define happiness

(For no specific reason, I remember Lola Can, my mother’s mother. I miss her much. My brothers and I grew up with her and our dearest uncle, tito Ipog at home. She came to my mind maybe because Holy Week is approaching and our dearest Lola had always been a very vital part (person-in-charge)  of this celebration – from preparation to completion. She will never ever be forgotten. Then, I thought about writing what follows… )


kami with tito Ipok and ako with lola Can, respectively 🙂 *oldoldphotos*

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There are people who are born simple, with simple wishes and wants and with simple requirements for them to be happy. Others refer to these persons as “mga mababaw ang kaligayahan”. For anyone to have this personality is a gift. Because they do not aim for anything extravagant or extraordinary, these folks appreciate readily and become happy easily.



Those who experience happiness in the most ordinary things are the ones who have the tendency to achieve a lot too (this is my personal observation). Most of the “simple” persons I know are indeed successful and are truly happy. It is maybe because for someone who can appreciate every small or big thing or happening in the surroundings and is happy with everything she/he has, inspiration and motivation is not hard to find too.

There will be pressure, but it will be a constructive pressure because there are no exaggerated expectations for simple persons. They do what makes them happy. They work their hardest, exert their best effort, think positive always, pray most faithfully and hope for the best… but the only thing they never do is expect.

There will surely be tests to be encountered by that simple, “easily happytized” person, as life is not without tribulations, but she/he always finds a reason to be happy about or make light of any situation – it could be the lessons learned, the help/support obtained or whatever teeny weeny reason. That person does not complain. Giving up “just like that” is not an option.

Oh… I can write the whole day and won’t be out of words to describe a simple person. It is because I belong to a family of them. I will always be proud that I belong to a family of simple and happy individuals. For all the simple things that my family has, practices and appreciates, a simple act of kindness, friendliness, appreciation and respect from anyone are what can make us happy the most.

For the blessing of this happy (“masinadyahun”) “gene” that runs in my family, thank you po God.

Thank you Lolo Marcel and Lola Can for our big (literally, in number), happy (literally too) but simple (in a lot of ways) FAMILY.


the PELINGON family 😉 (the youngest in the group is yours truly – sitting on Lola’s lap * the younger grandchilren and great grandchildren are not yet in the picture)



the road taken

Again, someone asks about Medicine, particularly this question, “I wish to be a doctor; what should I expect?”

I have been asked that question (in different forms of questioning) for the Nth time by anyone – by someone who has just graduated from high school, one who is graduating from college, and, even by some parents who wish their child to be a physician. Everytime, I’d smile. I don’t really know what to tell them exactly. All I know is that pursuing Medicine as a profession is truly challenging. One must expect all kinds of demands to be asked from oneself – physical, mental, emotional and financial demands. There will be a lot of reading and endless studying and reviewing. Pesosesoses will be spent. Oftentimes, even your spiritual life will be affected -it will either be shaken or will be awakened.



It must be put to mind, however, that every experience of each doctor differs from one another, one’s advice may not be the same as another’s. Hence, to be safe, one should expect anything prior to entering any college of Medicine.

(For the more detailed answer to this question, I attached herewith a compilation of answers for the same question).

little doctor  When I was still in my preschool years, I would always say, “I dream to be a doctor someday” (in Karay-a). As years go by, that dream shifted into wishing to be a teacher, and, when I was about to graduate in high school, I decided to be an accountant. Then I felt the “calling”. That was right after high school graduation. It was during that time that I began my (and my family’s) journey to make myself a doctor.  Since that first day I decided to BE A DOCTOR, I kissed that “CPA” dream goodbye and I prepared very well. My family – especially my loving, hardworking and supportive parents – prepared well too, in all aspects. My brothers, with my eldest brother’s family helped me a lot as well. My aunts, uncles and cousins cheered me on. I was filled with inspiration, determination and motivation throughout college (preMed) years. No matter how complex the application process was, I never uttered even a word of complaint until that day when I finally got enrolled and started with my (Medicine) first year classes…

When my life as a medical student officially started, all the tiredness and stressess of the whole process caught up with me. I began to doubt my decision and even thought of quitting but simply couldn’t. Everything about Medicine had become bittersweet since then but many beautiful things happened too. I found great friends during med years. I even had the chance to work for 2 years alongside Medicine and met great people who became my close friends too. In short, what I had was a rollercoaster journey but it was all worth it – truly worth it.

one happy doctor now :) (imagetakenfromthenet)

one happy doctor now 🙂

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Therefore, this is my personal conclusion: Because College of Medicine is not an “easy” world to trudge into, expect that 100% preparedness (in every aspect, as mentioned above), 110% focus and 120% perseverance, plus plus plus will be expected from everyone. Yes, there will be “draining” times, but, there will be “fun” times too.

Also, as noted from the “compilation”, don’t just think of yourself only when you decide, think of your family as well because they will be affected by your decision too.

A doctor-professor reminded us during our freshman year of this, “In medicine, many are called but few are chosen.” That I have never forgotten. It is very true.

At the end of the day, it is not “how much you want” to be a doctor that will make you become one, rather, the “how prepared you are mentally, physically, emotionally and financially” and “how much you will persevere” are the ones that truly matter.

May God bless us po in everyhing we do.

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If you have been thinking about medical education or know someone who does, or if you are simply curious about it, read on… and you may share this with others too.

What to Expect in Medical School?

(a compilation of thoughts, advices and important “must knows” from different sources)

So, are you prepared to start your journey to one of the most rigorous academic training known to man?” Every year, someone drops out, another fails out, and yet another is left back. This will be the reality for pretty much all medical school classes. The question is: how do you prevent yourself from being among the casualties?” Be prepared, be very prepared even before taking the first step into this field of education.

“The number one reason why students do poorly or even fail out is because of overconfidence. They think that medical school will be like college. But when you are in medical school, unless you have a photographic memory or had previous exposure to the materials/medical-related field, you will be spending a TON of time studying. There will be times when you can go out and have fun, but it will be sparse compared to the college party days.

As a medical school student, expect to spend 60 hours studying per week or more. That averages out to a little more than 8.5 hours a day. And if you go to class, which can go from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM, that is already over 8 hours right there. And most people study way past 5:00 PM. Hence, most people study over 8 hours a day.

Do you want to know what the sad part is? Even after 60 hours of studying, there is even more you could study to feel more prepared for the exams. No matter how much you prepare, you will always feel inadequate. This pertains even more for classes which are taught by researchers, who are overall very poor teachers. You will be bombarded with tiny details. Some of them are even testable. A lot of people say learning in medical school is akin to drinking from a fire hydrant.”

So, be ready for this.

Of course, everything in College of Medicine starts with an NMAT, the National Medical Admission Test. It is basically a test of how much knowledge you have learned and stored throughout your years of studying (The higher the NMAT score, the higher the chance of getting into a top public/government medical school and other top private schools). Hence, this is very important too.

As one advances to a higher level, life as a medical student becomes more complicated and difficult, so everybody must be more than prepared in all aspects… mentally, physically, emotionally and financially.

Yes, financial aspect of medicine should not be left out, particularly, prior to leaping into the world of medicine. It is a vital part of decision making as the cost of this course is not so light to everybody’s pocket – hence, can truly affect not only the aspirant’s comfort and needs,his/her family’s too.

One filipino med student says, “At my school, its P96,000 per semester for people born in the Philippines and an increases of about P5,000 per semester.” Another says, “Tuition is the very least monetary expense of a medical career. Depending upon your vision & degree of commitment, the personal losses can also be significant. Now if all you want is a career at a mall, that tuition & your talent are wasted. How many UST, UP, ADMU grads had that plan from the outset? I wonder.”

The above statement was further explained as “aspiring med students should realize that they should have a long term plan after med school, or else they might end up being frustrated and miserable expecting too much after graduation. They might realize that the “invesment” is not worth it afterall because after they graduate it is still a long way to go. ”

What follows is the list of tution fees as of 2011(of private schools) and the expected average expenses as of same year (other schools compared as of 2011), respectively.

University of Santo Tomas (tuition only)     Faculty of Medicine & Surgery

P101,748.00to 197,064/Sem ;                     P203,496 to 394,128/Year

Ateneo De Manila University (tuition only) SCHOOL OF MEDICINE AND PUBLIC HEALTH (ASMPH)


St. Luke’s College of Medicine – around P110,000-120,000 per sem for first year; P220,000-P240,000 per year

As of 2011, here are average medical education expenses (tuition plus plus) *the schools compared are UP, PLM (not manila-born), etc. other than the private schools mentioned above:

Tuition fee:

P40,000 – P60,000/sem (first year only)

P80,000 – P120,000/year (first year only)

*expect an increase per year

*x 3 years  


P10,000-P15,000/year plus plus

P40,000-P60,000/4years plus plus


at least P2,000/wk x 4wks x 5months/sem

at least P40,000/sem x 2sem x 4years  


Atleast P10,000/year x 4years  

Boarding house/dorm fees:

P3,000-P5,000/month x12mos P36,000-P60,000/year x4years  

Clerkship fee (4th year) :

atleast P100,000 – P150,000/year

Approximate total expenses (As 0f 2011):  

atleast P216,000- P285,000/year x 3years         (atleast P648,000 – P855,000 in 3years)


atleast P100,000-P150,000 in 4th year

****postgraduate (5th year) fees, boarding house and personal allowances, review fees are not yet included in this approximate computation****


As you have been given an overview of what MEDLife is all about, you can now make your conclusion that can help you or someone you know make a decision.

Are you ready mentally? emotionally? physically?

Are you and your family ready financially?

If you answer yes to every question, after a complete and sincere analysis, then you are ready to start your journey in Medicine.

However, if there is doubt or uncertainty, then decide carefully and wisely. Pray too.

Being a Doctor of Medicine is a noble profession, as well as every other profession we decide to pursue -as long as we put our hearts in every thing we do and offer our 100% dedication too.

In deciding, do not just think of yourself, but most importantly, think of your family too. Will your decision help them? or will it cause them trouble/hurt them?

In everything you do, do your best.

May God bless everyody.


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UST tuition only SY 2015 is at around *P250,000/year for first year only

(other private schools’ tuition fees are more or less this amount too)

PLM tuition fee SY 2015-2016 (if not manila born/paying) is at around *P60,000/semester plus Medfund of P5,000 to 12,000 depending on family income

(other public schools’ tuition fees are more or less this amount too)

*these are tuition fees only. Other fees such as miscellaneous fees, book/material fees, dorm/bording fees, etc are not yet included*

*above tuition-fee related information are taken from different anonymous sources. For official information / figures, please contact the institutions.