Vol. 48 No. 2 Guest Editorial PDF

Celebrating 30 Years of Pioneering Excellence: The Remarkable Journey of the Philippine Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery

Yvette Marie Santiago-Gatmaitan, MD1,2,3,4

1Eye Institute, St. Luke’s Medical Center-Quezon City
2Peregrine Eye and Laser Institute, Makati City
3Department of Ophthalmology, Dr. Paulino J. Garcia Memorial Research and Medical Center, Cabanatuan City
4Department of Ophthalmology, Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center, Manila

Correspondence: Yvette Marie B. Santiago-Gatmaitan,MD
Clinic Address: Suite 1405 N, Cathedral Heights Building Complex, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Quezon City Contact Number: +639985542797
Email Address: yvettesantiago@me.com

Disclosure: The author reports no financial relationship or conflict of interest.

In commemoration of the pearl anniversary of the Philippine Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (PSOPRS) celebrated in 2022, we embark on a journey through time to revisit the remarkable history of this pioneering organization. Founded in 1992 by the visionary, Dr. Liborio L. Mangubat, PSOPRS has made an enduring impact on the field of oculoplastic surgery in the Philippines.

The Gestation of PSOPRS

Dr. Liborio Mangubat, a distinguished academician and true paragon of ophthalmology, served as a professor in the Department of Ophthalmology at the College of Medicine, University of the Philippines Manila, for 34 illustrious years. His commitment to excellence and innovation led him to establish the Oculoplastics Section at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH) following his fellowship at the New York Eye and Ear Clinic. The Oculoplastics Clinic at PGH quickly gained recognition as a premier referral center for a wide range of eyelid disorders, malpositions, tumors, and lacrimal disorders.

Before the inception of PSOPRS, specialists with training in Oculoplastic and Oculofacial Surgeries, including ophthalmologists, otorhinolaryngologists, and plastic surgeons, were united under the Philippine Society for Cosmetic Surgery (formerly known as the Philippine Society for Plastic Aesthetic Surgery). Dr. Burgos T. Sayoc, a luminary in the field and often hailed as the Father of Oculoplastic Surgery and Cosmetic Surgery in the Philippines, founded this organization in 1972. Dr. Sayoc, along with vice presidents Dr. Liborio Mangubat (Ophthalmology), Dr. Cesar Villafuerte, Sr. (Otolaryngology), and Dr. Teodoro Luna (General Surgery) and other pioneers, laid the foundation for a collective pursuit of excellence in cosmetic surgery.

Under the leadership of Dr. Mangubat, who was president from 1987 to 1994, the Philippine Society for Cosmetic Surgery saw significant advancements. Scientific meetings were enhanced and postgraduate courses with surgical demonstrations became a regular feature. Members attended international meetings and courses furthering their knowledge in cosmetic surgery at a time when formal training was locally unavailable.

Nevertheless, Dr. Mangubat recognized the need for a dedicated organization to address the specific concerns of oculoplastic surgeons and dacryologists. In 1992, he founded the Philippine Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery with the mission of elevating the practice of plastic and reconstructive surgery involving the eyelids, orbits, and lacrimal system. Its founding members include: Dr. Prospero Ma. C. Tuaño, Dr. Leonardo D. Mangubat, Dr. Reynaldo M. Javate, Dr. Jaime P. Capco, Dr. Angeles Morales-de Leon, Dr. Franklin P. Kleiner, Dr. Ruben G. Henson, Jr., Dr. Noel S. Chua, Dr. Victor B. Lopez, Dr. Robert C. Tan, Dr. Heidi D. Remulla, Dr. Jacqueline H. King and Dr. Timothy Elbert R. Tan [Figure 1]. This dynamic team worked tirelessly to create a platform for the discussion of cases, exchange of knowledge, and exploration of novel techniques in oculoplastic surgery.

PSOPRS was founded with the vision of becoming the leader in Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, known for excellence in service, training, and research, and recognized as preferred partners and trusted by both medical professionals and the general public, while maintaining a dynamic, rapidly growing organization fueled by the active participation of its dedicated members.

Leadership Through the Years

Over the years, PSOPRS has been led by unwavering members who have contributed significantly to the field. The presidents who have guided and shaped the society’s journey are:

  • Dr. Liborio L. Mangubat (1992-1996)
  • Dr. Reynaldo M. Javate (1997-2001)
  • Dr. Leonardo R. Mangubat (2002-2005)
  • Dr. Franklin P. Kleiner (2006-2007)
  • Dr. Mary Rose P. Yan (2008-2012)
  • Dr. Alexander D. Tan (2013-2014)
  • Dr. Maria Donna D. Santiago (2015-2016)
  • Dr. Alex S. Sua (2017)
  • Dr. Roseny Mae C. Singson (2017-2018)
  • Dr. Raoul Paolo D. Henson (2019-2020)
  • Dr. Charmaine Y. Ang (2021-2022)
  • Dr. Yvette Marie B. Santiago-Gatmaitan (2023-2024)

Each president, with the support of the executive council and backed by the members, made diligent efforts to further the society’s mission and respond to emerging needs.

The Liborio Mangubat Memorial Lecture

In honor of its founding president, PSOPRS inaugurated the Liborio Mangubat Memorial Lecture in 2007. This prestigious award is presented every two years to acknowledge an esteemed leader of PSOPRS who has made noteworthy contributions to the field of Ophthalmic Plastic Surgery and its advancement.

The following lists the Liborio Mangubat Memorial Lecture Awardees with the title of the lectures they delivered at the respective Philippine Academy of Ophthalmology (PAO) Annual Meeting:

  • Dr. Angeles M. de Leon (2007) “History of Oculoplastic Surgery in the Philippines”
  • Dr. Leonardo R. Mangubat (2009) “Introducing Oculoplastics in Your General Practice”
  • Dr. Prospero Ma. C. Tuaño (2012) “Evolving Practice Patterns: The Introduction of Targeted Therapy in Orbital Diseases”
  • Dr. Reynaldo M. Javate (2014) “Towards Perfection in Lacrimal Surgery”
  • Dr. Franklin P. Kleiner (2016) “A Passion for Eyelid Reconstruction”
  • Dr. Mary Rose Pe-Yan (2018) “Challenges in Anophthalmia and Microphthalmia”
  • Dr. Alexander D. Tan (2020) “Malignant Tumors of the Eyelid”
  • Dr. Maria Donna D. Santiago (2022) “The Orbitofacial Surgeon: Breaking Silence in Violence Against Women”

Global Recognition

During Dr. Reynaldo Javate’s presidency from 1997 to 2001, PSOPRS continued to flourish. Dr. Javate’s far-sighted leadership extended beyond the society’s borders, as he founded the Asia Pacific Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (APSOPRS). This regional organization aimed to foster collaboration and knowledge-sharing among oculoplastic surgeons in the Asia-Pacific region, with Dr. Leonardo Mangubat, Dr. Franklin Kleiner, and Dr Angeles de Leon playing instrumental roles as his Vice President, Secretary, and Board member, respectively [Figure 2]. For years, PSOPRS has been recognized as a leader in APSOPRS with some of its members serving in the Executive Council [Figure 3].

Between 2019 and 2020, Dr. Raoul Henson held the dual roles of President for both PSOPRS and APSOPRS. His aim was to facilitate APSOPRS’ return to the Philippines, a goal that had been in the works for two decades. Unfortunately, the COVID- 19 pandemic led to its inevitable postponement. Nonetheless, he successfully represented both PSOPRS and APSOPRS at scientific meetings across Asia, America, and Europe before the pandemic took hold.

To enhance its global footprint, PSOPRS took part in the inaugural meeting of the World Society of Ophthalmic Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgery (WSOPRAS) held in Dubai on May 5-7, 2023. Dr. Javate contributed as a member of the scientific committee, with support from Dr. Mary Rose Pe-Yan, Dr. Yvette Santiago-Gatmaitan, and Dr. Honeylen Teo who participated in the scientific program. Furthermore, other members participated in the 1st Asia Pacific Orbital Disease and Thyroid Eye Disease meeting in Singapore on May 26-27, 2023. Dr. Mark Imperial, Dr. Christine Therese Santos, and Dr. Marco Tumalad represented PSOPRS together with other delegates and trainees from the Philippines.

In another significant milestone this year, PSOPRS earned recognition as a reciprocal society of the American Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery (ASOPRS). This noteworthy acknowledgement grants PSOPRS members the privilege of becoming international associate members of ASOPRS, reciprocally allowing ASOPRS members to access the educational conferences of PSOPRS. This collaborative partnership not only fosters enhanced cooperation but also paves the way for the pursuit of shared objectives and common goals.

International Collaboration

PSOPRS takes an active role in fostering international collaboration by inviting esteemed leaders in the field to deliver keynote speeches at its annual scientific meetings. Likewise, its members contribute significantly to international scientific gatherings as invited faculty and guest speakers [Figure 3].

In 2011, spearheaded by Dr. Mary Rose Pe-Yan, PSOPRS took a significant step by organizing the 11th International Society of Dacryology and Dry Eye (ISDDE) Meeting in Manila. We continue to nurture these partnerships through joint webinars with sister societies such as the Singapore Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and, soon, the ASOPRS, further solidifying our commitment to global cooperation and knowledge exchange.

Continuing Education

PSOPRS remains dedicated to advancing excellence in its field. Its scientific meetings and symposia during the PAO annual meeting and Lifelong Educational Access Program (LEAP), as well as, its regular round table discussions (RTDs) have become a defining feature of the society. While face-to-face RTDs offered a platform for members to engage in insightful dialogues with trainees, discussing complex cases from various ophthalmology residency training institutions in Metro Manila, the accessibility of user-friendly webinar platforms during the pandemic enabled PSOPRS to broaden its reach. This allowed PSOPRS to connect with residency training institutions all over the country, facilitating their participation and presentation of their fascinating cases.

In 2016, during the tenure of Dr. Donna Santiago as President, the Dr. Jorge G. Camara Clinicopathologic Conference (CPC) made its debut at the annual meeting of the PAO. It introduced a spirited competition among Eye Residency Training Institutions, focusing on intricate and challenging oculoplastic, orbit and lacrimal cases. The CPC is now overseen by the Philippine Ocular Pathology Society (POPS). Nonetheless, PSOPRS members continue to participate as judges and advisers [Figure 4].

PSOPRS continues to pursue the advancement of the subspecialty locally by actively engaging in postgraduate courses and collaborative programs, including webinars. These initiatives involve close partnerships with related subspecialty societies, such as POPS, the Philippine Ocular Genetics Interest Group, maxillofacial societies, and more. Through these endeavors, PSOPRS aims to continuously promote and enrich the field, fostering a culture of learning and shared expertise.

Filling the Void

There is still a shortage of oculoplasty subspecialists in the country, and as a response to this, some PSOPRS members travel to various underserved areas in the Philippines to provide their expertise. PSOPRS has also organized surgical missions in Iloilo and Pampanga, in 2017 and this year, respectively [Figure 5].

To further address the need for more subspecialists who could, potentially, provide their skills to the underserved, PSOPRS supports the establishment of more local fellowship training programs. There are currently three local training programs in oculoplastic, orbit, and lacrimal surgery, namely, the Philippine General Hospital, The Medical City-Rizal Medical Center Consortium, and Cardinal Santos Medical Center. PSOPRS extends its support to these programs by offering a platform for their fellows to showcase their interesting cases and research work during our regular RTDs. At the surgical mission in Pampanga, they were also invited to participate in the planning and treatment of the patients. This initiative not only nurtures the growth of future specialists but also enhances the dissemination of knowledge within our field.

Looking forward, standardization of fellowship training and the formation of a fellowship accreditation team within PSOPRS aim to serve as a catalyst, encouraging other hospitals to consider the initiation of orbit and ophthalmic plastic fellowship training programs.

As we celebrate 30 years of PSOPRS, we honor the visionaries who laid the foundation for excellence and innovation in oculoplastic surgery [Figure 6]. Reflecting on our remarkable journey and the strides we have made in the field, it is with great excitement that I introduce the diverse and dynamic content featured in this special issue. Within these pages, you will find a collection of articles that showcase the commitment of our members to pushing the boundaries of knowledge and patient care. From innovative surgical techniques to in-depth assessments of healthcare capacity and challenging case reports, this special issue serves as a testament to the dedication and excellence that define the Philippine Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery. We invite you to delve into the wealth of insights and discoveries that await, as PSOPRS continues in its mission to advance oculoplastic surgery in the Philippines and beyond.


  1. de Leon, AM. Passage: Liborio L. Mangubat Lecture. Philipp J Ophthalmol, 2008; 33(1):36-37.
  2. Philippine Society of Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery 25th Anniversary Coffee Table Book and Archives