By Henni Espinosa, ABS-CBN North America Bureau

Apr 4, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO – The spirit of bayanihan , the innate initiative of helping others, has always been a part of Dr. Carmelo Roco’s life.

Carmelo, 57, was born in Manila in 1955.

When he was in elementary school, he became involved with the boy scouts and volunteered at a drug rehab facility when he was in his teens.

This inspired him to take up medicine at the University of the East in the Philippines. He became a doctor in 1980.
“It gives me happiness when I see my patients get well, become healthy. It keeps me going,” he said.

Carmelo moved to the U.S. with his family and began his practice here in 1992, with a specialization in Internal Medicine.

Nick Rivera, 76 and Nieves de la Cruz, 75, have been longtime patients of Carmelo.

“He’s a good person. He focuses well on his patients’ needs,” Rivera said.

“Even when his patients don’t have money, he will still care for them. He treats us like family,” De la Cruz added.

They said Carmelo would even go out of his way to drive them to the hospital or to their homes.

Besides being a beloved doctor, Carmelo is also a leader among doctors. He was president of the Philippine Medical Society of Northern California and for 20 years now, has led medical missions to the Philippines with his wife, Bernadette, a nurse.

During calamities, the Rocos would come home to distribute medicine and care.

“It’s important for us to share our blessings here in the U.S. to our fellow Filipinos who need help back home. That’s the true meaning of success for us,” Bernadette said.

For his valuable work in the community, Carmelo has been recognized by the City of San Francisco and by the Philippine government.

Carmelo believes that going above and beyond his call of duty is a reward in itself.

“I’ve learned so much helping other people too. It’s made me who I am,” said Carmelo.

If you know of any other inspiring Filipinos like Dr. Carmelo Roco, you may tell us about him or her by calling (650) 508-6137 or emailing

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  • Ellen Pedronan
    13 August 2013 at 1:07 am - Reply

    We need more kababayans like him . But some Filipinos here in the States try to put our country down . We should be a part of the solution to our country’s problems specially social issues . Hands off to you Dr Roco .