There are hundreds, maybe thousands of doctors in Iloilo. For the newcomer it’s a challenge to find the best ones. We’re making progress, but our comments are those of relative newcomers who still have lots to learn. Here’s an example of the need for caution. I had an eye exam at a well-known ophthalmologist in Cebu City. He diagnosed me with cataracts and said the sooner I had surgery the better. When I went back to New York, my long-time ophthalmologist said my cataracts were not serious and I would not need surgery for ten years or more. That was in 2005. I am writing this in 2012 and I am not yet even close to needing cataract surgery.
Usually you do not make an appointment with a Philippine doctor or dentist. They maintain “clinic” hours at their office(s). You just show up during the clinic hours and wait your turn. If you call in advance to make an appointment you may just be told to show up during clinic hours. Bring something to read. If you become a regular you may be able to schedule specific appointments. Offices are often cramped and not so fancy as what foreigners may be used to. Don’t be too quick to measure the quality of the doctor or dentist by the character of their offices, but the number of patients waiting may be an indicator. The cost of a doctor’s appointment in Iloilo City is generally P250 to P400. PLEASE NOTE that – fortunately – we have not had major illnesses. These suggestions are only based on limited personal experience and or recommendations from trusted friends.
For an eye doctor, we very much like Iloilo ophthalmologist Dr. Karen Y Rivera-Francia who trained at the University of Santo Thomas in Manila. Her office is at Iloilo Doctor’s Hospital Medical Arts Condominium Room 108. Her equipment is up to date, her manner highly professional. She charged us P400 for an an exam including dilation and glaucoma and cataract screening. Phone 336-8699 Clinics MWF 1-4 T-Th 10-3 (as of 9-10-11) Dr. suggests that you call for an appt. Dra. Francia does perform laser and other eye surgery
We’ve used Urologist Pedro Tingson. He is well-regarded. He has offices at St. Pauls Hospital (337-6449) and Iloilo Doctor’s Hospital (337-2527)
Dermatologist. Because she was on the list of board certified dermatologists in Iloilo given to me by New York dermatologist, I saw Aileen Montero MD, with an office at Room 203 Iloilo Doctors Hospital Office Condo, 336-5556. I continue to go to her for my regular checkups. Clinic Mon-Sat 10-12 and 2-4. No clinic Friday afternoon. Dr. Montero is a graduate of the UP Medical School.
I like cardiologist Dexter Dale D. Briones at the J&B Building, Quezon Street, 508-9544. He is a graduate of the St. Luke’s Heart Center. Clinics begin at at 1:00 and are busy.
Another well regarded cardiologist is Joefil Acosta, St. Pauls Hospital 2nd Floor Room 2054, Phone 338-1814.
Neurosurgeon Paul Francia trained at University of Santo Thomas in Manila and in New York. His office is in the Iloilo Doctor’s Hospital, Medical Arts condo. Phone 337-4525
Gastrointerologist, Danilo Encarnacion is Chair of Digestive Disorders Department at St Paul’s Hospital and is recommended on the US Embassy website. We have not yet been to see him but will if the need arises.
We received excellent reports on Plastic Surgeon Maria Elena Villareal. Iloilo Doctor’s Hospital Office Condo. Phone: 0917-659-8197, Clinic (033) 3371453, (033)3371576 Clinics: 9:00-12:00 noon, Monday to Friday
Friends have given a positive recommendation to internal medicine and pain management specialist Dr. Celine Vilches at the Pain Management and Palliative Care Center at Iloilo’s Mission Hospital, Jaro, Iloilo City
For Obstetrician-Gynecologist, we suggest U.P. trained Laura Tupas. Dr. Tupas is trained as a gynecological oncologist and maintains a general ob-gyn practice at the J&B Building on Quezon Street. 033-337-7244
Pulmonologist Sheenly Terrafrancia-Suresca is a U.P trained respiratory disease specialist. She maintains clinics at the mezzanine level of the J&B Building on Quezon Street above the Erin Family Pharmacy (508-3113) (T-W-F 2pm). She also has clinics at The Medical City Iloilo and in Guimbal. Guimbal clinics are M-Th-Sat. Guimbal phone 315-5509
We are very impressed with U.P. trained Endocrinologist (diabetes specialist) Diana Marie Javellana-Cacho. She also maintains an office at St. Paul’s Hospital in Iloilo City. Clinics are M & W 2-5 and F 9:30-12:30. Call for an appointment. 033-337-6117
Psychiatrist Daisy Chua-Daquilanea sees many foreign patients. She maintains an office in the J&B Building on Quezon Street in Iloilo City. Her secretary is Rose at 09212995054 (mobile). She sees patients by advance appointment. Consultation fee P550.
Gretchen Ramirez, DMD, Dentist, Zapanta Dental Clinic, Iloilo Doctor’s Hospital Medical Arts Condominium Room 105. Phone 337-2220. More confidence-inspiring office than most. Uses ultrasonic scaling, sterilized water for drills and mouth washing. Has x-ray equipment. Sent us for a panoramic xray at Iloilo Dental College (P700). Fillings P800 per surface. Teeth cleaning P800. Many Iloilo dentists, even good ones (and not so good) have office locations and accouterments which are a bit shabby by international standards. Not so with Dr. Ramirez. Her offices should make foreigners feel more comfortable. We have had nothing but good reports from those who have tried Dr. Ramirez.
Patricia Tupas is another good Iloilo dentist. Dra. Tupas trained at the University of the Philippines Dental College in Manila and was the sixth highest scorer on the May 1995 Board of Dentistry licensure exam. Her office is small but spotlessly clean with modern equipment, including x-ray. She charges P750 for a very thorough ultrasonic cleaning, P500 for extractions, P600 for single surface restorations (fillings), up to P1,200 for multiple surface restorations. Her office is at the mezzanine level of the J&B Building on Quezon Street. Schedule: M-T 9-12, W-Th-F 1-5, S 1-5. Phone 033-338-4122. Dra. Tupas uses purified water for dental work. We mention this because a friend of ours came to the Philippines for extensive dental work in Cebu City. In addition to the significant discomfort of the dental work, he ended up hospitalized with amoebic dysentery. There is no way to tell if he got the bug as a result of his dental work or some other way. Still, lots of water ends up in your mouth with high speed drills, ultrasonic cleaning and rinsing. It’s certainly best if this water is purified.
Both Bob and his son needed the services of an oral surgeon. His son needed a very impacted wisdom tooth surgically removed (P9,000). Bob had a molar extracted (P1,000). Therefore we can recommend Mary Christy Mondragon DDS who also has offices at the mezzanine level of the J&B Building on Quezon Ave. The best recommendation we can give is that Bob’s son left on a bus for Boracay the next morning! Contact info pending.
Our niece at Dra. Pat Tupas’ office in Iloilo City
It’s in your interest to be an informed patient. This is especially true in the Philippines. Go to trusted online sources (we like http://emedicine.medscape.com/) to learn about your condition(s) and double-check what your physician is telling you and prescribing for you. Have the lab tests recommended for diagnosing your condition been performed? If you find information which seems contrary to what your doctor has told you, either go back to the doctor and raise your concerns or get a second opinion. You and your family are the ones who will suffer the consequences of misdiagnosis or mistreatment, so you have to do whatever you can to be an informed patient. Some doctors, some good doctors will resent or be impatient with this.
Some doctors do not take detailed medical histories before prescribing a course of therapy. They may be unaware of your other medical conditions and the other medications you may be taking. If you are taking multiple medications, do your own checking on side effects and conflicts.
We have found the online service HealthTap to be useful. This is a free service which allows you to post a brief medical question and have it reviewed and answered by specialists in the U.S. You can use it to get a second opinion regarding advice provided by a local doctor.