June 2002 Vol. 2 Issue 10

An Internet Newsletter publication of the American Society of CIM Alumni, Inc.


Dominador Ong, M.D.
Maida Antigua, M.D.
Dolores Lao, M.D.
Epifania Aranas, M.D.
Clem S. Estrera, Jr., M.D.
P. R. O.
Anita Avila, M.D.

Board Members:

Horace Cabasares, M.D.
Perry, GA
Ramiro A. Cadag, M.D.
Kings Point, NY
Mike Espiritu, M.D.
Okeechobee, FL
Elie Gonzales, M.D.
Oswego, NY
Cecilio Delgra, M.D.
Charleston, WV
Rosario B. Gonzaga, M.D.
Cumberland, MD
Teresita Varona, M.D.
Oakbrook, IL

CME Chairperson:
Rise Faith E. Dajao, M.D.
Portsmouth, VA


Editorial Board:

Maida Antigua, M.D.
Boston, MA
Horace Cabasares, M.D.
Perry, Georgia
Eli Estabaya, M.D.
Yuma, Arizona

Editor and Technical Adviser:
Clem S. Estrera, Jr., M.D.
Petersburg, VA

Staff Correspondents:
Roland Pasignajen, M.D.
New Jersey
Henry L. Yu, M.D.
Cebu City, Philippines
Ernesto Yu, M.D.
Buffalo, New York

Wilmo C. Orejola, M.D.
Pompton Plains, N J

Marie Belen F. Rosales, M.D.
San Diego, CA

Send news, articles, pictures, announcement, obituary, etc., to:clems3ra@rcn.com


Editor's Column

    "My father had faith in me and loved me. Maybe you don't exactly learn from that, but it allows you to take on the world. I grew up knowing I was accepted and loved, and that made an incredible difference." - Bernie Siegel

Children - Pride or Personal Properties?

(Part 2 - Final Part)

Demands and Expectations
     Claudette Colbert said: "Why do grandparents and grandchildren get along so well? They have the same enemy - the mother." Please realize that I did not choose this quote to make fun of mothers out there. It's just that it has a lot of truth in it. In fact, if you give it some thought, you will notice that the kids have a free-and-easy relationship with their grandparents. Have you ever wondered why?

    I could always remember when I was about 9 years old more or less, running away from home to my grandfather when my mother was about to whip me because I often followed my desires without regard to consequences. Like many parents in the Philippines at the time, my parents believed in the "spare the rod and spoil the child" discipline that they often took too far. It would hurt my butt for the next couple of days. I found comfort with my grand old man who simply loved and accepted me for what I was - a grandson - a little boy who needed help, comfort and protection from the terror that was about to happen. He never demanded anything from me except to sit on his lap so he could comb my hair the way he wanted to in exchange for any of the fruits he had that I wanted to eat. He rarely if ever told me what to do; he simply showed it to me. He would just laugh when I made mistakes.

    I don't know about you, and you may have a different thought. But this is what I think. There is lack of expectation between grandparents and grandchildren. More mothers than fathers have unrealistic expectations of their children. Their expectations are held together by ridiculous demands. Expectations are sources of disappointments for mothers. Demands are sources of unhappiness for children. And since both of them cannot be met for obvious reason that they are unrealistic and ridiculous, more mothers and their children are unhappy with each other.

    Demand means pressure, and not too many people want to be subjected to pressure, for it involves struggle and sometimes suffering mentally and emotionally. Many demanding parents drive their kids to perform and excel as though they created the slogan of Lexus automobile - the relentless pursuit of perfection. Their intention of course is good, and that is, success and happiness for their children. But do the children really have to struggle to succeed? Do they have to suffer to be happy? Wouldn't it be better if they are free to have it their way in order to have the pure joy in finding out about our world and in discovering their true interests and talents, and thus have fun in achieving their goals of success and happiness? Some of these parents, however, are also ready to remedy their kids' mistakes, to fulfill their obligations, and to hold them harmless from the consequences of their actions. Still, many of them set unattainable standards for their children. Unfortunately, such standards often inhibit children's creativity. They create an environment that would stunt children's growth and thus produced withered children, who in turn can never hope to live up to anyone's - not even their own - expectations. Nevertheless it's life that shapes a child, not the parents.

Control - Is it really necessary?
    When it comes to our own children, many of us confuse control for nurturing. It's hard to give up control if we keep thinking that we always know better what's good for our children and not consider what the children think what's good for them. Most of us often believe that we are nurturing our children by insisting on constantly teaching them what's right and wrong and what's good and bad but based on our own standards because we know better. The problem is, such standards constantly give us the justification to tell and dictate our children what to do, what they should wear, how they should look, what they ought to say to someone else, how they should behave, and even later on, who they should marry, what they should do for a living and how to raise their children.

    Unwittingly, in insisting on following our own standards of right and wrong and good and bad, we are passing along to our children a highly prescribed closed outlook on life. It would make children judgmental or highly opinionated. It would also make their mind closed. As they grow up, they would look at people, not as equal, but as either below or above them. They would then measure themselves by comparing themselves with others and keep up with them. And since comparison breeds envy and jealousy, their concept of competition would not be to achieve, but to beat others. Unfortunately, many of those who can't keep up with others, let alone beat them, would shy away from them.

    Yet out into the real world, there are no standards of right and wrong, of good and bad, or the standards are different. To avoid confusion, children should be encouraged to ask questions on anything and everything by listening to them, not lecturing them, let alone dictating them. Question begets thought. And thought begets conversation, the sharing of one's insights, ideas and opinions. They need to be taught and shown how to maintain an open mind, not a close one, so that they would learn to make their own judgment that is based on reason, thoughtful analysis and consideration, not prejudices and assumptions. It is only with an open mind that they would learn to seek for more knowledge and information before they make their own choice and decision. They would want to seek for the truth, and to know someone or something well enough before they pass judgment on him, her, or it. Finally, with an open mind, they would learn to consider and treat everyone as equal. When they compete, their focus would be to achieve, not to beat others. They would then do their best and ignore the rest. And since they consider and treat everyone as equal, they would be comfortable with anyone regardless of their profession and situation.

    History has shown that "control" breeds rebellion, and, ultimately, separation. To maintain control, parents sometimes have to utilize some form of violence like verbal violence in the form of threats or guilt to make children feel bad about themselves. But one must realize that verbal violence is as abusive as physical violence. It may not leave a visible scar, but a child who is treated with toxic and derisive language will carry the result into his adult and married life, and hand down his damaged ego to his children. They would take their frustrations and disappointments on the children they are trying so hard to raise.

The Impact of Parenting
     I believe that none of us must have realized the true impact of parenting in our life and how hard it is to be a parent until we had children of our own. No wonder why my mother would sometimes fuss about something for absolutely no reason at all. But looking back, I believe it was mainly because she had to do a lot of thinking. There were many of us - 4 boys and 5 girls but one died when she was little - with only a year or two difference in age between one sibling and the next and the one before. Poor mother lost her teeth so early in life. She must have been chewing our doorknobs in frustrations. I could imagine the headaches and the sleepless nights she must have had with not enough money to keep the family heads above water, let alone send three of us to college at one time.

    My father was only a school teacher who never gave up his bicycle because he could not afford to. Having different religion from the people in our town, he was not appreciated but was persecuted in the form of being petitioned to get the hell out of our town and teach somewhere else. So he was shuffled and transferred from one far away town to another just to keep his teaching job. Poor father had to rely on and ride his bicycle at 4:00 o'clock every morning, rain or shine, to get to school on time. But he survived while all his contemporaries and all those who petitioned for his transfer including our town priest died so many years ago, most with debilitating illness like stroke and cancer. His bicycle must have been as old as he is because they had the same birthday. When asked about changing it or buying a new one, he would just say: "This bicycle is U.S. made." So he was still riding his bicycle when I left for the U.S. 27 years ago. Now he is almost 90 years old. He no longer rides his bike, but he still celebrates his birthday with it. Mother died of cancer several years ago. May she continue to rest in peace.

Youthful Discretions
    To avoid giving my parents more headaches, I volunteered to quit school for two years in college and had my head shaven just to keep me from feeling lonely being left alone in Camotes while my friends would be leaving for Cebu. With my shaven head, I had to avoid being seen particularly by girls. During that time, when school starts after the long summer vacation, it's like all the quick were leaving our town and the only ones left were the dead. Being the quick among the dead was a very lonely prospect. But our town in Camotes was, to paraphrase the song Mona Lisa, a cold and lonely, lovely kind of town where you have all the time in the world to search your soul. However, I did not find that necessary. My soul was not lost.

    So I shoveled shits in our backyard and made vegetable gardens. But I also had to do hard labor jobs here and there that I could find so I could have some money of my own. For the first time in my life my parents left me alone completely free to do what I wanted to do. Yet somehow I had the feeling that they had given up on me as someone who could make a difference in the family. I was weak in academics, fair in running away from punishment, but was strong in stupidity and in going against my parents' wishes. I graduated elementary barely - top three from the bottom, and graduated high school just a little above average. The point I'm trying to make is this - every child should be taken seriously and be given the same attention. Many parents would favor one or two children and ignore the others. Many fathers would favor their sons over their daughters. The ones who excelled academically or the better looking ones become the favorite, and the academically weaker ones or the not so good looking ones become the subjects of ridicule or criticism when they should instead be given more attention, help and encouragement. Yet there are children who may appear only with a microscopic might to begin with, but later on end up with a mighty roar.

The Adverse Effects of Favoritism
    Even if the children come from the same designer gene, whether sons or daughters, each one of them is different and unique and should be treated equally as individual. Oftentimes the ridiculed ones or the least favorite ones, if they survive and succeed as adults, many of them would end up with some misgivings, and may nurture grudges or resentment, not just toward the parents, but toward the whole family as well. As parents of these resentful children, can we blame them? If so, do we have enough reason and justification to blame them? Or, would we just enumerate all our sacrifices and how hard we had to work to provide so well for them, to give them the things we, ourselves, never had, and then cuss them out for being ungrateful? Being ungrateful to what? To being mistreated as a child? To being ignored, criticized and ridiculed, if not frequently yelled at and humiliated? We must realize that children's behaviors are not dictated by some kind of genetic code. Instead, they will reflect in their behaviors they way they have been treated. Mean-spirited criticism, ridicule or sarcasm in particular, makes children feel terrible - It demeans them and makes them feel worthless. They learn nothing from this kind of cruelty. It only makes them develop hatred or resentment. They become cynical and sarcastic.

    Certainly, we can call these resentful children whatever we want, cuss them out whenever we want, and swear to them however we want, as long as we don't care about having a harmonious relationship of mutual trust, respect and love with them. We must keep in mind though that in any human relationship, trust, respect and long-lasting love are not something we simply expect and demand, but are something we earn and deserve. We don't earn them by simply giving things to the children that many of us often do out of guilt. We earn them by investing time, love, understanding and openness, and by insisting on being fair to every child in the family. The things we give to our children do not replace love and laughter.

A Suggestion
     Whatever our parents did to us that we happen to believe had worked for us and made us what we are, doesn't necessarily mean that it would work for our children. The situation was so different during our time and everything has changed since then. Our choices were limited and our focus was mainly to obey our parents because it was the only way we knew of to survive and succeed. The principle we followed was that, if we could make our parents or the family happy, we would be happy too. It's their happiness we were primarily concerned of, not ours. Thus some of us often trembled when we made serious mistakes, and instead of taking the responsibility of correcting such mistakes and limiting their consequences, we were forced to look for blames and excuses. We had to follow a straight and rigid line of avoidance, not acceptance, by putting the blame on someone or something, not by simply taking the lick and suffer the slight to learn something and to develop the guts to go against the grain. It would not be surprising if at least one of us had become too rigid along the way so that at one time or another, he would not take a leak unless he had first analyzed its trajectory.

    Many of us grew up in a culture and in a family where we've never heard our parents telling us that they love us. At least not for me. I believe our parents simply assumed we knew. Yet because of it, many of us find it so awkward to say, "I love you," to our own children. And yet such words are very important to them, to remind them that no matter what happens, they can always come to us because they know we truly love them. But many kids go to their friends and other people rather than to their parents to seek help and advice. One reason is that they don't really know whether their parents love them because they are never told, nor are they shown of their parents' love.

    My daughters were already in college before I was able to muster my courage and sincerity to say the words "I love you" just before I left them in their dorm. After that, I started to seriously consider my feelings for them. That's when I began to realize how much I really love my children that I would be willing to die for anyone of them. So here is my suggestion. If you love your children, which I'm sure you all do, call them or call your son or daughter no matter how old they are, on the phone or in person, and perhaps say something like what I said to my daughters: "(Name of daughter or son), there is something I've been wanting to tell you, but I haven't had the courage to do it. I just feel awkward to say it because I did not grow up with it. I know that I had been a little rough on you, hit you few times, yelled at you, threaten you, and made you feel bad about yourself by making you feel guilty. But I want to tell you that it had nothing to do with you. It had everything to do with me. I don't blame you if you tell me that I was not a real good father(mother) you wish I could have been. I wish I knew it then that I was not. I could have made a lot of changes. You and I would have been a lot happier with each other. Anyway, I just want you to know that despite all those unpleasant things I did to you, I have always loved you."

Ad lib
     There is no such thing as "ideal parents" or "ideal children." There's no "it ought to be done this way or that" or "here is how to do it" Sure, we get ideas from friends and from the so-called experts. But experts don't raise our children. We do. Thus in the end, it's every parent to himself or herself. We learn as we go and we have to depend on our own instinct every now and then, and rely as much as we can on our own observation and intuition. It's like doing an experiment and having trial and error. Mistakes cannot be avoided, but they are essential parts of learning. If we are afraid of making them, or cannot accept and tolerate them, then we would end up with a frequent diet of frustrations and disappointments.

    My main personal guide in raising and in dealing with my family and other people has been Sherlock Holmes' famous line when he castigated Watson, "You see! Watson! But you do not observe." This makes me think, analyze and intuit on what has happened that should not have happened or would not have gotten worse if only I was thinking of being a little bit kinder, gentler or nicer and thus was being more reasonable and tolerant. This line makes me avoid blaming like a plague. For once you blame someone or something for what has happened that you are unhappy with, you stop thinking. And if blame becomes your solution, the same problem would keep recurring. I believe it was Descarte who said: "I think therefore I am."


Road Tragedy in Cebu

by Charles O. Sy, Correspondent of the LCHS Spectrum

    A road mishap ended the life of a woman supposed to give birth this month and her two in-laws in a posh Cebu City subdivision.

    Miscelyn Lim, 30, and her parents-in-law, engineer Jaime Lim and wife Dr. Linda Cinco-Lim, died after the Honda Civic they were riding rammed into a concrete gatepost of a house in Maria Luisa Estate Park, Banilad, Cebu City yesterday afternoon, June 8.

    A witness said that Dr. Linda Cinco-Lim, who was driving, could have panicked at the sound of a strong thunder followed by lightning. Right after the thunder cracked, the car was seen swerving suddenly to the right, and rammed into the gate of the house owned by Dr. Maria Socorro Enriquez. The car was a total wreck.

    Miscelyn was seated in the back seat with Jaime Lim. Doctors at the Perpetual Succor Hospital tried to save Miscelyn’s baby but failed. The incident took place about 300 meters from the victims’ house. They were all pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

    Dr. Linda Cinco-Lim is a well known ob-gyne specialist with many patients among the Chinese Filipinos in Cebu.



The New Members:

Jose T. Rivera, M.D. Class 1983
Yolanda Peli Dela Cruz, M.D. Class 1974
Ulysses Agas, M.D. Class 1966
Allfonso Amores, M.D. Class 1971
Leon Casals, Jr., M.D. Class 1987
Monette Ceniza Casals, M.D. Class 1987

Honorary Member:
Bobby Zozobrado

Thelma L. Fernandez, M.D. Class 1966
Johnson Dy, M.D. Class 1972
Rose Marie Geonzon, M.D. Class 1971
Ma. Concepcion Espiritu Fuller, M.D. Class 1975
Kenneth Velez, M.D. Class 1968
Tito Velez, M.D. Class 1976
Alma Mansueto Ozaraga, M.D. Class 1977
Camilo Roa, M.D. Class 1977

     New members, welcome to our fully-grown and still growing alumni e-mail community. May I ask you a question? Well, what took you so long to join with us? Don't bother to answer. I know. You probably didn't know or hear about us. But to tell you what. You should contact your classmates or friends who knew but did not tell you about our community, web site and newsletter. You've missed too much already. So when you get hold of them, give them hell. They deserve it. Just kidding.

    We are certainly glad to have you with us in our e-mail community. This community is for all CIM alumni in particular wherever they are that have access to e-mail and Internet although we also welcome anyone who wants to be included in our community as a friend, or a neighbor or a part of the family. Alumni or non-alumni, everyone can participate if he or she wants to, like making comments, sharing information, writing article, asking questions, etc. We follow no rules except the principle of sharing. If our sisters and brothers from the Cebu Velez School of Nursing want to join or merge with our community, so much the better. It would be great! It would bring us back to the good old days when life was sweet and problems were few. We had fun working together; us proud with the stethoscope hanging around our neck, them with the cap over their head. Some of us may not have gotten along well with each other, perhaps were victims of love gone wrong that brought our spirits plummeting to the ground like kamikaze planes. But we were young then. Our pride was high. Our ego was fragile and sensitive. We often let how we feel control our sense of who we are and how we are. As the song goes: "For we're creatures of the wind; and wild is the wind…."

     Now most if not all of us are old and wise - no, correct that - older and wiser. We won our wisdom from all the hard knocks we had gone through. And some of us could still remember the fears, jealousies, failures and disappointments strewn among the glorious flowers of memory. But we are a lot more lenient now with our fears and frustrations, and more tolerant with our failures and disappointments. We have learned to keep our feelings from making decisions or passing judgment that need to be made by our heads. We are no longer as concern as we used to between counting our losses and building our gains. We simply want to get along with each other, share wisdom or experiences, learn to develop a positive attitude and become a nicer, kinder and gentler Homo sapiens. For to borrow the first line of Sinatra's song: "And now, the end is near…"

    It is said that age replaces the restlessness and energy of youth with wisdom and prudence of experience. Absolutely. Some of us have experiences that have made us look at our life on a different perspective. Perhaps few of these experiences have made us ask ourselves a couple of questions: "What do I most want to do or be to the people I love or care about and others I know of before I run out of days? What if I only have a year to live, how do I want to be remembered when my year is over?" I had two incidence of blowout tire in the highway that shook me up. Unfortunately, both tires were not made by Firestone, or I could have gotten some money. The first incidence was about 6 years ago. It involved a tire made by General and the car was rental. It was not bad because I was already slowing down and ready to exit.

    The second incidence was almost 3 years ago involving my pick up truck with a Good Year tire. My friends Teddy and Ping Remandaban had seen how bad the tire was because I went to join with them during that time for a bicycle tour. This incidence shook me up pretty bad because I was accelerating at about 75 miles/hour on the left lane of I-95 to pass someone on the right lane. Just as I was far enough to get back into the right lane, my left rear tire blew out and my pick up truck just went straight to the right shoulder lane shaking and uncontrollable but I had the presence of mind to apply the brake slowly. It could have easily killed or crippled me. In both incidence, I was alone and I came out unscathed but shaky. It's the second incidence that made me look at the rest of my life on a different angle. Sometimes it takes us some kind of life-threatening incidence to make us think and look inward. The question is, shall we wait for something to happen? Or shall we start now looking at the rear view mirror and then decide whether to continue accelerating on the same lane and same speed, or change lane, slow down a little bit, relax and perhaps get into the Potomac bridge to join with our friends, classmates and colleagues and have some fun at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in the next less than a month?

    We, the officers and board members of the ASOCIMAI, have been aware of our association's great potentials even before some of us were elected or thrown to be elected as officers or board members. Fortunately, we have the same mind set and we wanted to tap into these potentials and make at least some of them real. We decided to refuse to accept the accepted just because it's accepted. We wanted to say this to those who doubted us: "Watch us do it!" We don't want to ease or cease until we achieve the best. We may not have achieved the glamour yet, but our association as well as our community has now got some style and class. If you are one of those who are not yet satisfied with what we have done so far, please tell us what more we need to do. We will move heaven and earth ...well....may be just the earth....to do it.

    New members, this is your community now. Feel free to ask any question, to participate, to make comments and whatever else you can think of to help us make our community grow not just in size or numbers, but also in spirits as well. We'll leave you alone now to see what you think. But wait a minute. If you know of anyone who wants to join with us particularly other alumni who don't know about us yet, you better tell them. I don't want them to have the turn of giving you hell.


ASOCIMAI Potpourri

The reunion jitters
    Two weeks ago, our president Dr. Dom reported that the hotel rooms reserved for the alumni were almost completely booked or sold out. It was the most encouraging news I've ever heard from the alumni because I don't believe that this kind of phenomenon happened before at this early stage. And with our newsletter that is running hot like Bo Dereck in the movie "10", I decided to give myself a break and celebrate with a super large Domino's pizza with everything on it and a six-pack Corona beers. Fortunately, my daughter came home from UVA that night and with my son, they helped me out eating the pizza. With the three of us, the pizza did not survive long. With slices all gone, I stopped drinking the beers and we decided to go to the movies and see The Sum of all Fears. I was glad we did. Otherwise I would have gotten drunk.

    By the way, the movie was good. At least it gives us an idea of what a nuclear bomb detonation would look and make us feel like. The only frustrating scene in the movie was every time Ben Affleck as the new Dr. Ryan, the historian who knows more about Russia than any of the members of the Politboro, was about to make love with his girlfriend who is a surgical resident physician, the phone rings. It reminds us of ourselves twenty or more years ago when we were the doctors on call and our wife's basal body temperature called for action. And as soon as we were about to have the close encounter of the very best kind, the phone rang. Boy, wasn't it frustrating! Those were the days.

     Anyhow, I was about to send a message the following day thanking all of you for such an encouraging response when I opened my e-mail and I was told that only very few alumni paid the reunion dues. Of course, such conflicting statistics did not turn me off. It's just that I decided to wait until now to thank every one of you. At least many of you intend to attend our reunion, and that's more than enough for me to thank you for.

    For those of you who may decide later on to attend our reunion and want to make a hotel room reservation after all the rooms reserved for our alumni are taken, if you have a hard time getting a room, let Doming or any of the officers know. Don't worry. They'll call me when they need muscles. Just kidding. However, the room rate may be a little higher. And, for being late, you will also have to pay a surcharge for your reunion dues. But for a few dollars more, it should be worth it - the fun, friendship and fellowship in seeing each other, the snatches of pleasant conversations, the jokes and laughter, etc. It's not heaven. But it's close to it.

    So on behalf of the officers and board members, please accept our thanks and appreciation for your plan and intention to attend our reunion. There are many reasons that can screw up your plan and change your mind like for example, it rains for forty days and forty nights. Who would like to go swimming in a gown or a tuxedo? We might as well have a meeting to discuss the strategy of how to live under water. Anyway, we simply hope that from now on until our reunion, nothing will screw up your plan and no reason will be compelling enough to make you change your mind. We look forward to see you. Our Vice-President Maida Antigua is processing the name badges as fast as Lolit can give her the names of the alumni that are definitely coming to our reunion. I would not be surprised if Maida is bringing her laptop computer wherever she goes, even when she goes to the bathroom. That's how hard she works for all of us. No, your name badge won't smell. Just kidding, Mai-ids.

Honoring the Visionaries
    The theme of our upcoming alumni reunion this year is honoring the visionaries. "Vision," according to Stephen R. Covey, in his book First Thing First "is the best manifestation of creative imagination and the primary motivation of human action. It's the ability to see beyond our present reality, to create, to invent what does not yet exist, to become what we not yet are. It gives us capacity to live out of our imagination instead of our memory. Vision is the fundamental force that drives everything else in our lives. It empowers us to perform beyond our resources."

    All of us have vision of ourselves, and that's why we make choices. These visionaries we are going to honor are no different than us. They are ordinary individuals like you and I. But unlike you and I, they chose to follow what they saw and pursued it with passion and determination that transcended fear, doubt and discouragement, keeping them focus on making their priceless idea precious. It was like a mission to perform and accomplish. They cultivated the same hope and faith that brought out their best. And unlike you and I, they had the unique combination of brains and balls, and together, they had the benefit of both acumen and prudence. What they saw was simple. What they needed in the process was complicated. Devoid of personal ulterior motives, their purpose was glorious, their approach was highly professional, and the results were phenomenal. To make a long story short, they founded our alma mater CIM. That's why if you can come, please do, because your presence is essential to help us honor and applaud these visionaries. They are the main underlying reason of the existence of our association. They deserve more, a whole lot more, but your presence is enough. Anyway, their story, the greatest CIM story ever told, is in our ASOCIMAI web site.

     Our Vice-President Maida Antigua has been working hard to invite, persuade and even beg all the visionaries or someone from their family to come to our reunion so we can honor them. Two weeks ago, Maida had finally gotten a positive response from Kenneth Velez, M.D. Kenneth is coming to our reunion with his wife to represent his Dad, Dr. Jacinto Velez. Dr. Benito Antigua will be coming for himself with his wife. The others are still pending. We'll keep you all posted.

The gift of giving
    St. Catherine's School in Richmond where my two daughters went for their high school, had this prayer: "Help me, O God, to remember through the examples of Jesus Christ; that what we keep, we lose; only what we give remains our own." You must have received the message I've copied, pasted and sent to every one from one of our own Thelma L. Fernandez, M.D. in charge of Pakna-an CIM project that is now called Pakna-an General Hospital (PGH), operating as a primary care facility with OB deliveries. The hospital is purely CIM operated that trains CIM medical residents and is manned by them. Thelma is appealing for our alumni's help. She is requesting for a specific donation and that is - an EKG machine.

     We, of the ASOCIMAI, should be glad and honored that it's us Thelma Fernandez approached first, for it only means that she has faith in us to speak the language of kindness, compassion and charity. For if we are known for refusing or ignoring an appeal for help from our colleagues in Cebu without even considering it, would any of them approach us? Would you, if you were they? Hell, no! So let's chose at least to give it a serious thought and let's talk about it a little more during the business meeting of our reunion. This is a sacred request for a sacred purpose to benefit the mainly indigent but sacred lives. It would also benefit our future CIM colleagues who will do the saving of these lives. Life, human life, whether that of the rich or poor, is sacred. Isn't it? That's why we, doctors, are in the business of saving lives because we believe that every life is sacred. Anyhow, if there are those of you who already have the EKG machine ready to donate, let us know, and please contact and reassure Thelma that help is on the way.

    Talking about giving, what the CIM Class 1976 did last year was admirable. They donated a computer and a doppler to Pakna-an for OB cases. You might ask, what is admirable about it? Well, compared to other class organizations, Class 1976 is no different. And yet, enough members of this class were able to put their heads together and came up with the donation that is not only vital to the welfare of the mostly indigent patients, but also to the learning of the CIM residents, interns and students as well. Class 1976 has given us an example that if an organization or association like ours can only unite and work in harmony like them, whatever project, program or goal we want to pursue, achieving it will be nothing more than a piece of cake. There is power in unity. There is lightness in harmony. Put them together and we can walk on water.

The alumni are coming!
     As of now, there are definitely five CIM alumni who are coming from the Philippines. Here they are:
      Benito Antigua, M.D.
      Dodong Chan, M.D.
      Maria Canga Chan, M.D.
      Carmelita(Gaming) P. Erum, M.D.
      Evelyn Velasquez, M.D.

Attention: Class 1962, 1967, 1972 and 1977!
     The upcoming reunion this year is your 40th, 35th, 30th, and 25th anniversary. Perhaps some of you would just say: "So what? I'm not coming." Relax. We understand your reason and decision. We just want to tell you that we are sorry that you couldn't come and we are going to miss you. It's just that 40, 35, 30 or 25 years is a long time, a very, very long time. And if you haven't seen many of your classmates, colleagues and friends in all these years or for the past 2-3 years, then you definitely deserve to relax, take off a few days, join with them and have some fun. This is just my suggestion because if we spend a lot of our energy and time mainly in one area of our lives, we violate our physical and spiritual need for rhythm and for ebb and flow. We deny human nature when we deny ourselves the fun and relaxation we derive from being with people we used to work or study with, hang out with, laugh with and have fun with. We need this kind of fun and relaxation not just to replenish our resources but also to have a pleasant memory that can keep us in rhythm or in balance during the tension and tremor and the ebb and flow of our life.

    If somehow you are one of those who are concern about your gray hair or hair loss, and that because of it, you're not too enthusiastic about attending our reunion having doubt that your classmates and friends may not recognize you anymore, then join the club. Except for a few who inherited a genetic code that calls for a long term frequent use of shampoo, we are all in the same condition. That's why we are making name badges to help us all recognize each other. Also, take the advice of Charlie Sheen in the movie Good Advice, "The more hair you lose, the more head you gain."

     For the Class 1972, I believe you were notified already about two months ago that Doming is finally going to give us our long-awaited souvenir yearbook program. Hopefully, El Presidente has not forgotten about it. He is too busy wheeling and dealing for our association. For those of us of the Class 1972 who are coming to our reunion, Dr. Dom would like us to practice the Vienna waltz starting Wednesday evening of our reunion as our presentation during the Grand Ball. Now someone has got to be patient to show and teach me this dance, because the only Vienna I'm familiar with is not a waltz. It's a sausage. Vienna Sausage. No kidding.

A Prodigal Classmate?
     Do you remember Bobby Zozobrado? Particularly to the CIM Class 1972, you must have remembered him because he once was a member of the class and he was popular. Even in San Carlos University, Bobby was already popular, not just because he was a handsome, good-looking young man, but also because he was one of those who had the charisma of a leader and the knack of someone who knows what button to push. Many young men during the time wished they could trade places with Bobby because he had the looks that turned every girl's head. One look at him from a pretty girl deserved another and then another and many more. While at some of us, like you and I, one look that was probably accidental from any girl, let alone pretty, was more than enough and no more. This reminds me of what George Burns used to joke about himself: "When I was a teenager, I could not get a date. All the pretty girls that I like were dating my handsome and good-looking classmates. I always wished I could trade places with my classmates. I sometimes hated myself. That's why I love myself a whole lot more now that I am 90. I can get a date anytime I want to. I don't have any competition."

    Bobby Zozobrado left CIM during the sophomore year. But he also left his heart in CIM. Many were wondering where he went although he was seen every now and then wearing an outfit that looked like that of a flight engineer. Anyway, Bobby would like to get in touch with CIM classmates and friends particularly those of you he used to hang out with. Here is his e-mail address: bobz@info.com.ph. If you want to see the pictures of Bobby and his three children and want to read the highlights of Bobby's career path, get into our class 1972 web site by clicking on Home at the bottom of this page and then click on Alumni Family and on Zozobrado.




    "I have had dreams and I have had nightmares, but I have conquered my nightmares because of my dreams." Dr. Jonas Salk

    "I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies; for the hardest victory is over self." Aristotle

    "Concentration is the magic key that opens the door to accomplishment. By concentrating our efforts upon a few major goals, our efficiency soars, our projects are completed -- we are going somewhere. By focusing our efforts to a single point, we achieve the greatest results. The first rule of success, and the one that supercedes all others, is to have energy. It is important to know how to concentrate it, how to husband it, how to focus it on important things instead of frittering it away on trivia." Michael Korda

    "A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks." Charles Gordy

    "Success is not the result of spontaneous combustion, you must set yourself on fire first." - Reggie Leach

    "There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment." - Norman Vincent Peale

    "Why were the saints, saints? Because they were cheerful when it was difficult to be cheerful, patient when it was difficult to be patient; and because they pushed on when they wanted to stand still, and kept silent when they wanted to talk, and were agreeable when they wanted to be disagreeable. That was all. It was quite simple and always will be." - Unknown


For Laughs Only

    A doctor was having an affair with his nurse. Shortly  afterward, she told him she was pregnant. Not wanting his wife to know, he gave the nurse a sum of money and asked her to go to Italy and have the baby there.
    ''But how will I let you know the baby is born?'' she asked.
    He replied, ''Just send me a postcard and write 'spaghetti' on the back. I'll take care of expenses.'' Not knowing what else to do, the nurse took the money and flew to Italy.
    Six months went by and then one day the doctor's wife called him at the office and explained, ''Dear, you received a very strange postcard in the mail today from Europe, and I don't understand what it means.''
    The doctor said, ''Just wait until I get home and I will explain it to you.''
    Later that evening, the doctor came home, read the postcard, fell to the floor with a heart attack. Paramedics rushed him to the ER.
    The lead medic stayed back to comfort the wife. He asked what trauma had precipitated the cardiac arrest. So the wife picked up the card and read,
    ''Spaghetti, Spaghetti, Spaghetti, Spaghetti - Two with sausage and meatballs, two without.''


     There was a terrible mix-up at the hospital. A man who had been scheduled for a vasectomy was instead given a sex change operation. When told of the mistake, he was understandably distraught.
     "I'll never be able to experience an erection again," he wailed.
     The surgeon tried to console him. "Of course you'll be able to experience an erection - it's just that it will have to be someone else's."


    An old man woke up in the recovery room after an operation and said: "Thank God that's over!"
    "You're lucky," said the guy in the next bed. "They left a scalpel inside me and had to cut me open again."
     "How terrible!" said the old man.
     "They had to open me up again too," said the guy on the other side. "To find their sponge."
     "That's dreadful," said the old man.
     Just then, the surgeon who had operated on the old man stuck his head round the door and asked: "Has anybody seen my hat?"
     The old man fainted.


    A cowboy strolled out of a saloon, ready to ride out of town. But he saw that someone had painted his horse green from head to hoof. The cowboy stormed back into the saloon.
     "Which one of you painted my horse green?" he demanded.
     "I did," said a huge mean-looking guy rising to his feet.
     "Right," said the cowboy. "Just letting you know that the first coat's dry."


Live for the moment

by Ernesto Yu, M.D. Class 1973

    The philosopher in me wholly subscribes to the quote, "Life is a reason to die." It's blindingly obvious that there is no such thing as death when there's no such thing as life. In exchange for the privilege to visit and sip the bounties of this universe, we submit ourselves to the constricting and binding commandment that exempts neither rich nor poor: Our breathing days are numbered. Whether you are at the peak of savoring the blooming and loveliest days of spring or at the low point of restless scrambling to better a private gloom, you drop your farewell when your clock concludes its ticking rotation, when you are snatched away by the Power above to stomp your feet on the next journey.

    Essentially, the pathetic part of this contract is,the end creeps into your bed unknowingly. Will you have time to pack the sweet stuffs that you have been showered with during all these wonder years? Will you have the final occasion to kiss everyone who made a difference in your temporary stint in Planet Earth, those who ground rainbows out of rain, laughters out of tears, and love out of loveliness? Will you have the chance to steady and redeem the rockings you perpetrated on enemies' line before heading to an ultimate peace? Nope! That is just the governing stinky rule of the game: No ifs and buts, no wait-a-minute or pleas for extension and postponement.

    As mortals who are inching towards this inevitable and unpredictable climax, we need to examine ourselves now. Did we unveil to our cherished clans and pals how their offer of devotion and compassion shape our world into a heaven of absolute jolly good fun? Did we stretch enough motivating words to ease our friends' mental wounds and save them from lingering too long in the dump? We ought to take every waking hour as our lucky break, for every night that we turn off the light our eyes may never open to witness the same sunrise again. This standard-issue sentiment holds true for all other blessings in life. Hence the birth of the age-old preaching, "Live for the moment." Another winning point to factor in when debating on the choices whether to attend or write off our annual alumni reunion this July. The affair guarantees the sizzle and glitz of meeting and touching someone from your distant past once again; spreads on your doorsteps the certainty to hand-deliver those unspoken gratitude and cheers as well as to hum the '60s novelty tunes and idle chitchats of the ancient times, or boogey with newly minted acquaintances. Before it is time for anyone of us to depart forever.

    Among the countless praiseworthy molecules that filter through our Brain Waves web page: stream of fresh editorials and news around alumni family circle - inspiring (alumni kids in the limelight), entertaining (travel highlights), shocking and tingly (accidents), devastating (death). The last category doubly pricks my psyche. The flooring announcement not only numbs my soul, it further sprinkles salts to an open wound for losing out, being in different regions, on the opportunity to show genuine exhibit of grief on my face. Granted I can always dispatch sincere sympathy texts over our established cyberspace, nothing can surpass the soothing effect of sorting out my emotion by personally whispering the lament that's brewed in my heart. It is at this achy frame in our lives that we count on the healing warmth of relatives and friends to deaden the weighty cross on the shoulder.

    Death is a consequence of living. Live for the moment



Twists of Fate

By: Marie Belen C. Flores-Rosales, MD MPH

    I never wanted to be a doctor. I never dreamt of becoming one. In my youth, I dreamt of being a career diplomat in a foreign land. I also dreamt of becoming a journalist, a reporter or somebody writing a book, because I love to write. I even dreamt of being plain simple me as a housewife somewhere in rural Philippines. I dreamt of being a different somebody to different people at different situations and occasions… but I never, ever dreamt of becoming a doctor.

    In high school, there was only UP for college in my mind, and nowhere else. I imagined myself at the campus in Diliman -- either at the School of Foreign Service or at the School of Journalism. I was 14, then, - young, sheltered, innocent with zero experience.

    Life is a series of twists, as I soon found out. By a sheer twist of fate, I found myself in the portals of CIM four years later, thanks, in great part, to Fluke, my older brother. Fluke, the one who passed on, originally belonged to Class of ’63. For reasons only known to him, he quit med school during his senior year, after passing the prelim boards, a semester shy of getting to internship. As my parents were devastated at this sudden turn of events, two sets of parent eyes were staring down on me – their second best, their only hope for redemption. A decision was made … not necessarily mine.

    Med school at CIM became an interesting twist. On a good day, it was wonderful – on a bad day it was a nightmare. I used med school to my advantage – I used it as a manipulative tool to get the perks and more from my parents.

    I entered CIM with no long-term goal in mind. My heart was not in it. For some strange reason, the only thought that stuck was what the late Dean Bacay said on the first day of school, “ A student is allowed a maximum of 10 absences per course per semester, in excess of which, a student will be dropped from that course”. I exercised that “privilege” to the fullest, ditching my classes one at a time systematically and strategically every day. One Saturday morning, I was at the Neuro Anatomy lab making up for my late reports, the late Dr. Jose Paradela with his usual no nonsense talk in his no nonsense style told me in no uncertain terms that his heart bled for me. He had to grapple with a painful decision whether to pass me or to fail me. I had passing test scores grade, but I was hardly ever in class. If I were, it must have been a really good day for me that I survived four hours in the classroom. Then Dr. Paradela decided … I failed Neuro Anatomy. If Dr. Paradela’s intent was to shake me up to get my attention, he succeeded. Failing Neuro Anatomy shook me up… it captured my attention. It made me set short term goals such as passing each and every course each semester. But shaken up as I was, it did not capture my heart.

    Dr. Francisco Dy’s Preventive Medicine and Public Health was a delightful twist. I hated it. It was boring – I didn’t quite understand public health stats – I was not interested in learning it. It did not make sense to me. Same was true with Pakna-an. It didn’t make sense. Every time Dr. Florentino Solon showed his Malnutrition slides from Nigeria – I felt dizzy, I felt nauseated. How much more of marasmus and kwashiorkor did I have to endure?

    Graduation from CIM was a difficult twist. Time had finally come when I had to confront the demons inside. I had to confront the reality that after passing the boards I was to become a doctor. The thought terrified me no end. My saving grace was the thought that I accomplished what I was sought to accomplish, that I made my parents happy, that I made my parents proud. But I felt empty inside. I was happy, but not really happy because I knew I didn’t deserve to become a doctor. I did not deserve the title of the profession. I was an embarrassment to a profession so noble and so respectable, that I felt small and ashamed. At CIM, I was just passing through. I was there physically, but my heart, my mind and my soul weren’t.

    At 24, with a Dr. prefixed to my name, I didn’t feel sane going back to freshman year at UP to pursue a dream. I had to make do with what I had, and what I had was a pediatric residency at PGH. Three years of residency was agony – I was screaming inside wanting to be free … free to do what I want to do. At the time, there was only one road for me, and that road was narrow. I became obsessed with ECFMG and coming to the US of A as a way to re-direct my energies. I failed ECFMG once during my internship year – at that time, it didn’t matter. I took it, then, because my friends did. This time, it’s for real – I had to pass it to survive myself. I passed ECFMG the second time…. and.. hallelujah…I was on my way to wherever I wanted to go.

    Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was far away, too far that my employment and visa documents were too slow in coming.

    And there is a GOD! The year was 1973, month of January … the most beautiful of twists came my way. The UN placed a Sunday paper ad for medical volunteers to serve 4 months in Phnom Penh in Cambodia. The war in Southeast Asia was raging and at its peak, the Americans along side the Khmers and Vietnamese were losing ground, and there were thousands upon thousands of refugees needing medical attention. That ad caught my eye, caught my fancy and captured my heart. In three weeks I was in Phnom Penh. In Cambodia and Vietnam, I saw the atrocities and ravages of war. I started a medical program for Catholic Relief Services in the refugee camps. I lived in the camp under very austere conditions without electricity, with rationed water - but I was satisfied, fulfilled and happy with what I was doing.

    My four months initial stint became a more permanent arrangement with CRS. When Cambodia and Vietnam fell to the Communist in April 1975, the refugee program was moved to Thailand, - I moved with the program, remained there until the last refugee camp closed in 1982. Interspersed between those years were short assignments in the Iran/Iraqi border of Kermanshah during the revolution in 1977, and in the Pakistan border town of Peshawar during the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, and Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 1980.

    The nine years I spent with the refugees changed my perspective on medical practice. Those were the best nine years of my professional life, time well-spent. Suddenly, Dr. Dy made sense. Suddenly Pakna-an made sense as I applied the principles of Pakna-an and Dr. Dy’s public health in the refugee camps. Suddenly, I found meaning to my being a doctor. Pursuing an advanced degree in public health became a natural course of action for me, and I found myself at the UP campus, not in Diliman, but in Padre Faura for that purpose. Suddenly, I recognized that the MD after my name is well-deserved, after all.

    I fulfilled the dreams of my youth, not in the way I dreamt it, but I fulfilled it. I went to foreign lands, not as a career diplomat but as a humanitarian, and developed long term friendships along the way. I finally went to UP, the college of my dreams, not for the same purpose – but, I went there anyway. I dabbled with my love for writing, wrote articles here and there – a few were published, a great number of them collecting dust somewhere.

    Who knows, I will still be able to write a book someday.


Where my mother works

by Chloe Estrera '04

he was about to bust out on easter morning
before my mother bodyslammed the metal exit door
snagging his hand and arm waving wild

shouting for orderlies
and my father,
who also worked there

I pinched my thigh scratch mark red
because I was seven and scared.
uh, should we help mom push

or should we help him out?
pinched in he bellowed and grunted
and mom bellowed and grunted

wielding the door like a sword.
I could hear my father, the cavalry,
and several pounding footsteps

inside, a glimpse of white through the crack
and ear and hand and elbow instant gone.
the door slammed shut like a city gate

resonating. mom exhaled and open the door
again, to a fresh white hallway
fluorescent-lighted, disinfected, empty

but for our father, white-coated smiling
and reaching for his girls
on a sunday afternoon.

(Editor's Note:Chloe Estrera, is the older daughter of Clem Estrera. She is the poetry layout editor of Veritas, a poetry publication of the University of Virginia School of Medicine. She gave her permission to publish her poem in our newsletter.


Editor's Acknowledgement and Appreciation

    Thanks to the following alumni:

    Maida Antigua, for the beautiful pictures above and below she took in Australia a couple of months ago. There are more of them where they came from for the next issue of our newsletter.
    Gaming Erum, for the pictures of the inside of CIM school.
    Alex Rodriguez, for the pictures of the Chinese president who seemed to be attending his National Security meeting. I did not realize that in some people, removing a boger from their nose is enough to make them drowse.