Thursday, December 09, 2021

Neri: Outside interests


We asked three doctors what they do to relax and recharge and what activities occupy their “off hours” so they can take a break from the cares of the daily grind.

Nephrologist Dr. Mayleen Laico makes it a point to use her paint brushes daily. An early riser, she does some sketching/painting before she goes to the office to face her patients and listen to their health issues. She is at it again when time permits after office hours. Weekends find her happily painting away, a hobby she took up four years ago. The hobby is now a habit because she says that she paints every single day, even when she is traveling (yes, she brings her art paraphernalia wherever she goes).

The lady doctor shared that she started her art journey with adult coloring books by Johanna Basford, one of which was “The Secret Garden.” She enjoyed the project (captivated by the flowers) and became so adept at shading and coloring that her friends suggested she make her own sketches instead of just doing the coloring books. Her first subject was expectedly flowers and she did them in watercolor after having attended a watercolor workshop.

Essentially self-taught, she admits to enrolling in a couple of online classes and also reading a lot of books on painting and art. Practice has honed her skills and she has learned to use oil and acrylic in her works. Flowers and flower fields are still her favorite subjects. She says, “Flowers are forgiving subjects; since they are very natural, they have unique characteristics and shapes.”

Speaking of unique Doc Mayleen has done paintings of flowers shaped into body organs, the most acclaimed of which is her flower-kidney work in acrylic dubbed “Flower Kidneys: There is Hope.” This particular piece was chosen as cover of the American Journal of Kidney Disease, June 2019 issue. She acknowledges, “This is my most treasured painting because it is a dream come true. I have combined my love for science with my newly discovered love for art.”


Cardiologist Dr. Edgar Tan had this fascination for photography since he was a young boy. He remembers having been gifted by dear Mom with an Instamatic camera which, he recalls, had disposable four-sided flash bulbs.

His interest in photography took a back seat when he pursued a medical degree. But when he became a full-fledged doctor training in New York, his love for capturing images was rekindled. Doc Ed lost no time in acquiring the Nikon SLR N8008, a popular camera for amateurs. He then enrolled in a home study course in photography and read a lot of photography books, but he basically learned on his own.

As a busy doctor, he has had little time for serious photography, but his love for capturing images remained. With the emergence of digital photography, things became easier and more interesting. Though not into serious photography because it’s time-consuming, he has accumulated high-end accessories through the years.

Nowadays, he takes human interest pics when he finds time and captures scenic spots when he travels. His most treasured piece is his award-winning photo which won first place in the Contingent category in the 2011 Sinulog Photo Contest. He shares, “When you succeed in freezing that one fleeting moment in time the way you conceptualized it in your mind is most fulfilling of all.”


Dr. Arnold Uson, who is an oncologist, finds joy in collecting die-cast models of airplanes. An aviation enthusiast since childhood, he always had a fascination for commercial aircraft. He started his collection in 2009 and has accumulated more than 60 model planes. However, he has decided to concentrate on getting airline models of planes he has flown in.

His first die-cast airline model was a Thai Airways A350 which he bought in the plane after a trip. Some of his model planes were secured online and others from the airline hubs in different places. His favorite model is the PAL B777 which he and his wife took during a trip to New York.

Doc Arnold says he gets a high viewing his mini planes. He adds: “It relaxes and removes my tension from work when I look at my collection. Memories of the plane ride and the plane itself, aside from the places I traveled with my wife, make me happy and fulfilled.”


SunStar website welcomes friendly debate, but comments posted on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of the SunStar management and its affiliates. SunStar reserves the right to delete, reproduce or modify comments posted here without notice. Posts that are inappropriate will automatically be deleted.

Forum rules:

Do not use obscenity. Some words have been banned. Stick to the topic. Do not veer away from the discussion. Be coherent. Do not shout or use CAPITAL LETTERS!

Create your own user feedback survey