What a Ride it has Been

9 months ago, I was finishing up all my paperwork and touching up my resume in order to become a university physician of my Alma mater; now, I am finishing up my clinic duty for the day and I would be done with my contract.

I have mentioned many times in my past posts that I was given the opportunity to become the director of the university health services, a full time faculty in several schools of medicine, and a post in the research department, but I had to decline most, if not all, of these since I have a greater goal – that is to start training real soon, or soon enough.

My goal is to train in the States so I need to prepare for yet another medical licensure examintion, the USMLE, which is divided into 4 exams; these are not just any exam that I can take them on a whim, I really need to prepare for these. I will be linking a future post on how I reached my decision in going back home in the States and hoping to train there.

As flattered I am by the university and my colleagues in the university clinic wanting me to stay, I am much more elated that they understand my goals and would not hinder my wanting to train as soon as possible.

I am the youngest in the clinic, and at the time I was hired here, I was only 3 months being officially licensed as a physcian. So, I felt that my confidence level is still low to lead a team or to be taken seriously. Thankfully, my fears are put to rest as the team trusted me since day 1, guiding me in things I am not to sure of, and more importantly, accepting me and making me part of their close knit family. The latter is the one I appreciate the most. I learned a lot and I had a lot of great memories… But it is being part of this family that will be the best part of this job.

Even if I am just a general physician here in the university, I do have my share of toxity (our term for a hectic workday along with difficult cases and whatnot); that is something quite rare in an out patient department setting like here in the clinic. I’ve seen cases like diabetic ketoacidosis in a 15 year old, Takotsubo syndrome, retinal detachment, etc. Now some of these cases are common in the hospital setting, but to be primarily diagnosed in a clinic like here, and with what little I can request in terms of ancillary procedures to confirm my assumptions, it is quite a feat for a young physician as myself. This helped me become a little more confident as a diagnostician.

And through it all, my colleagues never doubted me.

That really helps a fledging physician.

Such as what my collague and my mentor said yesterday during our pizza pig out, “I hate goodbyes…”, but honestly, this is not goodbye, more of a “see you all later”, even if I do become a licensed physician in the States and I train there, these colleagues of mine are now family and I have no doubt that in the future when we see each other somewhere down whatever road, we can easily get a cup of coffee or two, reminisce our days in the clinic, and just smile on how far we all eventually come.

With that, in a few hours time, Christian Udarbe, M.D., University Physician, would have signed out. And what a ride it has been!

03-29-2017 Thank You UHS-1.jpg

Til next time! PEACE!


This is Dr. Udarbe, university physician, officially signing off.



Tables are Turned

View from the other side… Feels funny now that I am their examiner when it wasn’t long ago I was in their shoes.

It wasn’t that long ago when I donned the medical school proper uniform or even that of a 4th year medical clerk uniform. All the pain and suffering while studying on going on duties as a clerk is still quite fresh in my mind, and I do have some literal scars that are still oozing with blood from it all.

So when I was asked to help out in my Alma Mater for the current medical students’ exams, I was more than happy to help out and be their proctor/examiner for some subjects.

I wanted to give back to the university and the department that made my dreams into reality and never stopped believing that all my goals in life will be in fruition. Thus, simple acts like this can still go a long way in their eyes and then some. Plus, I am starting to acclimatize myself once again with the school policies as I am a guest lecturer in the Department of Biochemistry also in the School of Medicine in my Alma Mater and plan to help out in the lectures/reports/exams in the second semester. Helping out now will help get in tune with the medicine office and the people once again.

This is actually my first time being a proctor in an examination but still having the memories of being a student taking the exams quite fresh, I still remember the usual things my proctors would say before, during, or after the examinations, so I was easily able to adapt quickly and thankfully the students were very behaved so I had no problems during my first proctoring of an exam.

I will be proctoring other exams for the rest of the week and I am actually looking forward to it as it is quite therapeutic doing this. I hardly have to answer tough questions as I would have when I am lecturing, I don’t have to make hard decisions such as those times when I am in the clinic, and I don’t have to correct anything in the test paper as I am not the one that made it, I simply relay any questions.

And I need something therapeutic as the past couple of days up to weeks, I have not been my jolly self in the clinics I work in. Gone is the funny doctor that does his best to make you smile before leaving the clinic, now we have a doctor that seems to just wait til quitting time. The latter is something I don’t want to be remembered as; I have always pride myself as being a workaholic, a guy that gets the job done in spite of the toxicity, a guy that never shies away from a task as it gets tougher, a guy that is cool when it comes to emergencies, and a guy that will never tire even if overtime is a real thing.

I need something therapeutic so I can be that kind of guy again. Not sure what has happened to me in the past few days up to weeks. I probably took life a wee bit too seriously that I have lost track of how to have fun at work. There is a number of things that I can point my finger on as to why I am not my usual jolly self, but I can’t really pin point the exact moment where I felt the dread.

Thus I try to do new things, go places, and just try to relax – and being a proctor… simply a proctor, may help me. Here’s hoping it will.

So as the tables are now turned as I am no longer the medical student/medical clerk/medical intern, twiddling my thumb while having what seems to be a restless leg syndrome as I toil away at the exams, I am now the proctor and examiner looking at younger medical students that are now having the mannerisms I had during exams. It is a perfect circle. And pretty soon, they will also become proctors or examiners for future medical doctors… and thus, the cycle continues.

Tables are turned!

Til then! PEACE!

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Somewhere I Belong


Entering my 3rd week as the new University Physician at my Alma Mater and so far I am having an absolute blast; I am having fun because of my co-workers there, seeing my old professors and how happy to see me and how far I have come, and to see patients with different, albeit, non-toxic cases, also helps me grow as a physician. Add the fact that I am also working in a diagnostic center where I see much older patients than the students in the university, I do get to see a multitude of cases, albeit again, non-toxic cases.

Now, do note, I am not the only university physician, there is still another who is also part time like me, who happened to have been longer than I have; long enough to have remembered me during my B.S. Biology and Medicine years in the same university.

She is far more experienced than me, but I strive to be as confident and experienced as her as time goes on. I mentioned confidence… this is because since I am practically a very young and brand new physician, even if I do know the case and the treatment, sometimes I just can’t help but question myself and over think if I did the right thing or not.

This becomes more apparent when it is time for me to refer to specialists, since at this point I am a general physician, and start to wonder if my referrals are right. Since most of these specialists I know are my professors in medicine, they might think I didn’t learn anything at all.

But apart from my self doubts, overall the patients that do come back for follow mention my treatment plan will always have an improvement. I really need to build that confidence.

Thus far, as mentioned above, I am enjoying every minute of my time there in AUF as their physician, always looking forward to going there in the morning, so much so that in some days where my call time is 7am, I am usually the first one there, and thankfully, I am given a copy of the clinic’s key that I am able to enter even no one else is around.

Add the fact that I am also enjoying my time at the diagnostic center where I am also the general physician, I have the weekdays to look forward to, even more so than the weekends.

Let us also throw in that I will be teaching some subjects in School of Medicine in AUF and teach my favorite subject which is Biochemistry, everything seems to be falling in place for me this year. Perfect practice until my Neurology training next year.

I am indeed looking forward for the coming days and so on in all my current ventures and I am looking forward to learning as much as I can before I become a specialist in a field in medicine.

I feel that I am happy at how things are panning out for me after what I considered a trying time since I had reinjured my right knee and had to have surgery. Seeing my old professors both in medicine and in premed all happy to see where I am, for this year at least, makes me feel humbled as without them, I wouldn’t even be here at this point. And hearing that I have most of my life planned out, for the coming 5 years or so (which includes the training), they are even more happy and relieved to see their former student come so far and has planned his future enough.

Doing What I love.

I am happy that I feel like I belong now.

So here’s to a good time and for a brighter future, not only me, but for everyone.


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Lost in PHA Convention

Well, not really lost in the Philippine Heart Association (Hereafter, PHA) Convention, just can’t think of anything better as a title; forgive me, for I am battling a total of 6 hours sleep in the past 4 days, so I guess my so called creativity is on hibernation – something I should actually be doing, too.

Anyways, the actual convention concluded yesterday, where it spanned from May 25-27, and I was there since the 24th; usually, these conventions, I am just another delegate, choosing which topics I would love to listen to, but this time around, since my sister, who is a cardiology fellow, was tasked to give a case on the second day of the event, I was there for moral support, and probably more importantly, there for technical support and such, just to make sure her case report would not be a failure.

I can’t take all the credit for her successful case report, of course not! It was her own work, and her own power that made her report a success, I was there just in case she needs me to research, clarify some topics, or even fix her laptop if need be. I am the insurance for anything that can go wrong,; thankfully nothing did go wrong, and of course, even if something did, again, in the end, it would still be her doing the actual report, the actual work, so it is really her glory. I am emphasizing this because a lot of people also credited me for her successful report, for which I am honored that they think so, but in reality, it was all on my sister.

Proud little bro here!

Apart from that case report of my sister, her co cardio fellows of the AUFMC also had their own respective parts in the event, and each, like my sister, had successful presentations.


Dr. Canono, considered my other sister, proudly representing AUFMC in the poster presentation of her study



From left to right, Dr. Debbie (my real sis), Dr. Cheng (my other sis), and Dr. Richard, representing AUFMC for the PHA Quiz Show!

The overall event was successful, and I love the location as I can easily go to the mall after the day’s lectures – you get to learn, feed your mind if you will, and then you can relax at the mall/plaza that is next to the hotel, Shangri-La  Hotel at EDSA, and then feed the tummy and the soul with whatever you please there.

This time around, however, I didn’t see my classmates, but I did see a lot of my mentors, which is great; I can give my thanks to them for guiding me throughout medical school and for their prayers when I was preparing for my board exams. So that was more than enough to make up for me not being able to catch up with my classmates from medschool there.

Away from the conventions and the realm of medicine, I got to explore places in Manila I usually do not go in a regular basis, one of which is a Bonifacio Global City, which I have gone to a few times, but like previously mentioned, I don’t visit this place a lot, but it is in my bucket list to live in during my residency training as I target either The Medical City or St. Luke’s; I am targeting those 2 institutions for Neurology training because I heard great feedback from my mentors and fellow physician friends, then seeing Global City as a whole back then, made me all the more want to live in, then seeing it again during my stay in Manila for the PHA Convention, made me long for it even more.

Pig Out!!

BGC reminds me of the States so much; it goes to show that proper city planning can even make places in the Philippines look great. It has wide sidewalks, strict traffic rules, lots of trash cans to avoid loitering just anywhere, friendly people, and lots of cops just to make it all the more safe. Add in the towering skyscrapers of corporations, hotels, etc., it really reminds me of back home in the States.

While there in BGC, we sampled a lot of the well known eateries like IHOP and a lot more; this whole trip was basically eating away anything  to the point on the last day, which was yesterday, I wasn’t as hungry as the first few days. All I wanted to do was drink or immediately head back to the hotel room so I can sleep – the latter of which curtails to the fact that I had 6 hours of sleep in the past 4 days.

Having spent 4 and a half days there for the convention, even with the lack of sleep, it was great hanging out with my sister and her colleagues who happen to be my mentors, and practically, my second siblings. I was able to unwind from all the stress reality can give and feel refreshed as I returned home and facing whatever my professional life will now throw at me.


Last day of the convention, sister decided to treat me cake; I honestly look more tired than the other people that actually have a part in the PHA Convention program


Another pig out session before returning home to Pampanga the next day and face reality

And the coup de grace, if you will, is that since my sister presented a case, she was given a token that happens to be a USB 3.0 32Gb Flashdrive from Samsung, and notorious for not being geeky and notorious for losing a number of her Flashdrives, as well as my Flashdrives, she decided to give it to me since she knows I won’t lose it and can use it to a greater extent than her, plus it is her way of thanking me for being there and helping her with anything she needed during the convention. I failed to mention that my right knee was killing me the entire convention, but the simple thank you would have easily made me feel better even without the Flashdrive, I wouldn’t have said that anyway… I mean, come on, I do want that Flashdrive…

My prize for helping out!

So with that, I end this post…

Til next time! PEACE!




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Blood Letting and A Talk

Now it has been quite the couple of days for me. For most physicians being busy nearly everyday is no surprise, but for a fresh board passer like me who hasn’t committed himself to working just yet (I mean come on, I want a vacation first), it is a bit of a strange thing to be busy with medical related things that be busy planning out a vacation.

Okay, I said I wasn’t committed to working, by that, I mean that I don’t want to sign contract for training/moonlighting/whatever just yet. I can accept simple jobs for now like performing the physical examinations or give pep talks to incoming Physician Licensure Examination (hereafter, PLE) takers this September 2016.

They are simple tasks that doesn’t break my rule of not wanting to work, yet.

First let us talk about what happened April 21st, 2016, I joined a blood letting, that is my 3rd overall since I became officially licensed and this is probably my 10th or more overall since I entered medical studies. So I know the routine, plus it is simple physical examination only. However they do ask certain questions about their health in general, so there will be a few people that don’t want to donate blood, but instead ask for medical advice. I was pretty happy with that since, technically, for now at least, I am considered a General Practitioner until I start training in my chosen field later on. Now I don’t remember every pathophysiology of every disease even if I am fresh off from the exams, but I know enough to answer most questions they have.

This particular blood letting was fun because it was the farthest me or any of the blood bank staff of AUFMC ever had. AUFMC is in Angeles City, Pampanga and we have to go deep in Tarlac to have this blood letting. It was a fun road trip. Got to bond with the medtechs whom I haven’t spoken to in a long time since I was preparing for my own PLE that concluded last March 2016.

I wished they used my real name and not my nickname LOL

As you can see from the photo, we were at the International Broadcasting Bureau (IBB) under the U.S. Embassy, thus the U.S. Government. Thus, I made the joke that I am back home in the States as that piece of land is technically U.S. soil.

When the staff in IBB found out that I am in fact Fil-Am, I was able to speak in English without being ridiculed – I always have the feeling that if someone hears me speak in English, my primary language, that I am just a wannabe trying hard to speak in English. Because that did happen… Someone claimed that I was just pretending that my primary language us English and I was pretending not to know Tagalog. Thus why I sometimes try not to speak at all because I am not fluent in Tagalog, and I fear someone will make fun of me. I am 27 years old  and I am still afraid of being completely ridiculed.

Anyways, the day was a typical day for blood donations, we were a bit saddened that we couldn’t get more than we did, but the experience and the camaraderie during the whole event is worth it.

While I was at the blood letting, I was already aware that I have to give a pep talk, so to speak, to my former clerks who are now interns and about to take the same exam I just did last March. The PLE… this time they are scheduled later on this year at September. I asked the office when it would be held and wasn’t told when until near the end of my blood letting event that I was told it would be the very next day.

So I was toiling away making a PowerPoint presentation about my own experiences as I was preparing the PLE and give tips. I was afraid that I may miss a lot of points during the actual talk, but thankfully, I feel I was able to tackle the important points for preparing for the exams; I may have forgotten other pieces of advice, but I still felt I gave enough. I hope.

Unless the AUFSOM staff were just being nice and the interns were just being nice that I was told that I did a good job and they enjoyed my talk. Who knows… But I will believe them so I can feel good.

Hope they enjoyed my presentation! Yes there is an error in the date on my certificate… Should have been Sept 2016.

And to cap off my busy 2 days, I was greeted with this in the mail today. A Logitech G13 Advanced Gameboard. I am not into these gimmicky peripherals, but get this… What is normally priced at 80-100 bucks, I got this for 30 bucks. I can’t resist the deal. I had to get it. I will tell you my rationalization of the purchase in another post when I review the device.

The left side of my Tecware Haste deskmat is no longer lonely. Look out for a review real soon!

Overall, it was a productive 2 days. I can’t be happier. Doing the thing I love the most, seeing patients/donors, giving them advice, bonding with my friends in the blood bank I haven’t hung out with in months, it was all great fun. Having to see my former clerks that are now interns and about to take the PLE, hearing their gratitude (even if I think my talk was not that good), melts my heart. I wish nothing but THE very best for all of them.

With that, I will end it here.

Til next time! PEACE!

Oh, how the years go by

As I went to AUFMC just to get my papers signed prior to me registering for both the physician licensure review and examination slated for February 2016; I am unable to take the examinations this month of this year because I finished my internship 2 months later than my batch due to me missing one rotation thanks to my injury and subsequent surgery of my right knee… an injury that has plagued me since I was still in high school.
After getting some of the papers signed, and still having tons not yet signed, I decided to kick back and visit my Alma Mater, AUF, that is literally just next door to the hospital.
It was a strange and warm feeling visiting the school I have studied in for 8 years… 4 years taking up B.S. Biology and another 4 years taking Doctor of Medicine.
Sitting down in the stone benches where I waste a lot of hour after school with my friends for life during premed; we may have taken different paths since we graduated, some took jobs, some started a family, and some, like me, went to medicine, yet, we still, up to this day, stay in touch thanks to the advent of these social media sites. Though I loathe Facebook in general and love Twitter more, it is thanks to the former that I can still chat with friends that I would have lost touch with.
Nostalgia started creeping up to me, and for the first time in years, I felt a slight relief. I felt that the weight of the world was taken off my back even just for a few moments. I didn’t have to think about the papers to be signed, I didn’t have to think about registering and beating whatever deadline there is, I didn’t have to think about reading my review books. I felt that I was taken back to my days when I was a B.S. Biology student… 
I am not saying I was a lazy student that time. Far from it, I was at the top of my game without having to work too hard. I was literally the top of my class, graduated Cum Laude, 0.15 GWA away from Magna Cum Laude, and I bagged The Outstanding Student in Science and Technology award. What I was trying to say when I mentioned that it felt like I was taken back to the days of my premed, was that I was relaxed even in the face of difficult challenges. I was relaxed, and I conquered it all.
Nowadays, I think I am less confident than I used to and that’s why I get stressed out.
Visiting the school and sitting down on those stone benches reminded me to stay cool, stay relaxed, for I have already conquered a lot, and I can do a lot more.
How the years go by, indeed. From that scrawny teenager, just wanting to be noticed academically in his department, to a scrawny adult, who just wants to make a difference in the medical world. I have come a long way.
Many good and bad memories in the school, but they all forged me today. And I am thankful for all those.

Blog on the Go: Make Up and some R&R

Late at Night When All the World is Sleeping
Rare selfie… But you will see a lot of selfies in this post… Ah well.

Ah, a successful make up duty must be rewarded with a little r&r.
I made my way to my favorite part of SM North EDSA, which is Annex 1, because most of the enthusiast PC shops are here.
What better way to wash down the last remaining taste of internship, than having to look at my passion: computers. Well, one of my passions.

But being all elated, I was able to walk all the way here in spite of my operates. I guess it is the endorphins that got me all happy and blinded by the fact that it is painful; it must adrenaline that kept me going when I realized the pain I was going through.

Thankfully, I found a little stall inside Annex 1, right next to the electronics, called InfiniTEA. Now, I am not a tea lover, I am a pure bred coffee lover. Such an addict I am that I have my own, yes my own, and not a family owned, coffee maker in my room. Yes, I also like my coffee black. To hell, I say, to these coffee establishments that sell for the name and not the coffee itself.
Yet! I found that I needed a place to stay to rest my knee for the moment, but for the life of me, the closest coffee shop feels like a mile away, so going back to my resentment to tea, I had no choice but to try out InfiniTEA.

The sleepy head and the crippled. Needed a place to rest the wary knee, and somehow
eradicated my sleepiness

Luckily, they have other derivatives without tea in it and I got me a cookies and cream frappe, and upon the first sip and subsequent brain freeze that followed, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

Technology around me, my favorite tunes bursting thru my
earphones, and Cookies and Cream frappe; a perfect
way to relax after some make up duty

Now can this be something I’ll get used to and start drinking these type of beverages? Probably not, but that’s coming from a coffee junkie who needs 5 mugs of coffee throughout the day to even remotely function right.
As I am typing this, I am resting my weary knee, but nonetheless, scouting for beauty. No, not girls; I just got out of a serious relationship I wanted, where I was sure of pursuing… but that’s a tale for another day me thinks.
This beauty I speak of is technology; apart from my passion of computers, I am also into photography and music (I play the guitar mostly), and Annex 1 is melting pot, well for the most part, for my passions.
I am literally breaking my neck trying to look around from my seat. And as soon as I finish this drink and feel as though my knee can make it through a triathalon, I am look into every nook and cranny for best possible deals for whatever tech I need.
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