Raymund (Munich) Augustus Ortiz Conlu, M.D. is the Medical Director of PET-CT Center at Centuria Medical Center in Makati, Chairman of Nuclear Medicine at both The Health Centrum in Roxas City and St. Paul’s Hospital in Iloilo, Nuclear Medicine Consultant at Lung Center of the Philippines, Chairman of Radiology at Clinica Caritas in Makati and Consultant of Nuclear Medicine and Radiology at Philippine Heart Center in Quezon City. Dr. Conlu continues to be affiliated with St. Luke’s Medical Center at both the Global City and Quezon City locations as Consultant for the Nuclear Medicine and PET Department and PET-CT Center, respectively. He was also Chairman of the Board of Examiners for the Philippine Specialty Board of Nuclear Medicine in 2016. Dr. Conlu is widely respected in his profession and is considered one of the top nuclear medicine specialists in the country.
Why did you choose to become a doctor?
Munich: I was inspired by my lolo (Jesus Ortiz) and uncle (Rustico B. Ortiz) who were both doctors. I thought then that if I didn’t become a doctor, there would be no doctor in the family from my generation.
How young were you when you realized you wanted to become a doctor of medicine?
Munich: Just right before graduation from high school. I was senior high school in the seminary and I felt I wasn’t called for the priesthood….it was then that I realized I wanted to be a doctor.
What is your specialty?
Munich: I am double-boarded, meaning I have two specialties. One is Radiology, the other is Nuclear Medicine. I practice Nuclear Medicine more than Radiology. I’m focused on cancer imaging using the Positron Emission Tomography or PET scanning.
Where did you do your residency training after graduation from med school?
Munich: I did my residency training at the Philippine Heart Center, after which I did my post-graduate fellowship training in Perth, Australia sometime in the early 2000s. I had numerous shorter training courses in different countries including France, Germany, Singapore, the United States, among others.
What did you learn from each of the countries you mentioned that has made a deep impression on you?
Munich: While I got to acquire knowledge and skills pertaining to Nuclear Medicine during my stint abroad, being in different countries for certain periods of time allowed me to learn different cultures, soak in the local vibe, talk to locals and do as the locals do. All these experiences have broadened my cultural, intellectual, and spiritual education. There’s a saying in Latin – “Non scholae sed vitae discimus”- We do not learn for school but for life.
What are your fond memories growing up in Capiz?
Munich: Capiz will be forever home. That’s where a big part of my heart is. I actually haven’t left Capiz. I fly to Roxas as often as I can. So many fond memories… every person, every place, every structure, every event happening, all these have been part of my childhood, even up to now. The beach is everything to me. Baybay is paradise. Frequent gathering of friends, family and relatives during my younger years are greatly missed. We still gather, but not as often as in the past. The simplicity and sweetness of life in Capiz would always tell us that life doesn’t have to be complicated to be beautiful.
ou are now semi-retired. Why did you opt to retire at the peak of your career?
Munich: After many years of practice, I just decided to slow down, hence the term “semi-retired”. I’m still currently doing the work that I love, but in a more relaxed pace. I gave up my hospital work in Metro Manila. Instead, I run my own stand-alone Cancer Imaging (PET-CT Center) Center in Makati. Because of this, I now have more time to practice in Capiz. I am currently the head of Nuclear Medicine at The Health Centrum Hospital in Roxas City as well as the head of the Nuclear Medicine Department of St. Paul’s Hospital of Iloilo. So there, it is not really a true retirement but devoting more time for Capiz.
What are the challenges you face as Director of the Cancer Imaging Center?
Munich: All challenges and difficulties, to me, are a state of mind. I always keep these personal beliefs in mind: Live life to the full. Born free. Live free.
Don’t sweat the small stuff; everything is small stuff.
You love to travel with your family. What’s on your bucket list?
Munich: Definitely Hawaii for a month and Roxas City for eternity.
Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
Munich: This is where I see myself many years from now…. more time in Roxas City, less in Manila.
About the author: Charie Albar is a travel writer and lifestyle blogger. She is the founder of Balay niCharie Foundation, a grassroots organization that gives school supplies to the children in Capiz. She divides her time between Capiz and California. Check out her blog, travelswithcharie.com.
Conversation with a Capizeño is a series of interviews with Capizeños who have made a difference in their community.