Denise Joaquin: How long have you been dean of the college?
Dean Brigido Carandang: Too long. 2005. That’s 12 years.
DJ: Parang na-enjoy niyo naman po ata ang pagiging dean.
DBC: No matter how difficult the task is, for as long as you’re enjoying it, you will come out doing well. If you’re doing an easy job, and you’re not enjoying it, you’ll do a lousy job. So importante sa ‘kin ang enjoyment.
DJ: In your 12 years of being dean of the college, how was your experience so far?
DBC: It has its ups and downs, particularly because we were trying to change the whole school. I mean dramatic change – from black to white, from a mediocre school to really an excellent school. When you introduce change anywhere, you’re going to meet with a lot of resistance; there’ll be criticism. So it’s important that whatever path you choose, or whatever strategies you choose, you are convinced that this is the right thing. It’s always difficult, but I enjoy it because a great sense of satisfaction comes to me every time I encounter students here, and you see the joy, the excitement, and the thrill of becoming a doctor. That’s fantastic.
DJ: Given the chance to be the next DOH secretary, what would you like to implement?
DBC: (laughs) I don’t want to be a DOH secretary. I have too many controversial issues with the government that it’s going to be a terrible time. We’re prevented from innovating and being creative. If I was in CHED, I’d probably close two-thirds of the medical schools, because I have very stringent requirements. Ang idea ko ng medical school is it will only be given to those who deserve it, who have consistency in their academic achievements. You get your education for free and the state will fund you, but you will have to serve the government offices, hospitals, and improve the care.
DJ: Since you have so many visions for the students of St. Luke’s, what values should Lukans have?
DBC: There is only one measurable thing that a Lukan should be measured as a start, and that is punctuality. Malalaman mo kung nagsu-succeed ka, unlike other parameters na ang hirap i-measure. ‘Compassionate’, ‘professional’, ‘trustworthy’ – these are things you cannot reduce into a curriculum. These are things you will reduce as a culture. So we start on time, and we end on time. And I’m seeing the results, because I’m seeing people more conscious about time. And when you come on time, that’s a sign of respect and trustworthiness. The values we want to emphasize begins there.
DJ: What started your path of becoming a doctor?
DBC: I lost my father when I was barely a year old. He was a physician during the war, and he was taken and executed by the Japanese. Since junior ako, everybody tells me, “Junior ka. Namatay yung dad mo. Your dad is a physician, so magiging doktor ka rin.” If I did not have that history, I probably wouldn’t have been a doctor.
DJ: What would you be, if ever?
DBC: Music attracts me a lot. I love music. The arts, maybe. Right now, I am in education. Hindi naman ako nag-train for education, ang training ko is for a doctor. After finishing my neurology training, I had this opportunity to go into academe, because I love talking to people. Yung mga frustrations ko when I was a student, I’m able to address it now. Things I probably regret not having done, I make sure you guys don’t make the same mistake. That’s probably where I get the drive to encourage you guys. You are going to make mistakes, but you have to come out of it a winner. Sometimes, mistakes can be a positive thing if you get the right attitude out of it.
DJ: With everything going on with your schedule, what do you do in your free time?
DBC: I developed my rest area in Batangas. That’s been there for 21 years, and to me, that has contributed to my health, mentally and physically. You have to have something like that, a break. You have to make sure that you have a certain time to ruminate and think about your day or your week. Everybody should be given a time to introspect, your way of making sure that tama ‘yung mga directions mo, that you’re not just carried by opportunities and occasions. I always encourage students to always have a plan, whether it’s formally written or thought of as a habit.
DJ: Do you also engage in sports or music?
DBC: I play tennis and golf. I attempted to play the piano, the guitar, the ukulele. Sayang, kasi if you want to be good at something, you have to focus on it. Eh wala akong time.
DJ: Do you sing?
DBC: I love to sing. I used to be a member of the choir in high school, in college, and in medical school. My family says “You sing well,” but they hate me because I hate to sing. I have to be placed in a mood to sing. Siguro it’s my artistic temper.
DJ: Not everyone gets a chance to know you personally. What would you like the students to know about yourself?
DBC: First of all, I enjoy my job. Two, always foremost to my mind is “I wish I could know all the students at St. Luke’s.” In almost every opportunity, I try to get to know you, because I’ve discovered that knowing a person is a privilege. It is an enriching experience to know someone genuinely, and then you’re amazed at what they go through.
DJ: Do you have any messages for the students of St. Luke’s?
DBC: I think I have enough messages already. (laughs) I keep on enjoying my deanship because I see the great potential of the school. And we’re achieving it. But I’m even more excited because there are greater things to achieve. And I hope the students appreciate that by doing their best. We give generous scholarships, and it’s an absolute thing. We don’t ask you to do anything for us, just make us proud of you. If you live in an environment where the culture is conducive to growing – being appreciated, kind, punctual, curious, exciting, – that’s a blessing. There will always be pains and hurts, and that’s expected. How you handle these things is the most important part.