Saturday, August 25, 2007

Day Surgery? Visit The Beverly Hills Medical Group In Manila

BHMG Exterior 1
Heads up.
This is not the Beverly Hills that endorses that hideous "Miss Ugly" campaign that is so derogatory to the Filipina. This new multi-specialty surgery center has nothing to do with the center holed up at the 6750 building on Ayala. Okay, enough about them.

The Beverly Hills Medical Center Group, Inc. (BHMG) is Asia's largest U.S. based, managed and operated Multi-Specialty Ambulatory Surgery Center developed by its Beverly Hills, California based parent corporation - Beverly Hills Advanced Surgery Institute, Inc. (BHASI). When my sister in-law who is one of the dermatologists on the staff of BHMG invited me to visit one day, I was very much impressed with what I saw.

Lobby 1

A Multi-Specialty Surgery Center is center that specializes in not one but many types of surgeries. BHMG offers and has over 10 Centers of Excellence taht include among others -- Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Cosmetic Laser and Dermatology procedures, General and Vascular surgery, Gastroenterology, Gynecology Surgery, Otolaryngology (ENT) Surgery, Podiatry, Orthopedic and Sports Medicine, Pain Management, Urology and Men's Health. An Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) is also known as a Day Surgery Center. This is a center where elective types of procedures, diagnostic or therapeutic, is performed on a patient and the patient is able to go home a few hours after the surgery. There are no emergency surgeries performed here, and so, as the Medical Director, Dr. Eric Arcilla, explained to me, there is no danger of getting "bumped off" out of the Operating Room in favor of a higher priority patient. "Your surgery will definitely proceed as scheduled," he stresses.

Operating Room 3
Shades of "Grey's Anatomy"

Among the procedures that can be performed at BHMG are the following -- Under the dermatological services there is EMAX Hair Removal, EMAX Skin Tightening, EMAX Skin Rejuvenation, BOTOX, Microdermabrasion (Diamond Peel) and Dermatologicsurgery. For Cosmetic Surgery there is Blepharoplasty (Eyelid Lift), Breast Enhancement or Augmentation, Face Lift, Liposuction, and Rhinoplasty. Array of plastic and reconstructive surgery procedures can also be performed at BHMG. Among the other out patient procedures for Gastroenterology that can be performed here are - Endoscopy (upper and lower), Polypectomy, Colonoscopy, Sigmoidoscopy. Under General and Vasculat Surgery there is dermal cyst excision, Cholecystectomy (gallbladder surgery), Hernia repair and Thyroidectomy and other procedures. For the Gynecologic Surgery there is D&C, Tubal Ligation, Perineorrhaphy and Perinealplasty (vaginal rejuvenation). Surgical procedures in the areas of Orthopedics, Otolaryngology and Urology may also be performed at the center. Post-surgery, a patient can choose from either a private recovery room (complete with a bathroom and a plasma TV) or the common recovery room which is just as good.

BHASI which is the parent company of BHMG is a Beverly Hills, California based Multi-Specialty Surgery Center that has been in exsitence for 11 years and licensed by the State of California Department of Health Services as well as Medicare Certified by the U.S. Federal Government. The center in Beverly Hills has been featured in the television series Extreme Makeover, Discovery Channel and the Lifetime Channel. Their doctors have been guests on Oprah, The Tyra Banks Show, Entertainment Tonight and Larry King Live.

BHASI's President and CEO is Maria Rebujio, a Filipina-American who was born and raised in the United States of parents whose lineage is originally from Pangasinan. She is married to George, who is also a Filipino and a former NASA engineer. Maria tells me that "The goal here at BHMG is to provode world-class healthcare by following the strictest guidelines and procedures set forth by U.S. Medical health standards. We want to provide the finest outpatient surgical care services here in the Philippines." Maria, who is a nurse by training knows all about the business since she was an OR Plastic Surgery nurse for many, many years before striking out on her own and opened up BHASI from scratch.

I asked if their prices were "Beverly Hills" rates as well and she immediately said, "No we are very competitive. No Beverly Hills prices here but you get the same care and facilities that you would get in the U.S. " All of BHMG's doctors are board certified and belong to the creme de la creme of their specialties. Take a peek here to see who is on the BHMG roster. They are all credentialed and graduates from the best medical schools in the country. In addition, BHMG is medically licensed as an Ambulatory Surgery Center (ASC) by the Philippine Department of Health Services (DOH).

Recovery Room 2
Recovery Room

My sister in-law gave me a tour of the facilities and really, I was very much impressed with the cleanliness, the lay-out and the equipment that I saw. It was even way better than some of the private hospitals we have in the country. On the day I was there, the OR's were busy with two liposuction procedures. BHMG is the only ASC in the country with all of its medical gases implemented throughoutthe entire operating room and recovery room using National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards. The airconditioning system is designed strictly for medical facilities. BHMG boasts of the only HEPA and Laminair Air Flow filtration system in the country. This system ensures a minimum particle-collection efficiency of 99.97% while the Lamianr flow diffusers supply a non-aspirating continuous column of air where it is most critical - above the operating table. The Laminair flow system that is installed meets the American College of Surgeon's requirements. The width of the hallways and the doors in the entire facililty are all in accordance with U.S. standards. With guarded gated entries, private entrance and exit, and secured ground floor access and parking, BHMG offers the utmost in complete client discretion.

Beverly Hills Medical Group is located at 57 Paseo De Roxas Avenue, Makati City. For more information on their dermatological and surgery services call 81-90210.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

ENDERUN, World Class Hotel College In Manila

The Enderun students are given hands-on training even in their first year, giving them the perfe2I love to eat but I don't exactly love to cook.

I have always been in awe of the wonderful men and women who are able to whip up such excellent meals effortlessly. Hindi ko talaga talent ang pagluluto. My grandmother on my father side was Spanish and she could whip up delightful and calorie-laden dishes at the drop of a hat. My mother's cooking repertoire leaves much to be desired. Heck mommy can inhibit any character and boy can she act! As for her culinary prowess? Next question please. The kitchen was more my father and our mayordoma's kingdom. As for me, I can, and do cook once in a while, and on the times that I do, the kids and H appear pleased with the effort and the finished product. My family's culinary hopes lie in P - our "kicking chef and psychiatrist-to-be."
However, I digress...

One evening a few weeks ago, H and I had dinner at Restaurant 101, the training restaurant, if you may call it that, of Enderun College. The place where Restaurant 101 (and Enderun College) sits used to be the famous Le Souffle in Ortigas which has now moved to the Rockwell Club in Makati. It was a great pleasure to be served by the very young, pleasantand good-looking International Hospitality Management students of Enderun. Joining us during dinner was Tricia Tensuan, Enderun College's smart and very charming Marketing Director.

enderun lobby
Fabulous Enderun Lobby

Prior to a lovely dinner (my friend and blogmate, the famous Anton, did a great review of Restaurant 101) Tricia toured us around the school and I was simply amazed by what I saw. First there are the classrooms that are truly impressive! Suddenly there was a part of me that wanted to take up a course if only to be able to sit in those beautiful classrooms!

Get on a culinary flight... Some of the classrooms look like airport lounges!

H pretending to be professor

Enderun's carefully crafted program of study leads to a Bachelor's Degree in International Hospitality Management (BS-IHM). Students are given the option of pursuing one of two major areas of study: Hotel Administration or Culinary Arts. The Enderun curriculum strikes a unique balance between classroom training and real-world experience. Six semesters are spent on the Enderun campus amd two semesters of practical internship in Enderun's partner establishments all over the world. The internships give students the opportunity to buttress classroom perspectives with real world experience, and to contribute new insights when they return to the classroom. Enderun's roster of industry partners includes some of the world's leading hospitality organizations, encompassing over 40 hotel companies comprising of over 150 hotels and restaurants around the world!

Does your kitchen look like this?

The Ortigas campus occupies two floors of the Wynsum Corporate Plaza in the Ortigas Central Business District. The college enrolled it's first full Freshman class in June 2006, and will gradually scale its enrollment to more than 2000 students by 2010. The current Wynsum capmus features state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment, a fully articulated wireless network, world-class demonstration laboratories for culinary studemts, an ample library, a host of meeting rooms, a beautiful student lounge that overlooks the Ortigas center, and a beautifully appointed teaching restaurant that is Restaurant 101.

Soon, Enderun College will be moving in to a sprawling 1.7-hectare campus that will have classical European buildings anchored by a sleek, modern culinary center that is expected to be ready for SY 2007-2008. Enderun has partnered with Alain Ducasse Formation to design and operate this new culinary center, which will feature Asia’s most distinguished culinary faculty, and which will offer Enderun students the opportunity to master cutting-edge culinary principles and techniques, after foundational training in the classical European tradition. Alain Ducasse is France’s most celebrated chef, and the only chef within the Michelin guide to have held a three star ranking (the top ranking) in three different countries.

Tricia shares that the current campus will still be maintained but used for other more specialized courses.

The Program provides students with a solid foundation for building a career in hospitality manag2

Enderun College has entered into an academic partnership with Les Roches Swiss Hotel Association of Hotel Management that allows Enderun students to earn Certificates in International Hospitality Operations from Les Roches, as they study for their bachelor's degrees in International Hospitality Management at Enderun. The Les Roches Swiss Hotel Association School of Hotel Management is among the world's most prestigious and highly respected hospitality management schools.

The Les Roches certificate program is FULLY integrated into the Enderun curriculum, and allows Enderun students, who pass a qualifying exam to gain Les Roches' certification after only two years of study. After earning the certificate, hospitality management students have the option of completing their four-year degrees at Enderun, or of transferring to Les Roches' campuses in Switzerland or Marbella, Spain, and earning their degrees in Europe. Thus, it is only at Enderun where students can gain a recognized international credential from one of the world's best-known hospitality management schools after only two years, while studying in the Philippines.

In addition to a world-class campus, and a partnership with Les Roches, Enderun's esteemed faculty is nothing to scoff at. Lead by College Dean, Dr. Lorraine Villanueva, who was a faculty member of the Department of Hotel, Restaurant, and Institution Management (HRIM) of the College of Home Economics (CHE) at the University of the Philippines in Diliman (UPD), where she taught in both the graduate and undergraduate programs, as well as handled curriculum development and review. Then there is Chef See Cheong Yan, who is the Culinary Head at Enderun Colleges. He graduated from Les Roches in Switzerland with a Diploma in Hotel and Restaurant Management. Chef See earned his Certificate in Business Administration, with honors, from Washington State University. View this link to see the full roster of Enderun's faculty.

In addition to his education credentials, Chef See has 19 years worth of experience in the field of culinary arts worldwide having worked at the Kempinski Hotel & Traders Hotel in China and at Bahnhofbuffet SBB Basel in Switzerland among others. In the Philippines, Chef See has led the kitchen operations of Edsa Shangri-la, Hyatt Regency Manila and Tagaytay Highlands. Truly an international citizen, Chef See speaks English, Bahasa Malaysia, Cantonese, Mandarin, French and Filipino fluently.

w chef see and tricia
The un-barefoot contessa with Chef See and Tricia

Too bad Enderun was not yet in exsistence back in 1982 when I had just graduated from high school. Perhaps, if there was something like this back then, I would muster all of my culinary genes - my Spanish grandmother was a kitchen goddess - and put them to good use. Who knows, maybe I would have given Nigella Lawson a run for her money :) Then again, perhaps I was really destined for other things and being a Nigella or a Barefoot Contessa ain't one of them.

Next Up -- BEVERLY HILLS Comes to Makati, and no, honey, it's not the one you're thinking about...

Monday, August 06, 2007

The Noli Eala Scandal

"Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death." James 1:15

The rains have come, mercifully so for our city, but not so for Noli Eala.

For the last few days since he was disbarred, the Noli scandal has been a topic of conversation at our home. I like discussing the topic with H, who used to be a PBA governor and once upon a time worked with Mr. Suave Eala. Eeeew.

I know the characters involved, though not personally. Noli and his wife (the legal one) Marianne Tantoco were a few years ahead of me at the Jesuit University we all attended once upon a time. Talaga naman itong si Noli, tinotoo ang pagiging "man for others" - many others.

Eala claims that he conducted the relationship discreetly. I beg to disagree. How can parading his other woman blatantly during PBA games be considered discreet behavior?

As far as I am concerned, the most gallant thing he can do right now would be to resign his post as PBA Commissioner. Then again, does gallantry exist in his person? Leaving your wife and four kids does not exactly qualify as such. Wreaking havoc on two families, not just one, certainly does not fall under gallant behavior.

Eala has totally lost all moral authority to lead. He is the face of the Philippine Basketball Assiociation for goodness sakes! A sport that is well-loved by thousands of Filipino youth all over the country whose players are idolized and emulated. How can an adulterer be made to lead such an organization? The PBA already has many woes as outlined by Gary, who owns the Basketball Exchange Blog. In the same blog entry, Gary reprints the whole article on Noli's disbarment and cites the many reasons why he believes Noli should no longer be made to lead.

Many sportswriters are of the sentiment that Noli should go. "How can he expect to penalize players with conduct unbecoming when he himself is terribly guilty of such?" Thus, this case, and how the PBA Board will decide in the next few days will be something to look out for because it will be a decision that will be reflective of the morals and values that we adhere to.

If he is not sacked by the PBA Board or does not have the decency to resign, what kind of message does that send to our youth? That it's okay to cheat on your wife, leave her and steal someone else's wife? Grabe. Hindi lang isa sa Ten Commandments ang binalewala niya, dalawa pa! Goodness, if that weren't enough to sack the guy, I don't know anymore what kind of morality the PBA Board has. Okay, assuming when they took him on as comish, he already had a pending case, pero sige, wala pa naman final decision noon. BUT now, the guy has already broken two of the ten commandments, disbarred as a lawyer and classified as an adulterer by no less than the highest court of the land ... aba gentlemen, what other proof do you need? Then again, simple lang yan. IF I had the chance to have an audience with the current PBA Governors (most of whom are men in the 55-65 age range) I would pose a scenario to them and ask a simple question -- Think for a moment gentlemen, if Marianne (Noli's legal wife) were your daughter, and their four kids, your grandchildren, can you actually find it in your heart and conscience to retain this guy as PBA Commisioner? If you were a PBA Governor, what would you do?
On that premise, I rest my case.

We pray that the PBA Board of Governors will make the right decision and that Eala will accept his fate, like a real man. Yes, the Lord forgives, but there is such a thing as the consequences of sin that the sinner needs to face up to. In God's time, may everyone who has been hurt by this scandal, find forgiveness and the peace that they all need in order to finally move on with their lives, quietly and away from the din and glare of the limelight.

Total Wellness at Planet Infinity

I've dropped a dress size in six weeks thanks to this gym and to my trainer who pushes me. Okay, never mind what size it is for now, the important thing is that ever since I started working out at this place I have becomer a fitter momma.

Never mind that I have to travel an average of 20-30 minutes depending on traffic to get to Planet Infinity. The travel time affords me the luxury of catching up on my reading or in spending quiet time with the Lord. A visit to Planet is always worth the time spent going there. Though not very big as compared to the gym-chain near my house, there is a nice sense of community at this average-size but friendly gym. In addition, they have an excellent pool of personal trainers who bot push and motivate you to do your best. However, state-of-the-art facilities, a 24-hour gym and quality instruction are mere basics here. If you want to learn about wellness, go to Planet Infinity – the place where being well is a lifestyle.

I started working out here in late June. I was introduced to this place by good friend Mitzi, whose brother Ace, is the personal trainer of my gym inspiration, you know-who. It was love at first sight when I stepped into the confines of Planet Infinity. And not because of "the inspiration" - but admittedly is a plus factor :)The waiting area alone is already relaxing and welcoming. Mitzi and I had a healthy lunch at the Energy Lounge. Energy Wellness International, the company that runs the center, believes that respites are essential in leading an energized life. We set out to provide a place within the fitness facility where customers can refresh themselves in style not only as a reward but also as an important and much needed ingredient in a person’s total wellness. Relaxation enhances creativity.
Rest increases productivity.

The Energy Lounge exists in a symbiotic relationship with Planet Infinity. Planet Infinity deals with exercise or the ACTIVE phase of fitness, while the Energy Lounge deals with the RECOVERY phase. The BALANCE between the two is essential in maintaining the body’s ENERGY LEVELS and in achieving WELLNESS.

The 5 components of the Energy Lounge are:
1. Food Bar
2. Health Store
3. Lifestyle Shop
4. Sensasia
5. Wellness Nook/Library

Planet Infinity is where I spend most of my mornings now. Since last June, I've committed to taking better care of my health by promising that I would become more fit this year. And so far,thank God, it's working. I don't tire as easily and my stamina is way higher than it was three months ago. By skin is so much better, my clothes have become loser and over-all there is a general lightness about me. It helps that there is a place where I can take my meals and have some me time after my work-out. So after spending two hours in the gym, doing cardio and strengthtraining exercises with my trainer Zhi, I change and move to the Energy Lounge where the meals are not only terribly healthy (they have the actual caloric count for every item on the menu!) but delicious and affordable as well. The whole place is wi-fi too so I can actually work here if I want to. It's a good place where you can write and focus on your work.

Though I'm still many pounds away from my desired ideal weight I am glad that I've finally made the decision to get fit and have a found a place with a total approach to mind-body wellness that will help me achieve my goal. I'm giving myself until October to drop the unwanted pounds and inches as a birthday gift to myself. There, it's cast in stone, in black and white...

Maybe then I'll post a picture of my before and after self :) We'll see. One thing I';ve learned though is that you have to find the right motivation to push yourself. In my case, it was really a matter of improving my health and general well-being especially now that I am at midlife and where at peri-menopause your body starts to feel all these aches and pains and your hormones drive you crazy on certain weeks of the month. Since I started working out, my hot flashes (yes, you read that right, at 42) have all but dissipated, my vertigo episodes are gone and I'm no longer breathless after climbing several flights of stairs. I also feel that i am able to manage my stress much better.

Planet Infinity is located at the Crossroads Building on Mother Ignacia street in Quezon City. It is also the building that houses the Bread of Life Church and a host of other small cafes such as Tea Spa, Soul Shop, Soularium and The Garden Shelter plus a library where you can while the time away. Nothing intimidating or loud in this place folks, - just a plain, simple, effective, all-natural and healthy way to achieving total wellness.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

PISAY Bags Cinemalaya Awards

Congratulations Aureaus! See, I told you so.

"PISAY", a coming-of age story about eight students at the premiere science high school - Philippine Science H.S. (PSHS) bagged the Audience Choice award, the best production design award and Best Director award at the Cinemalaya awarding ceremonies last Sunday, July 29 as reported in the PDI online edition this evening.

The night before, H and I were at an appreciation dinner given by the PSHS Foundation for Aureaus and some select donors who had thrown their full support to the foundation. The movie is one that opens your eyes to what life is like at PISAY. I had always been curious about how it was to be a student at the top high school in Manila. Hindi dahil sa inambisyon ko ever na makapasok dito sa high school na ito but more because my life has been touched very deeply by two very special people who went to this high school. One of whom I am married to and the other... Well, you will have to know my romantic history to understand what I am talking about:) At the end of the party that evening, I took Aureaus aside and requested a trustee from the foundation to take a picture of us. A huge fan of the movie, I had told him, "Kailangan may picture tayo para pag nanalo ka sa Sunday, maibo-blog ko na kaagad." So Direk A, this one is for you!

The film had me in tears - thrice. It made me understand better the pressures that very bright students go through. It's very hard to be bright and to compete against the very best. Ibang klase ang pressure. The movie is a true to life account of eight high school students coming from various backgrounds. Solito, whose story is one of the eight, culled the material from the lives of seven other classmates who graduated from PISAY in 1986. In fact, the ill-fated young lovers in the story were at the movie premiere. I wonder how that feels like - to watch your teen-age life unfold on the big screen? I could fully relate to the period of the movie that covers the years 1982 - 1986. Those were the exact years that I was in college at the Ateneo - an exciting period in Philippine history that began with the death of Ninoy Aquino and culiminated with the EDSA revolution.

PISAY is an excellent example of ensemble acting where the actors completely inhibited their characters. Solito has a gift for drawing out the best from his performers who are mostly newcomers. I loved the character of Mateo. His story really stood out. The production design was excellent! I couldn't help but reminisce when there were scenes showing the students dancing at a party, garbed in, of course, very 80s clothes. In fact, I had an outfit that was very similar to what one of the leads was wearing! P, who was with H and I at the premiere was cringing at the clothes. Sabi ko, "Hoy, yan ang uso noon!" Admittedly though, PISAY-ers apparently have their own "language" - most of which I could not relate to. The dialogue though was exacellent and there are many touching scenes that will tug at your heart. Kuwento ng mga matatalino pero punong-puno ng puso.

PISAY is an example of a youth oriented film with heart and substance. Hindi yung puro lang kalokohan or kababawan ang mapapanood mo. It's a film that should be viewed by both parents, teachers and students - irregardless of whether you have a PISAY connection in your life or not.
Try to catch this wonderful, well-crafted, heartwarming film (see, and I'm not even from PISAY!) when it shows again at The Block on August 24 and 25. Call the Philippine Science High School Foundation for more information.