Anna Velas-Suarin

Of doing good for public health, The Champ, fresh seafood, and more of Sarangani

I feel a little guilty for being away so long! If my blog can ‘feel’, then he must be feeling abandoned already.Β  :-O Nevertheless, I will try my best to make up for it by posting some insights and pictures from all my travels of the past six months or so. πŸ™‚

Picture moments with our boxing champ, Rep. Manny Pacquiao. Also in photo (extreme right), is the former Secretary of Health, Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan.

I will begin with Sarangani as I have been there twice in the last six months, in line with my engagement with a project that assists LGUs in working for better public health services through PPPs (public-private partnerships). The first travel happened in December 2011 and that was also when, for the first time, I had met “The Champ,” Rep. Manny Pacquiao. My colleagues and I were all star-struck and unable to stop ourselves from requesting some photos taken with him. πŸ™‚ The second trip took place in January 2012 and although we were not able to meet with The Champ again, his very accommodating aide gave us a personal tour of his mansion and even gave us souvenir (PacMan) T-shirts. (To protect the aide’s privacy, I will no longer mention his name here but let me send our big thanks to him through this post!)

It might interest you to know that the LGU of Sarangani, through the leadership of Governor Miguel Dominguez and Rep. Pacquiao, is planning to build a modern hospital facility in Alabel. We are part of the technical assistance team that is supporting the LGU as it prepares for the eventual management/co-management of theΒ  facility, to be called Sarangani Medical Center. The medical facility is part of the LGU’s commitment to improve public health services for the people of Sarangani and nearby provinces. (To know more about the proposed hospital, you may visit

Rep. Pacquiao and Gov. Dominguez, in a huddle, as the group discusses the planned Sarangani Medical Center.

Working with the team has opened my eyes further to the problems in the public health sector. Through this project, I was able to once again visit public hospitals and got more convinced that there is more that the private sector can do in ensuring that our people will get decent and compassionate healthcare.

I am aware that after the devolution of social services, many LGUs found it hard to manage public facilities due mainly to lack of managerial competence, resources, and in some cases, political will. I was not vocally in support of PPPs before but after seeing the state of some of our public health facilities, I decided that I want to keep a more open mind about this strategy. After all, this is about building partnerships. I don’t think the government can do it alone nor can we always expect it to do everything for us. I do agree that the government must build enough and efficient public health facilities but I also recognize that healthcare can be more efficiently managed if the managerial expertise of the private sector can be integrated in the whole system.

Anyway, let us ponder on this topic more in my next posts. πŸ™‚ I would now be sharing some photos from these last two travels in Sarangani (and even General Santos).

This is where we stayed in my team’s December 2011 trip. Called A-Montana Resort, it allows one to sleep and relax in cottages built on concrete stilts! Guests can further enjoy their stay there by fishing and boating (and I heard that there is also a swimming pool there although I was not able to see it).

Another image of the cottages on stilt. Looks inviting, isn’t it?

I saw this small orange boat while I was walking around the walkways in between the cottages.

With Sarangani Governor Migs Dominguez and my colleague, Ms. Pearl Soleta. I am not easily impressed but I sense the eagerness and commitment of the Governor when it comes to the goal of improving public health services.

This is my “pet”, Dinger. He also enjoyed being with the fishes in A-Montana Resort. He also got to enjoy my room. ;D Seriously, I just want to share the “Pinoy” ambience of the cottages in A-Montana Resort. The floors are wooden, too.

Dinger may be wondering how can he get to enjoy my mango shake, too!

We had very limited time to see some more of Sarangani because of our hectic schedule but we luckily chanced upon a beautiful beach resort in Glan, Sarangani, as we were going around to visit some of the public hospitals in the province. I am not sure now but this might be Isla Jardin del Mar Resort in Gumasa, Glan, Sarangani. We were truly blessed that afternoon because the sun was setting the moment we stepped down from our vehicle (I had to run madly though or I won’t catch the sun anymore!)

PacMan: Ang Pambansang Tubig. πŸ™‚ Nice, isn’t it?

This is one of the pictures I was able to take while we were going around to visit some of the health facilities in the province. This is part of the beautiful Sarangani coastline.

We had lunch and a short stop-over in Lemlunay Resort (overlooking the crystal clear waters of Sarangani Bay). This boat was ‘happily’ anchored by the cliff so I cannot help but capture this magical moment.

We got to see The Champ’s Hummer, too! πŸ™‚

Dinger: What will I choose? What will I choose?! Help!

Of course, hubby will not allow me to go back home without the usual “order”: fresh seafood (including tuna!) from Sarangani! Thank you, Lord for the bounty of your oceans! πŸ™‚

After the hard work, I wanted to pamper myself a little bit so I stayed in General Santos City enroute to Manila and tried the East Asia Royale Hotel. Rooms and service are ok but the hotel is a little old already. I appreciated the fact that the room I booked has a jacuzzi so I had the chance to take a warm bath, listen to good music, and simply relax. πŸ™‚ So, yes, have a good life and relax! Hope you can visit my blog again. πŸ™‚


This is not a paid blog.


A-Montana Resort | Email | Tels. 083-826-6699/ 553-8553/ 553-0220/ 553-0110/ 301-333

Lemlunay Resort | Email | Tels. 083-228-1704/ +63 928 524 4528

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