By Bro. Dr. Ferdinand Q. Magno, 13 Men and a Baby
A little over a month ago, a gunman rained down bullets on hundreds of people as they watched a concert on the Las Vegas strip leaving several dead and injured. As the effects of that horrible crime lingers in the dry Nevada air, close to 120 plus Tauans from the Philippines and United States, including family and friends, descended into Sin City to re-establish ties, renew brotherhood and celebrate the 15th year since the establishment of the Tau Mu USA Foundation.
The three day affair’s main venue was the Treasure Island Resort and Casino, where most Tauans stayed at from October 27-29, 2017. The organization of this year’s reunion fell on the shoulders of the Vegas brods consisting of Bro. Dr. Romeo Kwan Chang, 13 Pieces of Silver, Bro. Dr. Solomon Nicolas Javier, Sweet Jams, Bro. Dr. Manuel Sioson Atienza, 14 Kilalang Tauans, Bro. Dr. Francisco Antonio Barros Corpuz, Fighters 13, Bro. Dr. Clifton de Jesus Martires, 13’s Got It, Bro. Dr. Jose Luis Rayos Berroya, 12 Tauan Sentinels, Bro. Dr. Melvin Ibarra Nario, 10 Commandments and Bro. Dr. Conrado Christian Dilig Concio, Vigilantes. Preparations for the event commenced about a year ago after the New York/New Jersey gig where it was announced that the annual fall reunion will be returning to Las Vegas this year.
While the formal event began on Friday afternoon October 27, 2017, several Tauans took the opportunity to do some sightseeing beforehand by checking out the Hoover Dam and the Western Rim of the Grand Canyon. Notable brods engaged in multiple outdoor activities including helicopter and boat rides, trekking the skywalk and hiking. Others played a round of golf at the Las Vegas Golf and Country Club where Bro. Dr. Emmanuel Najera Macaraeg, One Case of Beer took first prize honors by scoring a 83.
Registration for the weekend event took place at the Caribbean A ballroom on the second floor of the hotel. Tauans took the time to reconnect with long lost brothers and reminisce of old times thru stories about initiations and medical school. In lieu of lanyards and name tags, the organizers decided on the old and traditional nameplates which were used to identify Tauan neophytes during initiations. Souvenirs, including shirts and a miniature paddle were handed out to registrants.
The fellowship night on Friday took place at a ranch in Pahrump, Nevada about an hour west of Las Vegas. Tauans were served beer and barbecue as the party extended to the wee hours of Saturday morning. Tauans are a hardworking bunch but we know how to throw a party and we do party hard in expectation of the following day’s serious matters to be taken up at the business meeting.
The business meeting started around 8AM Saturday with a prayer led by Bro. Dr. Antonio ‘Toniski’ Labitag Gabarda, Siyam na Pagasa. Bro. Dr. Mikko Angelo Montefalcon Tesalona, Vendetta led the recital of the Tauan Pledge followed by the welcome remarks by Tau Mu USA President Bro. Dr. Remel Dionisio Carino Buslig, 13’s Got It. As is tradition, the microphone was passed from Tauan to Tauan as each member present introduced himself, his batch, year of entry into Tau Mu and year of graduation from medical school. Due to the sheer number of Tauans present, it took a while for everyone to finish speaking.
The fraternity delved into the history of the Tau Mu USA Foundation as Bro. Dr. Leoncio Sevidal Dizon, 13’s Got It enumerated the events that led up to the formation of the foundation 15 years ago in January of 2002. Bro. Leo explained the foundation’s mission and goals which are aligned closely with that of the fraternity. Bro. Dr. Stephen de los Reyes Pamatmat followed with a financial update by notifying the attendees about how the Tau Mu USA Endowment fund has done since the last meeting.
Due in part to the bullish stock market and to some savvy investing moves by the finance committee, the fund has gained about 50% from last year’s value to about $148,000. The goal is to grow this fund until its huge enough to fund the foundation’s projects in perpetuity. In addition to Bros. Leo and Stephen, the finance committee includes Bro. Dr. Ferdinand Christopher Lyndon Quebral Magno, 13 Men and a Baby.
In light of Bro. Dr. Marianito ‘Nitoy’ Olivares Asperilla’s absence from this year’s reunion due to health reasons, the CME lectures were given by Bro. Dr. Pedro Franco Tactacan, Untouchables 17.5 and Bro. Dr. John Pocholo Whitaker Tuason, Insanity. Dr. Tactacan, a Psychiatrist from Providence, Rhode Island talked about updates on psychopharmacology while Dr. Tuason, a recent graduate and revalida passer discussed the results of a RCT about protocols and its effects on patients admitted with septicemia and hypotension.
Koronadal City Mayor Bro. Dr. Peter Bascon Miguel, 7 Sacraments presented a video of how the annual surgical mission came about and its origins which could be traced back to the hard work of deceased Bro. Dr. Joseph ‘Dodoy’ Dres Sueno, Siyam na Pagasa, who passed away in 2006. Bro. Peter invited everyone to next year’s surgical and medical mission, named Paghatig Bulig sa Maysakit, to be held on January 17-21, 2018.
An update on Tauan Alumni Organization, or TAO, the Philippines counterpart was delivered by President Bro. Dr. Gil Medina Simeon, Untouchables 17.5 while current Most Exalted Brother Kevin Aldrich Rillon Melchor presented that of the student brods via a taped video message. The main message is unity and communication are key to moving Tau Mu Sigma Phi forward to its 75th year.
The next speakers touched on the various ways Tauans can donate to the foundation. Bro. Peng Magno, current webmaster and social media director, discussed the different ways on how to give money thru our website at taumusigmaphi.org while Bro. Dr. Ed Sy Tanhui, 14 Kilalang Tauans, touched on Amazon.com Smile, where a percentage of purchases go directly to the Tau Mu USA Foundation Endowment fund.
Rounding up the hour was Bro. Dr. Primo Aquino Andres Jr., Lucky 13 who reminded the fraternity about the current drive to put up $75,000 by 2021 to donate to the UST-FMS Anargyroi Foundation as part of Tau Mu Sigma Phi’s upcoming 75th year anniversary. Kuya Primo likewise called on all Tauans to be more active not only in fraternity affairs but in USTMAAA activites as well. Dr. Andres is stepping down as the USTMAAA Executive Director and is transferring reins of the foundation to Bro. Dr. Gerard Quincy Carillo Flores, Batch Anim.
Like in the past years, the baton was passed from Bro. Remel Buslig to Bro. Dr. Ricardo Quinto Binsol, GI 18, incoming Tau Mu USA Foundation President. Dr. Binsol reiterated the need to support the fraternity’s activities, adhere to the laws of the land and to follow the constitution and bylaws. There is also a call to use money donated thru the foundation in a timely manner.
Several Tauans who just recently passed the Physician Licensure Examinations back home took the podium to inform the brotherhood of their immediate and future plans in the pursuit of landing a residency position here in the United States. Notable Tauans who just finished their respective residency training took turns in encouraging the newly minted graduates to score high in their USMLE scores as this guarantees an interview with the program they desire. While there is money set up to help applicants, the process and mechanics have yet to be hashed out.
Bro. Ric likewise announced that Bro. Stephen ‘Panyong’ Pamatmat garnered the most number of votes in this year’s elections thereby on his third year in 2020, Dr. Pamatmat will once again be the Tau Mu USA President. Bro. Dr. Erwin Victor Salvador Boco, 10 Commandments came in second while Bro. Dr. Gerard ‘Gerry’ Flores got the third most number of votes.
For the second year in a row, there was a sizable Philippine contingent of Tauans attending the fall reunion thereby several batches took advantage of the opportunity to reconnect with long lost batchmates. Fighters 13, the fortieth generation of Tauans initiated back in 1985 came in second with a total of eight attendees. Untouchables 17.5 was hands down the batch to beat and emulate as a total of 16 of 17 were in attendance. Only Bro. Dr. Alex See Sua, Untouchables 17.5 was unable to come due to a lingering illness. The batch made a commitment to have all 17 attend next year’s reunion.
As the business meeting winds down, the fraternity called in Bro. Dr. Rene Bergado Santiano, 7 Last Words who announced that next year’s fall reunion venue will be held in the Washington/Oregon State area from August 31 until September 2, 2018 a few weeks earlier than usual to avail of the cool Pacific Northwest weather. The organizing committee designated Portland International Airport, PDX, as the main airport closest to the proposed site for next year’s annual gig. The meeting ended as Tauans sang the Tauan Rally.
After the meeting and photo opportunities, the fraternity and their loved ones were treated to lunch at the Treasure Island Buffet where a section of the restaurant was reserved exclusively for Tau Mu Sigma Phi. Once again Tauans congregated and spoke about the good old days over endless supplies of food and dessert.
A thanksgiving mass took place at around 5PM at the Celebrity Cars Event Center followed by the gala night, complete with dinner consisting of local Filipino dishes. Several pieces of artwork, paintings by Bro. Dr. Ed Tanhui were put up for auction as part of the Foundation’s fund raising efforts. Bro. Ed also provided the initial entertainment by playing the saxophone after which Tauans and their respective partners danced the night away with the help of a local disc jockey. An open bar flowing with beer, liquor and mixed drinks helped calm and soothe the nerves as Saturday’s event comes to an end after a very fruitful day.
Sunday morning found most Tauans preparing for the trip back to their respective homes. There seems to be not enough time for everyone to get acquainted with each other however there is always next year. Tau Mu Sigma Phi, the Thomasian Medical Students’ Fraternity is a few years away from its 75th year of existence. As those affected by the recent events in Las Vegas mend their broken existence and pick up the pieces and move on with their lives, Tauans leave Vegas with a strong desire to face the here and now with a clear knowledge of our past and a unified vision of what the future holds.
Hail Tau Mu!