Beautiful life as doctor to generations of kids; 99



DR. FE DEL MUNDO Cover of coffee-table book on the magnificent achievements of the petite doctor who never married. JOAN BONDOC

Dr. Fe del Mundo, esteemed doctor and healer and nurturer of generations of children, died on Saturday, three months shy of her 100th birthday.

She passed quietly, succumbing to cardiac arrest, in the simple room at the Dr. Fe Del Mundo Medical Center in Quezon City where she has been living for years.

As she was a National Scientist, among other outstanding achievements, Del Mundo will be buried with honors at Libingan ng mga Bayani on Thursday, according to her niece Elisa Bengzon.

Her wake will be held at her Quezon City hospital. She will be brought to the Sto. Domingo church on Wednesday.

Bengzon found it fitting that her aunt, a devout Catholic who religiously went to Mass everyday up to her last years, died on the Feast of the Transfiguration of Christ.

“She is transfigured into the most beautiful Dr. Fe del Mundo,” she said.

Del Mundo’s family has found comfort in the outpouring of love from those whose lives she had touched.

And they are many, given her tireless devotion to children.

Del Mundo’s legacy and her teachings have been immortalized in a coffee table book published in time for her 99th birthday last year. It was called “Dr. Fe Del Mundo: A Beautiful Life,” and chronicled the accomplishments and teachings of the petite doctor who stood head and shoulders above many colleagues.

She never lacked for recognition, even in her twilight years.

Magsaysay Award

Last year, the then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo conferred the Lakandula Award with rank of Bayani on the noted pediatrician.

She was also conferred the Ramon Magsaysay Award, which is Asia’s version of the Nobel Prize.

She has also been honored with the Elizabeth Blackwell Award for Outstanding Service to Mankind and was the first lay recipient of the Blessed Teresa of Calcutta Award, which is awarded to those who have dedicated their lives to serving the poor and who serve as an inspiration to the world.

Various other institutions, including medical ones, have also bestowed honors on her. So numerous were her awards that listing them took up eight pages of the coffee table book on her.

According to Del Mundo’s family, they have been informed that President Aquino had been planning on bestowing on Del Mundo the Grand Collar of the Order of the Golden Heart.

The Order of the Golden Heart “gives official recognition to Filipino or foreign citizens who have rendered distinguished services or given noteworthy monetary of other material aid, encouragement to the campaign for the amelioration and improvement of the moral, social and economic conditions of the Filipino masses, and for volunteerism in the service of the Filipino masses.” The Grand Collar is the highest rank under the order.

The same award was first given in 1955 to Hellen Keller, who dedicated her life to helping deaf-blind people in several countries including the Philippines. It was conferred on comedian Dolphy, or Rodolfo Quizon, last year in recognition of his contributions to the entertainment industry.

Postgrad at Harvard

The acclaimed pediatrician lived in the Quezon City hospital named after her, which has been serving as a haven for ailing children since it opened in 1957.

Del Mundo’s life was a stellar example of one who has devoted her heart and soul to helping and comforting the afflicted.

She decided to turn to pediatrics upon seeing that more children than adults were dying, given the lack of doctors specializing in children’s health.

For her, medicine was more of charity work, not a means to material enrichment.

She put up a medical institution in the Philippines after choosing to return home from her studies in the United States, where she was the first Filipino woman accepted for postgraduate training at the Harvard Medical School in 1936.

She also trained at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Columbia University, Billings Hospital in Chicago, Boston Children’s Hospital and Boston University.

Valedictorian, UP

She earned an associate in arts degree from the University of the Philippines at the age of 17, and graduated valedictorian from the UP College of Medicine.

Her dream of putting up a hospital began with “The Little Clinic,” which she put up in Mendiola, Manila. Since it was always overcrowded, she decided to put up a bigger hospital, selling her home to realize her dream.

She also made sure to help the poor by training teams of medical workers and sending them to remote provinces to treat sick children and provide health care, resulting in fewer children’s deaths. She also invented an open native incubator to be used by rural communities for premature, low-weight or jaundice-stricken babies.

She remained humble despite her many achievements, once joking that since she was the oldest living pediatrician, she was being given an award as the organizers didn’t know who else to give it to.

With so many activities on her plate, Del Mundo never married. But she was like a mother, a nurturing force, for all those children whose lives she touched, and to whom she gave her all.

And she felt rewarded in turn.

In her own words immortalized in her book, Del Mundo shared what her passion meant to her: “I am glad I have been very much involved in the care of children. They are the most outstanding feature in my life.”

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  • Felimon Soria

    There is not enough accolade that we Filipinos can bestow on this woman. Of what I heard and read when I was a young physician, she became an inspiration of the generations of young doctors coming to life. Oh how I wish I pursued Pediatrics. 
    To you Dr. del Mundo, I hope you will meet Mother Teresa, who like you will become a saint and together spread your caring arms for the benefit of mankind.  
    You will be missed by those you have helped and those that you were about to help. 
    I have not met you, but thank you for being a part of my journey in the practice of medicine.      

    • Anonymous

      yes I Agree, she can be the patron of Philippine paediatrics at least for the catholics, just as how the ophtha people are very proud coz  the national hero is one of their kind. I hope the PMA erects a statue of her in their main office.

  • Naya Rosario

    God speed, Doctor. We lost our living saint and a great Filipino.  

  • Donald Klaus

    Awesome person! I wish more people like her.

  • Anonymous

    According to Del Mundo’s family, they have been informed that President Aquino had been planning on bestowing on Del Mundo the Grand Collar of the Order of the Golden Heart.hayy.. late nanaman si noyAbnoy.

    • christiene

      Si PNoy palaging late…hay naku, naka two times na po kayo, Sir!

      Condolence to the family, friends and colleagues of Dr. Fe del Mundo.  You are so blessed to have known her.  May you continue her legacy…Dr. Fe, maraming salamat po.  You are one of God’s finest creations.  Saludo po ako sa inyo!

  • Anonymous

    salamat po duktora

  • Anonymous

    Dr. Fe del Mundo’s passing creates a very big void in  the Filipino children’s world. She devoted much of her time seeking to secure their health and well-being by raising material support for her projects. I recall her tireless efforts to meet with us Fil-Am colleagues and friends here in the US at scientific events to be able to gain support for her countless endeavors there. She greatly appreciated our favorable responses  and my wife and I now treasure the various mementoes that she had graciously gifted us back in return. We will miss you very much Doctora Fe; may you Rest in Peace. Deepest Condolence to the Family. Drs. Rudy & Ellen Morelos; Manchester, New Hampshire;  U.S.A.

  • James W Gascon

    Thank you Dr. Fe Del Mundo for a life well lived. I am one of those children you treated in the 70’s. I am now a Jesuit priest serving God’s people, sharing what I have received from God through you. You will always live as an inspiration to the Filipino people.

  • Anonymous

    With Dr. Fe del Mundo’s passing, a now retired Pediatrician like me can’t help but unburden himself  of concerns regarding how medicine is practiced now. The “highly-technology-laden” milieu now is so awe-inspiring – awe as in fear.  To the patient and  to the doctor as well.  May the memory of Dr. del Mundo remind us, specially the young practitioners, that the attributes of her practice will always hold true. Being a doctor meant willingness to be: diligent, conscientious, humble, honest, persevering, tolerant, judicious, intellectually curious, and ultimately – HUMANE.  After all,  these technological tools contribute nothing unless they are manned, or manipulated by human hands, as directed by the human mind.  Dr. del Mundo’s memory and legacy will long serve as inspiration to our current crop of Filipino pediatricians,  as it did  to us  during our era  there.    

  • Edmund

    A deserving figure at the Libingan Ng Mga Bayani. God bless your soul Dr. Fe del Mundo.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for all the time all the help you rendered to the poor Filipino kids. May your soul rest in peace

  • Rogel Sj Corral

    Farewell, great Doctor! In your passing, you have achieved immortality to the countless lives you have touched! May your tribe increase!!!

  • Bulakbuk Prattipati

    Her work of charity really is a marvelous feat!!! With such tremendous sacrifice that Dra. Del Mundo has given for the benefit of ill-stricken children as well as poor kids that cant afford proper medication, I think she deserves a place to more than just any awards or so — I pray that she will be Beatified some day and the church recognise her selfless dedication to charity just as our Lord Jesus has practised in his time.

  • Anonymous

    You are a GREAT FILIPINO, an inspiration to ALL.  Salamat at Paalam Po.

  • Anonymous

    Napakaganda ng habilin mo doktora. Isa ka sa mga modernong bayani ng Pilipinas. Maraming salamat po.

  • Anonymous

    So long mam Fe. Thanks for sharing to us your passion and devotion. May you Inspire us to practice Medicine as a vocation for healing and compassion. I know for sure now that Blessed Mother Theresa and all the  Angels now await you in the Kingdom of the Greatest Healer. I only met you once during a family gathering, but it was my pleasure then to have met the author of the bible of Philippine Paediatrics.  As what our mentors in the department which you lead in the early years of our university then always said, “read Del Mundo”. Thank you for everything.  God Bless you dr. Fe del Mundo. 

  • Anonymous

    Dr. Fe del Mundo i salute you Ma’am…I hope and pray that there are doctors and our countrymen influence with your good deeds..My prayer for your eternal peace Dr…

  • Anonymous

    Goodbye Mam, Your life is very inspiring. I hope that more doctors and people from the government will emulate your good deeds. You are a shining star in Philippine History.

  • Anonymous

    May you rest in peace Dr. Del Mundo.  While I did not know you personally, my mother who was a pediatrician like you – did.

  • cherell de leon

    RIP so blessed and thankful that in your  last year of life im able to served you..thank you so much for all the memories that you’ve shared..i will surely miss you..i love you Dr. Fe..

  • Anonymous

    in behalf of my sister that you took care back on the mid- 70’s and on my late father who have always praised you for your goodness, goodbye doc Fe and may the Lord be with you forever and ever

  • Pulis Na Pogi

    I never knew you personally and you do not know me from adam.  but thank you very much doctor.  your hospital is the hospital of my children!  salamat po!

  • kevin

    you are the true hero for me ,,PAALAM PO,DOC…..

  • Jun-Jun

    Dr. Del Mundo, thanks a lot as you saved my life when I was 2 years old with pneumonia!  I am now 49 years old with my family living in Virginia, USA.  God continue to bless you!

  • Cool4395

    while reading her book way back in med school…it serves as an inspiration for me to be a successful Pediatrician someday. Though it never came into a reality , I will still continue to be inspired by her great contributions for our country. Maraming Salamat po Dr. Fe Del Mundo.

  • Cool4395

    I hope the aspiring Filipino doctors will be inspired by her dedication. Let every medical schools in the Philippines recognize her contributions and share to the future medical students.

  • Lance Kevin Co Quinto

    I hope she will be entering the heaven peacefully.

  • Anonymous

    isang tunay na bayani….maraming salamat po sa buong buhay nyong pag silbi sa mga tao…..

  • Dennis Bassig

    A person like her is what our country needs to build a better place for humanity, we salute you, may you rest in peace….

  • Dennis Bassig

    A person like her is what our country needs to build a better place for humanity, we salute you….

  • Noli

    She is really a good and caring doctor. God bless her soul and she will have a special place in heaven.

  • KristineSendy ComiadelRosario-

    As a child growing up in Manila in the 1980’s, I was blessed to have Dr. Fe del Mundo as my pediatrician at the Children’s Medical Center. I was very sickly as a child. Now 32 (and based here in the US), I am thankful and truly proud that at one point, Dr. Fe del Mundo was part of my life. Our deepest sympathy and condolences to  her family and friends…and to every life she has touched along the years….God bless us all!

  • Anonymous

    Truly remarkable person – worthy indeed for emulation by our doctors and aspiring doctors – hers were the services and dedication that cannot be measured in monetary value. Rest in peace Dr Fe del Mundo and may your legacy be forever be enshrined in each and every Filipino’s memory.

  • Anonymous

    Truly remarkable person and physician – Indeed worthy of emulation by doctors and aspiring doctors. Hers were the services and dedication that cannot be matched by monetary value. Dr. Fe del Mundo – may your legacy be forever enshrined in each and every Filipino’s memory for years to come.

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