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.

Finding the Right Physician And Dentist

Finding the Right Physician

And Dentist

By Apolinario Villalobos


Health is wealth, so goes the saying which is very true. Simply said, it is better to have just enough money but with a healthy body than having much money but with a sickly body that needs a doctor almost every day.


It is not easy to find the right doctor for one’s needs, especially if the ailment being suffered is not easy to diagnose. A friend who is a practicing family physician admitted that sometimes he has to consult his colleagues about cases that he is handling so that right drugs can be prescribed, or better yet, so that referral can be made if necessary. It just shows that several consultations may not give reliable result. The same is true with the finding of the right dentist, some of whom may be careless in handling patients.

In my case, it took many years before I was able to find Dr. Ceasar V. Palma, a family physician who not only patiently did the routine physical check the first time I visited him in his simply furnished clinic, but also patiently asked personal information that involved my diet, sleeping habit, hobbies, etc. before finally prescribing a drug for hypertension. The other physicians that I consulted before, did not even bother to ask questions about my diet, but just based their prescription on my age, and worst, did not even give me guidance on what food to eat. Dr. Palma, walks or commutes to hospitals where his clinics are located, as well as, when calling on patients at home, the reason perhaps, why despite his fifty-plus years of age, he moves with vim like a yuppy. He uses himself as an example on what clean living is all about. His schedule is so hectic but he still got time for medical missions in barangays of Bacoor, Cavite.


And, for my dental woes, it took several extractions by different dentists before I finally found a dentist with a “gentle touch”. In the past, I suffered from nocturnal bleedings for four nights due to haphazard extraction by a dentist who just dispatched me after a bloody execution of her profession on me. There was also a time when I almost had a locked jaw due to miscalculated injection of the anesthesia. And another one yet, extracted the wrong tooth which was beside the targeted one! What is sad about those episodes in my life, is that I have trusted the dentists for a long time. I could not help myself then, from feeling abused and exploited.


I had four loose teeth two months ago, but today, they are down to just two, thanks to Dr. Jocelyn Reyes-Atregenio, a dusky dentist with immaculately clean clinic in Imus City, Cavite. Her clinic was the third that I checked before finally, having my name listed as a walk- in patient. I was lucky to be the first in the list. After about ten minutes of waiting, a smiling young woman arrived who I thought was another patient, but she went straight inside the extraction cubicle, and in a few moments, she came out dressed in the white doctor’s garb. I was surprised and almost was reluctant to sit in the dental chair due to my apprehension, as I thought of her as a fresh board passer. Careful not to sound fresh, I asked how long she had been in the profession. When she told me that she has been practicing it for more than five years but spent a longer stint abroad, that calmed me down.


I told her about my apprehensions resulting from bad experiences in the hands of other dentists. To further calm me down, she told me that she will not dispatch me until the hole in my gum is finally sealed with a blood clot. True to her words, after extraction, she patiently applied pressure to the hole where a tooth once was, and until after three changes of cotton balls, she finally showed the fourth without blood stain – with a big grin, as if saying, “see?” That was two months ago, and two days ago, I had another extraction – with the usual relief. My two more loose teeth are reserved in her care.


The problem with some of the professionals along the line of health care today, is their over-confidence due to too much familiarity with patients. This results to their carelessness sometimes, thinking that the patients will not mind. It is therefore, of due importance that we should find the right medical practitioner on whose hands we entrust our health, and eventually…life.