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Milestones and History:

The DEPARTMENT of OTORHINOLARYNGOLOGY-HEAD AND SURGERY of VMMC had its humble beginnings as a Unit of a section of EENT under the Service of Surgery in 1955. The section of EENT was elevated to the level Service in July 1, 1968, and became a Department in February 15, 1971. The Department of EENT was then divided into two sections, the Section of Ophthalmology and the Section of Otorhinolaryngology in the early 1980’s which was then composed of EENT physicians. In 1987, Dr. Celso V. Ureta, a Diplomate of the PBO-HNS and a Fellow of PSO-HNS, became a member of the Department of EENT Staff. Being the only Otolaryngologist and Head and Neck Surgeon in the group, he was tasked to be the Chief of Section of Otorhinolaryngology for which he was given the authority to organize and develop a training program.

In 1995, he opened the door for the entry of other Otorhinolaryngologists and Head and Neck Surgeons in the department. The new members of the staff were Jan Eero Lopez, M.D., Reynaldo Z. Astorga, M.D., Gerardo Cruz, M.D., and Alejandro Bautista, M.D., all Diplomates of the PBO-HNS and Fellows of the PBO-HNS. The team was later joined by Rene S. Tuazon, M.D., and Adonis Jurado, M.D., as visiting consultants. The residency training program was then started on May 15, 1996 with the acceptance of 2 residents: Elmer Ma. M. Espinoza, M.D. and Orville Juan B. Urbi, M.D.. On July 1997, Rita Liana A. Ponce, M.D. was accepted as a first year training resident.

It was during the formative months of the ENT-HNS Staff where the section asserted its autonomy, manifested by activities independent from that of the Department of EENT. One such notable activity was the formation of the Philippine Laryngectomee Club on March 1997. This was followed by the conception of the Philippine Laryngectomee Foundation on April 15, 1997.

The section was elevated as the Department of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery on November 1997.
The department was finally given accreditation for its residency training program by the PBO-HNS on August 5, 1998. 
From the time of its accreditation, the department has progressed to attain its goals and objectives. A memorandum of agreement has been signed between the department and the Department of ENT-HNS of Amang Rodriguez Medical Center (ARMC) in Marikina City on November 1998. This allows VMMC residents to attend to ARMC ENT out-patients every Mondays, Wednesday and Fridays, and assist in surgical procedures. 

In the early part of 1999, the department, together with the Departments of ENT-HNS of Manila Central University (MCU) and Quirino Memorial Medical Center, established the North East Manila ENT-HNS Training Consortium (NEMEC). The Consortium aims to strengthen the ENT-HNS training program of its’ different member institutions. 
The consultant staff also increased in number, when four diplomates joined the department. They were Natividad A. Almazan, M.D., Teresa Paz G. Pascual, M.D., Melfred L. Hernandez, M.D., and Miguel Neil Bravo, M.D.         

In 2004, more new faces were added to the existing staff, in the persons of Dr. Caesar V. Villafuerte, Dr. Enrico Micael G. Donato, Dr. Peter Jarin and Dr. Patrick Enriquez. Other ENT-HNS alumni include Dr. Franco Rommel Reyes, Dr. Greg Anthony Patriarca, Dr. John Levi Linsangan, Dr. Ferdiand Supnet, Dr. Arnel Roberto Oliveros, and Dr. Rosalie Remedios B. Ramirez. Dr Ramirez also happens to be the 2nd graduate of the HNS-Oncology Fellowship Training Program.            

On December 7, 2001, the VMMC Laryngeal Cancer Center, the only one of its’ kind in the Philippines, was formally inaugurated. The Center is envisioned to aid in the research, diagnostic, therapeutic and rehabilitative management of laryngeal cancer.
The Japanese people, through their Embassy, have provided the Department, under the auspices of the PLF, with a Pentax flexible Nasopharyngolaryngoscope and various surgical equipment through the Grant Assistance Grassroots Projects (GAGP) under Japans’ Official Developmental Assistance (ODA). The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office has provided for a Videostroboscopy unit for the Departments’ use as well.

Acquisition of new equipment paved way for the establishment of the “Voice and Swallowing Unit”, the only one of its’ kind among government institution in the country. It was inaugurated on February 18, 2005 with His  Excellency, Japanese Vice Consul to the Philippines, Akio Egawa in personal attendance.


PBO-HNS granted the VMMC Department of ORL-HNS with 4-year re-accreditation. Two neophytes, namely Doctors Jeanne O. Madrid and Jacqueline Ciron-Angeles were included in the program.
“Archives- Department of Otorhinolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery” first saw light. It is the department’s aim to gather its research papers as a handy reference for the succeeding generations.


The department sponsored the 1st Inter-Hospital Grandrounds for 2006 last June 5 which was attended by all accredited ORL-HNS training institution in Metro Manila.
This is the year of accolades for further studies. Dr. Natividad Almazan-Aguilar, received her Masters Degree in Clinical Epidemiology. Dr. Teresa Paz G. Pascual received her Bachelor of Laws Degree from the University of the Philippines, and Dr. Joanne De Ramos had her Neuro-Oncology subspecialty training in Wuerzberg, Germany. Dr. Enrico Michael Donato had his subspecialty training in Maxillofacial Surgery in Switzerland.
Two new residents, namely Doctors Roelito M. Bertubin and Macario A. Felicen II, were accepted in the residency program.


            The Department marked its tenth year anniversary with the theme  “Sampung Taong Serbisyo, Sampung Taong Kaagapay Ninyo”- the ORL-HNS 10th year anniversary with a series of celebrations.
            This week long event kicked off with the ORL-HNS “Sining”: Art Exhibit whereby art works in oil, watercolor and acrylic media of Doctors Donato, Fernandez and Espina were exhibited in the main lobby of the center.
            An outreach program/lecture dubbed as “Iwas Yosi, Iwas Kanser”, for patients, students and lay persons was held in the out-patient department lounge.
            The tenth year celebration was capped off with the ORL-HNS Alumni Night “Gabi ng Paggunita”, release of the 2nd Edition Archives Anniversary Edition, and launching of the department’s website http// in Valdez Hall, attended by VMMC alumni, medical and paramedical associates. 
            A new breed of consultants, namely, Doctors Michael Edward Navalta, Mark Arjan Fernandez and Suzette P. Ordinario, all department alumni, were added to the prestigious list of staff. A microvascular surgeon in the person of Dr. Lei-Joan Vital-Molo was also added to the staff list. Two new residents, Doctors John B. Espina and Jela C. Poscablo, were included in the residency program.

            The Advanced ORL-HNS Center (AOC) was inaugurated to house 5 microscopes. These instruments are intended as mechanical assistance for the use of residents and consultants during temporal bone laboratory, microvascular and maxillofacial unit courses. Two new residents, Doctors Manuel R. Moises Jr. and Allen Vicent R. Maglalang, were accepted into the program.
            On December 1, 2008, during the annual PSO-HNS convention held at the Dhusit Thani Hotel in Makati, the Department competed in the Independent Film-making contest which was also participated in by all the accredited ENT institutions nationwide, and made history by winning 14 out of the 16 awards at stake, including Best Picture, Best Actress for Dr. Jacqueline Ciron-Angeles, Best Actor for Dr. Michael Edward Navalta, and Best Screenplay. The North East Manila ENT Training Consortium, of which VMMC is also a member, celebrated its’ 10th year anniversary at the Sulu Hotel. The festivities were capped off by the unforgettable dance number performed by all the first and second year residents of the different NEMEC member institutions.


The Department of ORL-HNS, in cooperation with the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, conducted a Post-Graduate Course on Benign Positional Vertigo last April 3, 2009, which was attended by doctors and physical therapists from all over the country.  
On April 7, 2009, the Department successfully passed the re-accreditation process conducted by the Philippine Board of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, affirming its’ status as one of the foremost training institutions in the land, and ensuring the continuation of its’ residency program until August 2012.   

June 3-4 2009 was the date for the successful Larynx Post-Graduate Course conducted by the Department, which was highlighted by a surgical demonstration on Tertiary Voice Reconstruction conducted by no less than the  Department Chairman himself, Dr. Celso V. Ureta. On June 13, 2009, the Department, in cooperation with the North East Manila ENT Training Consortium (NEMEC), and the Freemasons of the Philippines, conducted a medical/surgical mission at the newly inaugurated Health Center in Lucban, Quezon. This activity brought quality healthcare to the residents of Lucban, and they were more than happy to avail themselves of the specialist services provided. In all, 123 residents were treated for various ailments, while another 34 underwent minor surgical procedures.  June 15, 2009 marked the entry of a new face into the Department Residency Training Program, in the person of Dr. Almel I. Bagain.

Last August 13-14, 2009, the Department, in conjunction with the Department of Dental Medicine, conducted a Post Graduate Course on Maxillofacial Surgery, which was attended by physicians and dentists from all over the country. The event was highlighted by a hands-on prosthesis making demonstration on the second day, which gave the physicians in attendance valuable insights into the actual process of constructing prostheses.


June 29-30 was the date of the highly successful “Basic Course in ENT 2010”, conducted by the Department in cooperation with the Philippine Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, which will go down in the history of the Society as one of the most well-attended post-graduate courses ever conducted, with close to a hundred participating residents and consultants from the different accredited ENT-HNS training institutions nationwide. The 2 day event featured lectures on 21 different topics, covering a diverse array of subjects, with the intention of honing the skills and improving the knowledge of all the participants. 
July 2010 also marked the entry of a fresh face into the Department, in the person of Maria Shamylle Quinto, M.D..


On February 2011, the Department, in cooperation with the Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, conducted the 2nd Post-Graduate Course on Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, which included a one day hands-on workshop on the various manoeuvers utilized in dealing with vertigo. Course Coordinator was Dr. Natividad Almazan. The Post-Graduate Course was held to familiarize the attendees with the various means of dealing with BPPV, as well as to enhance their skills in diagnosing and treating this common illness. This Course was attended and participated by both ENT-HNS and Rehabilitation Medicine residents, Physical and Occupational Therapists, and nurses from all over the country.

March 2011 marked the entry of another resident in the person of Dr. Jenna Marie Quiroga into the Department Residency Training Program.

This was also the month wherein the annual NEMEC Interesting Case Contest was held, in which the entries of Dr. Maria Shamylle Quinto and Dr. Jenna Marie Quiroga placed 1st and 3rd respectively. Dr. Quinto’s entry was subsequently accepted and presented at the PSO-HNS Midyear Convention held in Davao City.

April 28-30, 2011 was particularly noteworthy as the research paper of Dr. Celso V. Ureta and Dr. John Espina entitled “Evaluation of Ureta Secondary Voice Reconstruction after Total Laryngectomy” was accepted and presented at the 12th Asia-Oceania Otolaryngology Congress in Auckland, New Zealand.

June 9-10, 2011 marked the date of the successful 6th Laryngeal Post-Graduate Course entitled “Thinking Outside the VoiceBox”, headed and conducted by none other than our esteemed Department Chairman Dr. Celso V. Ureta. This Post-Graduate Course featured a novel teaching method during the hands-on workshop and surgical demonstration, wherein a mounted pig larynx was utilized to demonstrate the voice reconstruction techniques being discussed. This highly successful event was attended by over 70 ENT-HNS residents from ENT-HNS Training Institutions all over the country.

July 14-17, 2011 was another special date for the Department, as the research paper of Dr. Celso V. Ureta and Dr. John Espina entitled “Evaluation of Ureta Secondary Voice Reconstruction after Total Laryngectomy” was accepted and presented during the 3rd International Academy of Oral Oncology World Congress held in Singapore.

August 15, 2011 was the date of the opening for the “Duktor-Pintor Painting Exhibit” held at THeART Gallery at the Philippine Heart Center. This month-long exhibit was staged for the benefit of the Philippine Laryngectomee Foundation, and featured art works in various styles and media done by the consultants and residents of the Department of ORL-HNS of VMMC. The event was well-received, and proceeds from the paintings sold were donated to the PLF.

September 14, 2011 was the day the PSO-HNS Inc. conducted its’ annual Descriptive Research Paper Reading Contest at the Natrapharm Patriot Building in Paranaque City. The research paper entry of Dr. Celso V. Ureta and Dr. Manuel Moises Jr. entitled “Determination of Speech Intelligibility Among Verbalizing Post-Laryngectomy Patients Who Underwent Ureta Technique Primary Voice Reconstruction at a Tertiary Medical Center” was presented and awarded 1st place among the various entries from the ORL-HNS Training Institutions nationwide.

November 5-6, 2011 were the dates the Department conducted an In-House Temporal Bone Lecture Series and Dissection Course at Ward 12 AMR of VMMC under the direction and supervision of Drs. Natividad Almazan and Joanne Sebastiana de Ramos. This activity was held for, and participated by, the residents and consultants of the various NEMEC member institutions. Two residents from outside Metro Manila, one from the Ilocos Training Regional and Medical Center, and the other from the Western Visayas Medical Center, were also invited to attend and participate.

Last December 3-5, 2011, the PSO-HNS Inc. conducted its’ Annual Convention at the Manila Hotel. It was during this event that the Poster Session Contest on Surgical Innovation was conducted, in which the entry of Drs. Celso V. Ureta and John Espina entitled “JBENT – ENT Diagnostic Unit” was adjudged the 1st place winner.

The Department, in cooperation with the North East Manila ENT-HNS Training Consortium (NEMEC), also competed in the “Serc du Soleil” competition during the convention, sponsored by Abbott Laboratories, and participated in by all accredited ORL-HNS Training Institutions nationwide, and made history by not only winning the competition, but also by placing 1st in all the contests held during the Annual Convention for the 3rd consecutive time.


On early of February 2012, Ear and Dizziness Clinic was offered by the Department for vertigo assessments and specific ear consultations, which are now ongoing every Mondays (1:30pm-3pm) and Thursdays (10am-12nn), supervised by our very own ear specialists. Specific ear maneuvers for diagnosis and therapy for benign positional vertigo is also done in the dizziness clinic, as well as minor otologic surgical procedures. This would benefit the Filipino Veterans with said specific concerns.

The Department also competed in the annual NEMEC Interesting Case Contest last February at the Officers Club at the Armed Forces of the Philippines Medical Center, wherein the entries of Drs. Kathleen Rodriguez and Jeffrey Pangilinan entitled “Midline Neck Fistula: An Unusual Presentation of a 4th Branchial Cleft Anomaly” and “A Novel Visage of Mandibular Reconstruction in a Tertiary Hospital” respectively were submitted for adjudication, with the Interesting Case of Dr. Celso Ureta and Dr. Kathleen Rodriguez winning 2nd place out of the 8 entries submitted. The paper was subsequently accepted and presented in poster form at the PSO-HNS Mid-year Convention held last April 26-28 at the Iloilo Grand Hotel.

Drs. Allen Vincent R. Maglalang and Manuel Moises Jr., 4th year residents of ENT-HNS in VMMC, presented a study in the NEMEC Descriptive and Analytical Research Presentation Contest last August 15, 2012, with a paper entitled, “Videostroboscopic Voice Study Among Post-Laryngectomy patients using Hypopharyngeal Pressure Voice Amplification” and “Stenting in the Management of Tracheostomal Stenosis among Patients who underwent Total Laryngectomy with Primary Voice Reconstruction using Ureta Technique”. The former was presented and won 2nd place in PSO-HNS Annual Descriptive Research Paper Contest last September 20, 2012 while the latter was presented in the PSO-HNS Annual Analytical Research Paper Contest last September 20, 2012 and in VMMC Annual Research Presentation last December 10, 2012. They also participated in the PSO-HNS Surgical Innovation & Instrumentation Research Contest, last December 5, 2012, with an innovation entitled, “Improvised Extended Tracheostomy Tube: A Practical Alternative to Costly and Hard to Find Branded Extended Tracheostomy Tubes of the Head and Neck Patients” by Dr. Allen Vincent R. Maglalang and “I-Otoscope”, an iphone inspired video otoscope which directly views and records otologic findings by Dr. Manuel R. Moises Jr. in the PSO-HNS Annual Convention at the Sofitel Hotel.

Last November 10 and 24, 2012, the Department conducted its 4th In-House Temporal Bone Lecture and Dissection Course participated by ORL-HNS residents from different hospitals designed to provide training on the principles of temporal bone and skull base surgery to practicing otorhinolaryngologists and senior residents. This puts special emphasis on the common problems encountered in daily practice as well as latest advances in diagnosis, treatment and surgical technique.

Before the year ended, the department released the Archives of ORL-HNS, Veterans Memorial Medical Center, 4th edition last December 17, 2012. This is the Department’s compilation of the written researches and lectures of VMMC ORL-HNS residents and consultants, along with Department Head’s very own Ureta Technique. Currently, 4 editions are already available and distributed to the VMMC Library as well as to other PSO accredited institutions.

Truly, the department has gone from strength to strength since its humble beginnings. Though faces and circumstances have changed, the Department’s mission and vision remained the same: to excel in its particular field, provide quality patient care, and produce competent specialist upholding the highest standards of professionalism and service.