February marks the Panagbenga Festival in Baguio, hence the best time to hold the first face-to-face midyear convention of the Philippine College of Hematology and Transfusion Medicine (PCHTM). Before the happy memories of the 3-day event fade, let us capture them in words and photos. The first day started with “Lunch Especial ala Carla” where members got together and shared a sumptuous meal from the Baguio Country Club after a long and tiring trip to the summer capital! Everyone reveled in the cold weather and the refreshing colors of nature as they exchange stories and amusement.
During the opening ceremonies, the members were welcomed with a traditional dance from the University of Baguio dance troupe and heart-warming messages from our PCHTM president Dr Priscilla Caguioa and host/overall-chair Dr Jasmin Igama. The midyear was designed to challenge hematologists to find the balance of work, play and rest as we conquer God’s amazing race in our everyday lives! So, it is but proper to start the plenary session with Father Rolando Dela Rosa’s talk entitled “Spirituality of Rest”! He said that a healthy spirit makes us alive and that “living well” is the key to looking well. Be joyful and be present in the moment! Slow down and appreciate simple things because our time in this world is not finite. He underscored the importance of rest in developing a vibrant life. The session was an eye-opener for all of us who live as if there is no tomorrow, juggling multiple and enormous tasks to the point of burnout. We had the whole dinner time to reflect on the messages of Father Dela Rosa’s wonderful talk!
The following day, the first challenge was to wake up early in Baguio’s bed-weather. As everyone is excited, anxious and intimidated by the team-building activity entitled “Amazing G-Race”. We are mentally prepared but quite sure, not physically ready. The participants were divided into 5 color teams and given 3 physically challenging tasks. Team yellow, pink and green started strong with their cheers but the ultimate task of building a native Benguet house made the race unpredictable.
The outstanding lineup of topics and speakers drew us to the session hall even with body aches from the morning’s adventure. Our commitment to learning takes precedence over other matters. The scientific sessions started with Dr Jesus Relos’s talk entitled “Updates in the Management of PV”. He emphasized looking into symptom burden and quality of life as we try to control patients’ blood counts. This was followed by Dr HS Drupad’s extensive and comprehensive talk on the management of CLL in the era of BTK inhibitors. And to cap the night, two top caliber speakers from MD Anderson Cancer Center-Dr Hagop Kantarjian and Dr Guillermo Garcia-Manero joined us virtually and shared 2023 Updates in the Management of CML and MDS, respectively. It was truly a day full of learning while enjoying camaraderie and friendship among the participants.
Day 3 came too quickly…indeed, time flies when one is having fun! The last session is very apt as we are preparing ourselves to go back to hospital work. Sister Babols Bandojo reminded us of our mission to be healers not just of the body but also of the mind and spirit in her talk entitled “Patient Care and Professionalism”.
By Flordeluna Z. Mesina, MD
The 3rd Virtual Annual Convention of the Philippine College of Hematology and Transfusion Medicine (PCHTM) entitled PCHTM BLAST: BuiLding Alliances and Strengthening Ties held last sept 4-7, 2022 was phenomenal and well-received!
A total of 2,032 registrants signed up for the 4-day event, 70% of which are physicians consisting of hematologist and non-hematologist and 30% allied health professionals, majority of which are medical technologist and blood bank specialist. The online attendees came from all regions of the country with the highest number from NCR, Region III (Central Luzon), Region IV (Calabarzon), Region VI (Western Visayas) and Davao. We were also joined by 122 international attendees with USA topping the list, Canada, Japan, Middle east and neighboring Asian countries.
Attendees were offered a wide selection of topics and impressive program encompassing multispecialty panel discussions (MSPD), common hematologic benign and malignant disorders, transfusion medicine, toxicology, rare disorders, patients’ journey, and advocacy.
Highlight of Day 1 was the inspiring and thought-provoking message from no less than the Father of PCHTM, Dr Rosalio P. Torres. He passionately shared his journey back when hematology was not even heard about. And after nearly 50 years of clinical practice, he still gets excited with every new case and tirelessly teach young hematologists.
All 10 MSPDs were well-attended and appreciated for being concise yet informative, interesting, and clinically relevant. The high caliber roster of panelists and well-prepared moderators were the key to the excellent MSPDs. The industry sponsored sessions were equally remarkable and high yield with esteemed international and local speakers.
The culmination of this event was the fellowship night which was held at the garden ballroom of the Edsa Shangri-la Hotel. After 2 years, everyone was delighted and excited to experience the warmth of friendship and camaraderie. A showcase of the best dressed hematologists on the red carpet was done where the male & female star of the night was chosen.
The highlight of the night were the performances from the different institutions with the theme “Blast from the Past”. Indeed, it was a joyful night for everyone especially to the winners of the countless raffle prizes!
Stars of the Night: Dr Jay Datukan and Dr Marjorie Bravo