CCP Doctor, Otorhinolaryngologist/Head & Neck Surgeon, Professor

September 7, 1950 – March 18, 2022

Jacob Sadang Matubis, also known as Jacob or Jake, was an otorhinolaryngologist/head and neck surgeon, professor, and Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) reporting doctor. He spent 40 years of his career at the Philippine General Hospital (PGH); was former head and associate professor of the Anatomy Department, College of Medicine, University of the Philippines (UP) Manila; and was a Philippine Board of Otorhinolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery president.

Because of his brilliance, “he was also the former head of the ENT (ear, nose, throat) Department and Admission Committee of PGH and wrote many papers regarding his specialty ENT & EN surgery, apart from teaching gross anatomy,” wrote his sister Dr. Cynch De Lara.

Dr. Jake Matubis was born on September 7, 1950 in Naga City to Jesus Matubis Sr. and Felisa Matubis. He finished elementary school with honors at La Salle Bacolod, high school at De La Salle University Taft, college at the University of the Philippines-Diliman, and medical school at UP-PGH, Manila, as a member of the UP Medicine Class of 1977. He took his residency in otolaryngology-head and neck surgery at UP PGH from 1981 to 1984.

Friends and family describe Jake as a well-rounded person who had many interests. His friend and colleague Dr. Josefino G. Hernandez wrote in a tribute that he and Jake enjoyed sports when they were students.

“During our days at the UP College of Medicine,” Hernandez recalled, “we joined the UP Medicine football team and competed with the other teams from the different UP colleges… I played the left-out forward position, now called a striker, and Jake was a half-back, now called a midfielder.” They became champions twice.

Hernandez also wrote that Matubis joined the Mu Sigma Phi fraternity in 1973, where he sang baritone in the Mu Sounds, “a singing group of fraternity brothers,” who performed “in many venues and occasions especially during our fraternity anniversaries and college activities.”

De Lara described her brother as someone who loved his country. “Jacob was an idealist, joining rallies during his UP days and manning the barricades during the 1st Quarter Storm at UP,” she said. “He maintained this idealism after becoming a doctor, and opted to remain in the country instead of going abroad… he became our clan’s go-to medical professional.”

In the late 80s to early 90s, Dr. Matubis was the reporting doctor to the CCP medical clinic. He later saw patients as ENT consultant at UP PGH, St. Luke’s Medical Center, Dr. Fe del Mundo Medical Center, and Fatima Medical Center.

He interviewed medical students who applied to UP PGH through the years, taught them, and was later their mentor during their residency. “He dedicated his life to teaching batches of medical students, some of whom are now the ones attending to him here in PGH,” daughter Janne Raquel tweeted when her father was first brought to the hospital in December 2021. “He’s touched many lives – from doctors, students, to strangers, all the times he stopped for someone who encountered an accident on the road.”

Another daughter, Jeanne Rachel, described her father as “hardworking; he had been serving in hospitals, in the university, in medical missions, and other institutions for several decades of his life. He worked hard every day for his family. He was able to juggle all the responsibilities of being a doctor, professor, mentor, husband, father, and friend.”

Despite the volume of his work as a public servant, he remained calm and composed. Dr. Matubis also led some of the country’s top professional medical associations. He was past president, Philippine Society of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery; past president, Philippine Academy of Head and Neck Surgery; past chairman, Academy of Head and Neck Oncology of the Philippines; and past chairman, ENT Department of Jose Reyes Medical Center.

As a born-again Christian, Dr. Matubis’s deep and unfaltering faith in God allowed him to reconcile faith and science. Endowed with brilliance and a sharp intellect, he nevertheless remained warm, friendly, and humble. Jeanne Rachel wrote, “He never boasted and rarely talked about himself and his achievements. He was very kind and approachable. His students and mentees always confidently went to him for advice because they knew that he was always willing to listen and offer a helping hand.”

Jeanne Rachel described her father as “sentimental” because he loved to capture memories by taking photos. “He also had a habit of keeping memorable items from his trips and presents from his friends and family. He loved to crack jokes at the dinner table with his family. Some of his jokes were too deep or even corny, but he never failed to put a smile on the faces of people around him,” she added.

Prioritizing and loving his family stemmed from the Biblical model of the Holy Family in Nazareth; Dr. Matubis always made time for his family, which is rare for a busy medical specialist. He brought his family to church on Sundays and spent quality time with them by watching movies together, eating out, and taking the kids to school every day. He also enjoyed tennis, football, and ten-pin bowling.

As diligently as he read medical books, he studied the Bible and prayed every day. He regularly led devotions for his family, relatives, and colleagues. One of his guiding Biblical verses was Philippians 1:6 – “He who began a good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus, our Lord.” Together with his wife Rowena, he raised his children Jethro Jake, Jeanne Rachel, John Jacob, and Janne Raquel to fear and love the Lord.

An unnamed graduate of the UP-PGH residency program for otolaryngology-head and neck Surgery tweeted, “He was one of my mentors in residency and later a colleague as an otolaryngology specialist. He was one of the kindest and soft-spoken ENTs I have ever met, never have I heard him raise his voice at residents, and he was always ready to teach and lend a helping hand whenever he was asked. At conventions, he would always greet you and ask how you are and how your practice is doing. Never have I heard an ill word against him.”

Categories: Obituaries

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