This article is from Dental Asia Magazine under Asia Focus Dentist section of March / April 2013 issue
Dr. Hermogenes Villareal, denoted as the Compleat Dentist by Biznews Asia has been a steward of dentistry in the Philippines and now the sole Ambassador to the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI). Apart from his prestigious feats, his involvement with several associations and organizations including The International College of Dentists, The Pierre Fauchard Academy, The Asia Pacific Dental Federation / Asia Pacific Regional Organization are among the few distinct achievements in the professional arena. His recent accolades are the status of Master Fellow in the International College of Dentists last 29 January 2013 and Dentist of the Century presented by the Philippine Dental Association.
In spite of this, Dr. Boy as he is called by his peers remains a modest citizen to his community and serves as the Chairman of the Department of Dentistry at the Asian Hospital and Medical Center in the Philippines.
“It was Mr. Tony Lopez who featured me on the front cover of his magazine and generously dubbed me as a Compleat Dentist – the dentist of choice of presidents, ambassadors, papal nuncios, tycoons, taipans, professionals, beauty queens and the hoi polloi. Modesty aside, I don’t feel comfortable talking about my worth related to my professional credibility and accomplishments. But reading something like that on the front cover of a distinguished publication only fills my heart and pride and gratitude. After reflecting on this, I realized that in my 39 years of practice, I guess I must have done something right,” he explains.
The journey towards building his name
If one must ask, Dr. Villareal is a proud product of The University of the East batch ’73. After passing the board exam, without further ado, he started his single proprietor practice the following year.
“When I was starting, I opened my first dental office in Pasay City along Taft Avenue. My wife Violeta was my first assistant, PR manager and secretary, all rolled into one,” he narrates.
Owing his success through God’s grace, he now holds several chains which are now operating in different locations. Together with his children, Dr. Sheryl Villareal-Borja, Dr. Sherwin and Dr. Shervy, the Villareal Dental Clinics now serve as a multi-specialty dental treatment center that caters to some of the most prominent personages in the region.
“Being the first dentist in the Villareal Family, I wouldn’t say that I forced my children to take up dentistry. I always believed that you can only encourage and inspire your children leading them to the right door to a promising and fulfilling future. The rest is up to them. Parental and professional support is also an important key. You should always have and keep good communication with your children and a deep foresight on their future,” Dr. Villareal shares.
Having his name inscribed in the history of dentistry, his children look up to their father as a model citizen and a well-known personage in the business. For that reason, we asked Dr. Villareal what lessons were learned in pursuit of a successful career in dentistry.
“It’s tough to point out the lessons they’ve learned but I think there are a few things that stand out which I and my wife Violeta could see are being reflected in their lives today. Unity among siblings, love for family and deep faith in the Almighty. More than just excelling in their professional career, my wife and I always remind them what matters most is God and family. Success in the profession only boils down to hard-work and determination and never forgetting the most treasured people who helped you reach the peak of the mountain,” he expressed.
Peering through the business side of the Villareal Dental Clinic
The business side of dentistry can be complex. With many dental clinics flourishing side by side, the competition can be tough to withstand the hard-hitting circumstance once the business fails to perform. The right work force and outlook are key points to carry out a successful business portfolio.
That said, Dr. Villareal expresses his thoughts on this matter. “There is much truth when you referred to dentistry as a business. That’s one part we cannot deny. Everyone aims to make a profit. That makes dentistry quite a lucrative and attractive profession to get into. However, what drew me to the dental profession, believe it or not, was the humble service and dedication to improve people’s lives. I always believed that THAT is a reliable way of leaving a dent in the universe, a legacy in someone’s life.”
If dentistry is a lucrative business, what then is your outlook for the dental profession in the country?
“My outlook for the Philippine Dentists is very promising. Dentistry like any healthcare profession only gets better as the years go by. Research and technology never ceases to improve as well as hungry young minds and hearts never fail to lead and create new examples for more progress in dentistry. What’s important now is that the leaders of Philippine Dentistry should plant good seeds of trust and on rich soil so that the harvest will be plentiful for the next torch bearers of Philippine Dentistry,” he relates.
Waiting with bated breath for the 104th PDA Convention
In April 2013, the Philippine Dental Association will hold its 104th Annual Dental Convention at the SMX Convention Center. In a span of 5days, guests and delegates will witness a series of high-powered lectures from local and foreign speakers who will share their latest scientific research and expertise for the advancement of dental professionals.
For Dr. Villareal, he remains active in the association’s endeavors as a custodian and a steadfast counselor committed to raise the educational platform of dentists through this activity.
“As Past President of the Philippine Dental Association, I continue my support to the President and his constituents. With my vast experience, I impart how I successfully engaged and invited dentists to join such activities for their continued learning in the field. In fact, during my reign as President of Asia Pacific Dental Federation / Asia Pacific Regional Organization (APDF / APRO), we were able to invite at leat 3,300 local delegates during the 33rd APDC 2011 Congress held at the World Trade Center, Manila. As a result, over a net income of 8m peso was collected and used as an initial fiduciary fund for the PDA lot and Bldg. Project. Because of this, the PDA Board of Trustees unanimously appointed me to chair this committee,” Dr. Villareal verbalizes.
“Dr. Villareal, what can we expect from the PDA event?” We inquired.
“I expect the best outcome for every PDA event. This year’s theme “INTENSIFYING PROFESSIONALISM” brings truth and validity to the existence of our organization. I am confident that the organizing committee of the 104th PDA Annual Convention headed by Dr. Andy Fernandez have been preparing meaningful congress for the Philippine dentists.”
He added, “Being a president entails total commitment and responsibility in leading a chapter or an organization. It needs dedication, perseverance and a good rapport. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”
A prudent man within
A man of substance, Dr. Hermogenes Villareal continues his legacy in this noble profession through his generous support and participation in the industry and is regarded as one of the respected figures in dentistry. Passing on his wisdom to the next generation of dentists, he expressed a deep sense of gratitude to the people who have helped him build his name.
“As I always tell my children, acquire a spirit of gratitude to the hand that feed you daily then give it back to God through your God-given talent. You never lose in giving. After all, those who have more have the obligation to give more.”
Sharing his blessings has been innate for Dr. Villareal, so much so that he has expressed the need to share a famous quote given to him by an old Chinese patient.
“Do not place your money in one basket but place it in several baskets.”
“Which means do not place all your money in one investment, if you have the opportunity to put up several clinics do so because this will allow you to cater a lot of patients and have a network in the industry. This is how you’ll find your niche in this profession or in any profession. Lastly, never seek out the position rather, let the position seek the man.” He stated.
Like a father, Dr. Villareal has been a figure of hope and inspiration to all dental professionals. Like him, we all look forward to a progressive industry that will solidify our station as competent and noble professionals in the healthcare business. Through his good deeds and achievements, we can learn from his good example. Therefore, the quest for advancement should be driven through constant vigilance to uphold the best practises in pursuit of good health for our patients. DA