This Lumad From Bukidnon Is the First To Graduate With Double Degrees in Nursing and Medicine

IMAGE Joeffrey Mambucon Facebook page

Joeffrey Mambucon is earning praises on social media after he announced he is the first Tigwahanon-Manobo Lumad to graduate with degrees in nursing and medicine. 

The 31-year-old Mambucon, who lives in Sitio Opis, Namnam, San Fernando, Bukidnon, said he was sent to Davao to study nursing after graduating from high school. He enrolled at the University of Mindanao where he passed the board exam in 2010.

He was then encouraged to study further and pursue medicine, but he initally doubted if he could do it.

Sabi ko po sa sarili ko enough na maging nurse, malaking tulong na ito sa community ko at sa pamilya ko (I told myself that it was enough to become a nurse, that it was already a big help to our community and my family),” he told the Philippine Star.

“But after working po sa Bukidnon Provincial Hospital-San Fernando, na-encourage po ng mga kasama kong doctor. Nag-decide na po ako na mag-med kasi nakikita ko po talaga na kailangan ako ng mga ka-tribo ko (I was encouraged by my fellow doctors at the Bukidnon Provincial Hospital-San Fernando when I worked there. I decided to pursue medicie because I knew that my tribemates needed me),” he added.


Mambucon said it took him a couple of years of applying to different med schools until he was finally accepted at De La Salle Medical and Health Sciences Institute in Dasmariñas, Cavite on a full scholarship.

“Never in my wildest dreams na mag-doctor since in our tribe, at age 12 usually nag-aasawa na kami via arranged marriage (I never imagined I would ever become a doctor since, in our tribe, kids as young as 12 would be set up in arranged marriages),” he said.

In his Facebook post, Mambucon conveyed his disbelief at the odds he had to overcome so he could achieve his dreams.

“Would illiterate and uneducated parents be able to raise a kid who will become a Physician? Impossible!!” he said. “Will a gleaner, weeder, daily laborer, tree trimmer in the mountains, and a working student be able to finish in one of the most prestigious schools in the country? Impossible!!

“And YES, all of these remarks would have been enough proof for me to just stay in the mountains and be with my carabaos and chickens.

“Is this judgment painful? Of course, that doesn't make it any less painful. Nothing more could ever compare to the amount of pain I have felt for being discriminated, which made me ask, "Is it too hard to just support and love one another rather than taunt him/her for his/her dreams?" And yet these bitter experiences certainly make life more meaningful and worth living.”

Mambucon said he plans to finish his post-graduate internship and prepare for the Physician Licensure Exam.

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“Then after passing the board po, I am planning to join the ‘Doctors to the Barrio’ program by DOH and hopefully will be assigned to my own hometown,” he said.

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Paul John Caña
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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