Friday, March 28, 2008

Philippine Debut

Here it is tradition at 18 to celebrate your birthday as your debut. This is nothing like the debutante ball in the states but is much more similar to a quinceanera. Last week I attended my first formal debut.It actually reminded me of the 8 trillion bar mitzvahs I attended in the 7th grade. Essentially the combination is: birthday girl, speeches (each given with one of 18 roses, flowers, symbolic gifts, and wine). A nice dinner is followed by dancing. This debut took place at one of the venues at Intramuros which is a historical area in Manila.

Monday, March 24, 2008


We ended up going with a landscaping company (after having short lived fantasies of doing the garden ourselves) and so far we are very happy. Neither of us know enough about the plants or trees here to put plants in the correct spot and furthermore, neither of us have any type of green thumb at all. We asked for "organized jungle" meaning that I wanted a lot of local plants and wanted them rather to be as thickly planted as possible while still staying in the area they should.

The grass is still looking sparse but this is normal for recent sod. Pretty jungle-y, eh?

In the front we have a lot of flowers like above. Since all these plants are in, they need to be watered like crazy (especially since summer just started here). Luckily a few of the workers are stay-overs (meaning they sleep on site) and they have agreed to water the plants each evening.

The bald tree above will bloom. We are also putting vines on the two trellises in the garden.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hospitals in the Philippines: Cardinal Santos Medical Center

I always hear a lot about medical tourism and how the government thinks this could be the next big thing for the Philippines. While I have my doubts about the government making this happen, there is no doubt in my mind that the private sector can pull it off.

Doctors in the Philippines are GOOD. There are some really great medical schools here and some really fantastic hospitals. In addition, tons of the doctors have completed their residencies or fellowships at hospitals in the US. The neurosurgeon we have was actually recommended by an orthopedic surgeon from the US (a friend of our designer) that we met at an art exhibition. The nurses are kick ass as well and appear to be less overworked than the US which means if you need a nurse, one actually responds. They are fantastic! Every doctor and nurse that had come in both prior and post surgery was just amazing. I know I sound like a gushing teenager but it is such a switch from the states.

The prices compared to the states cannot even begin to compare. For an eight hour spinal surgery, we were quoted approximately P500,000 (a little over $12,000 before discounts). This includes the surgery, recovery, ICU, private room, medicine, doctors fee, etc. A private room at Cardinal Santos Medical Center (before discount, etc) is P2,200 (a little over $50) per night. The room is pictured above and is a VERY decent size. I realize that $12K sounds like a lot but if you tried to get the same procedure in the states without insurance, you would be declaring bankruptcy.

This is the view of Ortigas from the hospital room. I got a kick out of it because it seems like most of the time hospitals rooms have a view of either a) an air shaft or b) another building.

This photo does not really have to do with anything but I loved that instead of the laundry stamp that is on most hospital sheets, they had the hospital initials in the pattern instead.

Cool items about hospitals in the Philippines: a companion is expected to stay, therefore a comfy companion bed exists (pictured above by the windows), there are fridges in all the rooms, food deliveries are allowed so visitors can dine on just about any food known to man while visiting the patient.

If Cardinal Santos is indicative of medical care in the Philippines then there could be a real future for medical tourism.