UP Manila: Leading the Path to Health Enrichment
The early decades of UP figure prominently in the history and current state of UP Manila. UP was created in Ermita, one of the oldest, vibrant districts of Manila, on June 18, 1908, through Act 1870 to give "advanced instruction in literature, philosophy, the sciences and arts and give professional and technical training to every qualified student irrespective of age, sex, nationality, religious belief or political affiliation.”
UP first opened on Calle Isaac Peral (now UN Avenue) and Padre Faura in downtown Manila. The first academic units included College of Medicine and Surgery (Herran), College of Liberal Arts that included a pharmacy course in 1911 and School of Education in 1915, College of Law, College of Veterinary Medicine (Pandacan), College of Agriculture (Los Banos), College of Engineering, and School of Fine Arts (Quiapo).
It became the seat of excellence in education and advanced instruction in literature, philosophy, health sciences and the arts, as well as professional and technical training. UP spent four decades of formative years in Ermita before moving to its campus in Diliman, Quezon City in 1948.
Before its founding, UP was preceded by two units that were integrated into it later, hence their being more known as among its original components.
The two units are the Philippine Medical School (PMS, now College of Medicine) and the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).
The PMS was established on December 1, 1905 by the Philippine Commission under Commonwealth Act No. 1415, giving due course to the resolution passed at the second annual meeting of the Philippine Islands Medical Association that expressed the need for more doctors, the ratio being 1 for every 21,000 that time. The PMS opened on Dec. 10, 1907 and moved to its current home along Pedro Gil Street on July 1, 1910.
Philippine Medical School
PGH, exterior view
In 1907, the US government passed a law establishing the PGH. On September 1, 1910, the 350-bed capacity hospital was opened to the public for health care delivery and clinical instruction and training of medical and other health students.
Diversification of Health Programs
As years went by, new health colleges evolved from the College of Medicine, such as pharmacy, dentistry, and public health that eventually became full-fledged degree-granting units in 1935, 1948, and 1932, respectively. With the creation of the College of Nursing, the first university-based BS Nursing was offered in 1948 which integrated the PGH School of Nursing program created earlier.
World War II left the UP campus severely damaged, but the College of Medicine and PGH were still able to attend to the injured and the sick. With UP’s transfer to Diliman, Quezon City, Medicine, Dentistry and Public Health, were left behind. The School of Allied Medical Professions was created in 1962 while the Philippine Eye Research Institute was established in 1965.
Creation of the Health Sciences Center
In 1967, Republic Act 5163 created the Health Sciences Center (HSC) to seek the highest standards of training research, and services in the various health sciences. The Center aimed to influence national policies and decision-making on health and develop innovative programs, projects, and models that are responsive to the health needs and aspirations of the country.
In 1972, UP was reorganized into a system of constituent universities through Presidential Decree No. 58, issued on November 20, 1972 with UP Diliman, UP Los Baños, and UP Visayas as flagship campuses for liberal arts, literature, science, and philosophy; agriculture, forestry and environmental management; and fisheries, respectively. The HSC became the second autonomous university of the UP System through Executive Order No. 519 dated January 24, 1979 and was renamed UP Manila in 1982.
The years 1975 and 1976 saw the establishment of the National Teacher Training Center in the Health Professions as the first in the Philippines to enhance the instructional skills of health professions teachers. Also established was the School of Health Sciences (SHS) in Palo, Leyte as a community-based, ladderized approach to educating a range of health professionals to serve in remote and underserved provinces.
On Oct. 28, 1977, a BOR Resolution establishing the Health Sciences Center as an-autonomous member of the UP System was issued. The resolution states that the HSC shall be initially comprised of the College of Medicine, College of Pharmacy, College of Dentistry, College of Nursing, Institute of Public Health, School of Allied Medical Professions, Philippine General Hospital, University Health Service. Philippine Eye Research Institute, Comprehensive Community Health Program, Anesthesiology Center Western Pacific, National Teacher Training Center for the Health Professions, the sub-units established therein, the proposed Philippine Medical Center, and such other units that may hereafter be created by the BOR and included therein or transferred thereto.
The objectives of the HSC were:
a. To provide leadership in education, research, and services in the various health sciences geared to the development of the highest quality of health;
b. To provide collaboration, integration, and coordination of the units thereof to promote economy and productivity;
c. To seek to influence national policies and decision-making relative to health;
d. To develop innovative programs, projects, and models that are responsive to the health needs and aspirations of the country; and
e. To make possible a responsive component of the health care system through the development of improved techniques, better facilities, and maximization of the capacities of the health science university.
The Philippine Medical Center, a large hospital envisioned to provide service to the indigents and serve as a professional medical training and research center, did not materialize due to lack of funds. Meanwhile, the Anesthesiology Center Western Pacific was abolished while the Comprehensive Community Health Program in Bay, Laguna was ended in 1988 to give way to another community-oriented multi-disciplinary health program.
From these physical and structural evolutions grew what is now regarded as the Philippines’ leading health university that seeks to influence and improve the health of Filipinos and be a major contributor to the country’s health goals.
From Health Sciences Center to UP Manila
The grouping together of the existing health units under the HSC led to its being an autonomous member of the UP System in 1979 and its eventual renaming according to the geographical location of UP campuses and more importantly, their niche.
Through EO No. 11 dated Dec. 21, 1983, the UP College Manila, which offered liberal arts courses and then an extension unit of UP Diliman, was integrated into the HSC and later transformed into the UP Manila College of Arts and Sciences. The CAS started to offer General Education courses for health sciences programs in 1983 and offered separate degree programs, such as the BA Organizational Communication, BA Development Studies, BS Computer Science, BS Biochemistry, BS Behavioral Science, and BS Applied Physics.
Today, UP Manila is recognized as the country’s premier institution for the health sciences and leader in health education, training, research, and public service. Its main campus occupies 14 hectares of prime land, comprising two blocks in the Ermita District.
It has nine degree granting units: College of Allied Medical Professions, College of Arts and Sciences, College of Dentistry, College of Medicine (CM), College of Nursing (CN), College of Pharmacy, College of Public Health (CPH), National Teachers Training Center for the Health Professions (NTTC-HP), and School of Health Sciences that has four campuses in strategic and geographically disadvantaged and isolated areas. These are, from oldest to youngest, SHS Palo, Leyte (1976), SHS Aurora (2008), SHS South Cotabato (2011), and SHS Tarlac (2021).
The CM and CN are recognized as Centers of Excellence by the Commission on Higher Education. In addition, the CN is a WHO Collaborating Center for Leadership in Nursing Development in the Asia-Pacific region. The South East Asian Ministers Educational Organization (SEAMEO) named the CPH as the SEAMEO-TROPMED Regional Center for Public Health, Hospital Administration, and Environmental and Occupational Health. The NTTCHP is a WHO Regional Education Development Center for Health Professions Education.
UP Manila’s persistent efforts to create a stimulating educational environment are reaping bountiful fruits. Its graduates occupy leadership positions in every sector of Philippine society-- from the corridors of government to the academe and cutting-edge research centers, in the communities and nongovernment organizations, and virtually everywhere else in between.
Combining both excellence and relevance, UP Manila offers academic programs that are responsive to the needs and aspirations of the Filipinos. It has 19 undergraduate programs, 35 graduate programs, with several diploma and certificate programs, including courses in the arts and culture, social, and physical sciences that imbue the students with a liberal and humanistic education.
UP Manila graduates have consistently topped the licensure examinations in Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Chemistry, Physical Therapy, and Occupational Therapy, with passing rates higher than the national average, earning for it the Top Performing School in almost all its health degrees.
Its high research productivity and high citation scores in the pre-clinical, clinical, and health areas contributed to the higher rankings of UP in the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
All its colleges, PGH and NIH lead in their disciplines in teaching and training, research, and public service in view of UP Manila’s role as standard bearer and leader in the health and allied sciences.
UP Manila is ISO 9001-2015 certified for its university-wide quality management system. This makes UP Manila the first campus in the UP System to obtain an international external accreditation.
The COVID 19 crisis during the past three years spurred UP Manila to make significant and innovative academic program shifts and trailblazing researches while ensuring protection and support for its community members. UP Manila worked with the higher education sector and government agencies and organizations to prepare for the move to remote and blended learning methods and later on facilitate the return to face to face classes and other onsite academic activities.
The University continued providing excellent and the most relevant education and upheld the integrity of its academic programs by supporting students online ensuring that no one is left behind, investing in online teaching and learning management systems, expanding its digital teaching and learning technologies, and orienting and supporting its faculty to adopt the technologies.
The national leader in the health sciences
1. To provide health science-focused transformative education, enabling and encouraging students to take creative and constructive action that contributes to the improvement of their community, the nation, and the world, based on a strong sense of their cultural and historical identity, as well as a shared humanity.
2. To serve as a research hub in various fields of specialization in the health sciences by conducting integrative and collaborative basic, applied, and clinical research and development, contributing to the dissemination and application of knowledge,and shaping national health policies.
3. To lead as a public service university by providing various forms of community, public, and volunteer health services, as well as medical, scholarly and technical assistance to the government, private sector, and civil society while maintaining its standard of excellence.
Honor • Excellence • Integrity
Social Responsibility • Leadership • Innovation
Global Competitiveness • Nationalism
The Chancellors of the University of the Philippines Manila
Florentino B. Herrera, Jr.
Conrado Ll. Lorenzo, Jr, MD
Ernesto O. Domingo, MD
Perla D. Santos-Ocampo, MD
Alfredo T. Ramirez, MD
Dr. Marita V. Tolentino-Reyes
Ramon L. Aracadio, MD, MHPEd
Manuel B. Agulto, MD, DPBO, FPAO