A highly-motivated team of veterinarians, technicians, nurses and staff with a diverse range of talents and interests, combined with collective experience, knowledge and passion, enables us to provide our patients and their owners nothing but the absolute best in care and services.
THE MANAGING PARTNERS
DR. NIELSEN DONATO
Dr. Nielsen is our Chief Surgeon specializing in soft-tissue and orthopedic surgery, and is also our Avian and Exotic Animal Medicine specialist. Since graduating from De La Salle Araneta University in 1992 and then training in Singapore’s Mount Pleasant Animal Hospital for several years, he now does consultancies with numerous zoos, heads several wildlife organizations such as the Feathered Friends Foundation, owns and maintains Laguna Wildlife Park & Rescue Center in Pansol, and currently co-hosts "Born To Be Wild” on GMA-7, where he lives out his passion for wildlife advocacy.
Despite a hectic schedule, he makes it a point to spend quality time with his family, frequently travelling with his wife and daughter, and his son who is following in his footsteps and is studying to become a veterinarian himself.
DR. NICHOLAS CARPIO
Dr. Nick specializes in soft-tissue surgery, canine and feline dentistry, radiography and ultrasonography, for which fields he took post-graduate studies here and abroad, after graduating from UP-Los Baños in 2000. For two years, he worked at several animal hospitals in California such as Amar Glen Animal Clinic, Warren Animal Hospital and the LA County Shelter, and also went to Macau to become Chief Veterinarian at the Macau Veterinary Center. He has since eased up on the administrative duties he has been performing since Vets In Practice started in 2003, and focused more on his role as one of our foremost senior veterinarians.
And while Dr. Nick juggles all of this with being a passionate basketball fanatic and avid car enthusiast, he will never overlook the joys of simply spending time with his family on their farm in Lipa, Batangas during the weekend.
DR. MICHAEL VELHAGEN
After getting his degree from De La Salle Araneta University in 1992 and then training at Mount Pleasant Animal Hospital in Singapore for two years, Dr. Mike started a successful house call veterinary practice specializing in preventive and internal medicine. When Vets In Practice opened in 2003, he began dividing his time between his house calls and consultation and surgery at the hospital. He retired from full-time veterinary practice in 2009, but Dr. Mike has become a full-time consultant and has assumed administrative responsibilities for the company.
Dr. Mike spends his free time taking care of 30-odd cats and dogs in a rescue shelter he put up in Laguna, while advocating and living a healthy lifestyle, eating right, exercising regularly and indulging in the occasional spa day.
DR. MARGARITA DELA ROSA-CARPIO
After graduating from UP-Los Baños in 2000, Dr. Marga worked at the Westchester Animal Hospital in New York and Maryland Pet Hospital in Bethesda. Two years later, she flew back to Manila and became the Chief Veterinarian of the Avilon Zoo in Montalban, Rizal. Since opening VIP in 2003, she became our alternative medicine specialist, incorporating bioenergy therapy, reiki, acupressure, massage and all-natural, holistic treatments in her regular practice, leading her to spear-head VIP Pet Hotel and Wellness Center in 2010.
Embracing a fondness for the farm life, she divides her time being a doting mother to three growing kids, while fervently pursuing opportunities to combine her other two passions: children with special needs and the use of therapeutic interaction with pets, particularly horses and dogs.
DR. SIDAY PEÑARANDA
After undergoing an externship at Wildlife Safari in Oregon, and then graduating from UP-Los Baños in 2003, Dr. Siday started out as a volunteer at the first Vets In Practice in Mandaluyong, and has been with us ever since. She began work as a Junior Vet in 2004; less than three years later, in 2006, she became a Partner at Animal Care Specialists, where she is now Manager and Chief Veterinarian. In 2013, she became a Partner in VIP Quezon City. She currently heads the Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation program of our Wellness Center.
Though an ardent traveler who loves to discover and explore new places, Dr. Siday is not averse to the pleasure of coming home to a good book, and does not shy away from her responsibilities as pet parent to five dogs, eight cats and a tortoise.
DR. RICHARD ENCOMIENDA
Since getting his degree from UP-Los Baños in 2000, Dr. Richard has worked in both government and private veterinary facilities here and abroad. Before joining Vets In Practice he was the head veterinarian of Advanced Pet Clinic in Riyadh for two years. Prior to that he was a staff vet at the Subic Bay Marine Exploratorium at Ocean Adventure Marine Park, and the resident vet of Angeles Pet Care Center. Since 2012, Dr. Richard has been our House Call Vet, and in 2013 he became a Partner in VIP Quezon City where he also consults and performs surgery.
His motley crew of rescued and adopted pets (three dogs, a cat and a sugar glider) perfectly complement the diversity of his hobbies: he is an aikido practitioner, and likes to play blues and rock music on his guitar.
DR. DEXTER MERCURIO
Soon after graduating from UP-Los Banos in 2005, Dr. Dexter worked in Dr. Nielsen's Laguna Wildlife Park and Rescue Center, handling exotic animal management and rehabilitation for two years. In 2008, he began working at the Animal Medical Center in Hong Kong, performing diagnostics and managing intensive care patients. Staying there for five and a half years, he was certified by the Hong Kong Council for Vocational and Academic Qualifications. He became a Partner at VIP Quezon City in 2013, and is currently our go-to guy in cardiology and endocrinology, as well as other fields of internal medicine.
Dr. Dexter describes his young self as a weird kid who used to bring sick animals home to nurse back to health, something that he clearly (and happily) has not outgrown. His household includes a not-so-young Silky Terrier, a not-so-sane Jack Russell and a pretty smart Puspin.
DR. MARIEL FLORES
An intense passion for marine mammals led her to work for World Wildlife Fund (WWF) doing cetacean research and conservation immediately after getting her degree from UP-Los Banos in 2000. After WWF she worked at Ocean Adventure in Subic taking care of dolphins and sea lions, then widened her scope to treating companion and exotic animals in the clinic of NGO Wildlife In Need. She came on board VIP Alabang as Chief Veterinarian in 2013, and then signed on as Partner soon after. And it is with this same passion that she continues to care for her patients, and applies her skills and interests in surgery, diagnostics, palliative and preventative medicine.
Though she is still active in the drive to rescue stranded marine mammals like dolphins and dugongs, at the end of a long work day she is totally content to come home to her own menagerie of four-legged mammals which include five dogs and four cats.
DR. JAY BARTOLOME
After getting his degree from De La Salle Araneta University in 1998, Dr. Jay began honing his skills at his own private practice. Six years later, he went to Hong Kong and worked in two animal clinics for more than a decade, performing essential veterinary duties including handling emergency and critical care patients. In 2015, he came home and joined Vets In Practice as Senior Veterinarian, and just recently signed on as Partner for VIP Fort. Since then, his years of experience has led him to become an integral part of our team in the fields of emergency and critical care, soft tissue and orthopedic surgery, ultrasonography, and internal medicine.
While occasionally giving in to his musical inclinations by playing the keyboard in his leisure time, Dr. Jay considers himself a family man, cherishes his role as husband and father to two young girls, as well as furdaddy to a Chihuahua and a cat.
DR. GINA PINEDA
Happy to be called VIP's go-to Vet for Feline Medicine, Dr. Gina joined Vets In Practice immediately after graduating from De La Salle Araneta University in 2007. Since then she has undergone specialized training and workshops here and abroad under Philippine Animal Hospital Association (PAHA) and World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA). Dr. Gina has gone on to become VIP Mandaluyong's Chief Veterinarian, and her special interest in cats, not to mention her skills in diagnostics, soft-tissue surgery, emergency and critical care have made her a vital part of the Vets In Practice team.
On the side, she is a self-confessed geek – a Trekkie, a Starwoid and Ringer all at the same time (though not in that order) – her extremely diverse interests include graphic novels, musical theater, woodwork, finance and investments, restaurants and the latest gadgets.
DR. MAURICE ALCANTARA
Dr. Mau received his degree in Veterinary Medicine from UP Los Baños in 2009 and joined Vets In Practice in 2011. Often seen as one of the coolest and most energetic members of our constantly growing team, he has been doing exceptional work in soft-tissue surgery, diagnostics, emergency and critical care. However, he has become one of our top resident vets in VIP Mandaluyong, with a keen interest in wildlife and exotic animal medicine, and will often be seen examining and treating reptiles and birds.
Dr. Mau is also a Gawad Kalinga volunteer, a passionate biking enthusiast and a staunch advocate of the bike-to-work movement.
DR. JESS AYCOCHO
Dr. Jess started his veterinary career joining the Vets In Practice family almost immediately after graduating from De La Salle Araneta University in 2008. As a Junior Vet he displayed excellent skills in general canine and feline medicine, surgery and diagnostics, and in less than two years, he became part of the pioneer team that headed the opening of VIP Alabang, where he is still one of the top resident veterinarians.
When not at work, you might find Dr. Jess in a boxing gym taking some stress out on a punching bag or sparring with a partner. Otherwise, you may find him chilling out at home with his two dogs and two cats.