As another year and another blessing have been unfolded of the history to one of Cebu’s temple of learning, the MHAM community had celebrated its 111th birth anniversary of the founder, Don Matias Hipolito Aznar II, at the MHAM Lobby, Redemptorist Plaza campus last August 13, 2018 in the morning.
Started with a eucharistic celebration officiated by Fev. Fr. Joriz F. Calsa of the Salesians of Don Bosco, this year’s founding anniversary in commemoration of the founder’s remarkable journey and his legacy to what MHAM has achieved today was attended by Mrs. Elma Aznar Sierra, Ms. Angelica Aznar Sierra, faculty members, administrative personnel, non-teaching, support staff and aspiring doctors.
Sharing his personal story who underwent laparoscopic surgery in order to remove his gall bladder filled with stones, Fr. Calsa also reminded the community of believers mostly of whom were doctors and future doctors to penetrate the word of God in one’s soul and to become doctors with a heart.
“First of all I admired your school because you are integrating the holy eucharist in your anniversary celebration. It is like acknowledging, affirming, that if God is not generous and good, all our efforts will be in vain. I know it is difficult to study with the medical subjects but I know you can make it and most of all, be a doctor with a heart. The challenge of the word of God is to receive Jesus so often and that Jesus penetrate your soul, penetrate your heart, penetrate your mind, so that you will be transformed gradually into His own likeness”, Fr. Calsa said in his homily.
The annual floral offering in honor of the founder followed the holy mass which was officially opened by the harmonic voices of the singing future doctors- the MHARMONY.
Hosted by MHAM HR director, Mr. Pedro Pañares, the audience was also delighted by the presence of Jose Mikhael Frasco Oclarit, the one and only child of the Research Department director, Dr. Jose Oclarit, with his amazing violin performance.
As a token of affection and esteem, the ceremonial floral offering was led by the founder’s youngest daughter and successor, Mrs. Elma Aznar Sierra, whose father-to-daughter legacy has been embodied by the latter’s unwavering will and determination to uphold the founder’s vision and mission to soar. Her one and only daughter, Ms. Angelica Aznar Sierra also graced the event in honor of her grandfather.
Honoring with basket of flowers together with the Aznar-Sierra family were representatives from the administration, faculty, non-teaching staff, students, security and general services employees. MHAM Obstetrics and Gynecology Department Chairperson, Dr. Marilou Viray also made the tribute more meaningful with her dedicated service for the flower decorations and physical arrangement for the significant yearly event.
In her welcome address, College Dean, Dr. Ma. Socorro Manaloto cited the founder’s legacy in building a temple of learning, an institution that has supported countless and nameless individuals since it has started with free education by creating the scholarship programs to deserving students but with financial constraints.
“Today we are commemorating the 111th birth anniversary of our founder, Don Matias Hipolito Aznar II. For the information of our new students, freshmen and transferees, he is the father of the current President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Mrs. Elma Aznar Sierra. Don Matias Hipolito Aznar II has left a legacy of education not only to his children but most importantly, to the Cebuanos, Filipinos and people all over the globe. He has given opportunities to many financially-challenged students by offering scholarship to deserving ones and started the working scholars program. I am sure that our founder, today, is very much happy to see to what is MHAM now and what is has become. I hope that this simple commemoration of celebration today, we will be able to put in our minds and hearts that everything we do in this institution shall be and in always for the best of MHAM because we are MHAM”, Dr. Manaloto said.
As the visionary daughter fulfills the vision of the founder and has rebuilt on its own to what it traditionally culture anchored in excellence with its commitment to produce globally competitive medical professionals, a video presentation added inspiration to all with the birth of a new college, the MHAM COLLEGE INC. which is committed to create a proactive and excellent learning and teaching environment through its core values as its mission, founded by Mrs. Elma Aznar Sierra with its sustainable development programs.
Aimed to produce universally competitive, morally upright and service oriented professionals, the MHAM COLLEGE INC. will be offering Bachelor of Science in Medical Technology, Bachelor of Science in Biology and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science Major in Disaster Management in response to climate change issues and disaster management and in dealing with all humanitarian aspects of emergencies in order to lessen the impact of disasters.
With its direction to move to Banawa, Cebu City, the MHAM COLLEGE INC. with its official address at the Mezzanine Floor, Matias H. Aznar II Memorial School of Medicine Building, R. Duterte St., Banawa, Guadalupe, Cebu City will be occupying the 7th, 8th and 9th floors of the new building.
Formally proposed in Dumaguete City, the new College with its new vision, mission, core values and goals was duly approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission on July 12, 2018. Looking back, on the occasion of Mrs. Sierra’s birthday last March 18, 2017, the President and Chairman of the Board initially planned to create another company in order to compliment the needs of the MHAM College of Medicine, Inc. to continually produce globally competitive mavens of the field.
Gracing the event with his unrelenting passion to serve his Alma Mater for years was the outgoing MHAM Medical Alumni President, Dr. Carlito Astillero, who received the Don Matias Service Award for his meaningful contribution and unquestionable dedication to the school.
This year’s recipient of the highest service award of MHAM was a former corporate treasurer of the MHAM Board of Trustees and Microbiology faculty. In 2017, Dr. Astillero was among the Cebu City awardees on the occasion of the 80th Cebu City Charter Day Anniversary and received a prestigious recognition conferred by Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmeña being an Outstanding Individual in the City of Cebu for his indebted contribution and deep commitment in promoting quality medical education and for having been organized the MHAM College of Medicine Multipurpose Cooperative.
As the prime mover and founder of the MHAM College of Medicine Multipurpose Cooperative, this MHAM alumnus and board topnotcher in his time has been a recipient of regional and national awards due to his socio-civic activities.
Having been espoused the values of the founder with his selfless services along the years, Dr. Astillero said in an interview that the birth of the MHAM COLLEGE INC. was one of his ideas and inspiration to its birth.
“I am happy and surprised because nobody told me that there is such an award today and I considered this as the most precious award that I received given by MHAM. Today’s founding anniversary is a renewal of loyalty to our institution and it should be celebrated with pride”, Dr. Astillero said.
Meanwhile in his enthusiastic welcome and introduction of this year’s guest speaker who was no other than the VP for Academics for the College of Medicine, Dr. Roy Entienza, the Chairperson of Pharmacology Department, Dr. Donny Jay Yu, delightedly introduced to the audience the former’s remarkable background information and educational experience aside from being a MHAM alumnus.
Gracing the event with his testimonial speech, Dr. Entienza recounted how the founder, Don Matias Hipolito Aznar II and his wife Doña Anunciacion Barcenilla Aznar have left a legacy in putting up a temple of learning instead of investing other profitable and lucrative businesses, as they have owned and acquired.
“It was in 1946 when our school Southwestern University was born, amidst chaos and rehabilitation after the war. Life was not as complicated as it is today back then. As a native of Cebu who knows the Aznar family since I was seven years old, I can testify how rich their families are even up to today. They owned almost all the lands in the City: the lot in Cebu Coliseum, the back of Abellana National School, the lands where the Aznar roads Cross Urgello, not to mention the roads all the way from Basak to Pardo. But why invest in a school? Why bother putting up a school when big profits are gained in shipping corporation, construction companies and other businesses? It was only recently when I realized that putting up a school as a business may not be as profitable but its the family’s legacy in helping our country mold the future citizens which makes our founders, Don Matias and Dona Anunciacion invest on education. As a scholar who enjoyed a free tuition, I can now fully understand the fulfillment in the hearts of our founders, seeing a thousands of graduates marched on stage at the end of every school year. And if some of these graduates will top the Philippines boards at the same time bringing the name SWU, from Cebu City, I just can’t imagine how happy they were probably today. That is why I really felt sad when the family decided to sell their school to Phinma, good thing our very own Ma’am Elma Aznar-Sierra and her family came to the rescue, we as MHAM are still around to tell the world that once a legacy, it will live forever in the hearts of everybody. We may no longer be using the name SWU today but our hearts will tell us that we are the true bloodied MHAM doctors who will soon lead the world of Medicine in the next years to come. Be a proud MHAM alumnus and let us help each other in making the visions of our founders a reality by lifting up the name of our school. Topping the boards, we know that we can do that already but what about a hundred percent passing? Are you willing to accept this challenge? You are the present of MHAM. In your hands lies the future of this school and that of our country”, Dr. Entienza said.
Prior to his appointment as the new VP for Academics for the College of Medicine, Dr. Entienza was the former Chairperson of the Internal Medicine Department and is one of the top consultants in most of the hospitals in Cebu. A proud MHAM alumnus, he was once part of the numerous, nameless and grateful graduates who fully enjoyed free education through the founder’s scholarship grant.
A plaque of appreciation in recognition to this year’s guest speaker’s invaluable services was presented by Mrs. Elma Aznar Sierra and Dr. Ma. Socorrro Manaloto to Dr. Roy Entienza.
In addition, an intermission number performed by the MHAM UPBEAT also added the fun along with their groovy moves as they brought their dancing prowess identity on the floor.
Moreover, this year’s celebration was made complete with the presentation of the new scholars and dean’s lists which was facilitated by the School Registrar, Dr. Luditha Lumapat-Pe who is also the Chairman of the MHAM Scholarship Committee.
Recipients of Don Matias H. Aznar Scholarship (DMAS) and Return of Service Scholarship (RSS) grants were presented with recognition together with the dean’s lists for the academic year 2017-2018. The DMAS scholars are graduates with latin honors and are currently enjoying a full tuition fee coverage excluding miscellaneous and other fees.
This year, MHAM also takes pride for having a new student who placed on the sixth spot among the ten highest places in the Respiratory Therapy Licensure Examination.
Thoroughly evaluated by the committee, these scholars are envisioned to bring forth the pride and glory that belongs to MHAM in the Physician Licensure Examinations, to continue the legacy and tradition of producing globally competent and morally grounded physicians. To date, these deserving students will become part of the MHAM Honors Society (MHAHso) for the academic year 2018-2019.
First VP for Academics for the MHAM COLLEGE INC., Dr. Arlene Diaz closed the program with her inspiring closing remarks followed with the traditional tomb visit in memory of the founder.
Beaming with pride and joy from the birth and creation of a new college, MHAM, as a community looks forward to continually grow in numbers with excellence and to develop and maintain programs for enhancing and sustaining college functions and students’ lifelong learning and success.
Rich in history and a legacy to behold, MHAM is not just a name, but a place characterized by a sense of promise, a sense of pride, a sense of purpose, and a sense of commitment that makes MHAM today. (Ana Liza Abao)