A Brief History of the Mu Sigma Phi Foundation

by Felicitas Santiago ’72B

In the noblest tradition of our Four Pillars: Service, Scholarship, Leadership, and Brotherhood and Sisterhood, the MU SIGMA PHI FOUNDATION, unique family of alumni graduates of the UP College of Medicine in the US diaspora was created. Out of the union of Mu Sigma Phi Fraternity (the first medical fraternity in the UP College of Medicine and in Asia, founded in 1933) and Sorority (also the first recognized medical sorority in the Philippines and in Asia founded on August 27, 1934) was born the US-based MSPF-Mu Sigma Phi Foundation. It was during the UPMASA-AGC – University of the Philippines Medical Alumni Society in America-Annual Grand Convention in Newport Beach, CA on July 10, 2004. The main UPMASA umbrella had much earlier been founded by a MU brother, Dr Cosme Cagas, Class 1960, in 1981. Out of its disparate medical alumni and now, fifteen regional chapters, a void was felt, and the MSPF came to be.

Its preamble states that united by a unique bond of brotherhood and sisterhood, and motivated by a spirit of civic service for our Alma Mater, our country and other communities needing financial and medical assistance, the MUs gathered together and formed the MSPF. Out of some fifty-two charter MU-attendees in 2004, a new UP medical alumni group created and established governance with its constitution and bylaws. Its first President was Brod Hermilito Villar Class 1979. Brod Manuel Dalope, Class 1970 worked hard for its MSPF IRS 501-C3 certification as a Public Charity, non-profit tax-exempt organization Effective date: December 5, 2006, with Notification Date: October 19, 2009. It boosted the generosity of the alumni, families and friends, and eventually, it became an on-going process. General and restricted funds were established over time, and presently a permanent endowment fund is evolving. Even virtual sportsmanship in popular US College and World Series bring wagers’ dollars and fun to the Mu House. It has since continued the camaraderie and connection among each other, the multi-generational brothers and sisters that compose the newly-graduated medical doctors, residents, fellows and attending and practicing doctors in the United States. The world-wide membership crossed the oceans via virtual communication through an invitational e-group, created on July 9, 2001, and moderated by Brod Mariano Yogore, III, Class 1972B. It now consists of some 746 world-wide members.

Its Seal was designed by Philippine and now also Singapore-based Mu artist, Brod Allan Larona, Class 2008, an Ophthalmologist who trained in UP-PGH. He was in his second year medical school then who loved design and Computer graphics. Among several designs, it was selected, with the ocean-blue background depicting the global overseas MU alumni. It is a modern surrealistic interpretation of the classical Greek Medical Staff of Aesculapius, a combination of the frat and sorority seals. It has a burning fiery-red torch ignited by the western winds, with the strong wings of Mercury lifted and spread farther out from the UP-PGH nesting ground. It was commissioned and approved during the 2006-08 term of Sis President Geraldine Gomez-Pinder, Class 1971.

The Board of Governors, its policy-making and administrative body is made up by the elective and appointive officers, chairs of the standing committees, and two to three decades- representatives, from the brods and sis. Elective officers are biennially elected and inducted, consisting of President, alternating from the Brods and Sis groups, a President-elect who assumes Presidency after two years, a Secretary, Treasurer, Public Relations Officer and Auditor. Standing Committees include Project Coordination, Membership, Finance, Information Dissemination, Nominations, Constitution and Bylaws and Continuing Medical Education. Amendments are proposed, deliberated and added accordingly.

As exactly written on its Constitution and Bylaws, the purposes of the MSPF as a present- thirteen-year-old UP alumni tax-exempt US organization, include the following:

  1. To initiate and maintain contact among its members worldwide.
  2. To promote means for regular communication among its members.
  3. To encourage its members to work harmoniously towards the advancement of the welfare of its members, including educational advancement.
  4. To encourage its members to engage in projects and activities that will directly benefit the PGH-Philippine General Hospital and UPS- University of the Philippines System.
  5. To unite its members in helping support special groups of people needing immediate financial and medical assistance such as victims of natural disasters, and
  6. To make distributions to organizations under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue code of 1954, or the corresponding provisions of any future United States Revenue Law.

In the Philippines, the 1980s marked the Golden (50th) Anniversary of µΣΦ. It was during this era that the Four Pillars— Service, Scholarship, Leadership and Sisterhood and Brotherhood were concretized, on which all activities of the sorority and fraternity were based and are still being lived up to until today.

In the same spirit, the Mu Sigma Phi Foundation, as its alumni arm in the United States, emulates the same Four Pillars in its vision, action and mission. It is on the context of these PILLARS that we present who we all are today. It defines all its activities, as a united group and as individual members to cultivate and preserve an unselfish spirit of self-denying service, advance in general scholastic and cultural welfare, uphold responsible leadership, and foster unparalleled camaraderie among its members, as unique, co-supporting pillars of all its endeavors.

PILLAR of SERVICE:

Ever-responsive to the changing demands of society on fraternities, ΜΣΦ F has redefined its role as an exclusive alumni brotherhood-sisterhood when it extended its service and hospitality to the sectors within and outside the University of the Philippines, the Philippine General Hospital and our country in general. The foundation is always aware of its medical, social, financial and humanitarian responsibilities when a call is heard. Some initial special funding become standard, permanent cyclical projects because of observed necessity.

Report of Projects, by Treasurer-for-life Godofredo Garcia, ’83:

  1. UPCM Anatomy Dept.LED-TV Monitors purchase
  2. ImMUnization $3000/yr, x 4 yrs now
  3. H2O- Water Filtration system-fund shared w/ #6 below
  4. 80 for 80 Project, 80 Computers donated 80th Frat Jub.
  5. Gawad Kalinga, MU Village, Las Pinas
  6. MU Relief, Yolanda, w/ #3 above, Water filtration project
  7. Phil-Am Federation, Wash DC, Disaster Relief Donation
  8. Bohol earthquake donation
  9. Breast CA Fund
  10. BSLR Clinical Advanced Skills Simulation Lab
  11. Scholarship from PEF $1000 x 3 yrs. each, now 72 scholars

Report, 2006-08 term of ex Sis- Pres Sis Geraldine G-Pinder,’71

  1. UPCM Anatomy Dept. Renovation
  2. Quisumbing Escandor Festival production
  3. Q-E Film Contest Prize Fund, Collection from Brods Class 1982
  4. MUbility support group –
  5. Child & Adolescent Peds-OPD Unit Renovation
  6. Gawad Panitikang Pangkalusugan

 

MEDICAL MISSIONS – Service-related Activities provided by the MSPF Membership

In times of peace (No Disaster) many DTTBs (Doctors to the Barrios) approach Phil Brod Rafael Bundoc.’86 to request missions for the communities they serve. Some LGU (Local Government Units) also come to them for similar request. It has already served many families, communities, and barangays. It’s also their first line of help for disaster stricken areas. One of the Mus’ primary “suki” is Ugnayan Pahinungod of UP Manila who always request for it when they do medical mission. Numerous medical missions had been led, coordinated, participated in and supported by the members of the foundation, donating their professional services, specialties, and precious time to our health-stricken Filipinos across the country, including tribal areas. It is not only in times of disasters but as annual missions, via different medical organizations from the US. They funded their own airfare, hotel accommodations and personal expenses. Logistically, they also request and collect slightly-used or earlier-model hospital hardware, equipment for anesthesia, surgery and laboratory supplies, plus nursing supplies and medications for those missions. Fund collected from donors are used to purchase for urgent other supplies. Many other medical missionaries among the membership are unnamed.

PILLAR of SCHOLARSHIP

Its primary purpose was to support the mission of the UP College of Medicine and the programs of its teaching hospital, the Philippine General Hospital. Since then, it aids support and fund activities of our student arm.

The “Ninong-Ninang” sponsor idea started in 2007, during Sis President Geraldine Gomez-Pinder’s term, on the proposal of Brod Arnel Brion, ‘82. His elder sibling, Oscar Brion, MD, UERMMC Class 1969, completed his 5-year surgical training in UP-PGH followed by a year of training in New York City. His sudden demise at age 62 in San Pablo City, Laguna inspired Arnel to honor Oscar’s memory by sponsorship of the first Mu student scholar.It includes a full-year medical donor commitment to give scholarship to the same financially-challenged student-brod or sis, donating $1000 per year for three years of undergraduate studies. Alumna Sis Joie Canal, UP-PGH Radiology Chair leads the Search Committee. Fund comes from the Mu Sigma Phi Permanent Endowment Fund managed by UPMASA with only 5% available yearly to cover the cost of the scholarships. The foundation has counted seventy-two scholars since the inception of the project, with two DTTBs- Doctors to the Barios who were our scholars among another Mus in the program. Donation to this now matured annual project has been $ 216,000.

Through the years, the ΜΣΦF continues to be distinguished by various institutions for its meritorious performance as academic professionals in medical teaching schools. There are many MSPF members who in many ways have the spirit and certifications of scholarship, but the following are outstanding:

MSPF MEMBERS in the ACADEMIA AND/OR SCHOLASTIC AWARDEES

  1. Cosme Cagas
  2. Patricio Reyes
  3. Alexander Sy
  4. Constancia Somera-Uy
  5. Mariano Yogore III
  6. Eugenio Amparo
  7. Bing Taberrah-Lacuesta
  8. Cornelio Turalba
  9. Roy Guinto
  10. Jose David
  11. Luz Fonacier-Sison

MSPF MEMBERS recognized by the UPAAA as AWARDEES:

  1. Eusebio Kho, ’60, Health Care Leadership 2009
  2. Jun Aragon, ’09, Community Service, 2009
  3. Maria Irene Canto-Cheridian, ’85, Clinical Research 2009
  4. Nerita Estampador-Ulep, ’63, Public Service and Community health, 2009
  5. Constancia Sumera-Uy, ’67, Most Outstanding Alumna, UPAA-NY 2014. She was also its first UPAAA female President, 1986-88.
  6. Jose David, ’83, Most Outstanding Alumnus in Family Medicine, 2015
  7. Abraham Rasul, Jr, ‘85, Most Outstanding Alumnus in Community Health, 2015
  8. Feliciano Family, UPAA- Philippine Chapter, 2017 Multi-Generation UP Alumni Family Award, announced May 5, 2017, for recognition ceremonies, August 16-19, 2017, at the Bahay ng Alumni, UP Diliman, Quezon City, Phil. Generation started as follows: Gen 1, paternal grandfather Hilarion T. Feliciano MD 1913; Gen 2, father, Jaime M. Feliciano MD 1942; Gen 3 siblings, Brod Wilfrido C. Feliciano MD 1966, Brod Roberto C. Feliciano MD 1970, and Reynaldo C. Feliciano MD 1972B. A Gen 3 Feliciano first cousin, Brod Raul S. Feliciano MD 1990.

UPAA-related Projects participation by MSPF MEMBERS:

  1. Eusebio Kho, ’60, Contributor to UPAA-NY Memoir Bk-1, wrote preface to Bk-2, Benefactor Book -3
  2. Felicitas F. Santiago, ’72 B- Contributor to UPAA-NY Memoir Bk-1, Managing Editor to Bk-3
  3. Mariano Yogore III, ’72B Contributor to UPAA-NY Memoir Bk-1
  4. Abraham Rasul Jr.,’85 – Contributor UPAA-NY Memoir Bk-1
  5. Melissa Garduno Young, ’93 –Contributor UPAA-NY Memoir Bk 1
  6. Libertad Sevandal-Salting, ’63 Contributor UPAA-NY Memoir Bk 1

PILLAR of LEADERSHIP

From its charter foundation day, as our Constitution and Bylaws decrees, the President alternates between a Brod and a Sis, each serving a biennial term. Each leaves their marks in the growth of the foundation.

MSPF PRESIDENTS and Group Accomplishments during their terms

  1. Hermilito Villar, ‘79, Charter President, 2004-16 –He was the Charter first-Brod President leading the new organization with the Board of Governors and Committee members to become a cohesive, united, well-organized foundation, guided by its preamble. The Constitution and Bylaws was created and approved by the general body during its next annual general meeting.
  2. Geraldine Gomez-Pinder, ‘71, 2006-08. Her term completed the three-step application process for the 501(C) (3) Not-for-profit Tax exemption status of the foundation. She also had the SEAL of the foundation commissioned and approved. She had initiated in 2006, a pet project to renovate the Anatomy Lab at the UPCM. The membership funded the overseas trip of Brod Allan Larona for presentation of his winning research paper in Merida, Mexico. Its excess plus an amount added as collection from the brods and sisses of Class 1982 helped a neophyte’s mother in her cranioradiosurgery. Production cost was sent towards the first Quisumbing-Escandor Film Festival, and Brods from Class 1982 also sent funds towards the prize fund for the winners of the film contest. There were eight scholars at her time, fund coming from the Mu PEF, managed by UPMASA. To encourage alumni giving, Brod Manny Dalope aptly named a fundraiser “Desperate MU Fund”, her treasury grew by $27,815.00 towards this fund.
  3. Evaristo Badiola, ‘74, 2008-10– during his term, more funds were generated. It was also during his term when two MU sisters and two brothers were awarded by the UPAAA with distinction and excellence.
  4. Winnifer Baduel, Class 2010-12- She got approval of support for the Gawad-Kalinga project in Sta Rita, Las Pinas, Rizal. Brod Bernard Cruz, 1974, donated the seed money. Her other projects included support of relief operations for victims of Typhoon Haiyan, launched Operation H2O, Mu Water filtration Project took roots, continued support of the Mu scholars and the UP-PGH Immunization projects.
  5. Abraham T. Rasul, Jr. ‘85 2012-14- He raised funds for typhoon relief aid during multiple natural disasters that hit the Philippines from 2012-2014. Many communities devastated the country in 2013.As founding co-Chair of the US-Philippine Society and the Philippine Humanitarian Coalition, with the Philippine Embassy in Washington DC, they sponsored a concert.In 2014 “After the Storm, Kennedy Center Concert for Typhoon Haiyan Together” raised funds to assist in the rehabilitation of our countrymen. Over 1,000 portable water filtration units were immediately distributed in the communities affected by Typhoon Haiyan. He also lobbied the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs and Department of Health to suspend the extensive regulations governing medical missions to the Philippines to facilitate the entry of much needed medical personnel to care for victims of Typhoon Haiyan in 2013. Politically, in the US, he representing our medical community, presented and lobbied a proposal for a Demonstration Project to promote Medicare Portability in the Philippines so Filipino American retirees can avail of Medicare health coverage while living in the Philippines. This was discussed with the Office of the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services as well as with members of the US Congress. The Philippine Government supported this advocacy.
  6. Cecilia Rogers, ‘72A, 2014-16. Her term was highlighted by the strong support from our members, particularly the exemplary challenging matching financial support of $ 200,000 from Brod Bernie Cruz, MU 1974 in donating funds for building the Clinical Simulation Laboratory, at the West wing of one floor of the new Academic Center. Funding was in coordination with the MSP Philippines. There was also continuing financial support to the MSP Fraternity Gawad Kalinga community project in Santa Rosa, building homes and giving health education to the locals, financial support to the MSP sorority twice a year vaccination project, giving vaccines to medical students and UPCM employees. Fund was given in supplying varicella vaccines during a chicken pox epidemic in Pediatric ward of the Philippine General Hospital. Continuing student scholarships each year was also part of her ongoing MSPF yearly project.
  7. Celso Antiporda, ‘79, 2016 to present, to finish 2018 – . He has accepted the continuing challenge of leadership and governance. He has reached out to newly- arrived Mus who need guidance and involvement, the young alumni in residency and fellowship. He has continued the group projects that by now are annual and standard Pillar of Service projects. His projects include updating the directory, inviting formal membership to the MSPF and UPMASA, campaigning for the MU slate via the SMILE Movement last February 2017, and supporting the incoming UPMASA-Annual Grand Convention in Albany, NY this July 2017 – The MU candidacy in UPMASA has been made stronger from his unwavering call to teamwork and unity. The MU website is no longer a dream. A name has been bought and President Celso is energetically focused to realizing this long-range project.

Upholding its principle of initiative and accountability in leadership, the ΜΣΦ has produced some of the nation’s top leaders in health and medical field. We recognize members who have founded, led medical, social and other national organizations. They excel and are also recognized in their own fields of specialty.

MSPF MEMBERS in UPMASA PRESIDENCY:

  1. Cosme Cagas
  2. LeopoldoPardo
  3. Constancia Somera-Uy
  4. Wilfrido Feliciano
  5. Nerita Estampador-Ulep
  6. Eusebio Kho
  7. Jose David –incoming 7/17

MSPF MEMBERS in the United States Armed Forces MILITARY MEDICAL CORPS

  1. Eusebio Kho
  2. Godofredo Celis
  3. Felicitas Santiago
  4. Gil de los Reyes
  5. Mariano Yogore III
  6. Renato Pinzon
  7. Dennis Carbonell
  8. Leonor Canos

MSPF MEMBERS who have Special Recognition in Other Fields of Endeavor:

  1. Cosme Cagas
  2. Constancia Somera-Uy
  3. Angelina Narcise-Kurle
  4. Rey Pagtakhan
  5. Alexander Sy
  6. Mariano Yogore III
  7. Renato Pinzon
  8. Jose David

PILLAR OF BROTHERHOOD /SISTERHOOD

Present Brod President Celso Antiporda’79, is continuing the flame burning, carrying on the tenets and ideals of our founding brothers and sisters. During his incumbent Presidency, he has fostered leadership and assistance to the July 2017 National UPMASA- elective officers’slate, the SMILE Movement. It was an acronym created by Philippine Brod Richard Buencamino,’96 for Pres-elect Sister Susan Echiverri ’79, Chair of the BOG Brod Modesto Rivera ’71 and Auditor Ishwar Gopichand ‘90. It further triggered the update of our US-based members in our digital directory for a united effort in national leadership and governance above its home-base. Communication with the student and alumni arms in the Philippines, the United States and the rest of our shrinking world in cyber-space made everybody closer in real-time. Several social media Facebook restricted e-groups were created by IT-literate brods and sisters, enhancing the spread of coordinated, highly focused efforts within the tap of the fingertips.The foundation has recently embarked on a special project to create its world-wide-web digital presence in social networking via its own web-site, a domain purchased on March 5, 2017 by Brod Eugenio Amparo, ‘72B, “www.themufoundation.org”. As envisioned by Brod President Celso, “The Mu website with an exclusive domain name, will concentrate on the goals, projects and activities of the MSPF, the Fraternity, and the Sorority. It will also include links for online donations as we invite the Mu and charitable individuals to share in our goals. We envision this website to be inclusive of the Mu worldwide”

www.themufoundation.org

Official website of the Mu Sigma Phi Foundation

We are all guardians of the legacy, a cohesive unit, passing it on to coming generations of the UP College of Medicine MU doctors, transcending beyond our times, relevant today in our collaborative MU spirit. Unlike any other genetic, phenotypic family, the brotherhood and sisterhood is a specially-engineered one. All were invited, initiated, selected and adopted through a common rites of passage during early medical school. The members are always on virtual e-group chatter, keeping in touch no matter what our space-time unit is. The young Mus in specialty training, with growing families are busy finding their place in their own spheres. There is nothing sacrosanct once the MU spirit gets that flame burning. Topics heatedly fanned out can range from US-Philippine politics and history, to current international events, college and professional sports, Games of Thrones TV-binging of Brod Gene, book clubs, exotic photos from bucket-listed travelogues of ex-Sis Pres. Cecile, vintner/ oenology of Brod Celso and Sis Pres-elect Chelle, culinary coups on Thanksgiving dinner of ex-Pres. Sis Gerry, flowering plant swaps from Sis Rory’s extensive garden in MI, and mango purchases from Sis Vicky’s fruit farmland in FL. As children and grandchildren grow up and build their nests, new and continuing love of pets (like Spike), plant identification from backyard photography, creative writing, and novel hobbies, like “Apo”-stolic work get reinvented. The changing seasons and unpredictable whims of nature are MU’s meteorological breaking news. They get posted in the picture links, and filed, joining Gene’s bespectacled MU-meme and GIFs. Real-time Regional SoCal, NorCal, MUrope, MUrlion reunions is always a decompressing activity. The annual Mu meeting during the UPMASA-AGC is when incumbent UP-Manila system and UPCM-PGH academic brods and sisters fly in. It’s the reason for the season- to physically catch up and bond globally, in one cool and cozy hotel meeting room. Whether chatting over the MU Band, beer, or bushels of blue Maryland crabs brought in by Brod Gil, any opportunity to reminisce, commiserate and connect is grasped in the shadows of the hot AGC-July sun. We all keep ourselves learning beyond CME’s, growing, making us feel and keep young, time and time again. As usual, being doctors that we are, in one way or another, health issues become the virtual general electronic medical bracelet or pendant alert. When we, or family, occasionally become patients, specialty-networking becomes the new senior-matching program. This then cascades to the full force of the Mu Prayer Warriors. Praising the Lord is the best mantra after those suspenseful moments. In July, we also bow to honor and celebrate the lives of our members who on the previous cycle have passed and transitioned beyond, our last rites of MUlogy, respect and remembrance.

We are now global in scope beyond many tomorrows. To this day, an insatiable drive to espouse the four ideals, our sacred Pillars of Service, Scholarship, Leadership and Brotherhood/Sisterhood, enrich the foundation. Now on its 13th year, the quest to uphold the legacy continues, as the Mu Sigma Phi Foundation looks back, forward… and beyond.