In the late eighties, many orthopedic surgeons of the Philippines got to see each other only during Philippine Orthopaedic Association's (POA) midyear meetings and annual conventions. Those who knew each other got to talk about their practice during lulls in these affairs. Some of those practicing in the North Luzon area bunched together for fellowship and even consultation. The idea of grouping together as a chapter of the POA materialized during the 1991 midyear convention, strongly supported by Drs. Allan J. Sanchez and Senen L. Garcia (Cabanatuan City), Rudy Q. Vigilia (Tarlac City), Glorifino M. Juan and Reynaldo F. Cariaga (Baguio City), Raul F. Sabado (Dagupan City), Catalino A. Calimbas (Bataan), Jose P. Tranquilino, Jr. (Angeles City), Roberto M. Amansec, Pedro G. Papio and Ferdinand E. De Mesa (Pampanga).
A series of meetings ensued in different places in North Luzon, inviting all practicing orthopedic surgeons to attend and explaining the ideas and visions of a POA-NL Chapter. These business meetings included scientific sessions and fellowships. At one general meeting held in San Fabian, Pangasinan, all the orthopedic surgeons of the North Luzon area present agreed to formally organize themselves into a chapter and to seek recognition from the mother association, the POA. In this meeting, Dr. Allan J. Sanchez was unanimously elected as president with Dr. Rudy Q. Vigilia as vice-president.
From its inception, colleagues from the POA, especially the officers were very supportive of the POA-NL. Speakers to scientific meetings were never wanting. On many occasions, many pharmaceutical companies fully cooperated when contacted.
Dr. Allan J. Sanchez took his task like the surgeon he is, energetically, patiently, but persistently. He forged a closer POA-NL and POA-SL. He worked for the recognition of the POA-NL as a chapter with the POA and institutionalized the renowned quarterly meetings of the chapter which was characterized by a business meeting, then a scientific meeting, followed by a no-holds barred fellowship. His indefatigable traits earned him a 3-year term.
In 1994, Dr. Rudy Q. Vigilia of Tarlac continued the dynamic quarterly chapter meeting and organized the CME to cover the topics interesting the members. The quarterly meets was further enhanced with a joint agreement with POA-South Luzon to hold and coordinate one of the quarterly meetings in a venue acceptable to both chapters. Membership was further increased and he proposed and started the writing of the chapter's constitution and by-laws, which was later ratified. He also lobbied for the establishment of a trust fund, which was approved by the members.
Dr. Raul F. Sabado took over the helm of the chapter and he continued the chapter's activities. He is well remembered for his excellent handling of the 1995 POA midyear convention in Subic. His managerial skills ensured the success of the event even he was busy in his Dagupan City practice.
Dr. Reynaldo F. Cariaga assumed the presidency in 1996. During his term, the membership increased tremendously when the body welcomed non-fellows into the chapter. This augmented the bonding among orthopods eliminating the customary dissimilarity between the two sectors. The trust fund initiated two years earlier has increased impressively for the use of various noteworthy projects of the chapter. To elicit more than the usual attendance, scientific activities were focused in alluring city of Baguio, his place of practice.
Dr. Jose Redentor C. Bucu of Bulacan initiated the POA-NL newsletter. His term will be most remembered when the chapter conducted a unique “Lecture on a Bus” event on the way to Laoag City, Ilocos Norte sometime in the summer of 1997.
Dr. Billiardo H. Del Rosario of Bulacan made grandiose plans for the chapter, which was acknowledged by the national association as its most active chapter. Sadly, his original plan of having our first “out-of-the-country scientific meeting” was overwhelmed by the economic crisis that adversely affected the entire Asian region in 1998.
Dr. Roberto A. Palma , who was the over-all chairman of the 1995 POA midyear convention in Subic, assumed the presidency in 1999. During his term, the first ever “Arthroscopy Workshop” was conducted in Olongapo, his place of practice.
In the 2000 term of Dr. Jose P. Tranquilino, Jr. of Angeles City, the chapter established the www.poanorthluzon.com website. Widespread use of Internet Technology facilitated the chapter in disseminating information thru electronic mail system. During his term a Chapter Research Committee was created with the objective of encouraging and guiding members especially the residents of the two orthopedic training institutions in north Luzon. For the first time, the Constitution and By-Laws was amended and duly approved on November 11, 2000 in Olongapo City.
Dr. Glorifino M. Juan , the founding chair of orthopedic residency training program at the Baguio General Hospital took over POA-NL by 2001. By then, he was already serving as the Medical Director of Cabanatuan City's Dr. PJGM-Regional Medical Center. He undertook an orthopedic demographic survey of the entire Luzon area north of Metro Manila identifying 5 provinces (Ifugao, Mountain Province, Apayao, Batanes and Quirino) still not served by any trained orthopod. As he relinquished his position at the end of 2001, he counts a POA-NL membership of 90, of which 60 are fellows and 30 are non-fellows.
As Dr. James C. Paggao begun his term in 2002, greater challenges awaited the chapter. Foremost of which was the hosting of the 13th Midyear convention in Baguio Country Club, Baguio City. The success of the Mid-year convention was overwhelming. Foods overflowed and Alcoholic Beverages literally flooded the venue for the well-attended Fellowship Night. Financial success was also shared with the appreciative Philippine Board of Orthopedics. The Chapter also hosted hands on seminars on Tendon Repairs and Ilizarov Fixators. This started the Chapter's idea of having a full afternoon of seminars for all members during quarterly meetings by inviting Sub-Specialty Chapters and another dinner symposium before each business meetings. He did not forget to fire-up every fellowship that followed.
Dr. Roberto M. Amansec accepted the presidency on 2003, geared towards the recognition of the Chapter's achievement. He emphasized of making stronger bonds within the chapter. Each Provincial Coordinators were challenged to put up monthly “Ortho Club” to discuss difficult cases, journal reports or just meet together regularly. He planned for members of North Luzon to make projects, services and awareness of their existence to the province where they practice. He tried to propose the “Chapter's Allotment Fund” from the mother organization to push up the existing funds of the chapter, more importantly the small chapters.
In the thirteenth year of existence, 2004 marked the Leadership of the first Lady President, Dr. Virginia C. Cabling . On her hands were 76 Fellows, 46 Associate Members, 5 (declared) Honorary Members, and 10 Training Residents in Orthopedics of the North Luzon Area. She started to give each members a CD copied lectures of 2003-04 lectures, provided each members uniforms for quarterly meetings and formal attire for Annual Conventions. She continued to invite sets of speakers to discuss topics decided by the members. She also had the time to coach the chapter's basketball team to championship during the Palawan's Midyear Convention.
2006 marked the beginning of Dr. Paul Camina's term as chapter president, and preparations were started for POA North Luzon Chapter's hosting of the next Mid-year COnvention. Under the term of Dr. Godofredo Dungca, swith DR. Paul Camina maintaining overall chairmanship of the mid-year convention organizing committee, the chapter hosted a highly successful 2007 Mid-year Convention in Fort Ilocandia, Laoag, Ilocos Norte, a well-attended event noted for the first overseas internet teleconference with Dr. Edward Lim straight from Cincinnati. We also take pride in organizing not one but two fellowship nights in Sitio Remedios and Vigan CIty. The Organizing Committee and host sub-chapter (ASIN) Abra-Ilocos Sur-Ilocos Norte are thankful to all the fellows who attended with their families and sponsoring companies who ensured the Mid-year Convention's success.
Not to rest on our laurels after the mid year convention, Dr. Rey Lopez, our 2008 president, challenged us by convening our first-ever five year strategic planning workshop, attended by the executive committee members and the council of past presidents. Various committees were formed to ensure smooth transitions and continuing programs within the chapter. With these plans, the way forward looks to be smoother with regular CME activities, meetings, and hopefully, full chapter representation in the near future.
The POA - North Luzon Chapter, although still deemed by some as a minority, is growing strong, united than ever and will continue to wave their flag during conventions.
The chapter's 127 membership will S tand O ut and Lead In one Direction. SOLID NORTH
The POA NLC Flag
Man – portraying strength and flexibility – the profession's purpose
Sugar cane – having 20 leaves representing the provinces of the chapter
Map – visual representation of the geographical area of coverage
Arrow-like box (border) – may be considered as a silhouette of a hose to convey unity; can also be translated to an arrow facing north, not only directional but also an apex, which conveys man's search for perfection
- By: Drs. Rudy Q. Vigilia, Reynaldo F. Cariaga, Jose Redentor C. Bucu & Paul Ruel C. Camiña
President – Dr. Jean Pierre F. Leung
Vice President – Dr. Edwin Paul Cabling
Secretary – Dr. Daniel V. Dungca
Treasurer – Dr. Emelito Ritumalta
PRO – Dr. Maxie Escano
Auditor – Dr. Jose Pempe Bello