By: Danica T. Durens, MD

Dr. Durens MostOutstandingResident2020

Greetings Dr. Saquilayan, Dr. Lumague, Dr. Valenzuela, members of the MANCOM, all our esteemed consultants, department chairmen and training officers present, and to all my fellow graduates, good afternoon.

First and foremost, let us give thanks the Lord God almighty for his grace and mercy, His guidance and protection, for giving us the wisdom and strength to make it through, culminating in this graduation ceremony.

Our tenure as residents is one we will remember and treasure in our lifetime. The outbreak of the the Covid-19 pandemic could have meant an unfortunate event, a stigma that could have derailed our dreams and aspirations and tarnished our characters.  Instead, as I am sure most of us feel right now, we’ve survived and we have turned it around.  Because we did not cower in fear, we endured, we sacrificed and we prayed unceasingly. And now here we are, cherishing this milestone that we could not have achieved without the help of our dear leaders and mentors.

I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to Dr. Relito Saquilayan, Dr. Ma. Rica Lumague, Dr. Primo Valenzuela and all the frontrunners of Rizal Medical Center, for their unwavering leadership, before and during the pandemic. My deepest thanks to our former chairman, Dr. Mariano Lopez, and our current chairman Dr. Rogelio Balagat, our Training Officer, Dr. Gerard Dela Cuesta, and all our consultants who have mentored us all throughout our journey as residents. Thank you for guiding us, for feeding us, and for supporting us, even through the toughest of times. We thank you for inspiring us to better physicians. I would also like to extend my deepest love and gratitude to my batchmates, Dr. Evez Cara, Dr. Lynette Kawi, Dr. Joanamer Lomboy, Dr. Ana Natividad, Dr. Richelle Pazzibugan, and Dr. Odessa Ramos, for being the epitome of teamwork, resilience and batch love. I could not have asked have asked for a better team to face this pandemic with than you. Thank you for going above and  beyond what is asked and for being leaders in your own right. I would also like to recognize and thank all the family members and loved ones who are present here today. Thank you for being our continuous source of strength, support and inspiration to us front liners.

To all the graduates present, allow me to commend you all for being your own version of "outstanding" during your residency. I now speak before everyone, not actually feeling like an outstanding resident but rather just a representative of the greatness and heroism that each resident here has shown. I applaud the bravery that you all have displayed during, what I think was, the most trying experience we have encountered yet as physicians.

Let us take pride in saying that during our residency, we were actually able to survive a pandemic. Because I believe that it’s one of those stories that you can proudly tell your grandchildren one day, simply because I know the truth behind it. I know of all the hardships and tears that were shed behind closed doors, the brave front we chose to put on when we faced our peers and our patients. I know of that feigned confidence we mustered each time we tried to make sense our current ordeal with COVID-19, and the state of disarray that it has left us in. I know of the struggle of appearing and sounding certain even when the whole world was in a state of uncertainty. Saying that it was difficult now actually feels an understatement because it was indeed a very, very challenging time for us doctors. The fact that we have chosen to get up, each and everyday, to wear our masks and don our multicolored PPEs to be of service to our fellowmen despite all the risks makes us our own version of modern day heroes.

Now that we have passed this seemingly insurmountable hurdle, we have become battle tested, scarred yet moulded with additional strength and toughness.  The fight is not over but now we see some glimmer of hope, there is a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel.  At this moment let us allow ourselves the small luxury and brief respite to savour our small victory.

Our journey as Doctors will continue and like true seasoned war veterans we are now always ready.  Because we have already experienced the true meaning and manifestation of our calling as physicians. To heal, to serve and to give love no matter what the circumstances are.

On behalf of all the graduates, thank you Rizal Medical Center and to all our mentors, it was indeed an honour and privilege to have served and worked with you.  May God continue to bless us all.