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Yesterday, Dr. Vicki Belo went live on the Facebook page of the Philippine Star’s CareerGuide, their section for enterprise, career concerns, and job searching. She joined a panel interview hosted by resident Career Guide Ken Lerona, with Dr. Stephen Almonte (President of the Philippine Dental Association) and Mikko Barranda (Associate Director of Leechiu Property Consultants) as co-panelists. Here are a few highlights from our founder’s time on the show.
1. Most people think aesthetic clinics are nonessential, but they address an often-forgotten social need, especially during these difficult times.
When asked by Lerona if she thought beauty was ‘necessary’ during the time of COVID-19, Dr. Belo had this to say: “I think people misunderstand. I think people think nagpapaganda ang tao for other people. It’s true naman that we want to be beautiful for other people, but we also want to be pampered and feel good. With all this no-touching, there is a phenomenon now called skin hunger. Wanting to be touched, it’s almost a need…human beings need touch. And the best way to have touch is to have a clinic that’s safe and is taking all precautions so the patient won’t get infected. To become beautiful, [and] at the same time, to be touched. I think there might be more of a demand for beauty treatments. After all the stress we’ve gone through, I think it’s very relaxing to have body treatments and facial treatments done.”
2. Our frontliners need all the help they can get in the form of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), but Dr. Belo made sure 20 hospitals got the thing their staff literally can’t live without.
“We wanted to help [the frontliners], and we wanted them to be safe. As doctors, we know one of our basic necessities ‘pag nasa hospital kami and we’re on duty, is food. And when everything is closed, how will they buy food? We decided to provide 1,000 meals a day to the hospitals,” Dr. Belo said. Belo Medical Group partnered with CloudEats, Angkas, Salamat PH Healthcare Heroes, Yaparazzi, and Hirayang Kabataan to provide 1,000 meals per day to 20 hospitals all over Metro Manila for a period of 45 days.
Of course, she didn’t forget about her very own patients and employees. Their safety was paramount: “Even before President Duterte said there would be a lockdown, I already released a letter that said we are going to close,” Dr. Belo recalled. “We did what we could, and of course we had to take care of our 550 employees. The first month, we gave them no work, full pay. Then we started releasing the 13th month pay.”
3. She stressed the importance of an efficient immune system, and how it could spell the difference between asymptomatic and fatal.
“Why are some people asymptomatic [while] other people are so sick? It’s because of your immune system. And the vitamins that help with COVID-19 are Vitamin D…it increases your phagocytic cells. It also increases your dendritic cells, which catch the virus so it doesn’t spread.” Dr. Belo emphasizes the importance of Vitamin C, which also helps prevent clotting in the body, as clotting could be one of the conditions that can lead to death in many COVID-19 patients. Luckily, Vitamin D3, Vitamin C, Zinc, and Melatonin are all available in the Formula VB Immunity Booster Kit, which you can order at the Belo Shop.
4. We go to our aestheticians not only for facials, but also to feel heard.
“People don’t like to go to psychiatrists or psychologists in the Philippines. We’re not that kind of society,” Dr. Belo prefaced. The moment you lay down in a treatment bed while your aesthetician works on your face is a moment of companionship and vulnerability. “We talk to each other, we unburden, and we feel a lot better. So those are the two main reasons [our patients] go [to Belo]: to feel better, to feel self-confident. Or sometimes, just to feel loved.”
5. She urges everyone to have a grateful heart and appreciate what truly matters.
When asked for her last message to the CareerGuide audience, Dr. Belo answers: “COVID has brought us to our knees. I know, before COVID, everything was just so fast. Everybody was about traveling, Instagram, fashion. I hope that with COVID, you guys were able to look at your lives and ask, ‘Why did this happen so suddenly?’” she implored. “I would like to appeal to everyone to take time to reflect on what God is trying to tell you. For me, God is trying to tell me to realize what is important in life, which is family, being healthy. It’s not travel [or] money. Let’s say, ‘Lord, take over our lives. Lead us to the promised land, away from COVID,’ and stop complaining and end with a very grateful heart. Because you are still alive, you are still healthy, and your family is well. When you can, help…let’s all be kind to one another.”
Dr. Belo will continue to share her thoughts and expert insight with you in other live discussions. Stay tuned on our social media accounts to find out where she might appear next. Who knows—you just might walk away (digitally, of course) with a prize!