CITY OF MALOLOS, Bulacan – Dr. Alberto C. Reyes of the Sacred Heart Hospital is a nominee to the search for ‘Gawad Dangal ng Lipi’ or ‘Outstanding Bulakenyo’ award.
Reyes grew up in the rustic barrio of Tabang, Plaridel and as a young student walked four kilometers a day to school and back.
Reyes is a true-blue Bulakeño whose parents, Florentino Reyes (a teacher) and Felisa Cruz (a rice trader), are both from Plaridel, Bulacan.
A product of public school, Reyes graduated First Honor at the Plaridel Elementary School in 1943 and Valedictorian at the Bulacan High School (the former Marcelo H. Del Pilar High School) in 1947.
He went to college at the University of the Philippines and graduated with a degree in Liberal Arts, with Honors, in 1949. He pursued medicine thru a grant (Bailon dela Rama scholarship) and graduated in 1954.
He persevered thru sheer hardwork, determination and fervent prayers from people whose money were borrowed to bankroll his residency training in surgery at the Reading Hospital in West Reading, Pennsylvania, USA. He later moved to Allentown Hospital, Allentown, Penn.,USA, where he met Juanita Gascon, a young, pretty and fresh graduate from the University of Santo Tomas in 1955. Gascon was then also taking her post-graduate training in Internal Medicine.
In the summer of 1958, he married Juanita at the Sacred Heart Church in Allentown.
He took the Medical Board exams in 1959. In the results of the exams published in TheManila Times on April 25, 1960, Reyes topped the Medical Board exams with a perfect grade of 100% in Bio-Chemistry, considered the toughest subject in the exams.
In 1968, ten years after their wedding, Reyes and Dra. Juanita Gascon-Reyes, an anesthesiologist, founded the Sacred Heart Hospital of Malolos (SHHM). “It was named after the church where we first heard Mass together as sweethearts and said our “I do’s” as husband and wife,” he said.
The couple had four children: Rosario Divina, 57, now a dermatologist; Pura Corazon, 56, now an OB-Gynecologist; Celia Felicitas, 52, now a Pediatrician; and the youngest, Deogracias Alberto, 42, now a cancer surgeon and one of the country’s leading expert-lecturer on Laparoscopy (non-invasive surgery).
In 2015, Metro Pacific, the business group of Manuel V. Pangilinan, bought a majority stake (51 percent worth P150 million) in the 49-year old hospital.
Augusto Palisoc, president of Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings Inc., said while the capacity of SHHM was currently small at 55 beds, it was “recognized as the best in Malolos” and they plan to expand its capacity to 120 beds soon as part of Metro Pacific Hospital chain.
The SHHM is currently the most modern medical center in Bulacan, equipped with state-of-the-art apparatus and often dubbed as “the St. Luke’s hospital of Bulacan”. — EMIL G. GAMOS