February 9, 2023 –We celebrated the 19th National Dental Health Month with the theme “Ngiping Protektado, Ngiting Panalo” with the participation of the PDA Baguio City chapter and the University of Baguio’s faculty, students, and alumni.
I was one of those students who were given the opportunity to participate in the 19th National Dental Health Month. It was our first time, me and my classmates, participating in any event related to our course, school, or department. It was our first time walking along the session road in our white uniforms, representing our school. It was our first time attending an event along with the faculty of the School of Dentistry at the University of Baguio. It’s because we were those students who were affected by the pandemic and shifted to online learning for two years. That day, we were elated, overwhelmed, and proud.
The day before the parade, Dr. Joseph Acosta informed our class that we were going to attend the event. At first, we were skeptical about the announcement because it seemed unreal. We never attended a parade, we never went to a public event, and I never experienced spending that much time with my classmates because we were still cautious of contracting the flu or virus.
We kept asking Dr. Acosta questions like “sir seryoso po ba kayo?” and “sir totoo po ba?” because we were all taken aback by the announcement. Nevertheless, we did not want to disappoint our instructors and our department. The night before the parade, we planned and talked about what we could do for our department. We talked about who would hold the department’s banner or who could dance or sing in case we were asked to do so. We also prepared balloons for the parade because we did not want to attend empty-handed. And we also reminded our classmates that everyone should come early and prepare.
On February 9, 2023, at 7:45 a.m., most of the students had gathered by this time at the SD Department, University of Baguio. We joined the parade at Our Lady of the Atonement Cathedral, better known as Baguio Cathedral, by 9:00 a.m. There, we joined our dean, instructors, and some of the school’s alumni. The new alumni who attended the parade were Dr. Aemielle Laron, Dr. Lian Quitiquit and Dr. Princess Leas Senoto. The instructors who were present are Dr. Grace Lynne Mogan, Dr. Jacquelin Herrera, Dr. Ma. Lourdes Cantor, Dr. Irish Mascareñas, Dr. Juan Sudcalen, Dr. Antonio Fernandez, Dr. Ruthgar Tecson, and our Program Chair, Dr. Joseph M. Acosta. Our school was led by our Dean, Dr. Ian Steve Bandaay.
We didn’t miss taking pictures for documentation purposes before the parade started. We were all elated that we were part of the celebration; we are overwhelmed that our class was chosen to attend, and we are proud that we are representing our school in the 19thNational Dental Health Month Celebration. The parade was spearheaded by the PDA, Baguio Chapter headed by the president, our alumnus, Dr. Nely Arciaga, accompanied by the LGU-HSO Dental Division, headed by our alumnus Dr. Brenda De Leon, and the DEP-ED Baguio City Dental Unit which is again, headed by our alumnus Dr. Rhoy Ananayo. As well as the Dental Schools’ faculty and students of the University of Baguio and Pines City Colleges
The parade started at Baguio Cathedral and continued to Session Road. With big smiles conveyed by our eyes and laughter on our faces but covered in face masks, we waved to the people of Baguio bringing awareness to the importance of good oral health care. We involved the people we passed by loudly cheering and chanting so that they could feel our presence. We distributed infographics to the people we passed by and gave balloons, tooth brush kits and dental instructional paraphernalia to every child/adult we met along the way to reach out to them about our campaign. The end of the walk was at Ibaloi Heritage Garden where the program was conducted.
The program started with a solemn prayer, followed by the singing of the National Anthem, and lastly, the Philippine Dental Association hymn. We clapped proudly for the Guest of Honors, but we clapped the loudest for our Dean when he climbed on the stage. The guest speaker for the program was Engineer Doy Tabilog, representing the mayor of Baguio City. What struck me in his speech was when he empathizes with the dental students by sharing about his child’s struggles and success in the dentistry course. He encouraged us to persevere, and maybe one day we, the dentistry students, will be part of the society and leagues of Filipino dentists. He also shared his insights about the theme for the 19th National Dental Health Month Celebration, which is “Ngiping Protektado, Ngiting Panalo” and its importance. His speech was concluded by congratulating us on the successful celebration.
“Ngiping Protektado, Ngiting Panalo” was this year’s theme for National Dental Health Month. Participating in the event made us students reflect more about the importance of our oral health and how we should bring awareness to the public. Participating in the parade made us dentistry students realize that even though February is the dental health month, we should continuously raise awareness and protect the oral health of the public all year round. By educating, involving, and making our presence known to them, we are taking a step toward achieving our campaign. Walking with a purpose, knowing we are carrying out the theme “Ngiping Protektado” by bringing awareness, we students all have “Ngiting Panalo” painted on our faces.
Article by: Ms. Dahana Jasmin Merin Joson, DMD Level IV