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“The Friendly Doctor”

                 Whenever the name Dr. Noli Fortades is mentioned, it rings a bell to most Buluseños especially those who know him personally or even those who have only heard about him.

                He is equally popular among his peers in the medical profession in the provinces of Albay and Sorsogon and in other social circles that he is in.  He is also close to people from all walks of life and is well loved by his patients at his clinic in Legaspi City.

                It’s all because he is very pleasant to talk with, has always a ready smile for everyone, charming and accommodating.  They feel at ease and comfortable with him as he is a real gentleman and a very friendly doctor.

                Although an EENT specialist, Dr. Fortades does not charge exorbitant fee like other doctors with the same expertise.  For Buluseños, consultation with him is free and even to others who really cannot afford due to extreme poverty but in need of his services.

                What endears him more to others is his sincerity and honesty in dealing with people - rich or poor, professional or not.  Despite his social prominence, he is an epitome of humility and has deep concern for the masses.

                This is proven by his regular attendance in the yearly civic action in Bulusan.  Despite the long distance that he has to travel from Legaspi City, he does not mind it at all.  It's because he knows his indigent townmates are anxiously waiting for him.  They are in need of his services.

                Dr. Fortades is not only concerned for the health of his kababayans.  It is also his earnest desire to improve the lives of families in far-flung barangays who are wallowing in poverty.  To help alleviate their situations, he sends their talented children to college in Legaspi City so they could support their families when they become professionals.

                He has his way of support them in their pursuit of higher education without making them totally dependent on him, thus enabling them to finish their courses with dignity.  He takes them in as household and clinic assistants while he shoulders all their expenses in school and other allowances.  Once they have graduated and have found jobs fitting for their professions, he lets go of them. Then he takes in another batch of high school graduates from the poorest of the poor families.  As of now, he has already made many professionals in the fields of engineering, architecture, education, accountancy, and other courses.

                His generosity does not end there.  He is always in full support of the projects being undertaken in his home barangay of Buhang, Bulusan.  To further help in their fundraising in the benefit dance during their fiesta celebration which is usually done in pompous style, he declines the free entrance at the gate given as a matter of courtesy to him.  Instead, he does not only pay for his ticket but also for his friends who could not get in because of the high-ticket cost.  Not only do his  friends enjoy the free entrance but also their tables, drinks, pulutans, and the hug and dance with the sexy ladies around.

                Despite the high admiration accorded to him by different sectors of the society, it never made him swellheaded.  Dr. Fortades remains a very simple and humble man.  With such admirable qualities in him, he was an excellent material for an elective position in the government during his younger years.  But no amounts of proddings from known political leaders could convince him to enter the political ring.  Had he consented to run for public office then, most probably he would now be holding a high position as a public servant.  But then again, politics is not really his cup of tea.

                Dr. Fortades could have made himself a rich man if he took advantage of his profession as an EENT specialist and thought only of himself and his family.  But, to accumulate wealth at the expense of the people he has sworn to serve is farthest from his mind.  To him, whatever little thing that comes to him is a blessing from God which should be shared with others especially those who have less in life to improve their living conditions.

                His attitude has alrady been like this ever since childhood.  His friends could not come up with any negative comments about him.  They say he was already very friendly even to new acquaintances.  Although he belonged to a well-off family in their barangay, he has shown already his closeness to his poor playmates.

                Though he is popularly known as Noli, his real name is Elino - the second child of the late couple Mr. Pedro Fortades, a public school teacher, and the former Sophia Guysayko, both of Barangay Buhang.  He is married to the former Marisol Arnedo of Sorsogon City, a nurse now based in the USA.  The couple has five children:  Minerva, a doctor of optometry; Marita, a doctor of medicine; Raul, a medical technologist; Rommel, a civil engineer with a master's degree in civil engineering; and Marian Grace, a nurse.

                If only people with the same stature as Dr. Fortades would adopt his principles and philosophy in life, there will be no peace and order problems in our community which are mainly caused by greed for power and wealth.

                To DR. NOLI G. FORTADES, we salute you.  You are a rare breed of a man who will leave a very wonderful legacy truly worth emulating by the generations yet to come.

Vol. XVI No.2 (March  - April 2004)

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