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Up Close with Giovanni Manguiat Jr., M.D. Part IV

<-- Continued from
On Travel
Travel has mostly been to the US and Southeast Asia. My favorite places are: 1) Singapore for its discipline, orderliness, cleanliness and the way it incorporates greenness with its cosmopolitan infrastructure. 2) San Francisco – great weather, dreamy, romantic charm and I truly left my heart there! 3) Charlottesville – so many indelible beautiful memories of my UVa stint! My International Centre living experiences have taught me lessons on understanding and respecting the many cultural differences and religious beliefs of many nations and that one should always act diplomatically – meaning be painfully sensitive if need be to the many different mindsets, quirks, idiosyncrasies and personalities that you get to encounter and to never generalise and to assume certain things about certain people. I always try to find the good and the positive in people and am trying not to be hastily judgmental.

On Being Giovi
For me, the greatest personal achievement has to be getting the best education possible because, consequently, it is the foundation of anything that can be achievable professionally. This was what my late father ingrained in us. What’s amazing about it is unlike all other material acquisitions that He can take away from you at the snap of a finger, education can never be stolen from you.

The maintenance of a good name, having an untarnished and solid reputation and integrity in your line of work and professional life have also been part of my aspirations that I feel will bring the greatest sense of accomplishment.

Beneath my seemingly tough and not-easily-perturbed, cool exterior is actually someone who wears his heart on his sleeve. I am really a very emotionally transparent person, a softie who can easily be moved to tears. I can also be bold, daring and unbelievably brave; and can stand up to anyone when provoked.

One must be forewarned of my rapier wit – and tongue, which they say I got from the Kalaws. I can really be brutally frank if need be; but sometimes I really make an effort to remind myself that if you have nothing nice to say then clam up!

I am usually just quietly sitting in one corner, shunning the spotlight and slaving away at the task at hand. It also hurts me deeply when all my hard work and sacrifice is never appreciated or recognised while the wily sycophant and butt-kisser gets all the good breaks and promotions.

The moment you consider yourself already the best you can be is the moment you die! I continue to strive to find ways to be better not only as a doctor but more importantly as a person and an all around human being. Every day should be spent thinking that we are all works in progress.
I pride myself in my work ethic and lazy freeloading I-will-always-find-an-alibi-or-excuse people are my pet peeves. Nowadays, I have mellowed; a different version of my former self – not as highly competitive or highly strung, not as easily-angered and impatient.

I have learned to lower my standards and expectations of other people – and I am not as hard on myself anymore. I still have that critical eye for the minutest detail or the smallest error; but one thing I’ve learned is that it is sometimes more prudent to let some things slide in the name of goodwill, friendship, diplomacy and not to devastate the feelings of others. Compliments, after all, can bring smiles that harsh criticism cannot.

Practicing my culinary skills – though I am not formally trained – and enjoying music in all its wonderful forms – just no heavy metal, please – are really my stress busters. I am also a voracious reader of practically anything. Travelling to places that showcase Nature’s beauty is something that I have missed doing lately. Humility, graciousness, and honesty in people make me smile. Arrogance, treachery, selfishness, vanity, pretentiousness and lack of manners and breeding make me frown.

Definitely part of my bucket list is to go to Europe and maybe spend a year there country-hopping and soaking up what it has to offer – priority would be Italy, France and Germany! Perhaps, I can take formal culinary courses while I am there. Now that would be perfect!

On Missing the Homecoming
I was really supposed to go to that Max’s B-306 mini-reunion; but something came up as usual and I could not leave my patient in the E.R. – a 79 year old woman with multiple enlarged neck lymph nodes – not without performing adequacy on the aspirate that surgeon and good friend Dr. Ed Cuyco had gotten to diagnose her baffling condition. Turned out she had lymphoma – cancer of the nodes.

The La Salle Homecoming activities were on my agenda; but a balikbayan relative had arrived after so many years, so soon after her dear mother’s death. I felt obligated to show my hospitality to somehow ease her grief and sorrow in the brief time that she was in the country.

Social networking has given me the chance to reconnect with so many people who I have not seen in years. Of course, former classmates are included. If I’m lucky enough, I get to see them personally. Some of the class ‘86 fundraising activities – like the free clinic with Ellen Dimayuga-Diga as overall organiser and the Harry Potter premiere – prior to the 25th year homecoming gave me a chance to bond with former HS friends and batch-mates.

I bump into former medical school classmates in hospitals and conventions and, of course, in the rare December alumni activities that I get to attend.

On Philosophies
My personal philosophy: just do your best and God will do the rest. Be your own rival; compete against yourself! Instead of comparing yourself to others, challenge your limits and try to do better and surpass what you have already done.

The moment you consider yourself already the best you can be is the moment you die! I continue to strive to find ways to be better not only as a doctor but more importantly as a person and an all around human being. Every day should be spent thinking that we are all works in progress.

Too much of regretting is not good because God in His Infinite wisdom made you go through all those mistakes so that you could learn so much more from them – compared to your successes – and move on.

What doesn’t kill you really makes you stronger. But if there’s one thing that I consider a regret, it must be not spending enough time with my father when there were opportunities to do so. I realised this when it was already too late and he was already gone.

My one big dream, though, is to do my part – no matter how small – to somehow contribute so that the specialty of Pathology will finally get the attention it so deserves. It is my dream for it to be a specialty that is given more respect, more appreciation and more importance so that Pathologists in this country will feel dignified and proud to be considered prime movers and invaluable allies in the pursuit of quality healthcare for every Filipino.

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