The founder of Belo Medical Group, Dr. Vicki Belo, opens the biggest beauty hub in her hometown.
Dr. Vicki Belo feels a sense of belonging in Cebu, after all, she was born in the Visayan metropolis. But her name has since been recognized the world over and she’s become one of the most resonant dermatologists in the Philippines. Over the span of decades, Belo, who earned her degree in medicine and surgery at the University of Santo Tomas and her diploma in dermatology at the Institute of Dermatology in Thailand, cultivated a clientele of A-list celebrities from Anne Curtis-Smith to Solenn Heussaff, and imported some of the most advanced cosmetic procedures. Beauty mavens can thank Belo for turning the Philippines into a beauty hub and medical tourism destination. Now, she returns to Cebu to open the biggest hub in the region and service Cebuanos.
“The beauty market in Cebu is sophisticated. Customers are knowledgeable and ask me intelligent questions. I love talking to them because we’re on the same wavelength,” begins Dr. Vicki Belo, the exuberant founder and CEO of Belo Medical Group who has just moved to a new space over a decade later since she first opened her business in Cebu.
“Contrary to [the] belief that Cebuanos are kuripot, I didn’t find that to be the case,” she tells Vogue Philippines, adding, “They understand value for money. I’ve never met so many powerful and successful women as I have in Cebu, and I know these women need a break.” We catch up with her the day after she hosted a soirée to celebrate the opening of her new clinic, located on the ground floor of Taft East Gate along Cardinal Rosales Avenue in Cebu City, and she regales us with tales of her affinity with the residents of the Visayan metropolis.
“Since I was born in Cebu, I feel a very deep kinship with the Cebuanos,” she continues. “I want Belo to be an oasis to them in Cebu and in neighboring areas, a retreat or a semi-vacation. I want to give them a more complete clinic because there’s only one clinic here, and they may never want to go to Manila.” With an area of 460 square meters, the new location will become the central hub in the Visayas region, making it the largest clinic in the Belo chain. Prior to the new branch, she previously operated at The Terraces of Ayala Center Cebu.
Naturally, Belo took inspiration from the city for her clinic’s interiors, which are inspired by the pristine beaches of Cebu while the fun pops of orange, yellow, and red are references to Cebu’s annual and highly-anticipated Sinulog festival. Bright colors represent rich coral reefs and sea creatures that recreate a resort atmosphere.
Aside from the spacious new locale, Belo’s Cebu-based clients will also have access to the doctor’s signature treatments including a laser to clear pigmentation and even out skin tone, and the RF-microneedling wonders Virtue RF and Vivace. Also available are services promoted by famous celebrities including the ADVA Light or the Renova Powerfacial which is the Anne Curtis-Smith-approved. For non-surgical procedures, the Cebu hub is also offering Bianca Umali’s favorite, the Exilis, Solenn Heussaff’s favorite, the Onda Plus, and Kim Chiu’s choice, the Skin Reboot.
Though Belo’s many services are easily accessible to anyone looking for a pick-me-up, Belo still reiterates the importance of sunscreen. “The beaches here are so near and so beautiful; Cebuanos can’t help themselves but go. They should apply good sunscreen 30 minutes before going out and reapply. You have to reapply especially in the hours between 9 A.M. and 4 P.M.,” she reminds the Cebuano beach lovers.
Belo recently revealed to the public that she was diagnosed with the third stage of breast cancer in 2016. But she says she is “healthy and happy” now and aside from opening more clinics, she’s has a lot to look forward to. “Has my concept of beauty and life changed? Yes. It has become a lot deeper. I have a much deeper appreciation of everything that God made,” she says. “I used to feel like a superhero—invincible. That made me a little arrogant. I am more empathetic now. It’s always wonderful to see beautiful things whether it be sunset or someone. What my word for my life right now is just being grateful for all the blessings.”