Moms are their best medicine

Mother’s Day has always been associated with heartwarming stories of children with the persons they adore the most. The Daily Tribune collected a few of them coming from practitioners in science — that is, those who tend to have pragmatic views in life and don’t usually let their emotions dictate them. After all, people’s lives depend on them.

But when you’re talking about the person you cherish the most — and the moments you shared with her — you can’t help but hit some tender spots. And these young doctors are no exception.

Photograph Courtesy of DR. KRISTEL Keith Nieva | DR. KRISTEL Keith Nieva and mom Meliza Nieva.

Be kind, respectful and compassionate

Dr. Kristel Keith N. Nieva

General Physician

Marinduque Provincial Hospital

and Sofronio Española District Hospital

Mother: Meliza N. Nieva 

That has always been Dr. Kristel Keith N. Nieva’s guiding principle in life as taught to her by her mom Meliza, 55.

“In any situation which we find ourselves in or to any person we will meet, always choose to be kind, respectful and compassionate,” says the 27-year-old doctor.

Kristel has always been proud of her mom for being an action-oriented and solutions-focused person.

“She’s great at resolving issues, thinking outside the box or searching for alternatives, which I find reassuring especially in emotional times,” says Kristel, who finished BS Industrial Pharmacy at the University of the Philippines Manila College of Pharmacy. She later on took medicine at the UP Manila College of Medicine, where she graduated cum laude in 2022.

Kristel’s mom finished BS Civil Engineering at the University of Santo Tomas. Most of her years, Meliza worked as an engineer at the Provincial Engineer’s Office in the Marinduque Provincial Capitol. She took the licensure examination for Environmental Planning. She now works at the Municipality of Mogpog, a town in Marinduque, as the municipal planning and development officer for 30 years now.

Despite their busy schedules, the mom-and-daughter team makes it a point to do things together.

“I’m the right hand of my mother whenever she shops,” Kristel shares. “Whether it’s in the grocery to replenish our stocks, in the mall to check items we don’t need or in the drugstore to procure medicines, these moments are our bonding ritual as mother and daughter.”

Kristel appreciates how supportive her mom to her in her chosen career.

“No words can describe how much time, effort and sacrifice my parents have generously given for us to realize, or let alone, have the opportunity to fulfill our dreams. By itself, graduating through medical school is difficult but being a first-generation doctor in the family presents its own challenges. My parents had to financially and emotionally support my ‘extended adolescence’ while I finish my medical degree. That meant a delay in the retirement they’ve longingly yearned, additional loans filed while I can’t support myself yet financially or taking a pause on planned personal vacations to reallocate funds to my medical education. For all these, I’m eternally grateful.”

Her wish for her mom?

“All the best things in life — all mothers (and fathers) deserve the best. I hope she’s proud of herself as much as we are proud of her — as a dedicated public servant to our local municipality, as a caring daughter to our grandmother, as a dear wife to our father and as a loving mother to us — her daughters.”

Photograph Courtesy of DR. JOSE Gabriel Go | DR. JOSE Gabriel Go and mom Gwendolyn Go.

Good in Math

Dr. Jose Gabriel T. Go

Internal Medicine Resident

Department of Medicine, Philippine General Hospital

Mother: Gwendolyn T. Go

“One trait I admire most about my mom is that she’s really good in Math, performing mental arithmetic anytime, anywhere,” reveals 29-year-old Dr. Jose Gabriel “JG” Go of his mom Gwendolyn, 60, a retired accountant. “She’s also good in remembering dates like birthdays, even of people she’s not particularly close with. She’s not good at hiding her emotions, though, but for me it isn’t something bad as she is able to convey what she truly feels about a situation.”

JG’s mom has always been determined and hardworking — virtues that perhaps she wanted her children to imbibe.

Whenever they have time, they eat out and take long walks while talking about life and the future. This makes it hard for JG to turn down his mom whenever she asks him to come home to Mogpog, Marinduque.

“It’s really hard to say no. That is why even when I’m post duty, I always try to make it a point to go home and see her,” says JG, who was a valedictorian in high school and magna cum laude at UP Manila for his premed BS Biology. He finished medicine in 2019 at the UP College of Medicine.

He adds: “Living away from the family all throughout med school, she would always call me to wake me up in the morning to ensure I won’t be late for school — especially during examinations, where I would sneak in a few minutes to nap during the wee hours. And every time I would say ‘ayoko na’ to every difficult exam and duty and contemplate on quitting, she would always reply with ‘Kaya mo yan, anak.’”

His parents have always been very supportive of his dreams and aspirations, especially that of becoming a physician.

“Now that I have become a doctor, there has been a shift in some roles — I have been looking after them, always reminding them to drink their maintenance medications and exercise every time they have an opportunity,” shares JG.

His wish for mom?

“I wish my mom good health, less back pain and worries, and more happiness. To my mom, I thank you very much for everything that you do and for all the support you have given me through all my ups and downs throughout these years. You don’t know how thankful I am to be your son. Love you to the moon and back!”

Photograph Courtesy of DR. PATRICIA Mari Eugenio | DR. PATRICIA Mari Eugenio and mom Maritoni ‘Cheeney’ Eugenio.

Pray, it really works!

Dr. Patricia Mari M. Eugenio

ENT Resident

De La Salle University Medical Center

Mother: Maritoni “Cheeney” Eugenio

One important advice that Dr. Patricia Mari “Trish” Eugenio often hears from her mom Cheeney, 57, is: “Always pray because it really works!”

It sure did when she finally became a doctor after all the struggles and challenges she went through to pursue her dream. Her mom was always by her side.

“She is 100-percent supportive,” says Trish, 31. “There was one point I wanted to quit during pre-residency, but she made my cousin visit me and comfort me so I would feel a bit better.”

And while she was growing up it was Cheeney whom she ran to for comfort and guidance.

“I often looked to my mom for advice. She never dictated what I should do but always guided me on the choices I would make,” Trish says.

They both love traveling — although mom prefers exploring cities and church-hopping, while daughter gravitates to shopping areas and the beach.

“But we always go to the salon together,” says Trish, who finished her pre-med, Biology, at the University of the Philippines and medicine from De La Salle Health Sciences Institute College of Medicine.

Trish knows her mom — who hails from Mogpog, Marinduque — is happy when she sees her achieving her dreams – and doubly happy when she sees her and her brother excelling in what they do.

“I am proud of how my mom is able to handle everything she has to do. She is a very busy lady but she still makes sure to have time for us,” she says.

One embarrassing moment though that Trish couldn’t forget about her mom was when she was “announcing that I am a doctor to basically everyone! Haha! There was one time, we went shopping. I paid for the stuff, and with teary eyes, she told the cashier: `Ganito pala pakiramdam ng pinagsa-shopping ng anak mong doctor,’” she recounts.

Another unforgettable time with her mom: “The day I found out I passed the PLE (Physician Licensure Examination). Mas madami pa yata iyak niya than me.”

Through it all, the love and trust of her parents will always be there for her.

Her wish for her mom?

“I wish for less work and more leisure time for my mom. My brother just recently passed the boards as well so wala silang responsibilities ni daddy. Time for them to enjoy their lives for their own pleasure naman.”

Photographs Courtesy of DR. JANEZZA Marie Luarca | DR. JANEZZA Marie Luarca
mom Dolores Luarca

Aim high and hit the mark

Dr. Janezza Marie M. Luarca

General Pediatrician

Auratech Healthcare Clinic, Aventus Medical Care

St. Camillus Polyclinic Makati

Mother: Dolores M. Luarca

She was only 16 when her mom passed away at the age of 47. She would have been 60 this year and Dr. Janezza Marie Luarca still vividly recalls the words her mom would always whisper to her: “Aim high and hit the mark.”

“My mom would always encourage us to do our best and reach for our dreams,” says Janezza, 29, a graduate of the UST Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. “She said if we set our minds and hearts into it, we’ll achieve whatever it is that we wanted.”

True enough, her biggest dream of becoming a doctor came true.

“Ever since I was in preschool, my always what-do-you-want-to-be-when-you-grow-up answer was a doctor,” she shares. “And my mom would always encourage me to become one. Even now that she’s gone, she’s my biggest inspiration in becoming a doctor.”

Dolores was a government employee (head of finance of Land Transportation Office). She was from Leyte but grew up in Las Piñas and married Joselito from Marinduque.

What Janezza loves most about her mom was how cool and chill she could be.

“She was not strict at all. She allowed us to do whatever we wanted — sleepovers, go to the mall, etc. even when we were young. We had a lot of extracurricular activities which made us well-rounded people. We made our decisions freely, but somehow, we always felt guided. We always felt her love and support without her hovering all the time,” she states.

She will never forget 26 October 2009, the day her mom was finally discharged from a very long hospital stay and was also Janezza’s birthday. “It was the best birthday gift ever and her disposition at that time was so light and happy,” she says.

“I hope she’s happy and proud of her children. She’s our biggest inspiration and our best cheerleader.”

Photograph Courtesy of DR. Marcia Marie Marte-Jimenez | DR. Marcia Marie Marte-Jimenez and mom Ma. Lina Marte.

Baking and cooking

Dr. Marcia Marie Marte-Jimenez


The Île Skin MD Clinic

Boac, Marinduque

Mother: Ma. Lina S. Marte

Eating is just one of the many favorite activities of the mother-and-daughter team, Dr. Marcia Marie Marte-Jimenez, 39, and Ma. Lina, 63, a retired nutritionist and dietician officer in Boac, Marinduque.

“My mom is really good at baking and cooking but fails with smartphones and gadgets,” quips Marcia, who studied medicine at the San Beda University.

“We would bake something together or she would bake a pastry that I really liked,” she says. “It’s a childhood memoir that happened less because of the changes in schedule or everyone just got busy. Looking back, I can still vividly remember the smell and taste.”

One important moment she’ll never forget with her mom was when she took the physician’s licensure exam and “she would stay outside the testing site and wait for me from the first up to the last day of exam. She’s very supportive. During major exams, she would always light a candle at home,” she says.

Her wish for her mom?

“To stay healthy and happy and live a meaningful life.”