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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Medical travelers to Cebu draw celebrity doctors

CEBU’s expanding middle class and the Cebuanos’ growing interest in beauty and wellness have prompted Manila-based power couple doctors Manny and Pie Calayan to branch out in Cebu.

The couple opened its first branch outside Manila in SM Seaside City Cebu. Next month the company will open its Davao branch in SM Lanang.

“We have plenty of Cebuano clients who go to Manila to avail of our services, so opening a branch here is a wise business decision,” said Pie Calayan.

Manny and Pie Calayan Clinic occupies a 112-square-meter space at the SM Seaside City. It has one operating and four treatment rooms and a team composed of nurses.

Another factor that attracted the couple to expand their business in Cebu is the province’s high potential to attract high-value medical travelers who visit Cebu for both beauty or wellness procedures and relaxation or recreation purposes, said Calayan.

Calayan said the competitive pricing of health and wellness services, warm hospitality, and well-educated and English-speaking healthcare professionals, are some of the factors that make the country an attractive alternative medical tourism destination in Asia.

Popular services availed of by most Cebuanos at their clinic are more on facial care services like acne treatment and whitening. Foreign clients, on the other hand, are availing procedures like facelift, tummy tuck and liposuction.

The couple comes to Cebu every Monday to perform the medical procedures or surgeries.

While beauty and wellness is a growing industry, Calayan advised the public to be choosy in picking facial care clinics. She said this is a segment in the industry that is not regulated by the health department, unlike in other countries.

She said it is still advisable to consult licensed medical professionals to avoid skin problems or dissatisfaction after.

The Philippines was ranked eighth among the top medical tourism destinations in the world, ahead of countries such as Japan and France, according to the 2015 list of the International Healthcare Research Center and the Medical Tourism Association (MTA).

Clients of the Philippines for medical tourism come from East Asia (China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan), Sri Lanka, the Pacific Islands (Guam, Palau, Marshall Islands, and Micronesia), Australia, North and South America, Europe, and the Gulf States.

Filipino expats and overseas Filipino workers also prefer to have their medical procedures done in the country.

Medical tourism in the Philippines caters to about 80,000 to 250,000 patients or clients annually.

The global health and wellness tourism market is worth $438.6 billion and that the Philippine medical tourism generated $66 million in 2013 and $145 million in 2014, according to the 2014 study by Ian Youngman, a medical tourism author.

According to the Department of Tourism (DOT) 7, the agency’s market development group-medical tourism team are working with the Cebu Health and Wellness Council (CHWC) in putting together attractive packages and linking with medical tourism facilitators from abroad.

“Several groups have visited Cebu to conduct ocular inspection of medical facilities, accommodation establishments and tourist attractions. They have also met with the CHWC stakeholders,” said DOT 7 Director Rowena Montecillo, in previous interviews.
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