Show me two friends who have helped you through a difficult time, two people who taught you something worthwhile, made you feel appreciated and special, persons of compassion, and I will show you two Filipino-American doctors who are just those. Dr Antonio Santos and his wife Dr. Sonia Santos are our silent heroes. Without flare or fancy, they have worked on, touched and transformed lives, both professionally as well as outside in the community. Everyone of those who came to roast or toast these two retiring physicians had only the highest compliments for them, Fellow employees from Southwestern State Hospital spoke reverently and in choked up words how they will miss this couple who have become endeared to all.
While at SWSH, from 1986 to July 1, 2000, Dr. Tony had served as Medical Director for Medical Services, while Dr. Sonia had served as Chief of Psychiatry. They distinguished themselves by their professionalism, leadership and integrity. They were models of hospital decorum. Together, they brought honor to themselves, the hospital, and the Filipino-American community. Their community service became evident to many as personal testimonies of compassionate acts of kindness reverberated amongst the populace with their impending retirement.
Dr. Tony, a native of Pampanga and Dr. Sonia, who hails from Masbate, received their medical degrees at UST and FEU, in Manila, Philippines, respectively. After some 10 years of private practice in Angeles city, Pampanga, they came to the United State. Dr. Sonia trained as a psychiatrist at Clinton Valley Center and Michigan State University, Lansing MI. They moved to Cannon AFB, NM, where Dr. Tony served as a Captain in the USAF Medical Corps. After concluding his military service, they worked at Florida State Hospital, and finally moved to SWSH where they stayed until their retirement.
Married for 41 years, each doctor evokes an essence of perfect harmony and balance. To illustrate: they raised four happy and highly accomplished children who remain respectful, grateful and loving. Additionally, they remain devoted to each other. Outside of work and family, their charitable interventions have diffused many a personal and/or family crises. In his Confucian words of wisdom, Dr. Tony summarizes their life together with these, "We were married the same day, been married the same number of years, have the same number of children, worked together and even retired the same day."
TINIKLING or Bamboo Dance is honored as the Philippine national dance. Originating from the island of Leyte (where Gen. McArthur landed in WWII), one of the Visayan islands, the steps imitate the movement of the Indigenous tikling bird. Two couples, one, sit on their knees, rhythmically beating a pair of bamboo poles apart against a slab of wood and together; the other, dance to the music while negotiating the opening and closing of the bamboo poles. Grace, agility, speed and stamina are necessary to create a lively presentation. The audience may clap to the rhythm and some may even participate by trying out their ability to evade the fast closing of the bamboo poles.
For reasons of geography and history, the islands of the Philippines have more than a hundred languages aside from Spanish, English, Chinese and Arabic. The native languages belong to the Malayo-Polynesian family but differ in many ways other than vocabulary. Some major regional languages have dialects while some are spoken by ethnic groups. While under the Spaniards, the country remained divided linguistically, while under the Americans, a massive education system with English as a medium of instruction was launched, but English never gained acceptance as a common language. In 1935, the constitution provided for the development and adoption of a common national language. Through the recommendation of the National Language Institute, Tagalog was adopted as the core of the national language. At that time, eight major languages were identified: Tagalog, Cebuano, Ilocano, Hiligaynon, Bicol, Pampango and Pangasinan. The Commonwealth act No. 570 of 1940 designated Pilipino as the national language effective July 4, 1946. The language issue remains controversial. A recent census revealed that there are more speakers of Pilipino than English yet the latter remains the medium of instruction and the official language of government and commerce. Cebuano advocates argue that there are more Cebuano speakers than Tagalog, thus, Cebuano should be the basis of the national language. The Tagalog-based Pilipino remains predominant as it is used by Metro Manila, the center of government and commerce. It also enjoys the unrivaled agents of Komiks, film and newspapers which many non-Tagalogs claim to learn the language from.