Vol 33 No. 2 Passage PDF

ROMEO V. FAJARDO, MD 1927 to 2008

The Philippine Journal of
Ophthalmology pays tribute to
one of the pioneers of
Philippine ophthalmology,
Dr. Romeo V. Fajardo, who
died on June 8, 2008 at the
age of 81. He left behind his
wife, Narcisa; children
Moises Romeo, Maria Florentina, Theresa Narcisa,
Raymond Bonifacio, and
their families.
Dr. Fajardo served as editor in chief of the PJO from
1969 to 2001 and, until his death, was a member of the
editorial board as founding editor. He also served as
associate editor of the British Ophthalmic Literature, editorial
board member of Oftalmologica International, and regional
editor of Afro-Asian Journal of Ophthalmology and the AsiaPacific Journal of Ophthalmology.
A prolific researcher and writer, he counted among his
work 188 published scientific articles, including 41 in
foreign journals. He was credited with a number of
inventions such as the topical diagnostic test for tuberculous uveitis, a method of uveitis prevention that
revolutionized its management, and a mydriatic formula
designed for Filipino eyes.
As an academic, Dr. Fajardo was for decades a professor
at the University of the Philippines where he also served
as chairman of the Department of Ophthalmology from
1988 to 1991.
Dr. Fajardo was a recipient of numerous awards for
academic, scientific, and civic endeavors. He was cited in
the “Who’s Who in America” since 1975 and “Who’s Who
in the World” since 1979.

Pioneer, teacher, ophthalmologist,
a perfect dad

Delivered by Ma. Florentina Fajardo-Gomez, MD, during the memorial service tendered by the
Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, University of the Philippines–Philippine General Hospital, July 2008.

THIS past month has really been a trying one. At times,
I feel that it’s just a dream and my Dad will still be around
when I wake up. Sadly, I am awakened to the reality that I
will not see him anymore.
Many speak of his tremendous accomplishments and
contributions to ophthalmology, particularly Philippine
ophthalmology. He will always be remembered for this.
But he was much more. Despite the demands of his
professional career, he remained a loving husband and a
devoted father.
For someone who had accomplished a lot, he was never
an absent dad. I have endless memories of times together
when I was young up to now that I am a parent myself. I
remember him being there to help with my assignments
and projects. He was there during my recitals and my ballet
performances and family days in school. He was even there
for his granddaughters’ Christmas programs, first
communion, and graduation celebration. He was very
considerate and would sacrifice personal comfort just to
make sure that we were all happy and had what we wanted.
He shielded us from problems and took on all the
He never forced us to be doctors. He allowed us to
decide for ourselves what we wanted to be. As always, he
supported us.
When I started practice, he was ready to help. He
encouraged me when I felt down and inadequate. He
would say, “just keep your intentions clean, do your best,
and God will do the rest.” He taught by example how to
be an ethical and moral person. He taught me that being
a doctor is not merely curing patients but also giving them
hope and lifting their spirits. It’s no wonder that even his
patients attended the wake. He also encouraged me to do
my best. To be proud of what I have accomplished and
yet remain humble. To remember that there is always
something to learn from any situation or from anyone
even if they are not as educated as you. And, to try to help
those who come to you for help.
He was a religious man not only in ceremonies or rites.
He had a thirst to know God and His church deeper. He
was even reading up on the similarities and common
grounds of other religions with Christianity. He believed
in the power of prayer and had faith that God will always
Dad loved ophthalmology and it is comforting and
heartwarming to see he was equally loved by the ophthalmology community. He was a dedicated teacher/academic
and he was rightly acknowledged for this. He was a good
friend and a wonderful human being to anyone who was
fortunate enough to know him.
At the end of the day, I would sit alone in the clinic just
staring at his chair. I felt extreme sadness and oftentimes
tears would fall. I felt scared of the tasks and responsibilities that I have to shoulder. Afterwards, I’d feel calm. Sometimes I would smell his perfume and realize that I am not
alone and will never be alone. He will always be there when
I need him, a loving and devoted father forever.
I love you Dad. Rest now. We’ll be okay

A son’s farewell

Moises Romeo Q. Fajardo, MD

ALONE on a plane after bidding farewell to my Dad
one last time, the scent of the flowers that paid tribute to
the contributions he made to his profession and society
still lingered in my mind. I remember one of our happiest
moments together. It was during the International
Congress of Ophthalmology (ICO) held in 1994 in
Toronto, Canada. This was my first time in Toronto and
the beautiful weather only highlighted the cleanliness and
beauty of the vibrant, modern, and progressive metropolis.
My Dad’s purpose for the trip, however, went beyond
enjoying the scenery. My Dad wanted to win for the country the honor of hosting the ICO. It is not common knowledge that we presented before ICO officers why the
conference should be held in Manila. Competing countries gave professional presentations, with members of
their tourism agencies around to extend invitations to
examine their convention facilities. In contrast, the Philippine delegation was just me and my dad. In our hands
was a VHS tape showing the “wonders of the Philippines”
with Agot Isidro singing in the background.
We didn’t get to host the ICO but for him the fun was
not in the winning but in the trying. However, the number
of votes we got wasn’t too far from the eventual winner. I
believe that the presentation paved the way for Asia-Pacific
Academy of Ophthalmology (APAO) to return to Manila
five years later where my dad was fittingly made congress
president. This little known event showed me how much
Dad loved Philippine ophthalmology and believed that it
could excel in the international arena. He had so many
ideas on how this could be achieved—many of which were
controversial, if not unpopular. However, my Dad was
always ready to move forward, alone if needed, with his
ideas. Failures didn’t scare him as he believed that
perseverance and good intentions will eventually win over
whatever hurdles he had to face.
I also remember the last few hours prior to our arrival
in Manila from Toronto 16 years ago. My Dad was deep in
thought about something. He was making notes with that
small and neat handwriting of his. Suddenly, he noticed
that I was having trouble filling in the customs and arrival
card. He turned and lent me his pen and we filled up the
remaining blank spaces together. Throughout my life, he
would do these sort of things many times over. He was
always ready to snap out of his dreams and make sure that
everything was okay with me, my mom, my sisters, and my
brother. Many will speak of his achievements for years to
come. However, I believe that his greatest achievement
was remaining a kind and loving father and a wonderful
human being despite the demands of his personal goals
and professional career. This was the man I was with one
beautiful day in Toronto some 16 years ago and who would
always remain in my heart until the time it too stops
Goodbye, Dad.