Profiles, Stories

Dr. James Dy: The Entrepreneur With A Heart To Help

Over the years, Dr. James Dy accumulated success in various fields and industries, owning and heading companies like Dyna Music & Drugs, Universal Records, PolyEast Records, Eagle Electric, and Pan Pacific Travel Corporation, but Dy always knew he wanted to help those who needed it the most. This led to him becoming more active in philanthropy, eventually heading the Philippine-Chinese Charitable Association Inc. (PCCAI) and the Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center (CGH).


Growing up in World War II during the Japanese occupation, Dy was inspired by his Chinese immigrant parents, who worked hard to provide for him and his eight siblings. Following the Liberation, he went back to school, and, if he had spare time, he worked for his father’s store. He grew up to become his general manager when he was 26, before leaving his family business to set up Dyna Music, which grew to become at one point one of the biggest record labels in the Philippines, as it distributed the music of The Beatles, ABBA, and The Platters and released the music of Jose Mari Chan, Martin Nievera, and Gary Valenciano. Dy founded Dyna Music due to his passion and love for music, as he was also a saxophone and harmonica player.

After Dyna’s success, Dy diversified into different industries, such as electrical, travel, hotels, machines, and pharmaceuticals, with the latter planting the seeds to his shift in focus to heading CGH. “As a businessman, if you have a family, you think of them first, how to subsidize the expenses for them. If you make it, then I tell people, do not put your eggs in one basket. The moment you drop it, all your eggs are gone. When you make something successful, you start diversifying to other ventures,” he explains.

Despite hitting it big as a businessman and entrepreneur, Dy had always wanted to be a philanthropist, especially as he sees impoverished people in the streets. “My way of thinking is ‘If you make something, you give it to society,’” he shared, “That’s why I decided to run the hospital, so I can help people. For more than 30 years, that is my way of helping poor people. For those who cannot afford [it], we conduct medical missions in their areas. Whenever there is calamity in our country, I am there.” He also recounted a story of helping Porac earthquake survivors by offering free artificial limbs and employment if they are denied due to their conditions.

When he first became part of the Board of Directors at CGH, he implemented expansions in the hospital, especially in CGH, which was not only around since the Spanish occupation but was also one of the first major Chinese-Filipino organizations that was established. He is proud of CGH’s history, recounting every major milestone from memory even before he became part of the organization. He eventually was promoted several times until he became the president and CEO of the hospital in 1989. More expansions and newer medical equipment were supplied to CGH, as he believes that “If you want to maintain good doctors in the hospital, you must have good equipment. When you have good equipment, you must have good doctors. It compensates each other.” One of the newest contributions that he developed was CGH’s new and revamped College of Medicine, which opened in October 2018.

He still maintains being a major executive and board member in his owned companies, who are now run by people he trusts, including his family. However, his main priority is still CGH and its College of Nursing and Medicine. He is also the Philippine Red Cross governor and national treasurer, which adds to his services in humanitarian work and enables him to purchase some of the PRC’s blood banks to donate to CGH. In addition to that, he helps the CGH’s mission to go around provinces in the Philippines to help impoverished people by providing free checkups, medicine, and even minor operations.

Taken from Philippine Red Cross

“Nothing comes easy [in] this world. If you want something, you have to work hard [and] work for it. After schooling, you should start working already,” he advises young people today. “When you work after school, when you reach 45 up to 50, if you have not achieved anything yet…you still have a chance, but the chance is very slim already,” he shares, comparing it to a tide of water: “No matter how high the water goes, it will go down.”

“Save for rainy season. Not every day is a holiday,” he quotes as a metaphor for saving up after achieving success in business. “Save for rainy season, so that someday, when you want to do something, you have the capital to run your business.”

Despite being in the advanced age of 90, he has no plans of retiring. “If I retire, I cannot help people. Maybe I’ve resided to continue charitable works until my last breath. [While] I’m still able to handle it, I would like to continue [them],” he assures, but “I’m training some young people now in the organization, so when I’m gone, they can succeed me in what I’m doing.”

If you want to learn more about this Chinoy, watch his extended CHiNOY Profiles here!

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