Legazpi Eye Center

How Dr. Rollo and Dr. Rosita Milante Built Legazpi Eye Center in 1994 From Scratch and the Challenges They Faced

Dr. Rollo and Dr. Rosita Milante

In the vast landscape of healthcare, there are individuals who go above and beyond to serve and empower their community. In 1994, Dr. Rollo and Dr. Rosita Milante embarked on a journey to establish Legazpi Eye Center, an exceptional eye care facility in the Bicol Region. Their mission was to provide the highest level of quality eye care to Bicolanos with state-of-the-art technologies and solutions. This blog explores their inspiring story, the challenges they faced, and their unwavering commitment to the community.

Legazpi Eye Center Building

The Birth of Legazpi Eye Center

Driven by a deep-rooted desire to serve their fellow Bicolanos, Dr. Rollo and Dr. Rosita Milante set out to establish Legazpi Eye Center, a comprehensive eye care facility that would be accessible to all Bicolanos. Their vision was to bring cutting-edge technologies and top-notch services within reach for everyone in the region. Dr. Rollo’s extensive background in ophthalmology and his practice in Manila provided the foundation for this endeavor, ensuring that the Center would have access to the latest advancements in the field. However, as all journeys start, the two visionaries had to stumble first before reaching success.


Overcoming Financial Challenges

Building an exceptional eye care center from scratch is not without its challenges. One of the initial hurdles they faced was securing the necessary capital to establish Legazpi Eye Center’s facilities. Ophthalmic instruments and equipment are costly, and acquiring them posed a significant financial burden. In addition, the maintenance of the instruments and equipment presented ongoing financial challenges as suppliers who were often based in Manila charged higher prices for their remote operations. To overcome this obstacle,  Dr. Rollo and Dr. Rosita sought financial support from their families who believed in their mission. Their determination to provide the best eye care to the community spurred them to find innovative solutions to these constraints.

Striving for Work-Life Balance

As they continue building Legazpi Eye Center, they wanted it to stay connected with the latest advancements in the field. Hence, Dr. Rollo continued his practice in Manila while simultaneously managing the Center. This arrangement required sacrifices in terms of work-life balance, as Dr. Rollo would travel back and forth between Manila and Legazpi, spending half of each month away from his family. While Dr. Rollo is away, Dr. Rosita’s immense support and administration skills played a crucial role in managing the Center and their children. The couple’s unwavering dedication and the support of their families allowed them to navigate these challenges, ensuring the smooth operation and growth of Legazpi Eye Center.


Embracing Innovation and Continuous Learning

Despite the challenges in work-life balance, Dr. Rollo saw the value of staying updated with the latest treatments and technologies in the field. Attending ophthalmic and optical conventions abroad, the couple seized the opportunity to bring cutting-edge advancements back to Legazpi Eye Center. This commitment to continuous learning and innovation ensured that the center could provide the best possible care to their patients, constantly evolving to meet the ever-changing needs of the community. But as one of the first eye care facilities in the region, they had to make sure the Center was properly introduced to the community so they can provide the best eye care that Bicolanos deserve. 


Addressing the Community’s Awareness and Perception

One of the significant hurdles that the Center faced was the community’s lack of awareness about the role of ophthalmologists. People still often associated eye care with EENT (eyes, ears, nose, throat) specialists even though they were already separate fields. To bridge this gap, Dr. Rollo and Dr. Rosita actively engaged with the community through medical missions. By personally connecting with the people and educating them about the benefits of specialized eye care, they successfully raised awareness and transformed the perception of eye health in the region. After more than 25 years, Legazpi Eye Center is the go-to eye care facility of nearly all Bicolanos and its evolution continues as they bring in new perspectives.

Images of Chief Medical Officer for Quality Dr. Rachel Milante, Chief Medical Officer for Growth Dr. Rainier Milante, and Chief Operating Officer Richard Milante, MBA.

The Next Generation

To ensure the continued growth and success of Legazpi Eye Center, Dr. Rollo and Dr. Rosita brought in their children, who gained valuable experience outside the family business before joining them. Dr. Rachel Milante completed her Residency in Ophthalmology at St. Luke’s Medical Center, and furthered her specialization as a distinguished Fellow in Pediatric Ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins University in the United States. On the other hand, Dr. Rainier Milante completed his Residency in Ophthalmology at East Avenue Medical Center and is currently pursuing a Certificate in Leadership in Medicine for Southeast Asia at the esteemed Harvard School of Medicine. Lastly,  Richard Milante, MBA, completed a Bachelor of Science in Management Engineering at Ateneo de Manila University and Master of Business Administration with a Health Sector Management Certificate at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business in the United States. Each of them continues to contribute their expertise as the executive committee of Legazpi Eye Center, bringing fresh perspectives while honoring the legacy established by their parents.

The journey of Dr. Rollo and Dr. Rosita Milante in building Legazpi Eye Center from scratch is a testament to their unwavering commitment to serving the people of the Bicol Region. Their perseverance, innovation, and dedication to excellence transformed a vision into reality, leaving behind a lasting legacy in the field of eye care. Legazpi Eye Center stands as a beacon of hope, providing top-notch eye care to all Bicolanos for more than 25 years.

Legazpi Eye Center