Beauty

Beauty Black Book: 12 Dermatologists of Manila's Most Discerning

Meet some of the country's most trusted dermatologists who can change your life one treatment at a time.
IMAGE COURTESY OF DR. GISELLE LAZARO, VERMEN VERALLO-ROWELL, JOSEPH PASCUAL, ELVIN VIVAS, FACEBOOK/WINDIE HAYANO
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The best dermatologists will be your constant prompters to take stock of what you see in the mirror—refreshing, enhancing, and lifting you up when time take its toll or life pulls you down. They will help you take care of yourself, all while reminding you of what it truly means to beautiful and knowing where to draw the line between what you need and what you don’t.

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Dr. Vicki Belo


Photo by ELVIN VIVAS.

THE BACKSTORY Hers is a story we’ve heard her recount many times: Growing up, she was bullied in school for her weight and skin and the fact that she was adopted. This prompted her to dream big at an early age. “I knew I wanted to make people look beautiful since I was five years old,” says Dr. Vicki Belo. “In my teens, I had bad acne. I went from one dermatologist to another, and I wasn’t getting cured. So I said, I would just cure myself.” On these visits to various doctors, she would take note of things she wanted for when she puts up her own clinic one day: “by appointment bookings, updated magazine editions, no plastic flowers…” she says.

Eventually, she finished her pre-med at the University of the Philippines and medicine at the University of Santo Tomas. After that, she went to Thailand and Harvard to specialize. Today, Dr. Belo is at the helm of the country’s biggest cosmetic dermatology institution, The Belo Medical Group, which she founded in 1990, and is considered one of the pioneers in medical aesthetic ambulatory clinics in the Philippines. Belo has become a household name, thanks to her efforts in promoting the business of beauty in the Philippines and for continuously upgrading to new technologies in slimming, skincare, and cosmetic surgery. “We pride ourselves on having expert hands with the warmest touch. This means that we have a lot of experience, we study all of our machines, we are extremely well-trained, and yet we still have a caring warm touch,” she adds. 

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THE GOSPEL Dr. Belo has long been regarded as the dermatologist to the stars, making patients look younger and slimmer, enhancing noses, lips, eyes, and bringing the latest technologies in machines and lasers to the Philippines. Among clients, friends, and the media, she is known to be accommodating, funny, and straightforward. “I am really an expert in cosmetic dermatology. I don’t pretend to be good at dermatology, which means for skin diseases, eczema, psoriasis, please do not go to me,” she quips. “I specialize in making people look more beautiful. I think there is a direct connection between happiness, looking good, and self-confidence. That is basically what I enjoy doing. Just making people happier, seeing them have a more fruitful life because they are less shy. I feel like that is why I chose the right profession because it is very fulfilling. The ‘thank yous' I get from patients—whose acne have been cleared or have looked younger, slimmer—are the intangible things that make me feel like I have fulfilled my life’s purpose." 

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PRACTICAL MAGIC There are many treatments to go to Belo for, from lasers and drips to facials and more. But one thing Dr. Belo and the doctors at her clinics have been known to execute like no other is liposuction, having been at the forefront of its technology since Belo opened shop. The machines, technologies, and techniques have improved by leaps and bounds over the years, and Belo was there every step of the way.  Recently, it launched 360 Lipo, a breakthrough laser liposuction technique that goes as deep as six inches into the skin, melts fat first, and then suctions it out by inserting a superthin cannula, all with minimal downtime and nearly invisible scarring. The 360 way goes beyond the abdomen—it may also be performed on the arms, back, forearms, calves, chin, and face—allowing a more naturally slim effect. Coupled with a new treatment called Body Tight, the 360 Lipo will really do magic. “It is complete and it is nice at any angle. But also remember liposuction is just a jumpstart. I cannot make you go on a diet, I cannot make you work out, I can only suck the fat you already have. The rest of the way, you have to do it. We want to promote a healthy lifestyle. I feel like I'm a priest—you’ve been sinning by eating sugar, chips, soda, and I’ll forgive you all your sins. But you also have penance. Work out and don’t sin anymore,” says Dr. Belo.

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NATURAL HABITAT Schedule an appointment with her at over a dozen Belo clinics around the country, and she would gladly chat you up while you do your consultation. Visit Belo Medical Group.


Dr. Cecilia Ramos Bernad


Photo by DR. CECILIA RAMOS BERNAD.

THE BACKSTORY It has always amazed me when people go through a transformation both inside and out. I felt that as a doctor, the best way for me to contribute to that was through dermatology,” shares Dr. Cecilia Ramos Bernad. “I wanted to help make people look and feel beautiful, but also enjoyed the artistic and geometric components of the field.” And so she studied dermatology at the Mahidol University Institute of Dermatology in Bangkok and trained for Botox, fillers, liposuction, and soft tissue augmentation in California with a preceptorship in advanced rhinoplasty. Today, Dr. Bernad is a diplomate of the Philippine Society of Cosmetic Surgery and the Philippine Academy of Clinical and Cosmetic Dermatology. The popular Cebu-based cosmetic surgeon, who has been practicing since 1995, set up shop in Manila several years ago and made a name for herself among beauty queens and celebrities through her Dr. CRB Aesthetic & Laser Clinic. 

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THE GOSPEL  Her clinics in Manila and Cebu promote the idea of patients embracing their own skin and aiming to become “naturally more beautiful,” and it is by this principle that Dr. Bernad has been guiding her practice. “I love bringing out the natural assets of people. Some clients come in and say they want to be 10 shades whiter or their nose 3mm higher, or their eyes like those of a certain actress. While these things are doable, they may not look natural and the result may be difficult to achieve. I always look at [existing] features and adjust everything to that. I love it when patients get feedback that they are glowing or blooming, rather than they got new eyes,” she explains. “Beauty is enhancing yourself properly on the outside while loving it from the inside out. Subtlety is key. We don't reinforce the message that a certain type of look is more covetable than another.”

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PRACTICAL MAGIC Head over to the BGC clinic for Dr. CRB’s signature facials for skin maintenance as well as an array of non-invasive treatments that employ the latest in lasers and ultrasound at a competitive price range. “The trend has been [about] lasers and ultrasound for the past few years. This part of the business is always exciting, this is our version of gadgets. New techniques are always arising too which is why I believe in continuing education on new products, new ways to use an existing product, and new combinations,” she shares. “With all the competition and options, prices are kept fair for the consumer. And more options mean that they can try something smaller, and not just a ‘one-time big-time’ treatment. Innovation means more comfort, better results, and better prices. The problem is accountability; not everyone is qualified to do everything, and not everything is suitable for every patient. So, always do your research.”

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NATURAL HABITAT Schedule an appointment for a consultation with Dr. Bernad herself or walk-in for facials and to inquire at the Dr. CRB Aesthetic and Laser Clinic, 1608, The Trade & Financial Tower, 32nd Street corner 7th Avenue. Bonifacio Global City, Taguig; Call (02) 955-2375.

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Dr. Windie Villarica Hayano


Photo by WINDIE HAYANO.

THE BACKSTORY Her journey to medicine is something many doctors will be able to relate to. After taking her undergrad in Biology at De La Salle University and then medicine at the St. Luke’s College of Medicine, she faced quite a common med school quarter-life crisis: “It’s a very tough environment where you are tested not just in terms of academics but also physically, emotionally, and psychologically.  Medicine has a very physical aspect to it. So it’s very easy to burn out and there are real-life challenges that you have to deal with from marriage and children to finances. You don’t get to practice and earn money immediately because once you get through your first 10 years, you realize you are potentially facing at least another three or 10 years depending on your field’s ‘sub- sub- sub-specialty,’” shares Dr. Windie Villarica-Hayano. Soon enough, however, she found herself plunging into dermatology and taking a full master's degree in Bangkok under a program of the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) funded by the Japanese and Thai governments. “I was offered a slot in Island Medicine. It was a really amazing time actually because while all that was happening, I got accepted to do an international fellowship program in Dermatologic Surgery at the Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University.  I was also allowed to stay on longer so when I finished my program in Japan, I jumped into Dermatologic Surgery again.” Fast forward to today, she is the managing director of the Skin Inc. Dermatology and Laser Center, where she practices with her partners and fellow dermatologists Dr. Sandy Tan, Dr. Jacqueline Ty-So, and Dr. Maximin Navarro. 

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THE GOSPEL While many of her cases are aesthetic in nature, Dr. Villarica-Hayano knows that dermatology is “still medicine at its most cutting edge;” her patients are also aware that what she does is still evidence-based and that her procedures are performed with clinical basis. “With the present social climate and the kind of awareness people now have when it comes to beauty, the influx of clinics, centers, and lounges has really grown at the same rate as influencers, ambassadors, and evangelists,” she says. “There is so much noise and some people miss out on the science that is the cornerstone and foundation of what we do. To quote a good friend, ‘It should be evidence- not eminence-based.’  I agree with this completely, which is why as much as I love technology and all the cool stuff that comes with it, I am not that quick to join the bandwagon. It has to make sense; it has to have literature backing it up and not so industry or big pharma driven.”  

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PRACTICAL MAGIC There’s nothing like a personalized approach to treatments and the doctors themselves looking after clients and performing procedures themselves to keep patients happy, important, and secure. You can expect this from Dr. Villarica-Hayano and the rest of her partners at the Skin Inc., who admittedly have “major control issues. We need to be the ones taking care of patients ourselves because at the end of the day, people see you and not your machine,” says Dr. Villarica-Hayano. “Our strength is probably knowing when and how to use machines. Rational combination of several modalities can be done in order to achieve great results. We are well known for our combination treatments that use energy and light devices with injectables and pur personalized approached. So it’s not so much as what the treatment du jour is but what your doctor will do for you,” she adds. And while their clinic houses some of the most modern and hardworking machines for body contouring, skin tightening, addressing scars, stretch marks, sagging skin, and many more, the most memorable aspect of going to Dr. Villarica-Hayano is still the feeling of being taken care of, from consultation to post-treatment. Thanks to her realness, integrity, and positive aura, many of her patients become her friends too.

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NATURAL HABITAT The doctors at the Skin Inc. deal with aesthetic concerns and other skin issues, from allergies to psoriasis. Book a consultation through (02) 912-6029; Room 303-304 Tritan Plaza Building, San Gregorio St, Paseo de Magallanes, Magallanes Village, Makati


Dr. Venia Concepcion Javellana 


Photo by DR. VENIA JAVELLANA.

THE BACKSTORY Dr. Venia Javellana is one of the more elusive dermatologists to the stars and society’s most discerning who choose to fly under the radar. She has been practicing for over two decades now at her Advanced Aesthetics clinics in BGC and Alabang. 

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THE GOSPEL Known to employ non-surgical procedures and treatments, Dr. Javellana is an expert in non-invasive laser treatments, Botox, and fillers. “I believe that as much as possible, we should go for non-invasive treatments while we can. Such treatments are less risky for the patients, since no surgery is involved, and are also more affordable. Plus, the patient sees quick results—some are practically instantaneous,” she writes on her website. 

PRACTICAL MAGIC Apart from the latest in lasers and body contouring machines, Dr. Javellana is also known for her homecare regimen of medical grade creams, serums, and other skincare products tailor-fit for her patients. 

NATURAL HABITAT Find Dr. Javellana at Room 305, 3rd floor Hatch Asia
Bonifacio Technology Center Bldg., 31st Street corner 2nd Avenue Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Book an appointment through 815-2976 or 09053998046.

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Dr. Giselle Lazaro-Maceda


Photo by COURTESY OF DR. GISELLE LAZARO.

THE BACKSTORY Pursuing a career in medicine is one of the noblest vocations in life, compelling practitioners to commit to compassionate service, competent practice, and lifelong learning, among many others. This is something Dr. Giselle Mary Lazaro-Maceda knows much to be true especially coming from a family of doctors. The great thing about choosing dermatology as a specialty, however, is how it allows more room for flexibility even as it requires the same qualities. “We rarely encounter emergencies, which allows me to find time to do other things, be a wife, and be a mother,” she says. “Another thing is that we get to see healthy patients who are happy to see us. We see patients of different ages, from infancy to old age. Just like dentists, we get to meet the whole family and develop a long-standing relationship with them.” This is among the many reasons she chose the path to dermatology. After finishing medicine at the University of Santo Tomas and her three-year residency training at the Makati Medical Center, she took her subspecialty in Laser and Dermatological Surgery at Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University in Thailand. Today, the board-certified dermatologist and mom of two is the founder and director of NU.U Asia Skin and Laser Center and an active consultant teaching staff at the Makati Medical Center. 

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THE GOSPEL Through "passionate practice and compassionate care," which is her philosophy when it comes to what she does, Dr. Lazaro-Maceda has flourished in her field with countless happy patients and patient referrals. After all, satisfied patients will not only come back but also recommend great service to their friends. “When choosing a doctor, it can be helpful to review other patients' experiences,” Dr. Lazaro-Maceda adds. “Also, check the credentials of your dermatologist before you undergo any procedure. We are specialists of the skin, hair, and nails. We do see a variety of cases from acne to skin cancer and skin manifestations of a systemic disease. What risks do patients face when they choose to visit ‘Instagrammable’ clinics instead of certified cosmetic dermatologists? Botox can result in flattened eyebrows or dropped lids. Fillers injected incorrectly carry much more dire consequences, including permanent blindness. Here’s the thing, about great work: It’s not as simple as placing the needle and pushing the plunger. Beautiful work is part art, being able to evaluate asymmetries, part in-depth medical knowledge, and part anatomical understanding. A one-day certification does not make someone a master injector. Please do not let social media or catchy marketing make your decision about who and where you go to for something as important as your face.”

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PRACTICAL MAGIC Expect a personalized approach and a comfortable and professional ambience at Dr. Lazaro-Maceda’s NU.U Asia clinic with the doctors attending to patients themselves and an equally attentive and caring team of nurses and staff.  Her clinic offers various treatments and procedures for slimming (Exilis Ultra, Meso-Lipo Therapy, and Legend Maximum), anti-aging and rejuvenation (Ultherapy, Spectra Plasma Lift, Botox, and an array of peels and facials), and more. Soon, Dr. Lazaro-Maceda will also be launching a global wellness center that will offer a holistic approach to health and beauty. “I think wellness, in general, is gearing toward functional medicine and a very exciting thing on genetic analysis,” she says.

NATURAL HABITAT Find Dr. Giselle Lazaro-Maceda at the NU.U Asia Skin and Laser Center, 3rd Floor, 32nd & 5th Building, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig. Book an appointment through (02) 846 5013.

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Dr. Karla Cuenca Luchangco,  Dr. Gail Robredo Vitas, and Dr. Anna Palabyab-Rufino


Photo by JOSEPH PASCUAL.

THE BACKSTORY Meet the women behind BeautiqueMD, board-certified dermatologists Dr. Karla Cuenca Luchangco, Dr. Gail Robredo Vitas, and Dr. Anna Palabyab-Rufino. After individually practicing dermatology and realizing they share the same values and mission as doctors, the three friends decided to partner and put up their own clinic two years ago. After med school, they all finished their three-year residency programs and specialty training before passing the board exams and becoming Philippine Dermatologic Society board-certified doctors. “There are no shortcuts to learning the safest and most effective ways to have more beautiful skin,” says Dr. Cuenca Luchangco, who was initially attracted to the aesthetic aspect of medicine that led her to dermatology. Dr. Palabyab-Rufino, on the other hand, grew up exposed to the field because of her parents who are both dermatologists. “They are my biggest influences in this field. I loved that they always had time for us when we were growing up and I knew I wanted to also be as hands-on with my own children. Dermatology combines my interests in both beauty and medicine and allows me the flexibility to choose my work hours,” she shares. Similarly, Dr. Robredo Vitas also comes from a family of doctors, but she wasn’t leaning on dermatology till her internship. “I witnessed how treating the largest organ of the body and improving one’s appearance can be life-changing,” she says. This was how she got interested in the specialization.

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THE GOSPEL The three doctors agree that one of the most important things to remember when it comes to their practice is to be patient-oriented. “In this booming industry, it is always important to remind ourselves that we are doctors first before we are businessmen. Our practice is based on honesty and integrity. Gaining a patient's trust is the most important part of a consultation. I want my patients to feel I always have their best interests at heart,” says Dr. Palabyab Rufino. “Be truthful, give both the positives and negatives of every treatment, give a personalized treatment approach, be responsible,” adds Dr. Robredo Vitas. 

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PRACTICAL MAGIC Patients can rely on BeautiqueMD to handle both cosmetic and pathologic treatments for various skin concerns. “The field of dermatology, both medical and aesthetic, is continuously evolving with new medicines and technologies coming out left and right. This is why we keep ourselves updated by attending conferences all over the world,” says Dr. Robredo Vitas. Aware that there is no one-size-fits-all type of solution in their practice, the doctors at the clinic diagnose and treat according to each skin type and concern. Patients will also find some of the newest machines at Beautique for slimming (cool sculpting cryolipolysis), anti-aging (Ultherapy, Sygmalift Hifu, dermal fillers, and botulinum toxin injections), and rejuvenation (AlmaQ laser treatments and Oxygeneo Facials, DermaPen micro-needling and Fractional CO2 laser), among others.

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NATURAL HABITAT Book an appointment at BeautiqueMD through 0917 514 2879 or visit 8th floor MDI Corporate Center 10th Ave corner, 39th Street Taguig.


Dr. Jean Marquez


Photo by DARE CLINIC.

THE BACKSTORY Dr. Jean Marquez was exposed to the field at an early age, having grown up with her dermatologist father who tagged her along when he gave lectures and having seen grateful and happy patients walk out of the clinic after getting better from their skin problems. This definitely influenced her path to medicine.  She graduated chief resident of East Avenue Medical Center Dermatology Department and had further training in Clinical, Cosmetic, and Laser Dermatology at Mid Valley Dermatology in California and Advanced Laser and Cosmetic Dermatology in Houston, Texas. At present, she is a fellow at the Philippine Dermatological Society and the medical director and owner of DARE Clinic, which prides itself for treating patients’ skin concerns holistically and incorporates the practice of clinical, cosmetic, and functional dermatology as well as plastic surgery.

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THE GOSPEL Dr. Marquez says she is an active advocate of natural-looking results. This philosophy guides her in employing a holistic approach to treating patients and combining treatments to give long-lasting outcomes. Apart from treating symptoms through topical or oral medications, lasers, and injectables, she also recommends lifestyle modification, diet, and nutraceuticals for chronic diseases, aging, and weight loss. As with many PDS dermatologists, she is quick to remind patients to be wary of clinics that lack qualifications to safely employ antiaging treatments and procedures. “Dermatology is not a business; it is a branch and a practice of medicine that deals with skin concerns and diseases,” she reiterates. Business interests should not compromise the safety of patients.  Skin is a complicated structure because it differs from one person to another and is affected by several conditions. There are actually counterfeit products, equipment, and even doctors in this field just like in any other field. We must be vigilant in knowing who we’re asking help from.”

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PRACTICAL MAGIC Expect Dr. Marquez to recommend a combination of treatments and solutions for various concerns. For slimming, for instance, she could “recommend proper nutrition and finding the cause of weight gain to go with Slim-360 a safe, effective, painless, and non-invasive slimming treatment, monopolar radiofrequency, and Lipo Melt injections, which have a cocktail of different minerals that facilitate the slimming process,” she says. For anti-aging, her goal is to help patients look as young and natural as possible. “We don’t want to alter their natural look, so we must look at aging problems such as the sagging of the skin, loss of volume, presence of wrinkles, and pigmentation. A combination of treatments such as Ultherapy, fractional lasers, pigment lasers, and the use of Botox and dermal fillers may help eliminate the problems and give optimal and natural-looking results.” DARE also offers facials and treatments for skin maintenance and rejuvenation. 

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NATURAL HABITAT Visit DARE Clinic by Dr. Jean Marquez for a thorough assessment and consultation at ESNA Building, 30 Timog Avenue, Diliman, Quezon City. 


Dr. Vermen Verallo-Rowell


Photo by MAGIC LIWANAG.

THE BACKSTORY In dermatology, as in any medical field, someone’s got to be on top of the chain of command doing the dirty work—asking the research questions, developing hypotheses, experimenting, and making conclusions—before innovations can trickle down the pyramid and make for more informed practitioners and better technologies and medicines for the rest in the field. With over 50 years of practice and continuous research in cosmetic and clinical dermatology and over 150 authored articles and studies in medical journals, board-certified clinical and research dermatologist, dermatologic surgeon, dermatopathologist, and clinical researcher Dr. Vermen Verallo-Rowell has long been sitting atop that pyramid. She is most likely the mentor, the professor, the consultant, or the dermatologist of your dermatologist.

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Most of her work involves clinical research and academic dermatology; a quarter of it is spent attending to patients at the VMV Research Center and Clinics and the Makati Medical Center (MMC), where she practices. Many years of her study set this path of continually improving her knowledge, teaching other doctors, and contributing to the field in greater ways. A lot of skincare products available the world over are, in fact, offshoots of many of her clinical studies throughout the decades. She was among the first to initiate studies on coconut oil almost two decades ago, for instance, and its monolaurin derivative, which was found to be antibacterial and antiviral, among others. These multiple studies she did at MMC as well as with the Philippine Dermatological Society have been presented at international meetings and to this day continues to be a reference for many. 

THE GOSPEL Hers is a big and successful name in dermatological research and dermatology, and she admits that her work continues to enrich her. “More and more I am enriched by being happy and in a sense in love—with myself, with the people around me who help me work on the things I am passionate about, and with the patients whom I am able to make happy and proud of the way they look,” she shares. “Whether I am successful in a project or have problems with them, I choose to be happy and to always at the bright side of things. Even when I make a mistake, which happens to the best of us, I look at why and how, apologize for it, correct and make it right, and lastly, derive a lesson from it that is invaluable for the patient, to those I teach, and for myself.” Her advice to young dermatologists? “Study and learn. Continue to study and learn. Then pass it on.”

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PRACTICAL MAGIC  No one leaves her clinic unchanged. Or unfazed. Whether you’re a patient or a doctor. Known to go beyond diagnosing at face value, she mostly gets the difficult cases. Her first step can be as simple and profound as recognizing that that zit is no ordinary zit through various methods. “Dermoscopy. Skin biopsy. Patch testing. Photopatch testing. Lab exams to test for diabetes, thyroid, and other hormonal imbalances. Microbial tests for the presence of hidden infections like throat infection or colonization by fungi and bacteria that do not actually cause evident disease but trigger the inflammation that in turn causes the disease…” she rattles off. “Treatment becomes simple once the diagnosis and what we call clinicopathological correlation are made. These are vital to a correct treatment—even for just ‘beautification’ dermatology.” Her patients nowadays include many who have failed other treatments and are referral cases, and so truly benefit from her academic research, which is able to offer novel yet well-analyzed approaches. Several years ago, for instance, she treated a case of melasma that’s been long unresponsive to the traditional chemical and laser treatments dermatologists usually employ, and did a photopatch test research using various chemicals and energy sources like Visible Light and Infrared to identify the specific causes of the dark patches. And she was able to completely clear it! It bewilders you for a moment till you are reminded that this is Dr. Verallo—the hope of every other dermatologists’ hopeless acne case, the one who clears a serious disease like psoriasis with just a couple of injections, the doctor who once had to deal with a patient’s recurring eczema only to find out (thanks to her rigorous tests) that it’s not fungus after all but due to bee glue on his wooden floor scratched by his dog—and this is just but one of the many moments she proved that it pays to keep on learning.  

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NATURAL HABITAT Find her at VMV Skin Research Centre + Clinics (VSRC) and at Makati Medical Center where besides working at her clinic, she attends to more seriously ill or difficult cases.


Dr. Kaycee Reyes


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THE BACKSTORY She was drawn to medicine because of her childhood dream of becoming a pediatrician. And so she stuck to the plan, finished medicine at the University of Sto. Tomas, and signed up for pediatric residency at the Philippine General Hospital. Here was where she was led to another path and found herself quitting residency. “I was so heartbroken because I couldn't give the best treatment option to the patients.  We studied what was the definitive choice of medicine, but we were told to only use what was available, which was close to nothing at all. At the time, I realized I could not really work without giving the best care that I can provide for the patient. That was my first and last time to quit anything,” she shares. “After that, I was given hope when I was offered to work with Dr. Jaime Galvez Tan of Traditional Medicine in PGH. I think I became interested in dermatology because we mostly saw dermatology cases and patients who had chronic inflammation presented with skin lesions.” And so she pursued the specialty and completed her Diploma in Dermatology and Master of Science in Clinical Dermatology at King’s College and St. John’s Institute of Dermatology at Guy’s & St. Thomas Hospital, both in London. After that she pursued fellowship training in Dermatologic Laser Surgery at the University of Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University in Bangkok and Master of Science in Preventive Medicine and Regenerative Medicine at Dresden International University in Germany, which complements her traditional medicine background and makes her qualified in therapies such as “bioidentical hormone balancing, vitamin supplementation, weight loss program, stress medicine, and sports medicine.” Today, Luminisce Holistic Skin Innovations, a boutique clinic she founded, now has three branches offering both aesthetic treatments and preventive and regenerative medicine services.

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THE GOSPEL  Dr. Reyes believes that “combining evidence-based treatments, quality medicines, and premium services is tantamount to the best practices in medicine,” she says. “Only give your best, nothing less.”  This is why Luminisce also offers services beyond skincare and helps address a patient’s overall health with offerings for physical fitness and psychosocial well-being. “I would really recommend for patients to have a consultation first so we can provide the best tailor-made treatment for them based on their concerns, expectation, and budget. Luminisce is known to provide aesthetic treatments with preventive regenerative medicine practices for optimum results.”

PRACTICAL MAGIC You’ll find many of popular anti-aging treatments at Luminisce, but some unique procedures you will find at any of her three branches include the Trulift Guasha Facial, an ancient Chinese medicine practice that “uses healing stones to target accupressure areas and release tension and concomitant toning of the facial muscles,” shares Dr. Reyes. It also offers the Picoplus Laser, which can treat various skin concerns like melasma, pigmentation, tattoo, acne, acne scars, wrinkles, and other difficult skin concerns that are not responsive to traditional lasers. “With the efficacy and precision of the picosecond laser, Picoplus still stands out from the rest as it produces the highest energy compared to other picosecond lasers.  While current lasers deliver results as well, it is still limiting in terms of color density, side effects, lack of power, and pain tolerance of the patient,” she adds. Finally, Luminisce also offers a standardized stress screening process from Germany called Integral Stress Test, which can measure and record the stress load of patients through their brain neurotransmitters, body hormones, and heart and brain activity.

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NATURAL HABITAT Visit Luminisce branches at the Podium, Alabang, or BGC or book a consultation through (0917) 1684661.


Dr. Aivee Aguilar Teo


Photo by COURTESY OF THE AIVEE CLINIC.

THE BACKSTORY Dr. Aivee Aguilar Teo took up medicine upon the convincing of her father whom she says wanted to have a doctor in the family. After finishing her medical degree at the University of Santo Tomas College of Medicine and Surgery, she decided to pursue dermatology and completed her residency at the UST Hospital. She further trained abroad in Kentucky, U.S., in Bangkok, Thailand at the Ramathibodi Hospital, and in Singapore at the National Skin Center, where she met her husband, aesthetic surgeon Dr. Z Teo. Today, the board certified dermatologist is one of the country’s most recognized names in the industry, being at the forefront of technology in lasers and machines. She is at the helm of four Aivee Clinics and one speciality center called the A Institute, a “specialty facility combining the countries’ top surgeons with the most advanced and world class surgical facility in the country. Together with the multiple Aivee Clinics around the country, the A Institute completes the Aivee Group‘s vision of having a complete array of medical services for our most discerning patients,” she says.

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THE GOSPEL  “I think people perceive you to be beautiful if you like who you are and you are confident about who you are,” she says. In the business of beauty, Dr. Teo has indeed been making many celebrities and discerning clients feel and look more beautiful for a decade now. “To be considered an expert in dermatological science, rigorous training, extensive research, and stable continuing education are essential,” she says. “But we believe that a strong interpersonal characteristic exhibited by a friendly and genuinely caring attitude are qualities that should truly define ‘expertise.’”

PRACTICAL MAGIC Expect Aivee Clinics and the A Institute to launch the latest lasers and machines for their many patients who expect nothing but the most innovative and effective technologies. The Aivee Group also offers specialized treatments and procedures at the A Institute through its “labs” for total wellness including cosmetic and plastic surgery, sleep and snoring, orthosports, hair restoration and transplant, and weight loss and body contouring, among others.  “It’s a very fast-paced industry—we keep up with technology and the newest available treatments and products for our patients,” she says. “It’s also very inspiring because through what we do, we are able to see a big difference, we are able to make a difference in people’s lives. 

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NATURAL HABITAT Find her and her husband Dr. Z Teo at the Aivee Clinic at Burgos Circle, the Aivee Café at the next-door A Institute, at her branch at Commerce Center Alabang or Megamall, or mingling with the stars at her clinic at the Ayala Vertis North.  She also regularly attends to underprivileged patients at free clinics in her hometown in Las Pinas.

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About The Author
Nicole Limos Morales
Contributing Beauty Editor
Nicole is the former managing editor of Town&Country. After working as features editor and beauty editor of the title’s print edition for 6 years, she helped launch Townandcountry.ph in 2016, creating new concepts and story formats, analyzing data, and mastering digital audiences—establishing the title to become the Philippines’ leading luxury lifestyle website. She left her full-time position in 2019 to focus on family life, while carrying on writing beauty content for T&C as a contributing editor. “I think what’s amazing about beauty is that in its arena, you can really only be a skeptic for so long,” she says. “There will always be a product that will make you believe.”
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