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MANILA - The Belo Medical Group intends to ride on the country's above-average economic growth by pushing its anti-aging services.
The group's founder and owner, Dr. Victoria “Vicki” G. Belo, said its anti-aging services, particularly stem cell treatments, will drive the company's growth this year.
Belo clinics have been offering stem cell treatments since 2007 "when a lot of people don't understand what it was,” she said.
"When you're young you have lots of collagen in the face and when you hit 40 [years old], you have 50 percent of what you had when you're 10. When you look at somebody who's young, ang ganda ng mukha, it’s like a juicy fruit and when they grow older, [it has transformed] from a grape to raisin so we have to infuse stem cells," she said.
Belo said a stumbling block to stem cell treatment was the use of bone marrow -- considered the best source of stem cells -- because this requires a painful procedure.
"What we've come to do is import bone marrow from Russia. Russia is the country with the longest history of doing stem cell [treatments]. They started in 2004. What they're doing is there are stem cell donors so you don’t have to harvest your own bone and we bring it in and we do it intradermally," she said.
Cristalle Henares, who helps her mother run the business, said the Belo group had a "big year" in 2012 following its successful foray into the underarm market. Belo products for the intimate areas are now available online and in department stores after its exclusivity partnership with Watsons expired.
"Prior to that, we were only creating products for face and body so it was the first time that we launched into the underarm whitening category starting with the roll-on deodorant, which is doing very well. It is selling like hotcakes," Henares said.
“It looks like there is a lot of growth in the economy so hopefully our industry and our business can ride on,” she added.
Capitalizing on the Belo brand, the company will export products, even creating Arabic packaging for its soap products, which are distributed in supermarket chains in the Middle East.
“Belo is actually very popular in the Middle East. Some people fly here because a lot of the helpers of the sheiks and the princesses, they are all Pinay. They fly here just for a week so they can go to Belo so I’m so happy that the medical tourism part of it is also moving,” Belo said.
The Belo Group is not only expanding its product offerings and services, but strengthening its branch network as well. It is opening two more branches, including one in Davao.
This year will also mark the opening of the Belo Medical Building, a “beauty mecca” located along Connecticut Street in Greenhills, San Juan that will also have office spaces for 100 support staff.
"The building should be finished by April but because we're so malandi about it, that's the part that takes forever so that will take another six months. We're looking to open before the end of the year because that’s the peak season for us when all the balikbayans start to come home," said Belo.
Construction of the building was supposed to have started four years ago, "but I got overwhelmed by the cost so I stopped," she said.
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