Entering the spanking new A Institute is like walking into a swanky boutique hotel in an equally first-class, cosmopolitan city somewhere.
One is greeted by Francis Libiran-uniformed staff at a gold-chromed counter reflecting the cream-and-black patterned marble floor below.
It faces a vast sitting area dominated by two curved, gold chrome-legged velvet sofas, with a cream plush rug beneath them.
A twin set of chairs and table continues the gold and cream motif. A painting—one from the owners’ revolving collection by Filipino artists—graces the wall separating the main area from the center’s in-house café.
Just above the reception counter are three vari-sized round drop lamps, also gold chrome, mirroring in a fish-eye view the sleek, sumptuous surroundings.
No one would ever guess this is a medical facility.
And that’s exactly what its owners want to convey: A Institute in Taguig’s Burgos Park Building is a holistic lifestyle center more than anything.
“This is not a hospital. This is where we treat lifestyle conditions, not medical physiological concerns,” says Dr. Z Teo, chief executive of The Aivee Group, and husband of celebrity dermatologist Aivee Aguilar-Teo, the company’s medical director.
While Aivee Clinic is focused on skincare, A Institute is a wellness and aesthetics center that expands the company’s services by introducing new specialized treatments—Snoring Lab, Hair Lab, Orthosports Lab, Slimming Lab and Aesthetics Surgery—in a setting that’s pleasant and inviting even to male patients.
It offers cosmetics, plastic, reconstructive, surgical and noninvasive laser treatments, in a state-of-the-art facility offering utmost privacy.
“Men are intimidated in clinics where they’re mixed with mostly female patients, especially when they’re undergoing a private procedure. You have to make them feel that they’re not just doing it for vanity,” says Aguilar-Teo.
She adds: “We wanted to give them a comfortable environment where they don’t have to be wary of privacy. The way this center was designed, it’s not overly feminine like our other clinics.”
Her husband says: “Men are a funny breed. You have to create a comfortable setting for them to come. Sometimes you know you have a problem but you don’t really seek help, or don’t know where to find help. We treat families together here in a happy setting.”
The A Institute occupies the entire third floor of the low-rise Burgos Park Building (Forbestown Road, Bonifacio Global City; tel. 9429574, 9429617, 0920-9665613).
Designed by Malcolm Chua, a Singaporean compatriot of Teo who has also worked on their other clinics, the A Institute is rendered in more neutral and muted tones—creams and grays, punctuated by gold chrome—including the wide corridor leading to the treatment rooms. The starkness of the white walls is broken by recessed warm lighting above.
With the expanded services, the Teos had to beef up their medical team, especially its orthopedic specialists who perform arthroscopic procedures on patients seeking help for joint and sports injuries.
If a patient needs to address, say, tennis elbow, this is the sort of condition that you need not go to a hospital for, says Teo.
“You’re mixed with everyone else in a hospital. Here it’s very specialized. We also have rehab programs. We partnered with our neighbor, the gym below (Anytime Fitness), so the trainers can help with strengthening post-treatment.”
They’re not, however, competing with regular hospitals, he adds. “We’re just complementary. You go to a hospital for severe cases. We’re taking only the luxury lifestyle segment. Hospitals are more focused on pathological conditions.”
The Snoring Lab offers non-surgical and surgical laser treatments, by a Singapore-trained specialist. Diagnostics are done in an outpatient arrangement—the patient brings home the mobile-phone-sized device overnight.
The Hair Lab has robotics for transplantation, and other complementary programs that encourage hair regrowth.
As for the slimming programs, the approach is holistic, say the Teos. Apart from liposuction and body contouring, they offer nutritional counseling and planning, in which a chef provides clients with a calorie-counted program specific to each patient. The center has a café—Aivee Café—that can provide the specially designed diet program.
“Not all patients are candidates for weight-loss surgery,” says Aguilar-Teo. “Some also think that doing the machines is enough. We like to do it in a more sustained way. Many are into these diet-food delivery now. But they’re not tailor-made for each individual. They’re one size-fits all. You have to consider the person’s lifestyle—if they do sports, their BMI, their eating habits and other activities. Our approach is very comprehensive.”
The couple believe in treating the whole physique and mentality.
“It’s all interconnected,” says Teo. “If you’re overweight, you snore, and your joints hurt. If you lose weight… All are addressed under one roof. We treat the person as a whole.”
“We change lives by building confidence,” she adds. “If you have no hair, you feel fat, your confidence drops. If we fix these, there’s a shift in psychology.”
The Philippine market is primed for such a facility, says the couple. “Filipinos are more aware of lifestyle and wellness,” says Teo. “Now you don’t take things just at face value.”