Dr. Amparo Cabugwason Hernandez, who goes by her short name “Ampy,” hails from the Queen City of the South – Cebu City, Cebu, Philippines. She was born on May 12, 1932, a third child in a brood of six children of humble parents: Pascuala Guangco of Cebu City, a stay home mother and Teodulfo Cabugwason of Baybay, Leyte, an elementary public school principal and teacher. As a little girl, Ampy was shy, simple and gentle. She was close to her father and always eager to learn new things. She was always a diligent and serious student that it didn’t surprise her family to see young Ampy reap honors and awards early in her student life.
Ampy is married to Alberto Hernandez, a retired worker from the Illinois Department of Revenue where he worked for 25 years. Together, they are blessed with 5 children: Jose (deceased), Jonathan, a City of Chicago policeman, Jocelyn, a pastry entrepreneur, Jericho, a graphic artist and designer, and Jerome, a City of Chicago policeman. Ampy and Bert now have 5 beautiful and adorable grandchildren, all girls whom they visit frequently and spend a great deal of time with during their visits.
Going to college, Ampy desired first to become a Medical doctor, studying at the University of the Philippines in Cebu. However, upon reaching two years of Pre- Medicine, her destiny changed drastically when her father died. She knew then that she could not meet the financial demands of medical studies, and decided to shift course to Dentistry. She went to Manila’s Philippine Dental College, presently known as DeOcampo Memorial Schools, a pioneer among dental colleges in the islands. Her struggle as a student was one of extreme frugality due to limited financial resources. To get by, she had to ask help on a regular basis from her siblings. She was a conscientious student who knew how to work her schedule out to accommodate her other interests, such as writing, even while dealing with the rigorous demands of dental studies. A regular contributor to the “Philidens”, a college periodical, she once became writer of the month. Ampy also loves to write poems during her spare time. She considers her poetry as an expression of her soul.
Through diligence and perseverance, Ampy graduated in 1956 and out of 454 examinees in the entire country, placed 2nd in her school during the National Board Exam, and 4th on a national level. Her steadfastness and forbearance finally paid off.
She worked for the Department of Health Services in the Philippines before migrating to the United States. Settling in Chicago, Illinois, she started working as a Dental Assistant until passing the Illinois Dental Board Exams licensure in 1977, all in one take. Soon after, she worked in the Board of Health where she spent 15 years serving the West Town neighborhood Health Center. Her compassion for the underprivileged families made her a favorite dentist of many families in the community. Dr. Hernandez also maintains a private practice at night, which continues on a part-time basis to this day.
From the Board of Health, Ampy performed dental services for Managed Care Dental Systems servicing the Chicago Public Schools and neighboring Chicago land suburbs. Despite her busy work schedules and responsibilities to her family, Dr. Hernandez somehow managed to do volunteer works where there were
Community Health Fairs. She was featured twice in a Chicago magazine while doing dental treatment to patients during community affairs. In all her volunteer work, Dr. Hernandez sought nothing in return. She was happy enough that she was able to help and respond to a deeper sense of calling. Community service has been part of her strong commitment to help and a manifestation of her passion for the love of God.
Being a member of the American Dental Association (ADA), Illinois State Dental Society (ISDS), Chicago Dental Society (CDS), Dr. Hernandez has a wide span of social network. She is also a member of the National Association of Filipino Dentists in America (NAFDA, which has bases in New York, California, Chicago and other states. She was once elected as their national secretary for 2 years. Her colleagues often call her a “workaholic”, a lighter expression of their awe and appreciation of her work ethics and great attitude.
Additionally, Dr. Hernandez is a member and one of the founders of the Philippine American Dental Society of the Midwest (PADSM), a Chicago association of Filipino Dentists where she served as President in 1989-1990. Only recently, during its 36-year anniversary last September 2009, she was honored with their prestigious award of excellence for her achievements.
Dr. Hernandez’s significant contributions to her profession were highlighted by commendations, recognitions and appreciations from different sectors of government agencies and societies, such as one coming from the Philippine Dental College (PDC) in the Philippines, Department of School Health Services (DSHS) in the Philippines, the Chicago Board of Health (CBH) in West Town neighborhood Health Center in Chicago, Management Care Dental Systems (MCDS) in Chicago, The Chicago Public School (CPS), The Albany Park Community Center (APCC) in Chicago, the Philippine American Dental Society of the Midwest (PADSM), and from the Illinois House of Representatives – Esther Golar of the 6th District.
At 77, Dr. Hernandez has not shown any sign of letting up. She just keeps on going, all for the love of her work and the opportunity to serve people. She has come a long way from a humble beginning and rises to her current stature beyond all expectations. Her driving passion to help the underprivileged serves as an inspiration to all. Finding strength from her loving family, and the grace from God, she continues to live a life of purpose, a life that is dedicated to the service of those who have less in life..
Dr. Hernandez gives back all the honor and glory to the Almighty God, with whom all things are possible. She also credits her parents for her strong faith in God and the set of values that helped her succeed in life.