January 29, 2023

Looking for an acupuncturist to alleviate your pain and other concerns? Look no more, your doctor – an acupuncturist – is ready to help you and is just a few steps away from Burnham Park.
He is Dr. Manuel Frago Quirino, Dr. Noli for short. His clinic is located at Nagomi Spa on the 3rd floor of the Baguio Midland Courier building along Kisad Road. You can call for appointments at 424- 0002 or 0920-911-7224.
I first had my encounter with acupuncture therapy or traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) when I experienced a terrible allergy that medicines could not cure. My mouth was swollen and the doctor in Laguna prescribed ointments, mouth wash and antibiotics, but the allergy would not go away. When I got back to Baguio, I asked the late Dr. Charles Cheng if acupuncture could help minimize the swelling and he told me to come right away to his Filipino-Chinese General Hospital. With just two big needles to the sides of my mouth (I was looking like a cat with whiskers) and one each on hand (between the index finger and the thumb), the swelling subsided within two hours.
My second encounter was after my chemotherapy treatments. The late Dr. Cheng helped in putting back the balance in my life by curing the after effects of chemo like loss of appetite and weight, fatigue, loneliness, and sadness. At first glance, Dr. Cheng already said, “you are very sad and very thin.” And I asked, how did you know I was sad Doc?” and he responded, “I suppose after more than 40 years of acupuncture practice, I would know.”
And so, after the passing of Dr. Cheng, I was despondent. I did not know how I could have acupuncture treatments again. I was not aware of other acupuncturist.
Recently, I was told that Dr. Quirino also did acupuncture therapy. In fact, his clinic was very near – it was just along Kisad Road. After so many years of knowing him as a very good and popular medical doctor and general surgeon of the Baguio General Hospital Medical Center which started in 1983 to 2015, I was still clueless. During these years he did so many other things. He was management coordinator of the BGHMC STOP Death, trainer of basic life support, basic first aid, and mass casualty incident management. He was the head of the Emergency Department of the BGHMC for many years. Not to mention that he is the ninong of my daughter Reggie and is a life savior having touched so many lives, one of them was when he volunteered to operate for free to correct the “cleft palate” of a struggling roller skater artist. This artist later became a very successful roller skater in Disneyland and other countries. We also called on him to help treat a child who was hit by a van in La Union.
He was also a former member of a civic action radio group REACT Cañao, hence, we call him “Balong,” his call sign. We often see him during the lion dance performances during Chinese New Year. He was the national president of Bell Church from 2006 to 2018. He is indeed a man of many facets.
Dr. Quirino hails from Tabuk, Kalinga. He moved to Baguio in 1975, married his sweetheart Rowena Melansie in 1977 and was blessed with four children. The eldest, May Charlene and the youngest, Manuel Jr. are both doctors based in the U.S. and Canada, respectively. Louise James, a nurse is also based in Canada. Michael Laurence, the only remaining son in Baguio, is into the lights and sound system business.
Dr. Quirino graduated from the Virgen Milagrosa University, College of Medicine in San Carlos, Pangasinan. He however, started his medical profession in Tabuk, Kalinga before he moved to BGHMC.
After his stint with the BGHMC, he held two positions from 2015 to 2017: as medical director of the Ilocos Training and Regional Medical Center of San Fernando, La Union and as medical director of Mega Drug Abuse Treatment and Rehabilitation Center in Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija.
At present he is the assistant medical director of the Cordillera Divine Grace Hospital in Puguis, La Trinidad, Benguet, where he also conducts acupuncture therapy. He is the vice president of the Philippine Academy of Acupuncture Inc., a member of the Philippine Institute of Traditional and Alternative Health Care, serves faculty, adviser, and consultant of many institutions such as the 911 On Call – a civic action group.
I asked him how he got into acupuncture therapy. His response was, “In 1997, the Department of Health had a program for government hospitals to train in acupuncture to be used for pain control,” he explained.
“We were about 50 doctors from all over the Philippines coming from Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao. Expert doctors from Mainland China came to give us a month-long training on TCM at the former Concord Hotel. Only 25 of us went into the practice of TCM, ” he added.
Acupuncture treatment is originally a Chinese practice of inserting the needles thru the skin at specific points to cure illnesses or to relieve pain. “Acus” means needle in Latin. Acupuncture is an English word created in the 17th century to describe a technique the Chinese have been using for the past 2,000 years.
In China today, there are many patients who go into major surgery, using only acupuncture to kill the pain and are able to recover within days. You can see a lot of YouTube movies showing patients already standing and walking after a heart operation. The results are amazing. I have seen several Korean telenovelas using acupuncture in their medical scenes as well.
Dr. Quirino treats patients from all walks of life, seeking pain management or control. He also uses TCM for post-surgery healing, migraines, frozen shoulders, gastritis, stress or depression resulting from disasters, back pains, arthritis, asthma, vertigo, tinnitus, insomnia, sciatica pain, and fertility concerns.
“Acupuncture needle treatments usually lasts for 25 to 30 minutes. Moxibustion for five minutes and cupping or ventosa for five minutes. I usually have foreigner patients during and after the Fil-Am Golf Tournaments,” says Dr. Quirino.
I am happy with this interview, alternative and acupuncture treatments are again, in the horizon.