Dr. Bernardo Reyes started as a consultant at the Robert Oca Worker’s Clinic in 1982. 

Throughout nearly four decades with the Seaman’s Hospital, Dr. Bernardo Reyes, of the Department of Surgery, has gathered countless memories. One that will forever stand out for him though, is Capt. Gregorio Oca’s attention to cleanliness and to details. “You would find him running his hands over tabletops and cabinets,” relates Dr. Reyes, “[He would check] if they had been properly cleaned. If not, you had better be ready to do something about it! While this is a seemingly simple act, it speaks of a man for whom no detail is ever too small to improve or make better.”

This work ethic is something that Dr. Reyes tries to embody and pass on to the next generation of doctors, and something that he is proud of, “Working with the staff and my contemporaries, being able to help our younger doctors and see them do well, improving my skills as a surgeon—I have been quite fortunate to contribute to AMOSUP’s legacy as the only hospital dedicated to providing top-quality, free and accessible medical care for the seafarers.”

Indeed, the Seaman’s Hospital, which started as the Roberto Oca Worker’s Clinic, has grown from a 50-bed clinic to a tertiary hospital with state-of-the facilities. And the drive behind that was Capt. Oca’s heart for the seafarers. “[Capt. Oca] was all heart [when it came] to the Pinoy seafarers. He told us to take care of them and their families.,” shares Dr. Reyes. “That’s why I tell my patients that they are very lucky, since [this] is the only hospital that can [handle your medical needs] for free; even your families’. So avail of the [services] of the hospital.”

Dr. Reyes also makes sure that the younger doctors have empathy for the seafarers as well. “Be considerate and try to understand what [seafarers] do, and [what they go through]. Their families are here, and they’re abroad.”

Gleaning from the wisdom earned from his 38 years of service at the Seaman’s Hospital, Dr. Reyes offers these final words of advice to the seafarers themselves: “ The seafaring profession is a challenging one, but if one puts in the work (as with most situations in life), then success is within reach. Of course, this determination to succeed should also mean being physically and mentally strong. So please heed the advice of one of the most tenured doctors here—always take care of your overall health!”

That’s one detail everyone should not miss. 

Rheea Hermoso-Prudente

Rheea loves words, food, books, travel,  paper, and water in any form (though not necessarily in that order). She recently moved up to the foggy mountains of Baguio with her husband, two daughters, and portly cat. She homeschools her kids, and dreams of making a go at homesteading.