The Adventist University of the Philippines (AUP) just opened its College of Medicine. Why another medical school when there are so many of them in the Philippines? Well AUP school of medicine would like to incorporate in its medical student training not just the conventional medical curriculum but also include emphasis on the spiritual dimension and also on the importance of lifestyle modification in the approach of preventing and also in the treatment of illnesses. This philosophy stems out of the what one of Seventh Day Adventist founders said about education,“It is the harmonious development of the physical, the mental, and the spiritual powers. It prepares the student for the joy of service in this world and for the higher joy of wider service in the world to come.” (Laurence T. Gayao, MD}
Dr. Romy Barrios: Report in AUP Cyberlink
Aug. 12, 2015 starts the first day of classes in AUP for the First Semester Academic Year 2015-2016. However, for the AUP College of Medicine, the 18 pioneer students began their classes two days ago, immediately after the historic inaugural program last weekend. This new academic calendar is inevitable. The top universities in the Philippines adopts the same scheme; others school started even earlier. Eventually, all educational institutions in the Philippines must abide by this school calendar change, based on the mandate of the government. Let us praise God for AUP, for His enduring Providence allows our academic leaders, faculty, and staff comply in stride to carry on the Lord’s work of Christian education.
In this issue, I am featuring the highlights of the three-day weekend inaugural program of the AUP College of Medicine. We have witnessed the Lord’s miracle and grace for bringing together the key people of the Seventh-day Adventist worldwide Church, the high officials in the government, the leaders of AUP sister institutions, our alumni, donors, sponsors, faculty, students, and people from all walks of life to celebrate God’s goodness for the opening of the AUP College of Medicine. All glory and praise to God!
AUP College of Medicine opens with 18 pioneer students
The 18 pioneering students include: Jessly Rose Acoba, Joy Belarmino, Alexzan Benardino, Janina Bianca Cabili, Christopher Dale Chua, Lexan Erdin Cordial, Paul Rothwel De Jesus, Vanda Charisse Dejolde, Weamirson Estrada, April Rae Garces, Eimarlouyd Mansaguiton, Aedrian Rodriguez, Andy Graham Rosas, Julienne Rowelie Sanchez, Nim Franzio Salazar, Se Eun Jang, Jon Sergei Aclan, and Alain Justin Berbano.
Highlights of the 3-day COM inaugural program
A worshipful weekend marks the 3-day inaugural program of the AUP College of Medicine last August 7-9. Hundreds of guests consisting of prominent medical personalities, government officials, heads of AUP sister institutions, alumni in the US, donors, SDA world church leaders, faculty, and students have come together to celebrate God’s goodness for making the medical school a reality. A God glorified weekend was set in the campus by the AUP administration calling it a “health ministry weekend” for the people to glorify God who is the Great Physician, and Great Healer – from which the credo of AUP College of Medicine was framed: “Through Christ, Healing and Wholeness.”
August 7, Friday 5:30 a.m. – Fun Run/Walk for a Cause
During the first day, at dawn, the AUP Family and guests gather at the University Gymnasium for a spiritual devotion led by Pastor Moises de Ocampo of the College of Theology. Then the whole community engaged in physical fitness exercise – many joined the 5K fun run, some jogged, while others simply walked around the campus.
August 7, Friday 7:00 p.m. – Vespers Service
Sabbath evening worship at the Philippine International Church was never the same when the AUP administrators testify God’s leading and faithfulness, and how God manifested through them His Will for the College of Medicine. Pastor Abel Vergara, director of AUP Spiritual Life Development was the moderator of the live feature, “Celebration on God’s Guidance.” The panel includes Dr. Francisco Gayoba, AUP president, Dr. Miriam Narbarte, VP Academics, Dr. Robert Borromeo, VP Finance, and Dr. Doris Mendoza, first dean of AUP College of Medicine.
August 8, Saturday 10:00 a.m. – Hour of Worship
The Bread of Life message of Dr. Peter Landless, director of Health Ministries of the General Conference, is the core of the inaugural program of the College of Medicine. His message, “The Healing Ministry in the Last Days.” He was introduced by Pastor Abraham Carpena, SSD director of Health Ministries department, while Bro. Hector Gayares Jr., Adventist Medical Center Bacolod president, led the pastoral prayer. The following are excerpts of Dr. Landless’ Divine Hour message:
“As each one of us sits in this Church this morning, we each have the responsibility for the success of this College of Medicine. I want to urge you to fill this school with Seventh-day Adventist trained physicians, or teachers, leaders, and professors to make a university College of Medicine a distinction right from where you are. How do we do the healing ministry in the last days? I’d like to urge each one to serve God right where you are planted.
“I’d like to send out a warning to those of us who had been blessed to have a training in medicine, have an opportunity to have influence, to make money, and to have a wonderful career…don’t think that your responsibility ends with the giving of the offering…The healing ministry has to be done not for the church. It’s going to be done with the church. It’s going to be done as in these last days move into opportunities, challenges, and to give ourselves to the ministry.
“Your challenges are just beginning. The celebration this weekend, the joy, the culmination, of what is being prepared of the more than three or four decades of planning, of praying, of having been refused, of now being given the ‘go ahead.’ But the travail is beginning…that God is with us. I know He is good in this school.
“I’m going to make a confession, and no apology. I feel an urgency in my ministry as I have never felt before. And that’s for a number of reasons. Not least of which, as I see my graying hair, I see the responsibility of time running by so quickly…We don’t have time to play games.”
August 8, Saturday 2:00 p.m. – Special Thanksgiving Service
The venue was at the central ground floor of the Alumni Hall (College of Medicine building) in a more intimate and informal setting. The gathering was purposely to share testimonies, stories, and appeals by donors, supporters, sponsors, and prime movers of the College of Medicine. Here are selected quotes from that Sabbath afternoon service:
You see, I have a wife (Mrs. Lourdes Miguel) who is supportive, loyal, steadfast, and committed…There were many occasions when we got so discouraged… but if you know how to look back where the source of everything come from, you will know exactly where you will go. By being the past president of the alumni organization for six years, and for almost 40 years of private practice in general surgery and thoracic vascular surgery, the Lord has blessed us. He has given us opportunity to be good steward in supporting AUP COM. – Dr. Alfonso Miguel, Donor
Dr. Alfonso Roda did not live long enough to see his last dream to come to reality. However, God’s Spirit empowered people to have the same passion Dr. Roda had. God works mysteriously in many ways. I appreciate my wife, my son Edmund, and those, who in one way or another, have generously helped in raising funds for AUP College of Medicine. – Dr. Alberto Bagingito, Donor
After medical school I got married. My wife and I went to the states. It was a struggle to pass the US medical board, it was not easy. But with God’s blessings we both pass the medical board, and receive our training…family practice. I finished my internal medicine at Loma Linda University. God has blessed our family, and with His blessings we’re able to share it with the AUP School of Medicine…For the upcoming medical students, my advice is always have God as your partner in everything you do and “He will crown your effort with success.” – Dr. Wilson Lao, Donor
I graduated from Loma Linda University. They really taught me a lot about medicine, and how ‘to make man whole.’ That is really important in our education…So I’m back now in the bandwagon. I’m back being excited about this inauguration…about this medical school opening up! I believe in the next several years, not only this could be the best medical school in the Philippines, but the best medical school in all Asia. – Dr. Edmund Bagingito, Donor
The Lord has impressed in my heart: If ever a college of medicine will be established in the Southern Asia-Pacific Division, it should be at AUP. It is the most prepared institution throughout the Division as far as educational institution is concerned . – Pastor Alberto Gulfan, SSD Immediate Past President
God is not summoned to do what human power can do. As fund-raisers…we could not just be praying and claiming the promise, doing nothing. God is waiting for us to do something. Remember at the tomb of Lazarus, Jesus said to the people around, “Roll the stone!” What does it mean? Christ has not commanded Lazarus to come forth. He asked human strength, human power to roll the stone. I praise God that these are the people who rolled the stone – that this building has been blessed because God is with them as human instruments. – Mrs. Beth Casel, Former AUP Philanthropic Director
Like Dr. Alfonso Roda, we did not stop dreaming of having our own medical school. When the go-signal was received by the AUP administration to open a medical school, and solicitation of funds started, I did not hesitate to help financially when the ups and downs and the uncertainty of the final opening we have experienced in the COM, I have been silently watching, praying, and hoping it will still be a reality…I don’t want to miss this day, this weekend because this is a dream come true for me. I praise God to have been part of this reality. To God be the glory! – Dr. Elma Lou Roda, Donor
I represent the AUP Family. When our leaders announced the plan to push through the College of Medicine, my heart burned with enthusiasm and had the desire to support. As part of the AUP family of workers, I’d like you to know though how humble our income may be or how small our contributions may be, we can say that we have sincerely given what we have. This edifice testifies how the AUP family unite in prayer, in supplication, in soliciting…And we will continue praying for you, our donors and supporters that will bless you abundantly. Not only financially but blessings of contentment and peace because you have done your mission God had entrusted you. – Mrs. Tess Jael, AUP Donors’ Representative
I am happy that the College of Medicine has opened up in my lifetime…How did I get involved in the College of Medicine? Being elected as president of AWESNA for the next three years. This was passed on to me…Can you imagine the three presidents of the AWESNA being here this afternoon? Is there any doubt in your mind of the support the AWESNA will give to AUP, not to mention the College of Medicine? We are all here to make a vow. (Calling the members.)We are here to echo the voice of support of our Alumni. Let’s push forward…onward for the AUP. – Dr. Elmer Bangloy, AWESNA President
This led me to Loma Linda Medical Center…This was a good day because by then, I would now understand what my Adventist medical students were fighting for. My medical students taught their teacher something eternal. They didn’t realize it but they gave what they had. They taught me lesson I would not heard otherwise. – Dr. Doris Mendoza, Founding Dean, AUP College of Medicine
August 9, Sunday 8:00 a.m. – COM Inauguration and White Coat Ceremony
At the Alumni Hall, as soon as the guests were all seated, the traditional processional march of the pioneering students with COM administrators, faculty members, and platform party ensues. Dr. Miriam Narbarte, AUP VP Academics, warmly welcomed and acknowledged the presence of everyone in the hall.
“The road to this very day has been full of challenges, disappointments, and doubts,” VP Narbarte said. “It was not an easy route; it was not a walk in the park. But with God’s continuous guidance, this day has come,” she continued. So she made a challenging appeal to the audience: “Let us make AUP my school, your school, our school. A breeding ground for the best physician-missionaries who will bring the everlasting Gospel to the world.”
Then President Francisco Gayoba narrated the COM history calling it the “A Journey of Faith. “You are the beginning of the DNA of the missionary,” President Gayoba used his metaphor to challenge the first batch of medical students. ”The DNA coming from your mentors, transferred to you will be replicated in the years to come. May you be faithful to that vision,” he said. He individually thanked, and mentioned the name the COM prime movers and supporters. “…You are all here – the God’s instruments. We thank you for being part of the AUP COM story,” Gayoba conveys his gratitude. Your decision to come is a statement of faith, too. We have prayed for you. We believe that God will see this project through.”
The inaugural message was given by Dr. Lisa Beardsley-Hardy, Education Director, General Conference worldwide Church of Seventh-day Adventists. She was introduced by Pastor Houtman Sinaga, SSD Chaplain. Dr. Beardsley-Hardy’ message was addressed to the 18 pioneering medical students, saying:
“You are the pioneering class of AUP College of Medicine. He has called each one of you in such a time as this. Today we stand on the silvery light of the road that stretches before us. There will be twists and turns ahead, and as pioneer students, I ask you for your patience because there will be mistakes when something is done for the first time. But keep in mind, you are pioneers and you are blazing the way. After 35 years from now, you will be looking back and you will say, ‘I was part of the pioneering class.’ And you have stories to tell…”
The felicitations were overwhelming. Commendations and congratulatory messages reverberate throughout the program. Among those who gave their felicitation include Pastor Leonardo Asoy (SSD President), Representative of Hon. Jon Vic Remulla (Governor of Cavite), Representative of Hon. Omil Poblete (Silang, Cavite Mayor), Dr. Emmylou Yanga (CHED Region IV-A Director), Pastor Nepthali Manez (NPUC President), Dr. Ramoncito Magnaye (Batangas Medical Center Chief), Dr. Salcor Quines (EASNAC President), Dr. Elmer Bangloy (AWESNA President). On the other hand, Dr. Robert Borromeo, AUP VP Finance, presented the financial report for the COM project.
The most remarkable part of the program was the first white coat ceremony for the first batch of AUP COM. Dr. Roger Hadley, Dean, Loma Linda University School of Medicine gave his meaningful insight about white coat ceremony. He was formally introduced by Dr. Bibly Macaya, President of Adventist Medical Center Manila. “White coat means trust, competence, empathy, and hope.” Dr. Hadley explained. “For a doctor, it means privilege to serve. In the eyes of patients, white coat means taking ownership of their problems. That their needs will supersede your needs. And you remain diligent in providing service for your patients. Because one wrong action on your part could take away the trust forever,” Hadley emphasized
Dr. Jan Idalyne Carbajal, Department Chair of AUP COM officially introduced the pioneer class, following the ceremonial white coating. Leading the ceremony is Dr. Peter Landless, assisted by AUP COM administrative officers, namely: Dr. Demuel Berto, College Secretary; Dr. Bienvinido Tamano, Dept. Chair, and Dr. Prudencio Sta. Lucia, Jr., Academic Coordinator. The Christian Physician Oath was led by Dr. Linda Varona, Faculty. While Pastor Max Cadalig, AUP Advancement Office Director, led the Litany of Dedication.
The inaugural program ended with the dedicatory prayer of Dr. Peter Landless. Followed by the ceremonial ribbon-cutting and unveiling of the COM edifice and room markers.