Back in the 1980s, plastic surgery to help enhance one’s looks had yet to become mainstream in the country. So if you felt you had to undergo one, you implored your doctor to do it hush-hush, unless you risk being frowned upon by a generally judgmental world.
But times have changed. Many people nowadays are more accepting and open-minded about going under the knife in enhancing one’s physical appearance, and Dr. Eric “Yappy” Yapjuangco is one of the names in the Philippines who is trusted by many when it comes to plastic surgery. An online awareness campaign #proudretokada is even circulating online with Chie Filomeno and Arci Munoz proudly flaunting their enhanced features.
Before Eric became “Doc Yappy”—a name he prefers his patients and friends to call him—he made sure that he earned all the credentials to assure would-be patients going under the knife that they’re in safe, competent, and experienced hands.
Doc Yappy finished Medicine at the University of the East Ramon Magsaysay. Previous to that, he graduated with a BS Medical Technology degree at the University of Santo Tomas. After his training in general surgery at the Makati Medical Center, he went on to complete his training in plastic surgery under the Consortium I Programme of the Philippine Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (PAPRAS).
After 14 years of rigorous study, Eric is now a board-certified plastic surgeon performing all types of plastic surgery at The Icon Clinic, his modern, standalone clinic in the heart of San Juan, where he has been practicing for more than 10 years now, and will likely be doing so for another 10 years, he says, maybe more.
“I’ve been working as a plastic surgeon for a decade now. But if not for my passion for service, I wouldn’t have lasted this long,” Eric declares. For those who dream of pursuing the same path as Doc Yappy has, listen to his advice: “If your main motivation to be in this business is solely money, and not service to others, trust me, you’re not going to last long.”
He also notes that like most professions, the longer you are in the practice of plastic surgery, the better you become. “It’s a slow process, so you must really love what you’re doing. Of course, the competence should always be there,” Eric adds.
Building an “icon”
According to the young-looking doctor, he didn’t have a considerable marketing budget to promote The Icon Clinic when he was starting in the early 2000s. But he saw an opportunity on the Internet to create positive buzz, as social media then was starting to become more influential and a growing constant fixture in almost everyone’s lives.
“I can’t pay a person to show off my results,” Eric reminisces, “so, I used Facebook and Instagram to show before and after photos of patients who underwent my procedures.”
To this day, Doc Yappy continues to proudly and confidently promote his clinic and services on social media. In the process, his efforts have drawn more than 196,000 online followers and counting. It was only a matter of time before this growing online following find their way at The Icon Clinic’s front door.
Some personalities who have shown positive reviews for The Icon Clinic are content creator Toni Fowler, actresses Vina Morales and Aiko Melendez.
These days, The Icon Clinic offers almost all forms of plastic surgery. Two of its most in-demand procedures are Rhinoplasty, a plastic surgery performed to enhance the nose, and the Brazilian Butt Lift, a procedure which makes use of a person’s excess body fat that’s extracted through liposuction and reinserted, this time in the butt, to give the patient’s posterior more oomph through added volume.
According to the plastic surgeon, by having certain body parts enhanced, his patients see themselves in a different and better light, which eventually leads to improved self-esteem. When patients decide to address their physical insecurities by going under the knife, more often than not, they soon reap the rewards by getting better job opportunities. Apart from their improved physical appearance, Eric attributes such a welcome development in boosting his former patients’ confidence.
Here are some of Doc Yappy’s masterpieces:
“Even after years of doing this, I still experience goosebumps every time I share stories of my patients. Their triumphs are like my own. They make me feel fulfilled,” adds Eric.
Aside from Eric’s countless successful procedures, he takes pride in The Icon Clinic’s staff and the way they handle patients from the moment they enter the premises until they’re done with their last session. “The Icon Clinic has operated for a decade now because we are patient-centered and service-oriented,” he explains. “I regularly tell my staff that our patients are our priority and that they should be treated as a family. Once they step through our door, they should feel at home with us.”
Into the new normal
The Icon Clinic, alongside other supposedly non-essential businesses, has been greatly affected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
While almost everyone is slowly adapting to a new normal under the government-mandated general community quarantine, The Icon Clinic isn’t in any rush. “We’re taking it one day at a time. We collect all possible guidelines from PAPRAS and even from the American Society of Plastic Surgeons on how to reopen the clinic safely for both our employees and patients,” Eric assures.
The Icon Clinic has recently reopened, but its operations are still manned by a skeleton force. “We have been stringently following generally accepted health guidelines in the clinic such as the wearing of PPE and N95 masks, stocking up on sanitation products, and conducting rapid swab tests for patients before they come to the clinic,” shares Eric.
As the CEO of The Icon Clinic, Doc Yappy also makes sure that his employees get enough support during this global crisis. “We just try to make it easy for our employees,” Eric continues. “We give them their salaries on time, for instance. We will also endeavor to provide them with shuttle services and accommodations until this pandemic is over.”
From a single employee during its inception to 30 employees today, Eric continues to position The Icon Clinic as the go-to aesthetic clinic for both men and women by constantly upgrading the clinic’s state-of-the-art beauty machines as well as training and retraining staff. All these are done, of course, in the hopes of further expanding The Icon Clinic’s reach.
Now, how to be an icon, you ask? Most of us will probably never know, but Doc Yappy is more than willing to tell you how.
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