The Intriguing Tourmaline Gemstone

The Intriguing Tourmaline Gemstone

By Apolinario Villalobos

Although I believe in the healing power of crystals and gemstones, I consider my experience with “tourmaline” as something special, because I could not believe until now, that it happened to me.

More than two months ago, I helped an elderly Chinese find his way to the condo of his son in Chinatown. I found him wandering in Luneta park and I got curious when I observed him approaching Chinese- looking sightseers. I took pity on him when except for seemingly directions pointed to him by those he approached, nothing more was given to him, such as a written note. He was about eighty years old.  When I could no longer contain myself, I approached him to offer my help, but spoke to him in English. As I was wearing a pair of “ukay” shorts and faded t-shirt that time, he hesitated to talk to me, until finally I asked him in Tagalog, “nawawala po ba kayo?” Surprisingly he answered me in the same, but broken language. I found too, that he did not have a cellphone with him, a very important gadget for a stranger to carry.

It took me some time to know what he really wanted…the information on how to get back to where he came from, the condo of his son in Chinatown which he left at dawn, to walk his way to Luneta. It’s a good thing that he mentioned the name of a small mall that sells gold jewelries in the vicinity of Chinatown which I used as reference point. From there, we retraced, what he recalled as the way he took in going to Luneta without seeking the permission of his son who, according to him was still asleep during the time he left the condo. When we finally located the condo, the whole family was already in a quandary and was about to report the incident to the police.

The above-mentioned effort made me the owner of a bracelet of gemstones with varying shades, but dominated by green. It was given to me by the Chinese elderly, actually, straight from his wrist. I hesitated to accept it, but due to his insistence I gave in and wore it on my right wrist. As the set stones were just of the size that I like, I did not remove the bracelet even when I go to sleep. What I noticed was that more than two months later, today, the nocturnal numbness of fingers in my right wrist with the bracelet was gone! However, I still suffer the numbness of fingers on my left hand. The numbness is caused by the Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS), a job-related disease due to my constant use of the typewriter before and the computer today.

When a school mate, Dr. Boni Valdez and I had a meeting, after more than twenty years, in passing he mentioned about a certain healing gemstone called “tourmaline” which is popular today in Taipei and just been recently introduced in Manila. That was all that I knew about the stones, but my curiosity was triggered when I saw the photo of the rough gemstone in the brochure that he gave. They looked like the stones in my bracelet! My mistake was I did not ask the Chinese, what the stones were called when he gave me the bracelet, thinking that they were just like the rest of the gemstones that I see in the Chinese jewelry stores.

From inquiries that I made, I found out that although, the gemstone is being introduced in the Philippines, the company does not allow its sale in just any jewelry outlet, without the retailer or local dealer undergoing a seminar where its qualities are explained to prevent misconception and misunderstanding. That could be the reason why, I am finding it hard to locate an outlet of such medicinal gemstone. Based on my further research, the gem stone can help in reducing stress, perhaps, due to its effect in the nerves. It can also help in reducing toxin elements in the body and improve blood circulation. Generally, it is a nerve-strengthening stone. Aside from the stones that can be set in jewelries, there are other products imbued with powdered tourmaline that can be worn to facilitate its healing effect.

I just do not know if Dr. Boni Valdez, who is based in Tacurong City, thought of sharing what he knows about the gemstone. During our meeting, I recalled his mentioning about his sojourn to Taipei for some kind of a traditional physical treatment which included the use of the gemstone that I mentioned. Even after the treatment, he mentioned that his Chinese “mentor” is regularly keeping tab of his health. If indeed his going to Taipei was to undergo such traditional treatment, I could surmise that he succeed, because he is today, an image of vigor and health without the unwanted pounds, unlike years before, when he was practically bloating beyond the seams!

Bonifacio E. Valdez: an image of hard-earned success

Bonifacio E. Valdez: an image of hard-earned success

By Apolinario Villalobos

Friends call him “Boni”, lanky and tall, though, with a sure gait when he walks. He was the Corp Commandeer of the PMT in high school, aside from being an orator, debater, athlete, and as expected, valedictorian in their high school batch of 1972. Born to a farming couple, he and his siblings were disciplined in the ways of Ilocano – thrifty and hardworking.

Life after graduating from high school was not as rosy as he expected, especially, because he had to deal with culture shock when he left Tacurong which was a typical third-class municipality at the time, to live in Manila, where he took BS General which he finished in 1976. It prepared him for a medical course which he finished in the Lyceum Northwestern University of Dagupan in 1980.

He went back to Manila in 1981 for an internship at Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center and later transferred to another hospital in Teresa, Rizal, then moved on to the Medical Center- Manila. During those years, he sold drugs on the side, the earnings from which augmented his meager allowance as an intern. Finally, he was taken in, as a company physician by the First Holdings Company, his first full-time job.

To enhance his calling, he took up Anesthesiology as a Fellow at the University of the Philippines Anesthesiologist Center for Western Pacific. His endeavor pushed him further when he got employed at the Ministry of Health, in the Sultanate of Oman where he honed his medical profession from 1987 to 1991. Another opportunity knocked at his door, this time, a better job in the United States, but he opted to go home to Tacurong where he had been dreaming to build a school.

To better prepare himself as an educator in the field of medicine, he took time to refine his skill in anesthesiology in the different hospitals of Tacurong, neighboring towns, as well as, the Davao Medical Center, now, the Southern Philippines Medical Center, a high-tech medical facility in Davao City. During his stint at the aforementioned medical center in Davao City, he sacrificed going home Tacurong on weekends to be with his family.

His struggle paid off when he finally established his school, the VMMC in 2002, with a system derived from what is currently prevailing in the United States. Initially, the VMMC trained caregivers for Canada where he had established tie-ups with healthcare agencies. The long-ranged planning of Dr. Valdez, earned for VMMC a reputation as the first institution in the province of Sultan Kudarat to offer an immediate employment abroad after several months of training. Today, the VMMC also offers basic education and TESDA courses, aside from functioning as a hospital.

In recognition for his achievements, he is currently involved in the different undertakings that pertain to education, health care, and medicine. He is the Vice-President of the Higher Education Institutions in Region 12; Chairman of the Red Cross – Sultan Kudarat Chapter; Board Member of the Mindanao Technical, Vocational and Educational Training; President of the Sultan Kudarat Association of Private and Technical Institutions; and Board Member of the Regional Technical Skills Development Council for Region 12.

Over a simple lunch in  an Adriatico mall, Malate, Manila, we relished the happy days in the campus of the Notre Dame of Tacurong College during its struggling days. He also shared with a hearty laugh, his experience in Manila, especially, during the twilight days of the Marcos-imposed Martial Law. He was seriously engrossed in his political activities that his name got included in the “hot list” of student activists. To save his neck, he bid his comrades goodbye and went home.

The indefatigable Dr. Valdez confided that he has other plans for his beloved birthplace. It is not surprising for a guy whose dreams and struggle brought him far despite his family’s financial handicap. Being used to a simple life, he added that he is contented with his frugal lifestyle and foremost in his mind today, is on how he could share the blessings that he earned by dint of hard work. From being a farmer’s son once, he is now an educator, resource person on community leadership and holistic health, and a medical practitioner, though, with a bigger dream….and of course, with his fellow Tacurongnons still in mind.