Scholars urged to pay it forward, hold on their struggles and sacrifices




“Do not ask what the university can give but ask yourselves what you can offer to the university. This is the essence of our UP education.”

This plea came from Dr. Kiko Cortez, PGH Dept of Orthopedics chief resident and UP College of Medicine alumnus, who told the scholars during a UP Manila convocation on April 25 that scholarship does not end with academic excellence and urged them to have a balanced life. 

“Participate in community activities, volunteer in socio-civic engagements during medical school. My weekends were spent in relief operations and medical and surgical missions. I was able to hone my skills while giving back to the people who gave me opportunities,” he pressed the students. 

The Philippine Board of Orthopedics Outstanding Resident in 2022 exhorted the scholars to hold on to their struggles and sacrifices to keep the fire burning and to push them to reach for their dreams. 

His journey to becoming a doctor was realized through determination, patience, hardwork, and grit, and the compassion of civic groups and individuals. He initially thought becoming a physician was impossible given his family circumstances and the unfortunate events he encountered along the way.

Dr. Cortez, also an Outstanding Intern at the PGH, recalled how he used to walk five kilometers while in grade school just to save twenty five pesos in fare. He survived through student loans and almost quit medical school when his father died. His brods’ families adopted him during board reviews while his mentors helped him keep things together during the first part of his residency before he got his first salary. 

“A lot of people sacrificed for us to be here. Every time I would  meet my sponsors, they would proudly tell me how they are able to help someone graduate from college with honors, pursue medicine, and is now an orthopedic surgeon.” 

He urged them to pay forward the people who are helping them. “As UP students, you will be put in positions where you can help your fellow countrymen. We can always choose to be kind. It takes a village to raise a child. Always remember that we are that child; you are that child on the journey and someday, you will be the village to another child.”

A total of 2,313 University Scholars and 2,148 College Scholars were given Certificates of Recognition for their excellent academic performance during the AY 2021-2022.

Responding of behalf of the scholars, BA Political Science student Clem Erica M. Arcilla asked fellow scholars for whom are they building their lives. “Maging mapanuri, sensitibo sa pangangailangan ng bayan, at mapanglikha.”


(Cynthia M. Villamor)