What Makes Philippines the Heart of Asia


The country’s medical tourism industry is hoping to get another boost from the soon-to-be-released “Philippines: The Heart of Asia” travel guide. For inquiries, email or call +63908.8887880.

The Philippines established its Medical Tourism Program back in 2006—and now, a little over six years later, we can say that while results have not been as quick as first envisioned, the country’s efforts to become a regional healthcare hub are slowly but surely bearing fruit.

A few years ago, the country was re-launched as a medical tourism destination under the brand “Philippines: The Heart of Asia” and the tag remains as true today as it was before.  The Philippines really is The Heart of Asia in more ways than one.

As the Department of Tourism meets with success in presenting the country as one of the most desirable destinations in the region, especially through its “It’s More Fun in the Philippines” campaign—it will be recalled that the Philippines was included in several international “best destinations” lists in 2012—it can be reasonably expected that this will also help highlight the Philippines’ strong points as a medical tourism, healthcare, and wellness destination.

Hearts in the right place

Various research studies show that patients’ recover faster and feel happier when they receive compassionate care.  Compassionate care, unfortunately, is often overlooked as more and more hospitals overseas struggle to save on costs and increase efficiency—this is the reason why Filipino nurses are in such demand the world over: Filipino nurses are not simply competent but also friendly, cheerful, caring, and compassionate.

Friendliness, compassion, caring, and cheerfulness are aspects of Filipino culture that every Filipino grows up with and imbibes. He or she learns it from parents, siblings, relatives and friends. This is because most Filipinos value relationships more than material possessions. Whether rich or poor, strong family bonds and smooth, mutually beneficial relationships among relatives and friends define the Filipino way of life.

Foreigners who visit the country as tourists, work here as expats, or choose it as their second home after retirement, all discover the warmth and hospitality that are unique to the Filipinos. These are attributes that medical tourism travelers discover when they receive treatment in the country’s hospitals and clinics.

English fluency

English is widely spoken in the Philippines as one of its official languages. English is the language used in education and business, and Filipinos in government agencies and the service industry are fluent in it. There are many English-language publications in the Philippines, including the major newspapers and magazines. There are also many English-language programs on television and Hollywood movies are regularly shown in theaters.  Foreigners who speak English will have no difficulty relating to and transacting with Filipinos.

Top-notch healthcare facilities

Filipino doctors are expertly trained in the Western medical tradition and are up-to-date with the latest advances in medical science. Many of them have trained overseas, including the United States and Europe, and are affiliated with medical organizations in those countries.

The country’s top public and private hospitals are equipped with the latest in medical tools, machines, and technologies—the same equipment, if not better, as those found in the U.S. and Europe. The high standards of their facilities assure medical tourists that they are getting the same quality care, or better, as they would receive from their home countries.

This same high quality of care is found in the Philippines’ top specialty clinics that offer dental and aesthetic procedures.

Tropical paradise

With more than 7,000 islands in its archipelago, the Philippines is home to beaches and seaside resorts that provide relaxing, refreshing tropical paradise settings. There are natural landscapes of breathtaking beauty in the highland regions. Medical travelers will discover many picturesque places where they can enjoy their recovery.

Together with these various natural settings, the Philippines also offers all the modern conveniences needed for 21st century living. From high-tech telecoms networks to cable TV, to Internet service, and highly urbanized, cosmopolitan areas with malls retail complexes offering local products and international brands.

World cuisine

Filipino food is a blend of Western and Eastern influences that include Spanish, American, Chinese, and Indian cuisines. With such a sophisticated palate, Filipinos easily welcomed the entry of Japanese, Korean, Thai, Italian and Continental food in the culinary scene. As a result, there are now so many different dining establishments that offer a gamut of authentic, gourmet fare.

More work ahead

As more of the country’s top hospitals make considerable investments in their personnel and facilities, the benefits to Filipino and foreign patients will also increase. There really is no other way to help the Philippines become a regional medical tourism hub except to make sure that its healthcare facilities are world-class.

One very important area that more Philippine hospitals need to get into is international accreditation. This accreditation is the most credible certification of a hospital’s, clinic’s, or wellness facility’s world-class quality standards.

When we talk about world-class healthcare certification or accreditation for hospitals and other healthcare facilities, we usually refer to accrediting bodies like JCI, NABH International, Accreditation Canada and others that are affiliated with the International Society for Quality in Healthcare (ISQua). The ISQua is the world body that accredits these accrediting bodies.

One ISQua-accredited body that has been giving generous support to Philippine hospitals is NABH International. Through its local affiliate, HealthCORE, the NABH International has been giving workshops to Filipino hospital administrators to help them learn how to meet ISQua standards, and assist them in the actual process of accreditation.

The success of the Department of Tourism’s campaign plus the increasing number of foreign patients being treated in the Philippines top hospitals prove that the country still has a bright future and great potential to be a medical, health, and wellness hub in the region.

To fulfill that potential, all stakeholders in the healthcare and travel sectors must get their acts together. Only then will the world truly realize that the Philippines is the Heart of Asia—a heart that gives care, compassion, life, love, and healing to those in need.  – Ramil Digal Gulle, contributor  

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  • junsepara

    Thanks to our education in english we standout among our neighbours from the early age of our  learning we where taught in english up to graduation in every field of profession, our textbooks are written in english not translated to our local language and dialect unlike our neighbour china, that is the reason of their difficulty understanding laws and rules which governs a civilized society, they have to send their people abroad to learn and understand the civilized way of life. filipinos can work abroad without having difficulty in communications, their work at hand may it be in technical, medical, architectural or other fields, that is why we, filipinos abroad stands out!!!

    • MikeCrisologo

      Also Filipinos learn/speak any kind of language easily without formal schooling .

    • CmdrAdobo

       we stand out?

      we are behind among our neighbors. please stop bragging until we are ahead of malaysia or thailand.

      • madamdamin2

        How can we be ahead of our neighbors if peoplelike you can not outgrow your negativity and talangka mentality?? Puro kayo dakdak & reklamo! Pwede ba kung ala kayo maicontirbute na maganda manahimik na lang at wag na sirain pa positive vibes that others here are trying to share and spread out.

      • CmdrAdobo

        it’s not utak talangka. it’s critical thinking. dont spread false positives. People will not work hard enough to achieve their goals because they feel we are the best and we are ahead among the neighbors.

        Go to malaysia and compare their cab drivers and our taxi drivers who can speak better english. Of course the malaysians are better because they are educated. Unfortunately, our taxi driver speaks poorer and have shallow conversation.

      • madamdamin2

        Ok fine, go ahead and advocate for better quality education for all to be globally-competitive Pinoys.  This is just one way  for your critical thinking to be put to good use. 

  • Klepto

    Medical Tourist?
    Here’s how it works to get a laboratory test in a Philippine hospital:
    1) Get an apointment with a physician at 9:00am
    2) Arrive at the clinic at 8:50am and join the patient queue of 40 patients
    3) get attended by the physician at 1:00pm
    4) the physician pokes his scope at you and tell some jokes.
    5) he writes the prescription and lab request papers
    6) wait another 2 hours to pay your bill after poking his scope on your chest
    7) go to the casher and join the line of 130 people
    8) pay the amount required for lab test
    9) go to building 105
    10) line up for your turn to give your specimen, or have your xray, or whatever your lab requires
    11) finish at 7:00pm after receiving your results tab claim
    12) come back the next day for the results
    13) on the next day arrive at the lab again at 9am
    14) join the queue of 200 people and watch mr bean
    15) receive the lab results at 3pm
    16) go back to step 1-6
    17) repeat step 1-6 after 2 weeks

    A the end the doctor will tell you to see a specialist because he is too dumb to make a correct diagnosis. Repeat steps 1-17 again with the new doctor.

    • Leo

       @Klepto practical analysis… you are right i experienced the same for nth times….

  • Klepto

    I forgot to include the doctor has to make his rounds at 1pm to 3pm so you have to wait till he return. But ooh wait…….it’s 3 pm…..time for coffee. You have to wait another 45 minutes while he chats with other doctors in the cafeteria and update his facebook page with photos taken last weekend.

    • Noel

      di naman lahat ng doctors.  they are working 24 hours a day …..

  • themask celestial

    This is scary, when the Medical Tourism really takes off and with the looming privatization of most gov’t run hospital, the medical care will reach to the point that even middle class people can’t afford the health care. Most of our doctors will no longer wanted to serve local and most will prefer forign patients

  • jurbinsky77

    Universal health care for every Filipino. The DOH shall pay private hospitals and practittioners for patients treated.  Government hospitals can’t be trusted for medicine and supplies funds, they are so corrupt. Since Sec Gatmaitan, there is budget for medicines but no one had taken advantage of free of cost medicines at a hospital.

  • CmdrAdobo

    all i can say is we dont want to be dumping site of old people.

    young talents are welcome.

    this medical tourism is an idea or product of greedy people.

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