UP College of Medicine



Dean Charlotte Chiong 2021 Report

​The Medical Sciences Building: A New Beginning

By Silverio Cabellon Jr., MD

As the 17th Dean of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, I would like to report that we embarked on an “INSPIRE” programme in 2018 with notable accomplishments to date.



The Henry Sy Sr. Medical Sciences Building along with renovated Basic Sciences Departments will be completed next year. UPCM now has a virtual campus with web portal access to digital resources as LMS (Learning Management Systems) UVLE and CANVAS, the elibrary, subscriptions to AMBOSS, MedOne, Clinical Key, UptoDate and PANOPTO videocapture software.

Science and Discovery:

 Research grew by leaps and bounds. New research programmes such as SIBOL, MORPH and BIRTHS started. Our MD-PhD students served as principal or co-investigators in some of these projects.

Partnerships for Progress

“Bayanihan” pervaded as a cultural ethos in UPCM. With PGH, safety of healthcare workers was ensured.   UPMASA and other alumni were able to provide key support for the purchase of books and Acta Medical Philippina has received a boost for online access, journal management and now come out with monthly issues.

Innovation and Leadership

 UPCM remains as the premiere medical school. Its medical education programme was accredited by AUN-QA and re-accreditation by PAASCU is forthcoming. Blended Learning Initiative for Student Scholars (BLISS) expanded with an edutech unit. UPCM was first to have limited face-to-face classes for first year medical students last July (LEAP in Anatomy). Dual degree programmes (MD-MCE, MD-MPH, MS Clinical Sciences, MS HTA) are forthcoming curricular offerings.

Resource Generation and Stewardship

Donations of more than 400M through the UPMF and UPMAFI; and Congress approval for 209M have been obtained for its many infrastructure projects, clinical simulation laboratory and other facilities.

We empower and embrace—promoting gender sensitivity, inclusivity and sense of community. We instituted several programmes for wellness at UPCM in partnership with students, with faculty and administrative staff.

Reflecting on the first term of my deanship these come out as foremost: It has been an honor to serve UPCM and my heart is filled with utmost gratitude to my DMT, DAC and friends who shared this spirit of service. We all wept with the loss of both faculty, alumni and students during this pandemic. Yet, we carry on with the conviction as a community of scholars who serve “para sa bayan”, that a new chapter shall unfold in the history of UPCM which will evolve with God’s grace and an abiding love for our alma mater and our country.

It would take 67 years before a new building is built on Pedro Gil. In 1962 the Basic Science Lecture Rooms were built. The Basic Sciences Lecture Rooms, East and West were built to educate, instill a burden for the care of humanity to two to three generations of Physicians.  They are now gone. To take their place, and more, is the Henry Sy Medical Sciences Building. It will be finished in April 2022. The Medical Science Building, an edifice of modernity, will be a place where the edge of medicine will be expanded by a new generation of UP educated Physicians.

It would take the second term of Dean Agnes Mejia to implement a vision from her first term.  Dr. Rody Sy is the significant implementor.


How did it come about?  Dean Mejia’s own words


Moving Forward

     In sum, we have instituted policies, innovations and program reviews and rollouts since 2012. In the next three years, we will build on these gains and initiatives, particularly in the areas of patient safety, faculty compensation and development, and administrative staff development.

In addition, we will be placing a lot of emphasis on infrastructure, academic leadership, and our admissions policy.


     The immediate focus on infrastructure is driven by two imperatives.

      First is the need to break the dissonance between excellent students and faculty and the dismal state of our classrooms, labs, and resource centers. I find it hard to accept the implicit premise that upgrading decrepit facilities need not be a priority, since our capacity to overcome these handicaps over many decades seems to have spurred creativity and resourcefulness, enriching a unique culture of excellence. I would rather post the argument that the high level of performance of our students and faculty can be taken to even greater heights, given a more conducive physical environment.

      In his landmark book, The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell wrote extensively about the “Power of context” largely in terms of how a crime epidemic can be halted and reversed by focusing on a few environmental details. He cited the experience of the New York City government in stemming rampant criminal activity by simply scrubbing graffiti and rounding up fare-beaters in the subway system.

     I think that the ‘Power of context” can be just as effective in raising levels of positive behavior as it has proven to be in turning around a negative trend. If we have managed to excel in spite of substandard facilities, can you imagine how much better we can be if we worked in classrooms, labs and libraries with state-of-the-art equipment? The launch of our modernized RLC is the first big step in that direction.

     A top-class learning and working environment can enhance not just academic performance but the self-esteem of our core stakeholders as well. It would also lend credibility and respectability to our institution and our programs among our partners. When we had the Dean’s Complex refurbished, for instance, it was not for mere cosmetic purposes; essentially, I wanted my management team and core staff to take pride in their work and to project the College in the best possible light among our visitors and external publics. After we modernize or upgrade the rest of our campus, only then can we go full blast in promoting international exchange programs and other initiatives.

     From a more pragmatic perspective, we owe it to Filipino taxpayers to improve, preserve, and protect the College’s physical assets. That is why we have had to invest in mundane requisites such as termite control, soil testing, building repairs and the like.

     The second imperative involves proper timing. Infrastructure projects are, by nature, ‘slow-burn’ due to the need to raise massive funds beforehand and to the bureaucratic government procurement process. This is why the centerpiece of our infrastructure program—the conversion of this old BSLR building into the modern 7-storey UPCM Academic Center—could only be launched during my second term.

    Our biggest infrastructure project will require Php 220 million for the building and furnishings.

UPMASA has generously contributed to the Medical Science Building.  The Basement Floor, Elevators, Floors, Rooms and the Auditoria have been funded by ever loyal and supportive Alumni and benefactors.

For the UPMASA Auditorium, PHP 35 million was contributed by Alumni.

Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum Awards will be properly designated.

Initium Novum: A Celebratory Opening of the UPMASA Auditorium December 2022

The UPMASA Auditorium is a testament to the care of Alumni for a beloved Alma Mater. It is fitting that this care, this sense of belonging and this sense of responsibility be celebrated to express admiration and gratitude to whoever walked on the hallowed grounds in a place in Pedro Gil known as the University of the Philippines, College of Medicine.


  UPCM Classes



​UPCM Class of 1996: The 2021 Silver Jubilarians

Sharing the Gift of Medicine with the World 
 By Lillian Tocyap-Aquino


The University of the Philippines College of Medicine (UPCM) produces young and talented doctors, highly competent in the field of medicine, imbued with heightened social consciousness and moral vigor, and dedicated to a life of learning. Forged in the halls of the prestigious Philippine General Hospital, these graduates were trained under key precepts of science, culture, and empathy as fostered by the UP College of Medicine.

Our graduation ceremony held at the Philippine International Convention Center in 1996 may have been the last time the entire class was together. That day marked the beginning of individual journeys of each member of the class. While some moved to different regions in the Philippines, others migrated abroad, to the United States and Canada, and as far as Australia, France, Dubai, Spain, and the United Kingdom. We integrated into our local communities, grew new roots and raised our own families. We pursued further education and delivered health care and service to patients.

It had been 25 years since graduation at the UPCM.  We celebrate it in the year of the Covid 19 Pandemic marked by worldwide loss of lives with subsequent heightened health scare, social distancing and isolation.

Likewise, we have been through and endured extreme trial and tribulation during our formative years as UPCM class 1996. Namely, the eruption of Mt Pinatubo during our freshman year, the daily 8-10 morning brownouts during our sophomore year that prompted us to start classes at 6 am to maximize time and power utilization and the chicanery that tainted the Physician Licensure examination of 1996 that required us to retake the Surgery part of the exams.  Our class has not only endured these challenges but overcame them exceptionally. We were focused on being the best and striving for nothing less for ourselves, for our class and our patients!

This Pandemic may have limited our chance to celebrate our 25th anniversary in person, but it has not dampened our spirits to reminisce and remember where we have begun, how much of ourselves we have invested and how far we have travelled and achieved to date.  We have shown our individual and group resilience and inner strength to endure, to rise up and to overcome!


UPCM Class of 1971: The 2021 Golden Jubilarians

By Jesse L. Jurado, MD, FACP, FASN


Resilience, roses, rosuvastatin, with generativity, generosity, geniality — this is UPCM Class 1971 in Cleveland 2021.

I was honored and humbled when Luz asked me to join the editorial team of our 50th Golden Jubilee Souvenir Journal, The Odyssey. Honored because some of my medical school classmates still have the tenuous impression that I could write, and humbled because after an absence of 49 years (given I only attended the 25th Silver Jubilee’s formal events, and joined Class zoom meetings for the past 8 months), my class was still gracious enough to welcome me.

Despite these technology-aided interactions with my classmates, I boarded the flight to Cleveland for our 50th Golden Jubilee celebration with the asinine trepidation of a 75-year-old retiree.

The close encounter of the first kind- meaning exchanging “HELLOs”-happened when my wife and I met Enteng, Pong and Elmer as we were about to go into the elevator on our way to our assigned room. At breakfast the following morning, Angie, who thought I looked different (how? that’s beside the point), kindly invited me to her table, and re-introduced me to Ed, Mandy, Merle, Clem, Rolly, all of whom I remembered and recognized. And they knew me. And I felt welcomed.

Stories filled up the following days. Stories echoing the Personal Narratives in the Odyssey– about being incapacitated for several months after surgery, about taking care of a spouse while in active private practice, about health challenges in family members; about CVAs, cancers, immune diseases; about metformin, lisinopril, rosuvastatin and ibuprofen. And instead of telling these stories with resignation and regret, they were told with a sense of pride and victory. Amidst all of these stories, Baby’s presence and Vicky’s upbeat spirit kept reminding us that, despite life’s ever-surprising shifting shadows, “life is still beautiful.” And maybe that’s why most of us view these challenges as blessings, life-altering events that altered life’s perspective.

Maybe it’s the reality of facing one’s mortality, or finally having the luxury of waking up to 6 Saturdays every week, or both, that one’s priorities are nudged into the universal virtues of faith, service, legacy, purpose and meaning on retirement. And the members of UPCM Class 1971 are no different, including the few who are still in full time practice.

And so more stories, not about practice or business or positions, but about the joy of taking care of grandchildren; about the life lessons we teach them, and the lessons we re-learn from them; and about the blessing of glimpsing immortality in their smiles, their silliness and their simplicity. And in-between passing ketchup, or deciding which dessert to hit first, stories about raising goats, tending rice fields, growing herbs and kalamansi; and stories about roses, hydrangea, bromeliads, and some more roses; and about the surprising warm feeling of satisfaction and complete contentment when communing with the earth.

There were also stories of advocacies that continue in retirement: Wally feeding the homeless; Pong ringing the Christmas bell for the Salvation Army; Dante maintaining refuge for sea turtles in his Maryland property; Enteng going on mission trips to Haiti and other countries in need; and Mandy holding his Plastic Surgery charity clinic in Binghamton, NY. And of course, everyone was aware of Ge’s continuing immersion in the UPMASA.

And these virtues were evident during the ordinary, everyday interactions in Cleveland, in what Angie termed as “acts that touches the heart.” Domes and Fel transported classmates with health issues instead of having them walk to La Mallorca for the class dinner; someone reminded classmates to bring umbrellas for possible rain, causing a rush back to respective rooms; and the world-renowned Pat recruited alternates to push Gil’s wheelchair and attend to his needs. Ging worried about Lyds and her baluts’ shuttle from the airport to the hotel, and also patiently called classmates who missed the crab fest in her suite to come and pick-up their share of Maryland crab boxes brought by Gil. “Balut, Balut, Kayo diyan!”

Blue crabs courtesy of Gil






Ce’ painstakingly discovered a shortcut to the gala ballroom for ambulatory-challenged classmates; and the Ohio big four (Ely C., Emolyn, Enteng and Pong) indulged us with a sumptuous Spanish cuisine, complemented with a freshly mixed Sangria to gingerly chase our paella.

Water and bread only? No worries, calamari, chorizo, Spanish tortilla, seafood paella, veal marsala, chicken in garlic sauce, chocolate and rum cake for dessert on the way.

June and July birthday celebrants at Mallorca. Ed Alvarez is a late entry because he wanted to keep his June 12 birthday a secret.


Ohio Hosts

And — although this is not ordinary or everyday — Emolyn stunned us with seashells, which she and her husband patiently collected and exquisitely handcrafted in boxes for the past 2 and ½ years, and given as a 50th Jubilee memento.

And so it was “yesteryear once more,” unabashedly interacting with, and relating to, each other sans the accoutrements of awards and appointments, publications and pocketbooks, titles and tenures.

And yes, we had FUN! Like Ge’ rocking and rolling a la Olivia Newton-John in her pink poodle skirt and headband; Merle sinuously entering and exiting during performances; Ed (with my assistance) giving unsolicited assessment of Pat’s Master of Ceremonies skills; the group offering conflicting and futile suggestions on how to improve our Class Chorus performance during practice; and Linnie or Joyce (or both?) attempting to learn the fundamentals of cha-cha from Elmer. And endless moments of laughter, the mostly dubious etiologies of which are better left unsaid. True, we are in our mid 70’s, but we showed that we can still do, with bridled abandon, the things we missed (or were deprived of?) when we were in our twenties. And, fully aware of the unchartered remaining years that the Almighty will bless us with, we strive to, like Thoreau, “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”

During the gala, the Class performed Awit Ng Golden Jubilarians UPMED 1971, composed by Enteng with lyrics by Elmer. With an Opera conductor’s fibrillating intensity, Enteng guided the Class as it sang ‘good night’ through various Filipino dialects, and invited everyone to be joyous with singing, laughter, storytelling, dancing, and to passionately palpate every slice of life.

Halina, halina’t magsaya!

Afterwards, with piano accompaniment by Enteng, the hauntingly, plaintive “Dahil Sa Isang Bulaklak” performed by Sol on his tenor sax, elicited lachrymose smiles on everyone. It was a fitting celebratory remembrance of our departed Classmates.

All of these, along with Sol’s spunk and Gil’s grit in the face of significant health challenges, imbued in each of us a renewed spirit of belonginess, and strengthened our Class ‘71 bond. The spirit was pervasive such that Mody and others floated the idea of meeting and embarking on other activities periodically, exclusively and independently, as Class 1971. And so it is not surprising that post-Cleveland revealed a freshly found awareness of a possible new identity, “Lakhanbakor,” the First Filipinos’ term for physician-priest, and the namesake of our Class yearbook in 1971.  And this became more significant when the Class became aware that some subsequent UPCM classes adopted Lakhanbakor as the name of their yearbook or golden jubilee souvenir book.

Flying back to Texas from what Rhods might say was a “perfect past” few days for me, and what Choy might consider as the first “Balik Lakhanbakor,” these paraphrased words from The Prophet resonated with me: “Seek your friends always with hours to live…. not with hours to kill…. In the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter and sharing of pleasures. For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

The Mobile e-Med Education of the near Future

By Leonardo Leonidas UPCM 1968


The hallmark of the Net Gen medical students is this mantra: I want to know what I need to know and only what I need to know, and I want to know it now!

This is Student-Centric education of the Net Generation which is just the opposite of the older generation of Teacher-Centric teaching model based on one-size-fits-all lecture series. We are all familiar with this model.

Fast forward to the future.

The first-year medical student will not be attending lectures of the older generation. They will form small groups of five to seven students with a resource person (former teacher, a clinician, or a senior student) solving a problem of a five-year-old girl with high fever for five days.

The resource person will present the case and the medical students will use their computer skills looking for the necessary information. They will ask questions to the resource person. In their research they will be mostly watching videos of similar cases of children with fever.

The video will feature a group of expert physicians discussing the problem, the tests they want and why they want it, and the results. The video will also show the treatment and the evidence-based references supporting the treatment. It will also feature how experts do focused examination and focused history taking based on templates of the particular problem.

All throughout the first-year different patient problems will be discussed every few days. The learning process is all patient/problem based, solved through research on the internet, all evidence based. The basic science and pathology are discussed or discovered at the time of solving the problem of the five-year-old with high fever.

Each student will learn how to present a case like an expert featured in a video which is available 24/7 in their laptops or smartphones. All lectures of the Teacher-Centric generation on basic sciences and other clinical topics are available on demand 24/7 to all students from anywhere.

They will present each case in a templated format unlike the older generation of Chief Complaint, Present Illness, Past History, Family history, Social history, immunization, and physical examination.

They will say:

This is a five-year-old girl who came with five days of fever who we think has Kawasaki disease.

These are the support for KD.

High fever of five days over 103 F.

Rashes that appeared on the fourth day of fever.

Swollen fingers of the fifth day.

Both eyes are red.

There are enlarged lymph nodes.

No petechiae.

No meningeal signs.

The ESR is 80 mm/hr.

Echocardiogram was done and it showed a dilated coronary artery.

The other conditions considered were:

Bacterial infection and we have blood culture.

Viral PCR for adenovirus was negative.

Cat-scratch disease was considered.

We have started the child with high dose gamma-globulin and aspirin. This is the reference supporting this treatment.

We expect the patient to get better in about 48 hours. If she is getting worse, we will consider steroids.

Next Patient please.

Each student will keep a portfolio of cases they have worked up and presented. They should have at least 50 patients in their portfolio during the first-year rotation.

In the second year, the students will do their work in the hospital and physician offices managing actual patients with the resident and attending physician. What they did in the first year will be repeated but now with real patients but still using their computer skills using “Just-in-Time ” information system based on evidence based management and treatment.

The third and fourth year is a repeat of the second year but now the student is supervising a second or third year.

This 21st century education is based on new technology of using “Just-in-Time” information at the bedside. The information is Evidence-Based, and they are coming from the “Tiger Woods” of fever, hepatitis, leukemia, brain tumor, etc. in a Video on Demand in the bedside laptop or iPod Touch.

Just like a pilot doing a simulation flight, the student can watch on-demand or Just-in-time videos of experts discussing and solving similar problems that the student is working on. These experts on video will discuss completely the patient, the differential diagnosis, the pertinent test, pitfalls in diagnosis and treatment, follow up, and how to do an outcome student of a group of similar patients, and how to improve the process.

The medical education of the past generation is complicated and expensive. The Net Generation medical education will be cheaper and more effective because they will learn like a pilot performing simulation flight. And they can do it more often or until they get tired.

But most importantly, all their management and treatment are all Evidence- Based, unlike the past generation based on Experience of the most senior physician taking care of the patient.

Who needs the “standard lecture-hall format” CME when you can watch the “Tiger Woods” Neurosurgery, Neonatology, Meningitis, etc. at one’s convenience in an iPad or any smart phones?


Students’ Notes

by John Gabriel Cruz and Jerickson Rodney Cua

Entering my first year in medical school, I was particularly excited to further enrich my knowledge in anatomy, especially through firsthand experiences such as studying the cadaver. However, the challenges brought by the pandemic made me uncertain of the current approach towards the anatomy subjects since it heavily relies on visual information and haptics. With the shift to online classes for both students and professors, a lot of adjustments would need to be made in order to maximize the medical school experience.

Nevertheless, the Anatomy Department of the UP College of Medicine managed to adapt to the situation. Aside from the usual plenary lectures that imparted conceptual information in anatomy, the professors held virtual laboratories as a supplement. We were able to watch our professors dissect a cadaver, identify the structures of preserved organ specimens, and showcase the virtual anatomy table. While the organ specimens familiarize us with the details of an organ, the dissection videos and virtual anatomy table sessions highlighted the spatial relationships of these organs with respect to the body. Personally, I consider the virtual anatomy table as a great innovation for learning anatomy because it allows us, students, to explore the human body without the use of cadavers but still provide accurate information in anatomy. In addition to this, online databases of histology slides were also given to us to view and study, which equipped students with knowledge on the microscopic structures of the organs. I found that these databases were quite practical and easy to use. Although not as optimal as when classes were held face-to-face, these were the best compromise to the cadavers, histology slides, and other resources that were used before the pandemic.

To build the gap between remote anatomy learning and hands-on interaction with the specimens and cadavers, the Department of Anatomy organized the Learning Enhancement in Anatomy Program. The program reinforced the students’ knowledge in anatomy by giving us the opportunity to explore the human body in a three-dimensional perspective. Firsthand experience with the cadavers bests virtual learning since it involves the sense of touch that adds a layer of understanding in anatomy, which the latter cannot provide.

Indeed, the pandemic took a toll on medical education and deprived students of a lot of practical skills, including patient interaction and hands-on experience. Nonetheless, learning will never cease until there are students and teachers who strive for education.

Kudos to all professors who made all this possible!

John Gabriel Cruz

UP College of Medicine Class of 2025

Bachelor of Science in Biology, magna cum laude 2020


Because of the pandemic and the subsequent shift to online learning, I have come to appreciate being one of the last students to experience face-to-face classes in anatomy. Of course, this is not meant to discount any of the efforts made by the UPCM Department of Anatomy to adapt to the current situation. Their use of virtual dissecting tables has allowed students to follow along from their computer screens, while the novel Learning Enhancement in Anatomy Program (LEAP) has allowed students to correlate online learnings with prosected physical specimens and models, including skill stations where they could apply their anatomy lessons to a clinical setting. Indeed, the new curriculum for anatomy is nothing short of ingenious, and it has only been made possible thanks to the resourcefulness of the faculty members and continued support from the college. However, as many would agree, nothing can ever replace the experience of physical dissections in Dualan Lab. After all, those who have donated their bodies to science have always been our first and greatest teachers in anatomy. Given the tactile and visual nature of learning anatomy, a hands-on experience allows students to better visualize and understand anatomical structures and their positions relative to each other. Although some students may be averse to the certain sights and smells that come with dissections, many of us would consider it to be one of the most defining moments in medical school. Thus, my only wish is for future students to have the same learning experiences we had inside the walls of Calderon Hall. Nevertheless, I once again commend the Department of Anatomy for continuing to pioneer new instructional methods amidst such challenging times. As mixed learning becomes the new norm, I am certain that the UP College of Medicine will continue to innovate and remain in the forefront of medical education.

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the UPMASA for allowing me to receive this most prestigious award. Even now in our third year of medical school, we constantly find ourselves having to recall basic anatomy in order to interpret imaging studies or to correlate a disease process with a patient’s clinical presentation. Truly, I believe that a good understanding of anatomy is a prerequisite for all physicians, and I would like to thank the Department of Anatomy for providing a strong foundation of anatomical knowledge to all first-year medical students. Going beyond rote memorization, our lectures were often intertwined with the clinical experiences of our mentors, many of which I have not forgotten to this day. Once again, I receive this award with great honor and gratitude. May this award continue to inspire future students to excel not only in anatomy, but in all of their endeavors in medical school.


Jerickson Rodney Cua 

UPCM Batch 2024

(Jerickson Rodney Cua is an INTARMED student currently in Learning Unit V. He has been a consistent University Scholar since LU I and is currently magna cum laude candidate for the INTARMED graduation in 2022. He was recently awarded most outstanding student in Neurology in LU IV by the UP-PGH Department of Neurosciences. Outside of academics, he is also a member of UP Medical Students for Social Responsibility (MSSR) and UP Meridian. He is currently aspiring to be a thoracic cardiovascular surgeon where a mastery of anatomy is essential.)