Thursday, September 5, 2013

Asia Pacific Regional Meeting 2013: Day 1

September 05, 2013

The Asia Pacific Regional Meeting is an annual gathering of International Federation of Medical Students' Association National Member Organizations in the region. This year's APRM is being held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia from September 5 to 8, with the theme, "Health a Forgotten Wealth? Universal Health Coverage for Healthy and Sustainable Development." The delegation of AMSA Philippines consists of the following:

William Jae Balenton, AUF-SOM-SC
Jeff Anderson Bodino, AUF-SOM-SC
Diana Castro, AUF-SOM-SC
Nikko John Dalisay, AUF-SOM-SC
Renato Galvan Jr, AUF-SOM-SC
Mica Ela Gomez, AUF-SOM-SC
Czarina Jennine Ilaya, AUF-SOM-SC
Greco Mark Malijan, UP MSSR-IPPNW and AMSA-Philippines President
Michelle Mercado, AUF-SOM-SC and Chief Delegate
Bernadett Songco, AUF-SOM-SC
Lester Villapando, AMSA-UST
Jade Justine Zita, AUF-SOM-SC

We arrived earlier today in Sheraton Mustika Yogyakarta, the home of APRM 2013, for registration. It was the first time that our group of 12 was completed, and everyone seemed to be looking forward to the next few days ahead. 

First complete picture of the delegation
After holding our first NMO hour and settling down, we proceeded to get some lunch before the activities of the afternoon begin. The first APRM activity was the New Comer Session, where the Regional Team introduced themselves to the participants, especially intended to members who are new to the IFMSA assemblies and meetings. 
As an energizer, The Haka, a traditional dance from New Zealand and also a traditional trainer's activity in IFMSA, was taught by the Regional Team to the participants.
The whole group was then divided into the different Standing Committees for their sessions and the NMO Presidents held a separate session. The SCO session activities vary widely, but they all aim to inculcate valuable principles and advocacy among participants. Most of the session today was composed of small group discussions. It was a very good learning opportunity for all of us. We shared some pertinent issues in our respective countries with regards to the topic of interest in our committees. It was amusing to find out that some of the issues in the Philippines are also being faced by other Asian countries, all the more reinforcing the need to do regional meetings like this. On the other hand, other countries' current stand and take on some issues gave us ideas that we can probably adopt in our country's set up. The session only lasted for two hours, but we learned a lot already! We are looking forward to the next sessions! After our dismissal from our SCO sessions, we were given two hours to prepare for the Opening Gala Night.

The Opening Gala Night is a formal dinner event wherein APRM is officially opened. Our group took our time to prepare and to look the best that we can for the event. Guests of honor were from the Ministry of Health, the local government of Yogyakarta, and the Deans of the Faculties of Medicine in the Univeritas Gadjah Mada and Universitas Muhammadiyah Yogyakarta. Speeches were also given by Dr. Amandha Boy Timor Randhita and Dr. Dian Oktavia Giriningrum, co-chairs of APRM 2013 and by Dr. Vincent Khor, the IFMSA Asia Pacific Regional Coordinator. A sumptuous dinner consisting of traditional Indonesian cuisine was served while the rest of the hall was serenaded by traditional percussionists.
AMSA Philippines Delegation during the APRM 2013 Opening Gala Night looking sharp and dashing.
The rest of the event was spent with more music and photo opportunities, and meeting new and old friends from other countries. It was a night of reunions for some members of the delegations, and perfect opening night to the event. This was just the first day, but it sure feels like we have been here longer with all the things we are learning, people we get to know, the fun activities and the experiences we are enjoying. Tomorrow is another packed day, and we are looking forward to the activities set for us.

The delegation with Dr. Renzo Guinto (far left), the IFMSA Liaison Officer to the World Health Organization and former co-President of AMSA Philippines, during Gala Night.


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