The De Los Santos Medical Center is the second oldest hospital along E. Rodriguez Sr. Boulevard in Quezon City. Established in 1973 by the Father of Philippine Orthopedics, Dr. Jose Valmonte de los Santos Sr. (1898-2000), the hospital has its roots with 30-bed clinic in 1949, when Dr. De Los Santos wanted to address the polio that has stricken one of his daughters. Dr. De Los Santos first served at the Mandaluyong Emergency Hospital in 1947, and renamed it as the National Orthopedic Hospital (now the nearby Philippine Orthopedic Center). Upon the suggestion of his wife, Dr. De Los Santos wanted to focus on the treatments on his daughter, and opened the De Los Santos Clinic along España Extension Boulevard (Eulogio Rodriguez Sr. Boulevard), near their home in Quezon City. On the same year, Dr. De Los Santos co-founded the Philippine Society for Trauma and Orthopedics (now the Philippine Orthopedic Association), and served as its first president.
The family-owned clinic first specialized in the treatment and rehabilitation of patients with bone abnormalities. As more and more patients, from the nearby communities, were coming to the clinic for various treatments; Dr. de los Santos started offering other medical services and employing specialists in other fields. Finally with the support of family, friends and investors, the De Los Santos General Hospital opened in November 1973, as a 150-bed medical facility.
In 1975, the De Los Santos General Hospital opened the De Los Santos College, with its College of Nursing making it a tertiary teaching and training hospital. As times passed on, the De Los Santos College offered programs in Physical Therapy, Midwifery and Junior Secretarial training. And in 2002, the college merged with the Systems Technological Institute (STI), to be renamed as the DLS-STI College of Health Profession. And in 2013, the hospital became part of the ten medical centers operated by the Metro Pacific Hospital Holdings, Inc. (MPHHI), and was renamed as the De Los Santos Medical Center.
Although the family of Dr. de los Santos does not solely operate the Delos Santos Medical Center, the legacy of Dr. Jose and his wife, Doña Pacita Villanueva De Los Santos (1909-2002), is evident upon entering the hospital lobby. Around the lobby are several artworks of the family, which either give testament to the life and work of Dr. De Los Santos, or celebrate families as the core of the De Los Santos clan’s commitment to the health of the Filipino family.
The artwork that most obviously speaks of the hospital’s founder is the bust of Dr. Jose De Los Santos by the noted second wave modernist sculptor, Eduardo De Los Santos Castrillo (1942-2016). Castrillo graduated from the UST Fine Arts program, and first started at first as an illustrator for publishing before embarking into a career in public sculpture. In the course of time, Castrillo has represented the Philippines in many exhibitions abroad, and has also been commissioned to create monuments all over the country and overseas. He received the TOYM Award for sculpture (Ten Outstanding Young Men) in 1970, the 13 Artists Award by the CCP in 1970, Outstanding Makati Resident in 1971, Outstanding Sta. Ana Resident in 1974, Outstanding Son of Binan Award in 1980 from the Maduro Club, Outstanding Son of Laguna Award in 1980 from the Laguna Lion’s Club, Adopted Son of Cebu in 1996, the Far Eastern University Green and Gold Artist Award in 1998, and the Most Outstanding Citizen Award of Quezon City.
The next two paintings are scenes of Dr. De Los Santos’ earlier years, rendered by Felix Gonzalez. Upon completing his orthopedic studies in America and Germany, he first served as a doctor to the barrios, treating the poorest of the poor.
Félix “Lex” González Jr. (born 1938) is a genre painter of the romantic realist style, who family hails from the Province of Pampanga. Influence by his father, Felix Pinto Gonzalez (1902-1976), who was also a painter, Gonzales left his architectural studies in the Feati University, to pursue a life of a painter. Upon his first attempt in an art competition, Gonzales was given an honorable mention, which further fueled his passion. Soon Gonzales was winning more local painting contests. Sometimes listed as part of the Mabini Group of artists, Gonzales opened his own art gallery in Ermita, Manila. However in 1978, Gonzales and his family migrated to Los Angeles, California, where he still continues to paint. His son, Rino is now also a painter, in the United States.
Next, there is an undated portrait of Doña Pacita De Los Santos, by Oscar Deveza Zalameda (1930-2010). Zalameda is a modernist painter, whose cubist styled works feature barrio scenes, reminisce of his native Lucban, in the Province of Quezon. Zalameda took his formal art studies at the University of Santo Tomas, and apprenticed under Oscar T. Salita (1943-2012). Zalameda then took further studies at the Art League of California in San Francisco and the Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts and the Sorbonne in Paris, as well as taking mural techniques in Mexico. Soon he was exhibiting in New York, Paris, Barcelona, Hamburg, Monte Carlo, Milan and Mexico City; before returning to the Philippines. Zalameda did not participate in competitions, but his work abroad had him honored with the Chavelier Des Arts et Lettres from the French government.
Finally, there are the paintings of the “Filipino Family” and the “Mother and Child” by Antonio Ko Jr. These paintings not only show the sanctity of family and parenthood, but also portray Filipino rural life as a reminder of Dr. De Los Santos’ years as a barrio physician.
Antonio del Monte Ko Jr. (Antonio Kua, 1956-1999) was a genre painter, whose painting style was more akin to impressionism. Born and raised in the Mabini area of Manila, Ko was exposed to the many artists in the area, who would eat at his father’s grocery-restaurant, on Padre Faura street. The family’s art collections grew, as some artists traded paintings for a hot meal, and Ko’s mother transformed part of the restaurant into an art gallery. Soon the very young Ko was creating abstract paintings that were being purchased by customers, and this inspired him to take formal lessons at University of Santos Tomas (UST). After graduating from UST, Ko was participating in several art competitions, where he won the 1st and 3rd Prize Watercolor Category of the Philippine Orchid Society art competition of 1979, the Gold Medal in the Philippine Investment & Systems Organization painting competition of 1980, and the Grand Prize Winner of the Automobile Association Philippines art competition of 1980. Ko’s awards wre noticd by his alma mater, and in 1981, the UST honored him the UST Benavidez Award. Ko continued to participate in local and international exhibitions, while teaching at the Philippine Women’s University and National Museum. By the 1990s, Ko was commissioned to create the murals for the Cathedral-Parish and Diocesan Shrine of the Good Shepherd, in Novaliches, Quezon City; and the Equitable Bank. These were to be his last major pieces, before his death in 1999.
People passing through E. Rodriguez Sr. Boulevard take for granted the legacy of Dr. Jose De Los Santos and the hospital that he founded. People see this more for its modern structure, and thus a new development to the Quezon City landscape. However, taking a closer look at the history of the four hospitals along E. Rod. Boulevard, and the two hospitals on the nearby Banawe Avenue, one can see how these institutions and its founders have pioneer and developed the medical disciplines in the Philippines.