History of the Department
On June 22, 1971, the Department of Orthopedics was created by virtue of a resolution passed
by the Board of Regents during its 810th meeting. Before this date, the section of Orthopedics
functioned under the Department of Surgery, with Dr. Ambrosio F. Tangco serving as the section
head. When Dr. Tangco was appointed as a member of the UP Board of Regents, Dr. Manuel T.
Rivera took over as section head. The appointment of Dr. Tangco to the Board of Regents would
prove providential for it was through his efforts that the creation of Department of Orthopedics was
The department started its formal organization as a separate unit of the Philippine General
Hospital and the UP College of Medicine on October 12, 1971. The physical plant consisted of 33
beds in Ward 19, 8 beds in Ward 8 for female orthopedic patients and 2 beds in the Pediatric ward.
There were 2 operating rooms at the OR given for the exclusive use of orthopedic patients. There
was a makeshift outpatient clinic at the Cancer Institute and emergency care were managed in
Wards 7 and 9.
Dr. Jose V. Silao, Jr., was named as the first department chair, with Dr. Manuel T. Rivera, Dr. Rafael S. Recto, Jr. and Dr. Richard Ow-Abayang as members of the staff. In 1972, Dr. Napoleon M. Apolinario joined the staff and became the Executive Officer. The first batch of orthopedic residents included Dr. Ellewellyn G. Pasion, who became the first chief resident, Dr. Antonio M. Montalban, Dr. Arturo Quiazon, and Dr. Emilio B. Cadayona.
With Dr. Silao at the helm, the basic foundation of the department was established and fast-tracked. A 5-year development plan was aimed at 1) developing the physical facilities, 2) forming a teaching and training program, 3) improving patient care and services and 4) faculty development. By the end of the second year, half of these goals were already achieved.
In July 1972, through the benevolence of the Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office, construction began for an orthopedic outpatient services building which was completed in November of the same year. The building housed an outpatient clinic, a 12-bed pediatric orthopedic ward, a cast room, an x-ray and dark room and a record room. Later, a Brace and Prosthetic Shop was incorporated.
Through Dr. Silao’s visionary spirit, faculty development was fast tracked, too. Graduates of
the 4-year residency program were sent for fellowships in the United Kingdom, West Germany,
France, Denmark, Hongkong, Singapore and Japan. This was instrumental in establishing the
different orthopedic subspecialties in the department.
The Spine Unit and Orthopedic Learning Center which was completed in 2003 is a 4-storey
building where a spine ward, a conference room, the department office, a tissue bank, a
biomechanical laboratory, a library, and a microsurgical laboratory is housed. All the offices of the
different sections and services are also located here.
From its modest beginning, the Department of Orthopedics has seen tremendous growth and
development in the last 40 years and has participated actively in the orthopedic education and
training on a national scale. It has produced 171 graduates of the residency training program, with a sizable number of graduates becoming leaders and educators in the provinces. The department has currently 5 sections (Adult Orthopedics, Trauma, Spine, Pediatric Orthopedics and Hand) and 5 services (Musculoskeletal Tumor Service, Ilizarov and Limb Deformity, Microvascular and Replantation Service, Sports Medicine Service and Arthroplasty Service).
The Past Chairmen of the Department includes the following: Dr. Jose V. Silao, Jr. (1971-82); Dr. Rafael S. Recto, Jr. (1983-86); Dr. Napoleon N. Apolinario (1986-90); Dr. Antonio M. Montalban (1991-93); Dr. Norberto R. Agcaoili (1994-96); Dr. Ellewellyn G. Pasion (1997-2003), Dr. Cirilo R. Tacata, Jr. (2004-09) & Dr. Mario B. Geronilla (2010-2013).