News & Stories

Alumni in the Spotlight: Lyllian Banzon (GS 2001, HS 2005)

A doctor and professional athlete, Ian is known as an advocate for a balanced, sustainable lifestyle. A firm believer that good health is key to living life to the fullest, Ian walks the talk as she balances her career as a medical and sports acupuncturist while engaging in competitive sports.


Briefly describe your areas of expertise or advocacies. How long have you been doing these?


I am a holistic medical practitioner. I studied medicine and became a licensed medical doctor (General Practitioner) in 2015 and, shortly after that, learned Traditional Chinese medicine, which is the foundation for my practice in medical and sports acupuncture. In my practice, I look at a broader definition of health – looking beyond the obvious physical manifestations of conditions and taking into consideration specific patterns, habits, emotions, interactions and other factors that influence a person’s condition.


I am also an athlete. As a Knoller, I represented MC for WNCAA swimming and interschool golf competitions. In college, I had a swimming scholarship in Ateneo and was also part of the varsity Track & Field and Golf teams. I have been doing triathlons since 2013, while I was in my third year of med school. I’m currently a Circuit Training Coach and a Fitness Consultant, and in the past a cycling and swim coach. I was a Nike Run Club coach from 2015 until 2020. My involvement in both sports and medicine allowed me to work as part of the Medical Team for competitions like the 30th Southeast Asian Games, FIVB world championships and Ironman 70.3 races in the country. I have also worked as the sports team doctor for various teams, including the Azkals Philippine National Football Team.


Sports has taught me that hard work pays off, and so much of my character – especially my values and principles – has been developed from my experiences as an athlete. Overall, I consider myself an advocate of a balanced, sustainable lifestyle for good health.


Among your interests, which one has been your driving force?


Health is something we can easily take for granted. We don’t always appreciate what we have until we lose it. I am the type pf person who likes to live life to the fullest and enjoy what the world has to offer. I’ve always believed that if you are ill or not in good health, then your options will be limited - you will prevent yourself from achieving life’s full potential.


To what would you attribute your achievement/s?


In terms of my medical practice, I would attribute it to my curiosity, to the people who helped me along the way to fulfill and reach my goals, and realize the seemingly crazy ideas in my head. I am also grateful for the opportunities that I had the privilege of receiving, to God, to hard work, to persistence (and stubbornness) and some luck, I suppose :)


In what ways did your Maryknoll/Miriam education impact your life and profession?


I’d like to believe I carry a lot of the principles that were instilled in us as Knollers. Values of Peace, Justice and being Stewards of the environment have always been in my subconscious. I love that we learned the 7 Environmental Principles early on, and I distinctly remember when I was younger, littering felt like a mortal sin! Until now I make it a point to care for the environment in the small ways that I can. I try to live my personal and professional life in a sustainable and peaceful way, with minimal environmental impact. 


Can you share a memorable experience during your years in Maryknoll/Miriam College?


There are a lot! I studied in Miriam from nursery until high school. I remember spending dismissal time, sweaty at the playground in CSC. School fairs in grade school were always something to look forward to, especially at that age when you can be “sent to Jail” and we all secretly thought it was such a cool thing! I was an athlete. I remember representing MC for various competitions - Swimming, Golf, and also academic ones – like Math contests. Down time at the calachuchi area or Sports complex were also very memorable, and then of course yearly class photos at the bamboo area in high school. I think we all have fond memories in those places.  


What career or life accomplishment makes you most proud?


Being where I am and reaching the goals I set for myself when I was still in school. I have become a doctor, I am able to help people and all this while doing things that make me happy - sports, spending time outdoors and being with friends and family. I try to lead by example and let my actions speak for themselves. I try to do things that I think are generally good, and hopefully it inspires people to do things a bit better, or even to make themselves better. I try to live the best way that I know how - it's not perfect, I struggle too – but I hope that in the end, it will all be well and good.


What advice would you give our students who wish to pursue the same path?


Work hard, have fun, give credit where it is due. As much as you can be certain about what you want and be relentless in pursuing it. Sometimes things are much harder if you overthink them, but all you have to do is START. Do the small things, do what you can, and help will come. When it does, be humble and grateful, and take the moment to shine. Lastly, live life the best way you could. I believe that if you are happy and satisfied, if you have good intentions and actions, doing the least harm to anyone or anything, then it will translate to a better life for all of us.


In one sentence, how would you describe a Maryknoll/Miriam graduate?


An independent, well-rounded and simple girl who has what it takes to influence and create change for the better. 



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