If you are high on the grid of altruism you are predisposed to going out of your comfort zone according to social scientists. People have unique ways of doing altruistic gestures, from helping others in total incognito to the kind who do so for photo-ops, making their advocacy just a little bit dubious, if you ask me.
Medical missions these days are held on regular basis by Fil-Am volunteers who come home for a visit to the Philippines as their way of paying back to the least of their brethren. Whether done out of a guilty conscience or for purely humanitarian reasons, the said missions remind me of the US Peace Corps volunteerism after World War II.
Like modern-day mimics, these volunteers are mostly from the medical and allied health professions. I’ve been privy to one mission coordinated by designer Boy Lizaso who has a formidable fashion niche in Beverly Hills. On summer vacations, Boy, with the support of ABS-CBN, would head a troop of medical doctors for their missions around the country, including the distribution of school supplies to disadvantaged children in select schools. His group has been lauded for their self-effacing advocacy at Malacañang.
Another benevolent medical mission organizer is Fil-Am Dr. Anacleto Belleza Millendez who also goes by the moniker “Doktor Ng Bayan.” Year-round Dr. Millendez goes nationwide from Batanes to Jolo to hold free consultations, and to give away complementary medicines via his Center for Holistic Alternative and Restorative Medicine (Charm).
He does this in partnership with colleague Dr. Conrada Veruasa Apostol, a well-known restorative surgeon, and wellness and health advocate.
The University of the Philippines medical graduate is often featured for his philanthropic works in a TV program titled Beautiful Heart on Silicon Valley Community channel KMVT 15 in the cities of Mountain View, Los Altos and Cupertino in the San Francisco Bay Area, with live streaming on You Tube and Facebook.
Recently, Dr. Millendez has taken on a different mission for arts and culture. Through his Beautiful Heart Foundation, which was founded in Davao in 2005, and the integral ministry of the Holy Catholic Church, founded by Dr. Heyward Bruce Ewart, the altruistic doctor launched the first Pinoy International Music and Arts Festival in Eastwood City, Pasig, which will be taken and mounted on November 24 in San Francisco, California.
Some of the Filipino artists scheduled to perform in the concert are singer/actor Zyruz Imperial; Ronnie Diao, well-known jazz singer Aliw Awardee; and acoustic singers Iggy Boy San Antonio Diaz and Igo Beltran Guillermo from Pasig City.
The said event will be coordinated abroad by Millendez’ wife Eleanor and violinist-son Cyril, a senior at the University of California, Davis.
Expected to help host the first international event of musicians and visual artists are top community leaders in the Bay Area, namely Florfina Arce of the UP Alumni Association (San Diego); Aurora Cudal (San Diego); Rose Palmiery of Marinduque International; Joyce Galvez Samson of Azukar Organics; Celia Tuazon Concepcion of Elcot International; and Mayor Jose Esteves of Milpitas.
Dr. Millendez recently received a humbling Outstanding Filipino Humanitarian-Doktor ng Bayan Special Award at the 29th Global Excellence Awards from the National Consumer Affairs Foundation. Coming up to the challenge of helping address President Rodrigo Duterte’s marching orders to address the country’s imminent problem with drug addiction, he has also founded DUTERTE, which stands for “Drug Updates for Teens & Elders in Rehabilitation, Treatment & Empowerment,” which is another altruistic agenda on top of his ongoing and most successful proactive advocacies.