Makati Medical Center was founded by renowned Filipino doctors and businessmen in 1969.
The story began in the early 1960s when Obstetrician-Gynecologist Constantino P. Manahan, MD, together with surgeon Jose Y. Fores, MD, and cardiologist Mariano M. Alimurung, MD, decided to set up a world-class medical facility in Makati.
At the time, Makati was just beginning to rise as a bustling residential and commercial center. The Ayala conglomerate was still implementing the initial phases of its plan to transform the Manila suburb into the country’s premier business district. The plan required a modern hospital to service the community.
To raise funds for the construction, the founders sought doctors and other professionals who shared their dream. They sent an emissary, Atty. Artemio Delfino, to the United States to scout for more investors.
On May 31, 1969, the Makati Medical Center formally opened its doors to the public. For its founders, it marked the fulfillment of a dream and the culmination of years of hard work and sacrifice to provide world-class healthcare for Filipinos.
On May 31, 2019, Makati Medical Center celebrated its golden anniversary. The MakatiMed community commemorated the founding fathers’ priceless contributions to the hospital’s legacy. A coffee table book entitled “Ginintuan” (Golden) was launched to chronicle the institution’s story and legacy throughout its fifty (50) years of serving the Filipino and global community.
|Mariano M. Alimurung, MD †|
Dr. Mariano M. Alimurung had great passion for the medical field and equally great compassion for healing the sick.
The man wore many professional hats—a teacher, writer and an artist. Dr. Alimurung was a pivotal figure in making the Makati Medical Center dream come alive. At the hospital, he became Chairman of the Department of Medicine, Director of the Coronary Care Unit, and Head of the Cardiology Section. He was also the first director of the Office of Medical Education, a position he held until his passing in 1989. To honor his passion for knowledge and pursuit of academic excellence, MakatiMed unveiled the Dr. Mariano M. Alimurung Center, naming its state-of-the-science intensive care units and cardiology service areas after him.
Due to his outstanding contributions and service to the community, he was bestowed one of the highest Papal Orders of Chivalry—the Knight Commander with the Star of Gregory the Great and Knight Commander of St. Sylvester I—an award given by the Pope to Roman Catholics who have contributed to the Catholic Church and to the community. His professionalism earned him numerous other citations throughout his lifetime, even some posthumously:
|Jorge L. Araneta|
Son of Amado Araneta, Jorge L. Araneta was one of the few non-physicians who sat at the Makati Medical Center Board of Directors. Like his father who had the foresight to buy vast lands in Cubao, he saw the potential of what a premier hospital could do for a city like Makati in the 1960s.
Today, as CEO of the Araneta Group of Companies, he is responsible for leading his team in the growth and advancement of the Araneta Center.
|Architect Luis Ma. Z. Araneta †|
The founders’ vision became reality when Architect Luis Ma. G. Araneta was commissioned to design and build Makati Medical Center. Having previously designed the Manila Doctors Hospital where the founders had practiced, he was chosen for his professional achievements, competence and experience. He eventually went on to become a member of the Makati Medical Center Board.
Born on July 9, 1916, Arch. Araneta is the son of the first Filipino Secretary of Finance and Justice, Gregorio Araneta and Carmen Zaragoza. After graduating from the University of Santo Tomas in 1939, his career began to take shape. Unfortunately, this was interrupted by the outbreak of World War II. During the Japanese invasion of the Philippines, he served in the underground movement and was imprisoned at Fort Santiago in 1943.
Throughout his career, Arch. Araneta held esteemed positions, including President, Vice-President and Board Director of various business organizations. He was likewise affiliated with several cultural and educational institutions.
Distinctive of all works by Arch. Araneta, Makati Medical Center was inspired by the same simple, modern, and uncluttered structural approach. His design was heavily influenced by the clean lines of the 1960s.
Like his fellow visionaries, Arch. Araneta had a visual concept for healing the sick. He knew that wellness was about creating harmony between body and spirit which required a design with an appeal to all human senses. Thus, he quickly abandoned the traditionally cold and antiseptic hospital interior and, with sheer attention to detail, added color and warmth.
Arch. Araneta worked closely with legendary beauty and socialite, Elvira Manahan, with whom he had envisioned a concept ahead of its time. They wanted an environment that would convey serenity and a warm sense of well-being. Having been known in social circles as arbiters of style, the tandem decorated the hallways and hospital suites with rich tones and coordinated bedding and furnishing to achieve such a space for healing. This was the physical embodiment of creating the leading hospital in Makati.
|Manuel C. Fernandez, Sr., MD †|
Often called the “Father of Dermatology,” Dr. Manuel C. Fernandez, Sr. was a simple man hailing from the city of Libon, Albay in the Bicol region. He came to the city to study medicine at the University of the Philippines where he met his lifelong friend and co-founder of Makati Medical Center, Dr. Carlos L. Sevilla.
Both of them went on to get their specialty training at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in 1949. Together, the two doctors practiced medicine at the Manila Doctors Hospital and eventually became part of the Makati Medical Center founding group.
From 1949 to 1982, Dr. Fernandez served as Professor and Chief of the Dermatology Section at the Philippine General Hospital. He also held a private clinic at the Palomo Building near Claro M. Recto until the mid-1980s. In this clinic, he charged very low rates precisely because he wanted to reach out to those in need.
In addition to his expertise in dermatology, he authored numerous articles in both foreign and medical journals, including the book “Outline of Dermatology.” He was a pillar of the Philippine Dermatological Society and served various positions in the Philippine Board of Dermatology as co-founder (1952-53), Secretary-Treasurer (1952-1955), Vice-President (1956-1957), President (1958), Board of Directors (1959-1964), and President (1958, 1965-1966).
Dr. Manuel C. Fernandez, Sr. lived life to the fullest even when he was diagnosed with cancer. He continued to practice medicine until he was physically unable to do so.
His name lives on in the MCF DermLaser and Phototherapy Center, the first hospital-based laser treatment facility in the Philippines focused on treating skin-related conditions.
|Jose Y. Fores, MD †|
Dr. Jose Y. Fores had incredibly reliable instincts in the operating room and was regarded as a trailblazer in surgery. He undertook challenging procedures, many of which remain the basis of today’s modern surgery in the Philippines.
Dr. Fores was a Professor of Surgery at the University of Santo Tomas Medical School and Hospital. He enjoyed sharing his know-how with his students and colleagues because he knew this would be beneficial to their patients. His adeptness in the operating room is a legendary inspiration to younger doctors, many of whom have become respected surgeons.
Dr. Fores was one of the three physicians who spearheaded the Makati Medical Center project with Ayala Corporation. Together with Dr. Constantino P. Manahan and Dr. Mariano M. Alimurung, they put together the landmark hospital of Makati. By establishing the Makati Medical Center, he was able to share his knowledge and techniques with several generations of upcoming surgeons, many of whom still credit him today.
Despite his remarkable surgical mastery, his primary purpose was to save a life regardless of who the patient was. Like all the founders, Dr. Fores believed in equal treatment for all patients and in providing optimum medical care no matter the socio-economic background. Upon his death in 1979, the Makati Medical Center Operating Room was renamed the J.Y. Fores Surgical Pavilion.
|Raul G. Fores, MD †|
In 1969, Dr. Raul G. Fores was the youngest member of the founders group. Within five years, he took over the reins from Dr. Manahan as Makati Medical Center President, CEO and Medical Director. In 1990, he spearheaded the promotion and acquisition of the ISO 2000 certification for the hospital. During his term, he ran a slogan contest where “The hospital with a heart” was picked as the official expression for the hospital’s guiding principle. He shares the founding group’s commitment to give medical help to the underprivileged.
Like his father Dr. Jose Y. Fores, Dr. Raul G. Fores was a visionary. He upgraded the Makati Medical Center Emergency Room with the latest life support equipment and became the training ground for today’s burgeoning medical practitioners. During his time as Medical Director, he was known to be a great motivator in forging ahead with new technologies and medical breakthroughs. He also boosted the hospital’s charitable activities through the Makati Medical Alumni Association.
Despite the financial impact that the hospital had to shoulder, Dr. Fores strongly advocated giving back to the community as he felt it was more important to help those in need.
|Daniel Go †|
|Here is a founding member who is neither a physician nor a relative of a doctor on the Board. Primarily an investor, Mr. Daniel Go believed in what others foresaw in the late 1960s—a willingness to help and give primary healthcare to every Filipino|
|Romeo H. Gustilo, MD †|
Dr. Romeo H. Gustilo was recognized as one of the best in neurosurgery during his time. He was the go-to surgeon for brain trauma from an accident, brain tumor or brain malignancy. To have him as one’s surgeon meant better odds of recovery. Families of patients who were in fatal car accidents often felt that their loved one had a fighting chance in the operating room if Dr. Gustilo was the attending neurosurgeon.
Having trained in the prestigious Johns Hopkins Hospital, Dr. Gustilo developed a three-pronged approach to Neurological Sciences by bringing together Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry under one cohesive department. Earlier on in 1950, just after arrival from the USA, he headed the new Section of Neurosurgery at the University of Santo Tomas Hospital which he continued to head until he retired in 1982.
Headed by Dr. Gustilo, the Department of Ethics and Culture in Makati Medical Center was established on May 30, 1990 to bring back “gracious living“ in the past when patients looked upon their doctors with high compliments for their impeccable bedside manners. “Gracious living” was a term referred to as injecting old-world charm in your demeanor and your bedside manner in order to put your patients at ease and instill their confidence. Aside from the usual teachings on proper bedside manners, the department also provided a venue where doctors could discuss issues regarding their medical practice, including moral and ethical issues brought about by evolving technologies. Almost like a form of group therapy, it was a place where they could also thresh out the physical and emotional effects of their profession.
Dr. Gustilo likewise reached out to Makati Medical Center graduates through the Alumni Association in the hope of rekindling in them a sense of belonging. He had hoped to involve them in focusing on “humaneness,” a very important physician attribute. For Dr. Gustilo, it was vital to teach the new generation of doctors that healing does not only come from medicine and medical treatments, but also from showing TLC (tender loving care) which can go a long way in treating terminally ill patients. In order to strengthen his stand, he made sure that copies of the Hippocratic Oath were sent to all graduates of the hospital and ensured their inclusion in the mailing list of the Makati Medical Center Proceedings, the in-house scientific journal.
|Julieta Ledesma †|
A native of Negros, Julieta Ledesma was born into a privileged life. Her family was blessed with sugar haciendas and ran an inter-island shipping business. She was known for being a philanthropist dedicated to helping the poor and underprivileged migrant workers in her hometown.
In the late 1960’s, her favorite niece, Elvira Ledesma Manahan, wife of Dr. Constantino Manahan, invited her to be an investor and founding member of Makati Medical Center. She immediately agreed and was an active participant on the board until her failing health led her to leave for the United States where she spent the last years of her life. She lived until the age of 92 and is now immortalized in the Ledesma Hall of Tower 1 where Masses are held, along with various socials and gatherings of the medical staff.
|Constantino P. Manahan, MD †|
Dr. Constantino P. Manahan was responsible for giving life to as much as 99% of today’s pillars and icons in society, as well as to many of the city’s less advantaged born between 1972 and 1988 under the Makati Indigent Program (MIP). Recognized in the country as the best in his field, countless women flocked to him for his renowned “painless birth” technique.
This foremost obstetrician-gynecologist was committed to the principle “health for all regardless of race, creed or economic status.” He established the MIP in 1972, barely three years after the founding of Makati Medical Center. The program aimed to help the underprivileged of the community avail of quality healthcare.
Dr. Manahan had a quiet, gentle demeanor and shied away from publicity. He remained humble despite receiving numerous awards and accolades and was passionate about helping those in need. A graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine in 1936, his achievements in the next fifty years earned him 1983 Physician of the Year, given by the Professional Regulation Commission. In 1986, he was chosen Most Outstanding Alumnus of the UP College of Medicine. A Professor Emeritus of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of the Philippines, Dr. Manahan trained many of the country’s finest obstetricians and gynecologists in practice today.
Dr. Manahan gained glory at the Johns Hopkins Hospital as the only doctor to achieve senior residency in the then separate departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Because of this, he became the first Filipino Diplomate in this specialization in the United States and was offered the position of Professor and Chairman of the Obstetrics Department of Emery College in Virginia. In spite of it all, Dr. Manahan chose to return to the Philippines to serve his people. He joined the office of President Sergio Osmeña as an adviser on hospitals. He also went on to become the second President of Philippine Obstetrical and Gynecological Society (POGS) and in subsequent years, Chairman of its advisory council. At one time, he was also President of the Philippine Cancer Society. Until his death in 1988, Dr. Manahan held several positions at Makati Medical Center, including Chairman, Medical Director, Director of Research and Development, and Chairman of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology.
|Carlos L. Sevilla, MD †|
Dr. Carlos L. Sevilla was among the renowned physicians of Manila Doctors Hospital, along with his best friend and co-founder Dr. Manuel C. Fernandez, Sr. This eye-ear-nose-throat specialist acquired his medical degree from the University of the Philippines and pursued specialty training at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia. He later studied at the Harvard Medical School in 1949 and the Vienna Medical Academy in 1954.
As founder of the Department of Ophthalmology, the Makati Medical Center named the department after Dr. Sevilla, now CLS Eye Center.
MakatiMed and MPIC
Makati Medical Center became a part of the Metro Pacific Investment Corporation’s (MPIC) group of hospitals in 2007 following MPIC’s investment in Medical Doctors, Inc., owner and operator of MakatiMed. Manuel V. Pangilinan has served as Chairman of the Board since then.