six-word short story.  Although this may be urban legend the story reads: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn”.  It has since been used in classrooms, hospitals, as writing projects, eulogies and prayers.  The memoirs have been collected in several books, and the newest one, “A Terrible, Horrible, No-Good Year” is a collection from students, teachers and parents on the pandemic.


Haiku in our Time

By Solita de Jesus O’Brien MD


Classical haiku has Nature as its principal inspiration. I use its 17 syllables, 5-7-5 form for everything under the sun. I find the economy of words used to express thoughts and feelings appealing. It is minimalism at its poetic best.


Take a walk with me

Where ladies in red and gold

Shed their summer clothes



For the past two years, I, like many, have been itching to go on a cruise to crossed rivers, even uncrossed oceans and lands at their shores, but have been thwarted in light of cancellations, postponements, restrictions and occasional real or imagined fears, the dreaded quarantine. The cruise lines are trying hard to overcome these hurdles by revamping to comply onerous protocols in order to sail from home ports, to adding new, exciting and exotic destinations to lift their tanking shares. To assuage, we turn to travelogues, adventurous stories and more accessible past travels to sustain wanderlust, inspiration, discovery, experiences splashed, absorbed in memory cells, sights beckoning return, luscious wines drank, redolent sometimes overflowing dishes tasted, undisturbed, unmasked, random encounters. One, a popular route from Barcelona to Rome through the Balearic Islands on board Oceania   arouse this poem.

The Cruise Singer

By Lestrino C. Baquiran, MD


In Ligurian Sea After Valldemosa in Mallorca

Where Chopin rested and composed his nocturnes

 After the deserted beaches of off-season Cannes

The limestone bluffs of Les Baux

The glitter of Monte Carlo

Along the genteel shores of Portofino

You confirmed the sadness in your voice

 As if, we should know,

You gave up stardom in Connecticut

For the challenge and promise of New York

Sharing rooms, sharing meals

Sharing songs with the boy who lived above your room in Brooklyn

Sharing rides to auditions for small parts

 Sharing rejections, rejections

Undeserved, undeserved.

In Tyrrhenian Sea

 Before the awe and overpowering in Rome

The restored Genesis ceiling

 Revealing a newly vibrant Fall of Man

The Last Judgment wall at the Sistine

Dead souls rising to meet the wrath

Of a Renaissance, ready to condemn God

The rain soaked, charcoal black statue of Bruno

Burned for supporting the earth revolved around the sun

The house at the foot of the Spanish Steps, still serving tea

Where John Keats died

And early martyrs and saints everywhere

The sadness in your voice continued

As if we should know,

Most nights, after applause In your narrow, low-ceilinged bunk

You think of the boy who lived above your room in Brooklyn

 His name already prominent in marquees

Asking how long

The consecutive sentences, sentences

 Of mediocrity, mediocrity.

 In Exhaustion Sea

During the defiant quivers in your songs

 Where, not only in your voice,

 Even sadness can drown

 As if, you should know,

You cannot know

 The turning of tides

 Luck’s turn, fame’s turn

So, sing on

From land to sea,

From sea to sea

 From sea to land.


This poem is contained in my book, Methane Sea. Copies available by mail from $35.00 including shipping with tax deductible check made out to:

 Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 

℅ Lestrino C. Baquiran, MD, 5 Horizon Road, Apt 2409

Fort Lee, New Jersey 07024

Different shadows

We cast: long, short, slender, wide

When we block the light

Tree bowed down with fruit

Neighbor’s citrus a burden

Should I help unload?

Where paddling frenzied

Us will lead? We know too well

The length of our lake

My Odyssey with Donna—Book Review


Jose Peczon’s New Book “My Odyssey with Donna” Is A Living Testimony About Filipinos Achieving Greater Things In Life And Not Setting Limitations To Their Capabilities.

Jose Peczon, a husband, and a retired ophthalmologist has completed his most recent book “My Odyssey with Donna”: a promising read of a Filipino immigrant’s journey to greatness and success through constant faith in one’s self and proper guidance. It shows how the experiences and encounters with inspirational people and events molded one to become a better person.

Peczon writes, “The first six chapters of this book are autobiographical. The first chapter describes a tragedy that occurred to the family of the author when he was fifteen years old. In the subsequent chapters, he describes his roots, early childhood, experiences during the World War II, and how he started a career in medicine at a very young age. In the seventh chapter, he poignantly describes how he met his future partner for life. For the rest of the book, he describes the journey they took together, starting with their training at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila where they met, their five-year participation in the US State Department Exchange Visitor Program for further training, and their return to their homeland with an intent to serve the country of their birth. Finding themselves to seem like foreigners in their home country, they decided to return to America, where they were able to achieve a level of success in life that they never thought possible, even in their wildest dreams. The author, encouraged and supported by his loving wife, went on to become a leading advocate of intraocular lens implantation during cataract operations in Massachusetts, despite vigorous opposition from leading Boston ophthalmologists. His reputation as a young ophthalmologist at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary in Boston led to his recruitment to practice his specialty in a small rural city, Greenfield, Massachusetts, where he was given a much-coveted deferment from serving in Vietnam. While achieving prominence in ophthalmological circles in Massachusetts, he never forgot his home country. He periodically visited his old alma mater to share his knowledge and experience with his younger colleagues. “This book also gives hope for Filipinos that opportunities are everywhere and urges them to grab it when they can. With this optimistic outlook, it is important to note the right people that stayed and share one’s success and happy times with them.

Available in Amazon, iTunes, Google Play or Barnes and Noble. Please direct all media inquiries to AuthorSupport via email at or via telephone at 877-210-0816

Amazing Sunsets


By Jennifer Liquido, MD

Performing Arts and Successful Aging

By Jennifer Yang MD, Class 1999

Jennifer Yang from class 1999 is a physiatrist (physical medicine and rehabilitation, or PM&R physician) who is currently in Canberra, Australia finishing up a Master of Culture, Health and Medicine degree at the Australian National University. After this two-year break from patient care, she intends to teach and set up clinical practice in the Philippines in 2022. Before landing in Australia, Dr. Yang was Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX, where her practice included general inpatient rehabilitation and spinal cord injury medicine. Aside from being board-certified in PM&R and spinal cord injury medicine, Dr. Yang also holds a graduate certificate in performing arts medicine which she hopes to put to good use upon returning to the clinics. You can read more about her and her other interests like the medical humanities, medical anthropology and linguistics in healthcare on her website

As a physiatrist, a big part of clinical practice involves overseeing the recovery of patients after major surgery or hospitalization. This has made me aware of the difference between “young 75-year old’s” vs. “old 75-year old’s”; it’s great when your biological age is “younger” than your chronological age because you tend to recover faster from illness, regain function and minimize disability. The “young” folks are products of successful aging – a concept emphasizing that decline and functional loss are modifiable through one’s own efforts. Avoiding disease and disability, engaging with life and having high levels of cognitive and physical function are of one’s own doing, instead of merely accepting unavoidable descent into the inevitable debility of old age.

(a Filipina septuagenarian performs a modern Hawaiian dance in this video segment)

Successful aging first piqued my interest a few years ago, as a rehabilitation physician with a special interest in medical issues of performing artists.   Several years ago, a 64-year-old tenor in my church participated in a Dallas-area show called The Spectacular Senior Follies. With a minimum age of 55 years young and a maximum age of who-knows-what, these active older adults put on a show that blew the audience away— through dancing, singing, musical skits and variety acts.  It was hard to believe that the World Health Organization would classify most of them as elderly!  Despite small modifications to the choreography or music to tailor them to older adults’ abilities, it was very entertaining and professionally done. Part of me was afraid that “break a leg” was not the appropriate good luck wish in this age group.  Thankfully, that did not happen!

Appreciating art enhances one’s quality of life, and people who participate in artistic endeavors have an advantage because this pleasurable, self-motivating activity is also productive. Having a sense of achievement and learning new skills enhance self-esteem. Aside from the mental and emotional stimulation, social interaction in group activities is an added benefit as it reduces feelings of loneliness and isolation, enhances mood and reduces the risk of dementia. Dancing – regardless of style – reduces the risk of falling, improves balance, gait, strength, physical performance, and cardiovascular endurance. It reduces cardiovascular risk and is as effective as other types of exercise. Cognitively, having to coordinate movements with music improves learning, memory and executive functions like attention and multi-tasking. As with the larger muscles that are involved in dancing, the smaller muscles and the cardio-respiratory system that power singers and instrumental musicians benefit from frequent and regular exercise. Voices of frequent singers remain more stable as they age, compared to non-singers.

All in all, older adults who participate in some form of the performing arts have sharper minds, more flexible bodies, and enhanced heart and lung function compared to non-performing peers. These come together to help give each of these senior performers a better overall quality of life. The best thing here is you don’t even have to be an older adult to reap the benefits of the performing arts – this is applicable to people of all ages. All of these should give everyone a good reason for participating in the UPMASA Pabidahan and more.