Michael Tan

Michael Tan
Michael L. Tan
Nationality Filipino
Occupation medical anthropologist, newspaper columnist, writer

Michael L. Tan, PhD is a medical anthropologist and writer best known for his work among Non-governmental organizations in the Philippines, and for his column Pinoy Kasi, which appears twice a week in the Philippine Daily Inquirer.

Tan is currently the Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Philosophy (CSSP) at the University of the Philippines Diliman in Quezon City. He has authored numerous books and articles, often focusing on: indigenous medical beliefs, sex and sexuality, reproductive and sexual health (particularly HIV/AIDS), pharmaceuticals, and health policy issues.[1][2][3]


Michael Tan actually began his career as a veterinarian, earning his doctorate in veterinary medicine from the University of the Philippines. He has maintained ties with veterinarians, but has since "moved on to human public health and pharmacology...and eventually, medical anthropology." [4]

He earned a Master of Arts in Anthropology from the Texas A&M University, and then obtained his PhD in social and political science from the Medical Anthropology Unit of the University of Amsterdam.

He continues to use his skills as a veterinarian, however, working with such groups as the Philippine Animal Welfare Society and the Dog Scouts of the Philippines to promote animal welfare, and giving occasional advice as he goes about during his NGO work. Tan also works with the Ateneo de Manila University, "teaching doctors to be more sensitive to the social and cultural aspects of healthcare."

As a Writer

Although he is now best known for his work as a columnist, Tan was already a well recognized writer among academics and NGO workers when he began his Pinoy Kasi columns for the Philippine Daily Inquirer in May 1997.

His latest book is "Revisiting Usog, Pasma, Kulam" [5]

In the maiden article of his Inquirer column, he proposed "A middle way of looking at Filipino culture, avoiding one extreme of protracted Lenten self-flagellation that could see nothing good in the Filipino, but also being mature enough to talk about our faults."[6]

Regarding the choice of name, he explained further:

At that time, I thought that "Pinoy Kasi" would reflect the middle way, sometimes uttered in despair, exasperation, even shame but also... I hoped it would be more often said in awe, wonder, and pride.

Profiling him as an awardee Dr. Jose P. Rizal Awards of Excellence in 2005, the Manila Times and the Kaisa Para Sa Kaunlaran Foundation noted that:

Through his writings, Tan encourages readers to think out of the box and critically on social issues. Topics on family relationships, gender and generation issues, care for the environment and even for family pets trigger readers’ responses and often become topics in many dinner discussions... His writings (both academic and popular ones) disseminate crucial information that affects lives.


  1. ^ Brummelhuis, Han ten; Herdt, Gilbert H. (1995), Culture and Sexual Risk: Anthropological Perspectives on AIDS, Routledge, ISBN 2884491317 
  2. ^ "Background", Summer Institute on Sexuality, Society and Culture Website (Summer Institute on Sexuality, Society and Culture), http://www.ishss.uva.nl/SummerInstitute/background.htm, retrieved September 30, 2008 
  3. ^ "Dr. Jose Rizal Awards for Excellence: Tsinoy writes, thinks ‘outside the box’", The Manila Times, June 8, 2007, http://www.manilatimes.net/national/2007/june/08/yehey/china/20070608ch3.html [dead link]
  4. ^ Tan, Michael (June 18, 2008), "Pinoy Kasi: Vet Med at 100", Philippine Daily Inquirer, http://opinion.inquirer.net/inquireropinion/columns/view/20080618-143273/Vet-Med-at-100 
  5. ^ Tan, Michael (2008), Revisiting Usog, Pasma, Kulam, Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, pp. 178, ISBN 978-971-542-570-4 
  6. ^ Tan, Michael, Pinoy Kasi: Columns published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer, http://pinoykasi.homestead.com/ 

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