Belo Medical Group: Redefining the Perception of Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology in the Philippines
Dr. Vicki Belo, Founder, Belo Medical Group
In our world, beauty often steals the spotlight, influencing how we perceive and engage with others. Whether we like it or not, being considered attractive can really make a difference in various aspects of life. From career progression to personal development, the perks of looking conventionally attractive are like an unspoken currency. Those with a pleasing appearance may find themselves enjoying smoother paths in their professional journeys. There are even studies saying that this attractiveness bias can swing things in their favor during job interviews and promotions. And it doesn’t stop there – even social interactions tend to lean favorably towards those who fit the conventional beauty mold.
When Dr. Vicki Belo, an eminent figure in aesthetic medicine observed such unjust societal dynamics, she challenged the status quo with a resounding question: Why should beauty be a privilege reserved for the genetically fortunate? This question became the catalyst for her transformative journey that led her to found Belo Medical Group, a leading Medical Aesthetic Clinic in the Philippines redefining the narrative around beauty. A multi-awarded doctor, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and media personality, Dr. Belo seamlessly integrates aesthetic medicine into the lives of millions. By reshaping perceptions, breaking barriers, and democratizing beauty, she inspires a new vision of aesthetic enhancement, making beauty an inclusive, attainable aspiration for all.
A Journey Shaped by Childhood Challenges
It all began with a deeply personal and inspiring journey marked by childhood challenges and societal judgments. During her childhood, Dr. Belo was given away by her parents as part of an agreement between two closely-knit families. Although the decision was not due to financial constraints but rather an accepted cultural practice of the time, it brought on a whole lot of challenges in her life. Amidst societal expectations and judgments, young Belo grappled with the weight of criticism and bullying from peers who unfairly tied her worth to her appearance, particularly her weight.
These early struggles served as the spark for Dr. Belo’s unwavering commitment to empowering individuals beyond surface-level beauty. Her steadfast dedication stemmed from the belief that by enhancing people’s natural beauty, they could be duly recognized and appreciated for their intrinsic worth, capabilities, and potential. During her undergraduate years, Dr. Belo pursued a degree in B.S. Psychology, where she encountered research findings illuminating the advantages that more attractive women enjoyed in various aspects of life, including career progression and personal development. This insight fueled her determination to neutralize the effects of what she calls, “the attractiveness bias,” ensuring that every individual had an equitable opportunity to achieve the best versions of themselves.
Since its inception, Belo Medical Group has gracefully evolved in alignment with Dr. Belo’s steadfast vision. Her mission was clear: to democratize beauty, making it accessible to a wider audience. This journey commenced with extensive educational outreach that spanned intimate gatherings and larger audiences on both local and global scales. Dr. Belo’s unique approach involved simplifying the complexities of medical procedures through relatable language and analogies, effectively integrating dermatology into everyday conversations. This transformative effort reshaped the perception of cosmetic surgery and dermatology in the Philippines. As Dr. Belo puts it, “What began as a medical practice has evolved into a cultural phenomenon. The name “Belo” has transcended its origin to become a household symbol representing the pursuit of aesthetic enhancement. To “belofy” is now synonymous with beautification, underscoring the desire to enhance one’s aesthetic appeal.”
Thriving Against All the Odds
Back in the early days, Belo Medical Group faced substantial resistance from fellow dermatologists who had limited exposure to the cutting-edge technologies that Dr. Belo brought in from different countries. Notably, Dr. Belo was the first to introduce the CO2 laser and the use of neurotoxins like Botox to dermatology in the Philippines. Tumescent liposuction was another groundbreaking procedure that she performed as a dermatologist when it was relatively unknown in the country. During her dermatology studies in Bangkok, Thailand, she immersed herself in these innovative technologies.
At the time, there were no formal training courses available for medical aesthetics in the Philippines. Determined to bridge this gap, she embarked on a personal mission to curate her own medical aesthetics curriculum. She traversed different countries to learn directly from the pioneers of these emerging technologies. Her goal was to blend the best of Western and Eastern approaches in her practice, providing patients with access to the most advanced and effective treatments available worldwide. It took over a decade, but the tide turned, and people in the Philippines gradually began to embrace the purpose and benefits of these revolutionary treatments. This marked the turning point that fueled Dr. Belo’s relentless journey. Now, 33 years later, she stands at the helm, still pioneering medical aesthetic innovations. In her own words, “My bosses were my patients. So as long as they were happy, then what I was doing was what I should be doing.” This patient-centric philosophy not only won hearts but also catapulted Belo Medical Group to where it stands today: a thriving hub of transformative innovations with a satisfied and loyal clientele.
Fostering Trust, Accountability, and Malasakit
As a leader, Dr. Belo actively nurtures and empowers her team, viewing each member not merely as an employee but as a valuable contributor to a shared vision. She firmly believes that the only way those around her can become better is by continually striving to become better herself. This commitment to personal growth not only sets an example but also fosters a culture of continuous learning and development within the organization.
Furthermore, Dr. Belo has implemented a unique strategy of replication for team building. She meticulously selects her team members, being deliberate and careful in the hiring process. Once the right individuals are identified, Dr. Belo invests significant time and effort into training them, effectively creating “clones” of herself. This ensures that every member of the team embodies her values and philosophy, guaranteeing a consistent standard of excellence across the organization.
At Belo Medical Group, core principles such as honoring one’s word, building trust, and fostering accountability are held in high regard. The team operates as a unified force, motivated by the principle of “malasakit” or genuine care for the clinic and its patients, approaching challenges with resourcefulness. Lastly, the commitment to leading for excellence drives the team to pursue innovation and set a positive example for colleagues, patients, and partners.
Upholding Patient-Centric Philosophy at the Core
From its inception, Belo Medical Group has unwaveringly dedicated itself to the enhancement of natural beauty. The roots of this patient-centric approach trace back to a transformative initiative, spearheaded by Dr. Hayden Kho Jr., Managing Director of the Belo Group and husband of Dr. Belo. Driven by a passion for understanding the intricacies of patient experiences, Dr. Kho embarked on a comprehensive project to map out the entire spectrum of customer experiences and processes. He delved into the intricacies of the patient’s journey through exhaustive interviews with internal stakeholders, creating visual representations to effectively communicate and streamline the wealth of information gathered. These visuals provided stakeholders with a clear and insightful perspective of the patient’s experience within the organization. Despite the complexity of mapping processes for a 33-year-old institution, Dr. Kho’s dedication led to the successful completion of this extensive project. He conducted interviews with representatives from every position within the company, fostering a deep appreciation for the patient journey among all staff members and employees. They also prompted strategic adjustments, such as placing a high priority on clear and detailed communication during consultations. “These changes led to greater customer satisfaction and better-informed patients, enhancing the overall customer experience. In addition to the mapping initiative, Belo Medical Group prioritizes continuous customer-centricity workshops and seminars, ensuring that every touchpoint or interaction is measured and evaluated for improvement,” affirms Dr. Belo.
Set to Expand its Horizon!
Today, Belo Medical Group operates with a two-fold vision: to enhance natural beauty, foster self-confidence, and inspire individuals to embrace their full potential. Concurrently, it aspires to elevate the Philippines as a prominent beauty destination in Asia, setting new standards for excellence in the industry. Looking ahead to the next decade, Belo Medical Group isset to broaden its range of offerings, delving into higher medical intensity with cutting-edge procedures and a stronger focus on surgical interventions. Extending its gaze beyond national borders, the medical aesthetic clinic also has ambitious plans for international expansion. “We aim to share our expertise and commitment to excellence with a global audience, offering our services to clients beyond the Philippines. This expansion will not only reinforce our presence on the international stage but also contribute to elevating the Philippines as a hub for beauty and wellness,” shares Dr. Belo.
Recognizing the interconnectedness of beauty and overall well-being, the clinic aims to extend its scope to encompass health and wellness initiatives, providing holistic solutions that will help individuals not only look their best but also lead healthier and more fulfilling lives. Meanwhile, it is poised to become a sought-after destination for medical tourism, drawing clients from around the world through strategic partnerships and a commitment to delivering exceptional experiences. “We envision becoming a destination of choice for individuals seeking top-tier aesthetic and wellness services. Through strategic partnerships and a focus on delivering exceptional experiences, we aim to attract clients from around the world,” concludes Dr. Belo.