Filipinos In Boston: An Interview With Doctor Manny De La Rosa

By Trish Fontanilla

Well it’s been almost 2 years of Filipinos in Boston profiles (I started this a few months after we started the organization), and we’re finally interviewing a doctor! I met Manny at the BOSFilipinos meetup at Parsnip in July (amazing food and crew over there!). He’s super new to Boston, so I figured why not introduce him to the BF community more formally? After all, we’re all about storytelling and community!

Thank you to Manny for taking time to chat with me, and I hope you all enjoy getting to know him!

Where are you and your family from? Also, feel free to share more about your family’s background and ties to the Philippines.
For Fil-Ams like ourselves, the story really began in the Motherland. My mom is originally from Bataan and grew up in Quezon City, and my dad in Candelaria in Quezon Province. My maternal grandparents were physicians; Lola (grandma) was a psychiatrist and med school professor and Lolo (grandpa), a pediatrician. On my dad’s side, my Lolo was the Vice Mayor of Candelaria, while my Lola stayed at home to support the kids. My parents are from huge families! My mom grew up with six sisters and two brothers, and my dad has two brothers and two sisters. Starting in the 70s, my parents, titas (aunts), and titos (uncles) on both sides of my family gradually came to the U.S. to pursue their professional careers and start their branches of our family. I have relatives on both coasts and in the Midwest. My dad settled in Iowa for his first job as an engineer for Case before moving to Indianapolis to work for General Motors. My mom finished high school in Ohio, studied nursing initially, but then moved to Indiana, where she switched her major to respiratory therapy and was later hired by one of the local hospitals in Indy.  My parents met through mutual friends in the small Fil-Am community in Indianapolis, where I was born, raised, and educated. I have a younger brother who lives in Orlando and runs his own social media marketing firm called Vadela (check it out at After graduating from medical school at Indiana University in 2016, I moved to the D.C. area for internal medicine residency at Inova Fairfax Hospital. I finished residency this past June, and here I am now!

So tell us a little more about where you work and what you do.

Photo provided by Manny De La Rosa / “Still looking alive after a night shift!”

Photo provided by Manny De La Rosa / “Still looking alive after a night shift!”

Manny: I’ve worked as an internal medicine doc at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and a part-time instructor at Harvard Medical School since July. My job at the Brigham is to admit patients to the various medical and oncology floors at night, whether they come in as transfers from another hospital or through the emergency room. At the same time, I am available for any overnight needs for about thirty to forty patients who are assigned to me for the shift. At Harvard, I teach med students how to interview and examine patients at the hospital, and I am one of the proctors for the clinical skills exam they take at the end of the course. I am a tough grader… muahahaha. 

For most Filipino families, having someone working in the medical field feels like a pre-req, but when did you decide to get into medicine? 
I knew I wanted to be a doctor when I was about 7 or 8 years old. My mom kept many of her college textbooks around the house, and I remember browsing through many of the pictures and diagrams. I thought that the human body was the coolest thing in the universe! Particularly inspiring for me as a kid was how my own pediatrician listened and observed carefully to address my concerns. Every time I saw him, I was curious about why he was asking so many questions, and what he hearing with his stethoscope that helped him come up with a diagnosis to restore my health when I was sick and keep me well when I was healthy.  Combined with the fact that I always naturally enjoyed my science classes, loved working in teams of all kinds, and engaged in philanthropy, I knew that medicine was the perfect career for me. Even though a handful of my relatives are physicians, nurses, and medical lab techs, I never experienced family pressure to pursue a career in healthcare. Now that I am a fully practicing physician after many years of school and on-the-job training in residency, I believe that the same things that drew me to the profession as a kid are why I still enjoy coming to work every day! 

Photo provided by Manny De La Rosa / “This is from my residency graduation banquet. My colleague and I shared the award for Resident Scholar and Teacher of the Year.”

Photo provided by Manny De La Rosa / “This is from my residency graduation banquet. My colleague and I shared the award for Resident Scholar and Teacher of the Year.”

On Boston…

How long have you been in Boston?
I moved here at the end of June, and I live in JP. 

What are your favorite Boston spots (food, parks, spaces, etc!)
My favorites are Fenway, Newbury Street, Seaport, the Boston Common, and Quincy Market. In terms of food and drink, James Hook & Company has the best lobster rolls I have ever had, but if you know of a better place, let me know! The Liberty Hotel is my go-to for upscale drinks and dining. Last, but not least, JP Licks in Brigham Circle is where you will frequently find me for a cup of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream before work!

This town is great for fitness too! I often take my bike out to Cambridge and ride along the Charles for the great views and fresh air. Before I moved to Boston, I took up powerlifting. I hired a coach based at Rx Strength Training in Somerville, but I now do most of my workouts at GymIt near BU since it’s in a more convenient location for me, while my coach works with me remotely. 

What’s your community superpower?
Large-scale philanthropy! I was the Vice President External for the Midwest Association of Filipino Americans ( from 2011 to 2012. As part of my role as VPE, I organized a school supply donation competition between the MAFA member organizations (all university-based Filipino clubs) called the Balikbayan Box Project. We sent a wide variety of items to the Philippines-- everything from pencils and books to old computers.     

On Filipino Food...

 What's your all time favorite Filipino dish?
I am thinking about this while my mouth waters… tinola

What's your favorite Filipino recipe / dish to make?
Beef Kaldereta

Photo provided by Manny De La Rosa / “Last Fall, we went on a triple date with my girlfriend and friends from Indianapolis who were visiting D.C.”

Photo provided by Manny De La Rosa / “Last Fall, we went on a triple date with my girlfriend and friends from Indianapolis who were visiting D.C.”

On staying in touch… 

How can people stay in touch? (Social, email, website, whatever you’re comfortable with)

Manny: Instagram and Snapchat: mannydlr, and email:

I will be starting a vlog and health/medical education channel on YouTube in the upcoming months, so stay tuned!

We’re always looking for BOSFilipinos blog writers! If you’d like to contribute, send us a note at

My Filipina Mama

By Leila Amerling


Mother’s Day. To my mom, and I’m sure to all moms, Mother’s Day should not be celebrated just ONE day a year. With an Asian mom, especially a Filipino mom, you’re bound to be reminded, or even guilted into thinking that you should show appreciation to your mother everyday! You readers out there who have an Asian mom know exactly what I’m talking about.

First there’s guilt...

An Asian mom will tell you that “nobody” (aka YOU) cares about her, just because you don’t call her every hour on the hour while you’re at work. She will “joke” about how YOU should be giving HER presents on YOUR birthday, because you should be celebrating the fact that she let you into the world. She will guilt you into saying that she makes the best adobo, which is actually true. No one makes adobo as well as your mom. But somehow if you want to eat out, she’ll make you feel guilty by saying that you don’t like her food. In fact, saying how delicious her food is only once in a day, means you really don’t like it very much and are just trying to be nice.

And if that isn’t enough, when having a disagreement with your Filipina mother, she will end the argument by claiming that “you are just like your father,” which somehow makes you feel terrible, as if being like your dad is a bad thing.

Then there are her awkward displays of affection...

She’s the mom who has a special way of kissing you by sniffing your cheek or your head.

She’s the mom who buys you clothes that are totally not your style but you’re guilted into wearing them anyway. But then your friends only compliment your outfits when you wear the stuff she buys you.

She’s the mom who while sitting in her room, or the TV room, will shout out your name repeatedly until you get to her, only to ask you, in the sweetest of ways, to pass her the remote control (that’s sitting right on top of the TV), by pointing at it with her lips, not her finger, and then rewarding you with another sniff kiss.

If you don’t answer your phone or get home right at curfew time, she will worry about you, but not in the way that other non-Filipina moms do, like maybe thinking you got into a car accident. She will worry that you’ve been kidnapped by a bunch of hooligans and sold as a sex slave to one of the drug cartels of Manila.

And finally there’s the brutal honest truth (many times told at inconvenient places) that you just don’t want to hear but really need to...

She will tell you if you’re getting fat, or if you’re too thin (although this will RARELY ever happen). She’ll tell you if your breath smells, or that you need to go see your dermatologist because you’re getting pimples again. She’ll tell you that your clothes aren’t “nice” or “sexy” enough when you’re going out on a date. But when you’re finally in a serious relationship, she’ll say that you’re too young to be in that kind of a relationship. And then when you’re getting older and are still single, she’ll try to set you up with the one son of Tita-so-and-so because he’s the only guy in her circle of friends that’s around the same age as you. She’ll start reminding you of your age and that you’ll need to get married soon because you’re getting too old and may not be able to have children. She’s the one woman on this planet (well besides your lola - grandma) that you can’t argue with and just need to accept the “fact” that she’s “always right.”

No matter what, we can’t imagine having another type of mother...

No matter how she shows it, she loves you unconditionally. Even if half of the things you do are done “over my dead body.” Without her, you literally would never have existed. You are at least half of her and hope that you’ve inherited all of the good Asian genes that she bestows (like looking like you’re 40 when you’re 60, or having a head full of luxurious black hair and golden, olive-toned skin that never burns when under the sun). You hope that someday, when you become a mom too, you will raise your child(ren) as well as your mom raised you. After all, you didn’t turn out so bad, right?

Nanay, Inay, Ina, Mama, Nanang, Irmat, Ma, I love you too!