Gearing towards the institution’s renewed vision in forming globally competitive and morally upright medical professionals with the MHAM way, it is but befitting to honor the MHAM gems who made the pass-it-on culture of excellence to continue the topnotchers’ feat in the Physician Licensure Examination for five fruitful years in a row.
A phenomenal milestone that MHAM had celebrated along with its flagship supremacy for producing not just one but two board placers this year, MHAM was also remarkably placed in the limelight for being hailed as the 3rd top performing school for physicians through the exceptional performance of the one hundred twenty-two (122) successful examinees mostly from batch ELIXIR.
Reaping the harvest of their persevering faith and hard work amidst challenging circumstances in med school, Dr. Daniel C. Panaglima who garnered 88.75 percent rating, landed on the third spot while Dr. Jessa Elaine B. Fronda topped as the fifth placer with a rating of 88.33 percent. Bearing the same denomination who graduated with the same pre-med degree at the Manila Adventist College, the Matias board placers were both registered nurses before they entered into the MHAM portals.
Compelled with the tenet that an institution’s treasure lies in its scholars, MHAM proudly honored its seven gems from the Honors Society for five consecutive years, namely: 2015 1st placer, Dr. Venil Lovely E. Bolambao; 2016 1st placer, Dr. Al Patrick C. Alajas; 2016 9th placer, Dr. Francine N. Diloy; 2017 4th placer, Dr. Maude S. Tabigue; 2018 2nd placer, Dr. Jay R. Orehuela; 2019 3rd placer, Dr. Daniel C. Panaglima; and 2019 5th placer, Dr. Jessa Elaine B. Fronda. All of them were graduates of BS in Nursing with colorful academic achievements and grateful recipients of the MHAM scholarship programs.
Topping the board exam in 2015 with 88.33 percent grade, Dr. Venil Lovely Bolambao earned all praises as she garnered the highest rating among 832 examinees nationwide. Enamored by a television series entitled Doogie Howser, MD, when she was still young, the first placer once stated that students who understood the importance of reading will get the wealth of knowledge. True to her name, Lovely, her academic accomplishment is lovely to behold, from a voracious reader to a competent physician in as much as to become a doctor has always been her dream.
Chasing his dreams rooted by the byword that what you invest is who you will be, Dr. Al Patrick Alajas trended on news portals when he was hailed as the first placer with 88.67 percent grade in 2016. A consistent book-borrower in the library where he immersed himself intently to acquire more knowledge from the library’s line of new references from the very start of his med days, the Matias scholar who was also a dota-hyped player, uplifted the name of MHAM once again by bagging the topmost slot in the ten highest places.
In the same year, Dr. Alajas was also joined by a batchmate and another Matias product, Dr. Francine Diloy, who placed in the ten highest places of the same examination. Out of 1,044 examinees nationwide, the MHAM alumna-topnotcher garnered a rating of 85.08 percent that made her clinched to the ninth spot. Just like the other board placers, Dr. Diloy valued sacrifices with meaning along the way.
As the lone topnotcher in Cebu and in Central Visayas with a rating of 87 percent in 2017, Dr. Maude Tabigue landed on the fourth spot and made MHAM acclaimed the grand slam fruition of academic excellence. Just like her name, Maude, which means a gift from God, the fourth placer always believe that you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer. Knowing how it is being a patient from her personal level, and on how it feels to be constantly worried about one’s state of health, it prompted her to become a doctor. For her, doctors are God’s instruments of healing, and to the sick, they are the bearers of hope.
In 2018, Dr. Jay Orehuela marked another medical milestone as he was hailed being the second placer with a rating of 88.00 percent, following a grand slam that made MHAM continued to soar high through its graduate-scholars. Forever indebted to the institution for having granted him a free education including the people who rooted for him with high hopes that he can place on the top, the Matias scholar reechoed that success does not just require talent and skills but preparation. His inspiring message that says, there can never be a profession which is as challenging, as privileged, and as noble to someone who can save lives in the service of humanity, has ignited the spirit of the aspiring doctors who also yearn to become full-pledge physicians in the near future.
Forever grateful for the boundless blessings that he received from the Giver of Gifts, this year’s third placer, Dr. Daniel Panaglima shared that it was Dr. Jessa Elaine Fronda who broke the spine-tingling news to him after their family worship. Upon hearing the news that he landed as the third placer, the former Matias scholar even choked on his food since they were having a dinner with the family.
A registered nurse by profession who graduated as summa cum laude at the Manila Adventist College in 2012, the 27-year old consistent achiever was also the class valedictorian in 2008 at Lubang Integrated School in Lubang, Occidental Mindoro where he was born and raised with a conventional conservative Christianity known as Seventh-day Adventism (SDA). He also spent three years in Liliw, Laguna in his father’s hometown.
“I felt blessed by what the Lord has given me. After much prayer, I was hopeful for a good grade. I honestly prayed to get at least 88 percent. The night prior to the release of the result I confided to Jessa Fronda that I just wanted to pass the exam since it was really difficult. But I was reminded to cling on God’s promises and the Lord has granted my prayers even surpassing what I asked for with 88.75 average grade in the board exam”, Dr. Panaglima said.
Planning to pursue Internal Medicine to further refine his craft and to ensure the safety of patients who place their trust in him, the third placer could not contain his indebtedness to the people who have been part of his medical journey. “I am a product of the benevolence of so many people and institutions. I graduated from med school because of the scholarship granted by MHAM. I finished my Nursing education because of the scholarship given by Manila Adventist College in Pasay City, as well as a financial grant provided by a psychiatrist in New York, Dr. Ofelia Villar, through a civic organization- the Lubang-Looc International College Scholarship grant”, he added.
Lauded for his uplifting achievement and eventual triumph with empowering life story, the Matias topnotcher was the one who led the petition for hooding during the 67th Investiture and Commencement Exercises in 2017. Standing before respective parents, family members, sponsors, friends, guests and mentors, Dr. Panaglima was also awarded with the Dean’s Medallion for Outstanding Researcher of the Year during the awarding ceremony for outstanding graduates.
“I am proud of our humble beginning. My parents would always wake up early to cater people in our small carenderia before. Our whole family contributed financially so that I and my siblings would be able to finish our studies and I am very grateful to all of them. I went into med school driven and emerged with a goal to serve which was deepened by MHAM’s spirit of service and voluntarism. MHAM has taught me that achievement is nothing if it is not for the common good of people and without God by our side. People who knew me would understand this because I came from a small island in Occidental Mindoro which is Lubang. People in our locality would travel by boat or even an airlift just to see a competent physician. It was really difficult for everyone much more to the poorest of the poor. I plan to go back and serve my hometown. It may be through the DOH’s Doctors to the Barrio Program or in whatever capacity they would allow me”, stated the third placer.
Looking back, it was Dr. Maude Tabigue who gave the inspirational talk during their graduation rites and shared some personal insights about how it is being in the noblest profession. “Both Doc Jay and Doc Maude are also an inspiration to me. I was fortunate enough to know them personally when I was a second year student and was assigned to be the fourth member of MHAM team in the national quiz bee in Davao City together with Dr. Tuppilla. To complete, I encourage all aspiring doctors who are still in the portals of MHAM to choose your associates because they can either pull you up or drag you down in pursuing your dreams. Read your books, it may be thick and voluminous but it is our sword and shield in this battle. Be compassionate, and never forget those who supported you and those whom you met while going up in the ladder of success. Finally, remember the Lord who causes you to prosper”, Dr. Panaglima concluded.
Having been blessed with so many wonderful people and institutions, Dr. Fronda and Dr. Panaglima are both from Luzon who finished Doctor of Medicine in 2017 as cum laude. The former was also a topnotcher in the December 2012 Nursing Licensure Examination on the ninth spot.
In a separate interview with the chairperson of the MHAM Scholarship Committee, Dr. Luditha Lumapat-Pe, she expressed her profound delight that two of the former scholars under her care proved once again that the MHAM Honors Society is truly a home of potential topnotchers over the years. The moment she heard the overwhelming news about the PLE result, her heart leapt with joy for the meritorious achievement of her former students who raised the banner of excellence and made MHAM as the third top performing schools for physicians.
Having the hand of accepting the present two board placers, Dr. Panaglima and Dr. Fronda in the Honors Society during their application to admission period, Dr. Pe is considered as the ‘mother of gems’ who established a motherly affection and trust with the student-scholars since she took over the humble designation. “I shared their joy as I can vouched that these two topnotchers were truly prayerful, submissive, humble and grateful scholars and I already expected them to top the exam”, Dr. Pe said in an interview.
As MHAM gladly accepts graduates with latin honors without limit on the number of slots, she always instilled the hearts and minds of the student-scholars to keep the fire burning knowing that they can really achieve what they aim for in the PLE spotlight.
“Personally I am very happy while I take the pride and the joy as part of my guardianship not just because I touched their lives, but they also touched mine because as a teacher, they really inspired me to follow the dictum that to teach is to touch a life forever”, she added.
Beaming with honor coupled with her innate motherly love to guide the present academic scholars and dean’s listers in MHAM, Dr. Pe reiterated and always emphasized during the orientation week for freshmen that aspiring doctors should always imbued an earnest study habit and review starting on day 1 in Medicine.
The Scholarship Committee chairperson further stated that the committee sustained the three scholarship grants to all deserving aspiring doctors: the Don Matias Aznar Scholarship (DMAS); MHAM College of Medicine Scholarship (MHAMS); and Return of Service Scholarship (RSS).
Abiding the code of conduct with academic excellence, honesty and high moral values, the DMAS grant is offered to all graduates of any 4-year BS degree with latin honors as an entry point for the recipients to avail a full tuition fee for one academic year excluding miscellaneous and other fees. When the DMAS scholars get promoted to the second year level, they will become grantees of MHAMS based on their grade point average. This grant is also open to second year to fourth year Filipino and International students who have obtained at least 2.0 GPA from the previous academic year. Covering a full tuition fee, the RSS, on the other hand, is open to students who are financially challenged and in return, the grantees must render services to the institution after passing the Physician Licensure Examination.
Dr. Pe, who took over the chairmanship of the Committee on Scholarship for five years now, also chaired the Department of Biochemistry aside from her fervent service being the college registrar at present.
Aimed to form lifelong learners who possess the values of responsibility and compassion to benefit of patients, the profession, and society at large, today, MHAM welcomes deserving students who have the passion and the heart to become the institution’s treasure.
A breeding ground of finest doctors not only in Cebu City but also in the country, today, the MHAM Honors Society as an organization continuously brings forth its goal to become globally competent and morally-grounded physicians in the local and global community- the very hope to consistently produce graduate-topnotchers in the feat of strength among Matias gems. (Ana Liza Abao)