Christmas Messages

by Ryan Rodriguez, MD, Jubaida M. Aquino, MD and Yvette Marie B. Santiago, MD


I’m back! Although I never really left... I’ve always believed in change, that continual improvement is the only way to be progressive. It’s not the novelty of something new that provides the impetus for changing things though the disruption that ensues can be exciting. It’s the dissatisfaction with the way things are and knowing that it can be better. Of course, change can be destabilising but the comfort in stability is an illusion born of denial. We see change everywhere: in our bodies as we age, in the way the younger generation merges with virtual reality, in relentless technological leaps and bounds, and, in our deteriorating environment. To cope with these changes, we adapt and transform ourselves. So must the PAO. From Darwinian evolution, we know that it isn’t the strongest that survives, it’s the fittest, the ones that can adapt to the subtle changes in its ecological niche that do.

There’s always resistance to change. I remember all the complaints we got when as head of the CCEO, I transferred our convention venue to the SMX. Then, there will always be the naysayers. When we wanted then to produce the App for the Convention the following year, some said it couldn’t be done. Nelson Mandela said, “It always seems impossible until its done.” And, that’s always what we face: that glass ceiling of impossibility, that wall of disbelief that separates what is being done from what can happen.

What in these changing times do we have to adapt to? Several issues loom in the horizon, and some of the signals of coming threats have already emerged from under the rocks where they hibernate. The CPD Law heralds the reality of the vision of the ASEAN Mutual Reciprocity Agreement (MRA). Slowly, the ASEAN countries are harmonising regulations governing professionals so that professionals in any of these countries can be recognised and can practice in any of them. Are we ready for BGC branch of the Singapore National Eye Centre? Can we compete with a Bumrungrad Hospital that might partner with Pangilinan, Ayala, or UniLab? What will we do if Malaysian ophthalmologists start buying up clinic space in medical arts buildings? On the other side of the coin, are we capable of putting up eye centers in those countries?

The on-going court proceedings initiated by Dr. Mario Reyes, the resurgent questions on the authority and jurisdiction of the PAO, and the Philippine Association of Medical Specialists (PAMS) are heads of the same monster that sees the PAO as a hindrance to the practice of ophthalmology for pecuniary gains.

The more stringent regulations imposed by the government through the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Department of Health, the Food and Drug Administration, and the Philippine Health Insurance Corporation will just get worse. Have you seen the FDA Circular declaring it illegal for doctors to dispense medicines?

In a world that’s spinning faster (plagiarised from Lady Antebellum), we can no longer seek comfort in the thought that these changes will take time and will likely occur after we retire. They have begun and there are more that we can detect if we scan our environment diligently. Of course, not all the changes will be negative. There are opportunities in the rising incomes of Filipinos, in technological innovations, in the greater demand for healthcare, and in information technology.

All these are too much to cope with individually, albeit we have to make our own adjustments. Many issues are bigger than what we can personally deal with. That’s where the organization, the collective wisdom and efforts of our academy acting as one, is of value. Through the PAO, we can achieve more than we can do by ourselves. Through the PAO, we can stand united and weather the coming storms. Through the PAO, we can act in concert to overcome obstacles and harness opportunities to our advantage. But only through you and your support can the Council and the rest of the PAO leadership accomplish its strategic objectives in our behalf. Let’s put our arms together, brace ourselves and transform to become the fittest, leanest, meanest organization in the medical field!

Merry Christmas!


Carlos Naval

During this festive season of giving, let us take time to slow down and enjoy the simple things. May this wonderful time of the year touch your hearts in a special way. I wish all PAO members many spiritual blessings, much happiness (in both personal and professional lives) and even more love. I am grateful for you and your trust in me as an officer to help PAO steer thru the next 2 years. !

Merry Christmas and a Peaceful, Fruitful Year Ahead!


Maria Victoria A. Rondaris, MD, MPH


I read this quote:"I think as you grow older, your Christmas list gets shorter, because the things you want can't be bought." Let us all think about this during the holidays. Merry Christmas and a blessed New Year to all.


Ma. Margarita L. Luna, MD



About The Author

Ryan is a dedicated ophthalmologist by profession but is a self proclaimed techie at heart. His passion lies on tinkering with your latest Apple gadget, flying a drone, and taking apart your slitlamp, indirect ophthalmoscope, other electronics and putting them back again, though most times there are extra screws and parts left behind. He is fascinated with God's wonderful creation of the planets and stars, and wants to become an astronaut when he grows up.


Dr. Yvette Marie Santiago is an Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon who has been a part of the eFP editorial staff since 2012 and was editor-in-chief from 2014-2015. Apart from being passionate about anything that has to do with the orbits, she is a shopaholic in denial and an obsessed gastronome with an indomitable wanderlust. She dreams of someday enrolling herself at the International Culinary Center in New York, so that she can learn how to cook all the fine food that she wants.


Jubs started in eFP as an Institutional Correspondent when she was a 1st year resident at EAMC Eye Department. She loves taking selfies, though she never posts the pics. An advernturer and free-spirit at heart, she enjoys long road-trips even to parts unknown.