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The 2013 PSN Midyear Convention

It was a first of many . . .

Dr. Mara Baking Tugade, on her debut as an officer of PSN (of any organization, by her admission!), caught by surprise, shy, almost reluctant

A multitude of security risks, reaching even the sunny and ever smiling City of Bacolod, the land of sweet and affluent gentry

A challenge, albeit gently delivered, and consistent with the character of the serene national President, Dr. Susan Anonuevo-dela Rama

The acceptance of two regions, baptized with humility, sworn to unity, determination and industry for



At first glance, it was Mission Impossible.  The message could have self-destructed in 10 seconds but before that could happen, it was etched in the consciousness of the Central Luzon and Western Visayas Chapters.  The distance between the two regions was 24 hours by boat, 45 minutes by plane and seconds by cell phone.  Distance was never an object.

Sworn to unity, the theme was conceived from the souls of two cultures

A TALE OF 2 KIDNEYS, Unity in diversity


Nephrologists always knew that God made two kidneys so that one can be donated in the time of need.  This midyear convention gave the renal duet an entirely new meaning.  The smiling masks of Bacolod flew to Angeles, Pampanga.  The Kampampangans and Tagalogs opened their arms in welcome to their Ilonggo colleagues. 

The next six weeks were bound to steam with work and imagination as the one thing clearly common between the Bacolod and Angeles is:  they are not open to the option of defeat.

But wait . . . something here is NOT NEW.  The Central Luzon team just happened to be veterans and victors of a recent battle: the 2012 PCP Midyear Convention held last year, also in Angeles, Pampanga.  Last year’s PCP Midyear had no less than PSN’s former president Dr. Renne “Bong” Toledano as over all chair.  He trained us well and one year after that victory in Fontana, the nephrologists of Central Luzon still have the gumption, the organization, the talent and the connections to give another big roar!

And then, there’s more.  Apart from the organization of Dr. Dong Sese who served as over all chair and Dr. Joy Mallari who managed the treasury coffers, the next six weeks had to be hot with promotions.  The renal community of the Philippines MUST KNOW about the 2013 Midyear Convention.  They MUST WANT TO COME to the 2013 Midyear Convention.  Today, this is the PSN Central Luzon’s open secret:  we have an artistic genius named Dr. Rene Francisco.  A pediatric nephrologist, he is the formidable talent to beat.  He is the mind and the hand behind that gorgeous poster of the 2013 Midyear Convention.  With the help of Biomedis, our absolutely artistic posters were printed and spread all over the archipelago.  Electronic teasers were made by our Dr. Milik Pasumbal and our Metro Manila friend, Dr. William Rivero.  With only six weeks or less, we had to almost “seduce” the nephrology community to come to Pampanga!  Chapter Secretary Dr. Mia Collado could have compiled a book with all her e-mails and text messages.  Dr. Mara befriended every nephrologist in the country on Face Book!

The delegates needed hotels to stay in and lecture halls.  PHAP finally approved the Holiday Inn Clark for us and arrangements for other hotels needed to be made.  Those were the days and nights that Drs. Darwin Darjuan and Ritchie Rebong did not work and did not sleep.

All dolled up in our Filipiniana gowns and barongs, we opened the Midyear Convention on October 4, 2013 at 8:30 in the morning.  Overcoming her stage fright, Chapter Vice President, Dr. Shalee Santos led the prayer drafted by Dr. Olive Idio.  The orderly academic march, the warm welcome of President Dr. Mara and finally the climax of the adventure began to rise.  Our key note speaker was no less than one of the medical community’s guardians of ethics, Dr. Antonio Miguel Dans.  He gave us many critical points to ponder as we practice this enviable specialty.  New fellows were inducted and welcomed to the society and Dr. Susan Anonuevo-dela Rama raised the gavel and declared the convention open.  The game’s afoot . . .

We knew that organization is the key.  Another secret is revealed by PSN Central Luzon: even as Dra. Mara claimed to be a newby leader, she has a powerful tactical weapon in the person of her devoted and industrious spouse, Dr. Robert Tugade.  An organization man, by nature, necessity and force of circumstance, Dr. Robert outlined the details of the convention from the first step of the academic march in the Opening Ceremonies to the final minutes of the scientific program.  Happily, he was able to relax with rest of us during the social gatherings in between and after the convention.  THANK YOU, DOC ROBERT!  Sa uulitin ha . . .

Dr. Agnes Estrella worked with Dr. Soc Maravilla of Bacolod to recruit speakers that will make the scientific program engaging and unforgettable.  There was a balance of adult and pediatric nephrology (so glad we were able to get Drs. Angeles Marbella and Lorna Simangan to discuss Pediatric KT and immunology).  The topics discussed were those that speakers usually fear to tread:  Renal Nutrition (Dr. Lynn Gomez), Medical Stone Management (Dr. Coralie Dimacali), Deceased Organ Donation (Dr. JP Lagunzad and Dr. Sonny Paraiso). There were two lectures that caught our fancy and furor:  BIR and the nephrologist with Ms Jesusa Bigay, CPA as speaker (thank you LRII Therapharma!) and Hemodialysis Issues by our beloved Dr. Irma Gueco (she is our very own former PSN President with Kapampangan roots).  The lunch symposia were equally instructive with Dr. Marie Carmela Lapitan discussing Lower Urinary Tract Syndromes (Astellas). Dr. Agnes Estrella reviewing Lupus Nephritis (Macropharma), Drs. Lynn Gomez and Nines Bautista talking on their take on Incretin Therapy (Natrapharm) and Dr. Irma Gueco on Renal Anemia (Roche).

The Grand Dames of the Socials Committee, Drs. Marizel Catungal, Eden Castillo and Emely Pasumbal with their shared “consort,” Dr. Edison Guerrero crafted the social activities to the tiniest detail.  We have to thank LRII Therapharma (again!) for the Welcome Dinner that served as a warm up of our sterling and sosyal gatherings, so typical of the two regions.  You know you’re in good company when you have no less than THE COMPANY to rock your first night at the convention.  The fellowship night with the generous sponsorship of Biomedis only fueled more of the party attitudes of the midyear.  The Masskara art competition and the SIDE A Band released the other side of normally obsessive compulsive renal specialists! With the scientific sessions finally accomplished, groups of doctors and their families bonded with their pharmaceutical industry sponsors to tour scenic spots of Pampanga.  Among them, was the tranquil PRADO FARM where we ate Pampanga cuisine, awed ourselves with interesting houses and decors of the farm and just chilled out and enjoyed full body massages!       

It is done.  The mission is accomplished.  The longest six weeks of our lives was well lived.  Will there ever be another like it again?  We wonder while others dread and hope not as it was a challenge that intimidates those with faltering hearts.  It is only for the brave.



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