This online discussion on Dr. Baticulon’s book becomes even more relevant as the COVID19 pandemic exposes the cracks in our healthcare system, growing and threatening to collapse on the vulnerable Filipino population.

The panel comprises Prof. Sandra Nicole Roldan (Department of English and Comparative Literature, UP Diliman), Vincen Gregory Yu, MD (Philippine Daily Inquirer), Dr. Ma. Mercedes Planta (Department of History, UP Diliman), and Dr. Ma. Helena Yap (Marine Science Institute, UP DIliman):

Sandra Nicole Roldan is a PhD candidate at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University through the Practice Research Symposium (PRS Asia) program. She is author of At The School Gate (Bookmark, 2018). Her writing most recently appeared in the Sigwa climate fiction anthology, Likhaan 12, Kritika Kultura 32, Storytelling ASIA 41 and 42, High Chair 22, and Mondo Marcos. She was awarded a 2016 workshop fellowship at Seoul Art Space, a 2007 Philippines Free Press award for the essay, and a 2006 LTI Korea writing residency. She is Assistant Professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman where she teaches creative writing and literature. Sandra is working on essay and story collections, and collaborating on various projects with fellow martial law babies. Her second martial law storybook The Safe House, another collaboration with illustrator Nina Martinez, is forthcoming in 2020.

Vincen Gregory Yu is a medical doctor, theater journalist, fictionist, and poet. He obtained his Doctor of Medicine from the University of the Philippines-Philippine General Hospital under the Intarmed program. He is a resident theater critic and op-ed contributor of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and chairman of the jury for the Philstage Gawad Buhay Awards for the Performing Arts. His literary works have appeared in print and online venues across the United States, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Singapore, and the Philippines, where he has also earned a number of writing fellowships, and won the Nick Joaquin Literary Award for Fiction, Maningning Miclat Poetry Award, and Carlos Palanca Memorial Award for Literature.

Ma. Mercedes G. Planta is Associate Professor of History at the University of the Philippines, Diliman. She is currently Deputy Editor of the Regional Journal of Southeast Asian Studies (RJSEAS), an online, bi-annual, peer reviewed journal in English that provides a platform for Southeast Asian scholars in Southeast Asia to share their research internationally. Her book, Traditional Medicine in the Colonial Philippines, 16th to the 19th Century, won the 2018 Best Book in Science Award by the National Book Awards of the Philippines.

Ma. Helena Yap obtained her BSc in Marine Biology from the University of the Philippines, Diliman (magna cum laude) and a Doctor rerum naturalium degree from the University of Rostock, German Democratic Republic. She is currently a professor at the Marine Science Institute, UP Diliman. She has mentored students and conducted research for almost forty (40) years, and currently has a publication h-index of 25. She has also served on various international committees with an advisory capacity regarding marine environmental problems. She loves literature, and is the author of “From Inside the Berlin Wall” which was published by the University of the Philippines Press.

The author

Ronnie E. Baticulon is a pediatric neurosurgeon, teacher, and writer. He is a graduate of the seven-year Integrated Liberal Arts-Medicine (INTARMED) program of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine. He completed his neurosurgery residency in Philippine General Hospital and his fellowship in pediatric neurosurgery at the Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne, Australia. He is currently an associate professor at the UP College of Medicine.

He was a fellow of the 8th University of Santo Tomas National Writers Workshop (2007) and the 58th University of the Philippines National Writers Workshop (2019). His essays have been published in Inquirer’s YoungBlood,, Philippine Panorama, Health and Lifestyle magazine, and Likhaan: The Journal of Contemporary Philippine Literature. In 2018, he won a Palanca award for the title essay of his first book, “Some Days You Can’t Save Them All,” published by the University of the Philippines Press.