“Cooperation, Action, and Harmony”, kept the College of Arts and Humanities (CAH) faculty, staff, and their respective families busy and bonded on July 25 and 26 as they experienced the theme of their 2019 retreat. Team building activities, strategic planning, and community outreach to the Aetas in the hills of Guab, Magalang, Pampanga were all accomplished in two days.
Team building activities were led by the Psychology department headed by Dr. Sheryl Ann Castillo and Ms. Myrtle Orbon, the department chair, who divided the other six departments namely, Developmental Communication, Fine Arts, History, Languages, Music, and Physical Education into 5 color groups. These groups composed of four to five members each wore blue, orange, pink, violet, and yellow. Five challenging yet, hilarious team building activities were accomplished by each group, with Team Orange finishing with the greatest number of points.
The retreat also became an avenue wherein the CAH family can serve and minister to the others, despite steep slopes, the CAH team hiked their way to serve and bring goods to the community of the Aetas, braving the humidity after lunchtime going up, and the heavy rains in the late afternoon on their way down back to the retreat house which is the Adventist Community Center.
The culminating activity was the continuation of the strategic plans by departments which were completed on Friday afternoon, with Dr. Eunice Aclan, CAH dean as facilitator. Devotional speakers of the event were Dr. Flor Marticio, former Dean of CAH; Ma’am Tess Belarmino, Language Center coordinator; and Dr. Jesse Songcayawon, Chair of the of the History department.
Based on the accomplishments, and attendance which according to Ma’am Mary Ann Asi, secretary of CAH “only four faculty members were not able to attend for valid reasons”, the retreat was a success, and a greater blessing as well because of the presence of three CAH deans namely, Dr. Aclan, Dr. Marticio, and Dr. Aida Ledesma.
CAH wishes to thank Ma’am Jonalyn Aclon of the PE department and her team of chefs for facilitating the accommodation and meals, the elders and officers and members of the SDA church and community center in Guab, the vehicle owners, and all those who contributed in cash and in kind for the success of the program.
*(article written by Elmie Lynn V. Lagajino)
The first fruits, the first light, Prima Lux 2019! The Adventist University of the Philippines College of Medicine (AUP-COM) celebrates the historical success of the pioneering batch during the first graduation exercises on June 21-23, 2019.
After years of planning, trying, and persevering, the dream of building and founding an Adventist Medical School in the Philippines turned into a reality. Looking back into the hurdles faced by AUP in the first few years of the medical school, the need for a building, the set of administrators, the dean that would lead the program, the operating funds, all these challenges kept on bombarding the institution, but God had sent people through Dr. Peter Landless (director of General Conference Health Ministries), Dr. Liza Bearsdsley-Hardy (Associate Director of Education @ General Conference of Seventh-day Adventists), and the alumni all over the world to encourage the administrators to pursue the journey.
The First Lights
The Sweet 16 as the first batch would call themselves first stepped inside the College of Medicine (COM) in the year 2015. As the youngest college and program of the university, there had been many challenges, but the administrators and the university were determined to pursue the program. One of the key elements that the institution prepared for is its unique curriculum. Dean Doris Mendoza, MD (founding and current AUP-COM dean), her team, and the AUP administrators did a careful study and formation of the unique curriculum that they would be using which envisions the future fruits of the AUP-COM. The integration of faith and values in learning has been an integral part of the curriculum, which aims to produce five-star-plus physician missionaries that heal patients physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. The college aims to produce medical students that are trained to be clinicians: Doctors that emulate the gentle and healing aura of the Master Physician; researchers: Doctors who utilize evidence-based medicine to ensure that quality healthcare is delivered; managers: Doctors who are leaders in their field, leading God’s people, and using health as their ministry; educators: Doctors who educate their patients as well as future colleagues by imparting knowledge that they have acquired; and social mobilizers: Doctors with the passion for Public Health and social issues geared towards Universal Health Care.
Obstacles, more than the physical building, key persons, and operating funds, challenged the hearts and determination of the pioneer batch. Challenges such as experienced by Jan Serge Aclan “BAGUHAN. WALANG NAPATUNAYAN. GUINEA PIG. Words that I heard when I enrolled at the AUP College of Medicine. A lot of people asked me why would I enroll in a new school whereas I already came from a well-known university.” But they cling on to the mission, with humility, with a heart for service, through faith in the Lord. Personal challenges were also faced by these aspiring doctors. Many have to face the financial challenge but chose not to worry, as how one of them pointed it out “I know God has plan for me and He is the reason why I am studying at AUP COM.”
A Cup of their T.E.A.
Apparently, one of the most valuable accomplishments the AUP-COM pioneer batch was to bring souls to Christ. A number of the total population of the College are non-Adventist, and as Dean Mendoza have always pointed out, “every heart is a mission field“, the COM family have dedicated their time, effort, and affection in reaching within their circle. One notable change of heart and life was found in one of their converted professors, Dr. Elmer C. Valenzona, for after years of living a life without a direction, has found a new path through the bible studies given to him by one of his students. However, more than the missionary work that they do within, it’s the missionary work outside their circles that tested their principles, values, and faith. This was tested when these aspiring doctors where sent out to Batangas Medical Center, the biggest Hospital in the Southern Tagalog for their clerkship program. Faced with a different culture and environment, these clinical clerks have embodied the life lessons and Christian values taught to them, physically, mentally, socially, and spiritually. This has created an impact on how other hospital personnel interacted with their patients. Prayer has now become a practice for every medical procedure that they would be doing. The pioneer batch have also dedicated a part of their time in visiting places where medical assistance is a challenge, rendering free medical check-ups and minor surgeries to the community people. They have also shared blessings through giving school bags and materials. Amidst the field missions they have, it was through their lives that they are able to reach and preach the gospel, sharing a cup of their Time, Effort and Affection. As they were interacting with their colleagues and patients, it was their Christ-centered life that has greatly shown the difference of Adventist Education. With this, the AUP-COM was recognized by the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges (APMC) as one of the ten best student organizations.
Jan Serge J. Aclan, their class president, stated, “Studying in AUP Medicine is one of the best decisions I have made in my life.” The AUP- College of Medicine may be new to the industry of medical schools, but these Physician Missionaries have found a home in this learning facility. A home where they have been trained and molded not just as medical doctors, but also as vessels of God’s light that brings physical, social, emotional, and spiritual healing to people they can reach.
by Mrs. Arlene Tordecilla-Ferrolino
Successful doctors, pastors, teachers, businessmen and other professionals from all corners of the globe gathered at AUP on Thursday, February 28 through Sunday, March 3, 2019. Greeted by banners heralding their grand reunion, it was a special time set aside to remember, to reconnect and to revisit a time in their past, to experience again their years on this campus where they came together 40 years before to begin their college years.
Members of the first freshman class of then Philippine Union College descended on the campus for a weekend of reunion activities which included a Thursday evening banquet, a health and wellness seminar on Friday and full Sabbath services from Vespers through Sabbath School and the Hour of Worship, The group of nearly 60 alumni from the Pioneers Class participated in a special luncheon followed by a baptism of 4 precious souls which was the result of an evangelistic crusade also sponsored by the Pioneers. They spent the afternoon touring the campus which afforded them special photo opportunities as they were able to see the results of 40 years of progress. A solemn sundown service was then capped with a dinner and social time for this group of enthusiastic classmates now in their late 50’s and early 60’s.
Flashback to 40 years ago when this same set of young high school graduates arrived at the new, nearly desolate campus of PUC Silang, then a distant and provincial location. A bumpy jeepney ride on the narrow, dusty pothole-ridden main road to Santa Rosa or up the hill to Tagaytay were the only links to the civilization of a city. Only a few buildings existed in strategic points of the campus of this budding college—just a couple of classrooms, dormitories, the cafeteria and the graduate school, the motorpool and a few faculty homes. Sugarcane fields and pineapple plantations marked the rolling landscape with a few lush mango and coconut trees when a total of 110 students from educational institutions near and far came to the school to seek higher education.
They were bright-eyed and eager to begin their classes as new college students and little did they know that their existence would carry such great significance in the amazing history of this school. It was this group of young men and women who were the first occupants of the new Modulars and the newly erected and freshly painted Sampaguita Hall, the first to dine in the new cafeteria. Their feet were the first to traverse the sidewalks and, yes, even the unpaved trails that connected the motor pool to the cafeteria, the dorms to the gym and PIC which were both still under construction at the time.
What are now stately and mature ipil-ipil and acacia trees were mere saplings planted by the caring hands of the Pioneers who participated in two hours of work education every day before they began their classes. The work-study program yielded countless hours of valuable manpower which helped shape and construct the sprawling campus into what it is today. Where there are now concrete and asphalt roads were once dusty paths on sunny days or muddy dirt roads on rainy days for these Pioneers to plod. There were not many vehicles on campus 40 years ago. The modes of transportation back then were just a few cars and mopeds whose engines would break the stillness of the then quiet and tranquil rural atmosphere.
Undoubtedly, this unique, adventurous, trailblazing and historically special pioneering class was divinely placed at this specific time in PUC/AUP’s timeline. As young college freshman then and now, 40 years later, as leaders and solid workers in their chosen fields of ministry, medicine, education, business, nursing and allied health among others, it is clearly evident that the years they spent as Pioneers has contributed greatly to the solid foundation of character building, the tenacity to become high-achievers and the desire to be of greater service. On ever onward, the Pioneers have gloriously gone, as they have truly and most certainly exemplified the school’s motto.
Gratefully blessed, proudly inspired by their history and enthusiastically eager to continue their legacy, the Pioneers Class was responsible for the construction of Pioneers Hall and will soon announce their next project for the continuing advancement of their alma mater.
Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila held the 51st Annual Convention for the APMC or the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges on February 7-9, 2018. With the theme “Medical Education in Challenging Times”, certain awards were given to those who represented and made their school proud. Serge Aclan, Pioneer Batch 2019 Class President, was Awardee #1 for “Project Gifted”. Dr. Doris A. Mendoza, our very own COM Dean, was elected to the Association of Philippine Medical Colleges, Inc (APMC) as member of the Board of Trustees. The induction ceremony was done on February 9, 2018 with the Inducting Officer , Ireneo Bernardo, President of the Philippine Medicals Association.
Dr. Doris Mendoza and Serge Aclan carried the AUPCOM banner as well as the University’s name in the processional of college Deans.