Vol 33 No 1 Passage PDF

Doctor, father, husband

Leonardo R. Mangubat, MD

LIBORIO “Boying” Lacson Mangubat was born and raised in Dasmarinas, Cavite. He was the youngest child and only son of Leoncio and Catalina Mangubat. Being disciplinarians as they were, my grandparents instilled into their children the values of hard work and respect, which our father, in turn, handed over to us. When I was in the Ateneo High School, my father would often ask me to accompany him during his outreach programs in the provinces. He taught me how to assist him in screening patients for eye problems. I would watch him intently and with great curiosity as he treated his patients. I watched in awe as his patients got better. He treated them to the best of his ability whether or not they had the capacity to pay. He earned the love and respect of his patients well. It was with his example that I decided to embark on a medical career myself, wanting to be an ophthalmologist as well.
Papa had an eye for beauty. He was an artist in his own way. Long before the cosmetic industry became the trend that it is today, my father blazed the trail by specializing in cosmetic surgery. He liked “fixing” people’s faces, whether it was that of a trauma patient seeking reconstruction or a chinky-eyed person seeking a more western look. Whether it was for function or aesthetics, Papa tried to make his patients happier. And he was quite successful in making many people happy! Again, as witness to all these, I decided that oculoplasty was also for me.
My father was a very dedicated ophthalmologist and professor. He loved to teach and headed the Department of Ophthalmology of the University of the Philippines– Philippine General Hospital for 8 years. He listened to his students and taught them well. It was during his chairmanship that he began to allow residents-in-training the freedom to operate on charity patients. He was also the one who started the department’s regular morning conferences on Tuesdays and Thursdays, as well as the basic and clinical training courses for the residents. I was extremely proud to be his son and his student, feeling more so when I joined the ranks of the residents as well. He taught me my formative skills and ingrained upon me the discipline and integrity that came with being a good physician.
Papa was a good father and provider. Despite his hectic schedule, he always made time to listen to our concerns. Sundays were devoted to family time—Sunday mass followed by trips to our grandparents’. That was, after he had finished making his rounds! Papa tried to give us everything that he could afford and yet never failed to make us deserve what we had. We knew he could give us what we wanted, but we always had to earn it first. He taught us the value of discipline and the importance of cherishing what we had. He was also a loving husband. He never missed out on special occasions. He loved to surprise Mama with gifts and flowers. Mama was an only child who was spoiled by her parents and Papa continued to spoil her as his wife. Together, they raised 5 sons and 1 daughter and I was fortunate to be his eldest child and the heir to his legacy. When he passed away last December 2, 2006, I felt a great sense of loss and emptiness. I shall miss his presence in the clinic, at home, but most especially in my heart. I am very glad that I chose to become an ophthalmologist and oculoplastic surgeon like Papa. I hope to pass on his legacy as well to my patients and students. I am what I am today because of him, and for that, I will be forever grateful.