I got strict parents. My mom is a pediatrician, and my dad is a laparoscopic surgeon. Having parents who are doctors is kinda hard. When I was growing up, I had no absences at school—perfect attendance ako. Sometimes, you try to escape your exams by pretending you’re sick. But then, they will just examine you and say, “Drink this and you are not gonna be absent.” At home, we have this alcohol which is used for surgical procedures na kailangan naming ipahid lagi. Ganon katindi sa bahay. What you see on TV na 99.9% na germs na pinapatay? Sa amin, siguro 100% wala. Ang linis ng bahay namin! Every day, you will hear medical jargon, but those things helped me to become interested in medicine as a profession.
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What I saw from my dad and my mom, growing up, had a huge impact on me. Whenever they put on that white coat and stethoscope, people would respect them. They go on their rounds and you have people all around them constantly saying, “Dok, salamat po. Maraming, maraming salamat.” I wanted that when I was a kid. I wanted to hear those words said to me and to have the opportunity to heal people—service. It was all about being able to help people. At the age of three, pinapasok na ako, bini-brainwash na ako. Pinapasok ako sa ER ng dad ko, guided my hand holding a scalpel, 'tapos ako yung nagbukas ng pasyente nya. For some people, masusuka sila pero I was happy doing that. Maybe that’s a sign na pwede akong maging killer? Ha ha!
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My key takeaway from growing up in a household such as ours is discipline. Kailangan you have to work hard for anything to be successful. That’s what I bring with me to my present career. When your parents are doctors, everyone expects you to become doctor as well. I studied super hard, I was pressured, only to realize at the age of 19 that I was not going to be a doctor.
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The best thing about my family was they’re okay with my decision. They supported me. Hosting happened by accident—parang serendipity. I’m happy that the opportunity presented itself.
I was really torn when I was deciding between hosting and medicine back in 2012. What made me ultimately decide was the realization that that I could go back to being a doctor anytime, but if I paused on this one, then maybe wala na akong babalikan sa hosting. That I wouldn't have anything to go back anymore. In this career, they will find new faces all the time, they always do. Minsan, naiisip ko kung babalik ako sa medicine. Right now, my heart says no, but hopefully, I find the passion to go back to it. So, here I am, just here doing my best in my current career and grabbing the opportunity as much as I can.
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Photographs taken from mine and my family's personal IG accounts | Interview by Mels Timan