A typical weekend for Filipinos consists of hearing mass, spending time with the family, and other relaxing and recreational activities. However, for the people of “Salamat Dok!,” ABS-CBN’s multi-awarded educational-public service program, Saturdays and Sundays are spent to serve the people.
Now on its 12th year, one of the longest-running current affairs shows on Philippine TV continues to help ensure the good health and wellness of the Filipino family with informative and relevant features and interviews in the program. Airing every Saturday and Sunday morning on ABS-CBN, the country’s leading media and entertainment company, it is able to reach, inform, and educate millions of Filipinos nationwide.
Moreover, for over a decade, the show has also reached and served thousands of Filipinos directly, through medical missions which happen every week on Sundays inside the ABS-CBN compound, while the program is airing live, and in their special medical missions in baranggays in and out of the metro. Partnering with other organizations, “Salamat Dok!” is able to provide free medical services to our indigent countrymen. They were even there in the aftermath of Yolanda.
However, one does not have to look far to meet people whose lives have been touched by the program as its own hosts – Bernadette Sembrano, Alvin Elchico, and Jing Castaneda – have all been blessed by the show.
Bernadette stressed that being host of the show, her eyes have been opened to different health benefits and hazards, and how they are important to each and every one of us. She recounted her own battle with Bell’s Palsy, how in one episode of the show they were discussing the illness, which helped her realize she had been exhibiting symptoms already. It made her more conscious about her health. Suddenly, it became more personal.
“Ang daming natututunan (on the show). Hindi lang ang mga viewers ang natututo, kundi kami ring mga host. Not a lot of Filipinos have resources to get to doctors. The show is empowering our kababayans who will not bother to visit the doctors unless it’s really, really life-changing, (the show) makes them take care of themselves better,” she explained.
Alvin, meanwhile, initially found himself in an unfamiliar territory when he was asked to be part of the program in 2011, as he had been accustomed to doing documentaries and special reports. Yet, he said, it was just a matter of time for him to imbibe the purpose and objectives of the program. “Eventually, health issues and public service became a normal thing to me,” he said.
While he enjoys every minute he has spent in the show, there was one time that really stood out as a special memory for him, the time when the whole program trooped to the Visayas in the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda.
“We stayed there for more than a week and as other journalists would say, we were shocked by the degree of destructions in the provinces we visited. Giving them food and medicines was one of best thing I’ve ever done in my life. It feels good to serve our Kapamilyas,” he said.
Meanwhile, Castaneda cherishes her role in the show, especially as she is a mother who has a family to care for. She said being a mom has guided her in how to take on the segments assigned to her. “Family health issues were what I was able to help out early on, just like a Payong Kapamilya, being a mom and all that,(we tackled) not just physical well-being but also emotional, spiritual, then later on, narrowed down to a family’s physical health. It greatly helped in my personal advocacy, since everything starts with the family,” she shared.
She shared how doing a segment in the show called “Ano’ng Ulam,” where they feature healthy recipes, has helped her teach her kids to eat nutritious food. “Minsan nag-uuwi ako ng mga niluluto namin, talagang nagugustuhan nila. Mas pinipili pa nila ang gulay kaysa karne,” she said about her children, aged 12, 10, and 7. She also relishes the chance to touch base with the people during medical missions. “Iba yung dating ‘pag ABS-CBN at “Salamat Dok!” yung pumupunta sa mgaareas for medical missions, dinudumog talaga,” she shared.
Other segments in the show that can really help mothers like her keep the family healthy and happy together a Pasyal, where they visit places families can go to relax, Food Trip, where they scour the metro for healthy food places, Cure Mula sa Nature, where they discuss health remedies using things from the nature, among many others.
One segment that can truly bring life-changing results is the Doctor is Out, where Salamat Dok’s band of doctors visit and treat the patients in the comfort of their home. Last April 3, the doctors were out with the whole “Salamat Dok!” team as the program embarked on a massive medical mission in Candaba, Pampanga where they offered a wide range of services for the people in the area, one of the most affected by El Nino. It was like they brought the hospital to Candaba as they provided various medical tests, minor surgeries, and free medicines. Expectant parents were even given the chance to avail of a service only rich people could afford, as “Salamat Dok!” and its partners brought 5-D ultrasound, the most modern ultrasound service where you can actually see the face, umbilical cord, and the whole body of the baby.
“Salamat Dok!” airs on ABS-CBN, ABS-CBN HD (SkyCable ch 167) every Saturday and Sunday. Catch up via or iwantv.com.ph or skyondemand.com.ph for Sky subscribers. For updates, follow and visit www.facebook.com/ABSCBNSalamatDok or www.twitter.com/SalamatDok.