BalikBayani République | Tony Alabastro
Raul Pagdanganan wakes up to ikigai – what gives life’s worth, purpose, meaning.
When he hawked newspapers along Calumpit, Bulacan streets on his journey to run hospitals and a university, Raul learned new things, hands on and the hard way, about life’s difficulties.
Waiting at 3am at Highway 54 for Manila dailies’ arrival, and selling periodicals at Calumpit market stall taught him discipline.
Newspapers he delivered to poblacion customers sharpened Raul on current events.
Youngest Torch school paper editor in junior high school, Raul graduated Calumpit Institute valedictorian.
Having learned reading from Pilipino Komiks and Tagalog Klassics, Raul explored Liwayway and Bulaklak magazines.
“Be a doctor. Be respected. Be helpful to community and patients,” eldest half-brother, Dr. Zar Candelaria, encouraged Raul.
While dissecting frog in a UP Baguio Zoology class, “formalin’s foul odor made me decide the pre-med course is not for me”.
Raul finished the five-year UP accounting course, with two majors, business and accounting, in four-and-a-half years.
Raul was among top 20 Certified Public Accountant passers.
Nobody believed the CPA-non-doctor can run several top Metro Manila hospitals.
“A lot of people, even family and siblings, doubted: I am not a doctor.”
“Kaya mo iyan’. (You can do it), my wife Jing said.’ Somebody else be-lieved I can make a difference.”
Raul’s managed response led De Los Santos Medical Centre through and beyond the Covid19 crisis.
“When President Duterte (in March) last year issued a Luzon lockdown, we were fighting the unknown. There is no playbook for Covid19. There should be no death in hospital,” Raul told DLSMC command center meeting.
Doctors preferred to stay home and infection rate went up. Raul put order in the chaos as people panicked.
“I reported for work everyday, even on Sundays. I have to project everything is all right. I dealt with my health workers, very tired and demoralized.”
“Thank you, Sir, for being with us, staying with us. We draw inspiration from you.”
In one year, Raul turned around, sustained DLSMC’s revenue and profitability.
Raul improved Jesus Delgado Memorial Hospital’s financial position.
In July 2020, MetroPacific boss asked: “How do you like to be considered for Cardinal?”
Says Raul: “Cardinal Santos Medical Center was my first, original hospital. Our (three) daughters were born here. We spent Christmas with our sick child here.”
Every Friday, Cardinal hospital rank and file enjoy Coffee with RCP.
Learning from his newspaper selling days, Raul “communicates, interacts and solicits ideas, and appreciates different trees in the forest.”
Hearing very good suggestions, Raul invites the idea giver: “Sit on my chair. I want you to feel and share with me the chief executive officer’s responsibilities.
“I dreamed once to be a doctor, now I am working with doctors. Destiny has a way of bridging profession and vocation.
“Happy customers start with happy employees.”
Named University of the Philippines (UP) Regent five days before his wife’s July birthday, “the honor is a source of pride, humility, and to some degree, trepidation.”