Joy Sy: A Chinoy Yi Sheng who has boundless love for children

Being a Pediatrician is a wonderful way to help kids in ways most people cannot. People might say this job is very difficult to handle because it can get stressful. They say there is not much room for personal time or family time, but at the end of the day, it is a rewarding experience.

“Working in pediatrics is  both interesting  and challenging. It offers so much variety that involves caring for the child as well as the entire family,” Dr Joy explains. Pediatricians enjoy a varied working life, seeing a wide range of patients from babies through to teenagers. Flexibility and adapting  quickly to different situations is often a daily requirement.


Dr. Joy Sy

This writer hasn’t met Dr. Joy in person yet, but it’s easy to realize why she’s the preferred pediatrician of many with our brief exchange of messages. For one, she’s delightful and attentive, a character that children appreciate even at a young age. 

Dr. Joy grew up in a traditional and conservative Chinese family. She fondly remembers her younger years, which she recalls is filled with plenty of enriching moments. “Like most children who grew up with parents who are business people, we were made to be “a part” of the business and were assigned specific roles and responsibilities to fulfill as early as grade school. I guess the Chinese had the perfect solution to child idleness: “You were put to work!”  Looking back I realized that working so young was a privilege. I understood and admired how my parents exemplified resilience in their quest to build a better life for us,” she shares.

When asked if she really wanted to be a doctor, Dr Joy answers with a resounding “YES”!  As early as her freshman year in High School, she already knew that her career path would be in Medicine. 

“I was very focused and determined to finish the course. It didn’t matter that the path seemed long and would take years. That never intimidated me. I just wanted to finish it as quickly as I could,” she tells CHiNOYTV.

Dr. Joy is a living example that when you set your mind to achieving something, more likely than not, you will make it. “And so, I did! I completed a three-year tri-semester undergraduate course at DLSU and finished my medical degree at the University of Santo Tomas College of Medicine and Surgery at the age of 24,” the doctor happily recalls. 

During her clerkship and internship, Dr. Joy realizes that she has a strong connection with children. It was at that moment she knew that Pediatrics would be the most fitting specialty for her. 

But Dr. Joy’s journey to becoming a licensed Pediatrician is not all rainbows and butterflies. She had her own share of struggles and challenges too.

She recalls the pains of having to deliver bad news to a parent, those sleepless nights thinking about an unusual diagnosis, and some heartbreaking losses she wants to erase from her memory forever.

Reflecting on the wisdom of the Chinese proverb: “Water droplets pierce stone, rope saws cut wood,”  Dr. Joy learned the value of patience and perseverance, which helped her power through her YiSeng journey.

“Studying to be a doctor can be very tedious. It takes so much hard work, focus, grit, and persistence. To finish the course well, you need those to withstand pressure emotionally and mentally,” she says, adding that the Chinese values she mentioned have molded her into the kind of doctor she is today. 

As of this writing, Dr. Joy Sy has been an active consultant of Cardinal Santos Medical Center’s Department of Pediatrics for over 20 years.

On what gives her “joy”

As a pediatrician, Dr. Joy finds great delight in her everyday encounter with the little ones. She considers the birth of a child as one of the most profound and wonderful experiences shared with parents.

“Being present in the Delivery Room to witness and celebrate the birth of a newborn baby gives so much joy! It is a present-day miracle, a beginning of limitless possibilities, of hope and wonder,” she expresses.“In addition, the privilege of caring for these children from birth until the teenage years makes our profession even  more extraordinary!”

“Remembering each child’s developmental milestones such as their first word, their first steps, and getting to celebrate birthdays and graduation with the family are some of the most precious and unforgettable moments of my life!” the proud doctor expounds.

Life during COVID-19

The global pandemic has definitely shaken things up in the healthcare industry. For pediatrics, telemedicine provided an alternative for face-to-face clinic consults. 

Even while staying home during the community quarantine, patients still get the care they need while avoiding the risk of exposure and the chances of passing illnesses on to someone else.

“When you are able to see your doctor as soon as, and as often as you need to, without the challenges of getting into the office at this time of the pandemic, your needs will be efficiently addressed and medication better managed.”

Aside from regular clinic days at Cardinal Santos Medical Center and teleconsultations, Dr. Joy also conducts home care for well-baby visits and routine immunizations. 

“Understanding the difficulty and the uncertainties that lie ahead, we continue to “pivot”, innovate new ways to allow access to medical care a little bit easier for our patients.”

Kid’s love language

“In this digital age, there’s nothing I treasure most than receiving a good old-fashioned letter- especially when it’s written by a child. Because when kids try their hands at love notes, the result is nothing short of magical,” Dr. Joy shares.

Leila described Dr. Joy as a “kind” and “very good doctor” /Photo from @the.kidsDoc on Instagram

According to her, compliments like this from her patients keep her going in doing what she does, despite the challenges brought by the pandemic. Instagram “On difficult days, it’s good to be reminded of my “whys.” Thank you, Leila. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect!” Dr. Joy wrote in the caption when she shared the card from Leila.


Another letter from a grateful patient Bethany /Photo from @the.kidsDoc on Instagram

“I hope you will not be tired [of] helping people’s lives, which you did to Ape who was sick. I love you, Doctor Joy!” Bethany says in the letter. During these trying times, children can remind us of the little things that mean the most—one of which is to stay thankful.

The #1CH1NOY campaign aims to spotlight modern Chinoys who showcase the Chinoy cultural values, especially those who embody “Chinese by blood, Filipino by heart.” For Dr. Joy, her Chinese ancestry and heritage, the traditional values, celebrations, and traditions deeply embedded in her family have always been her pride.

“At the same time, I fully embrace the vibrancy of Filipino Culture in all aspects of life. The warmth, the genuine hospitality, the “malasakit” [care], the feeling of community, faith, and optimism,” Dr. Joy adds.

“Children are a gift from the Lord; they are a reward from him.” – Psalm 127:3

If you dream of pursuing a career in medicine or any other path, Dr. Joy wants to share two biblical principles she considers her favorite life verses. First  is Colossians 3:23, which says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as though you were working for the Lord and not for people.” Second is Proverbs 3:6, “In everything you do, put God first, and He will direct you and crown your efforts with success.” 

For young Chinoys who dream of pursuing the same path as Dr. Joy, she gives this simple advice: “ Whatever direction you decide to take in this lifetime, what’s important is you make an impact in your chosen field. At the end of the day, what matters most to me is making a difference in a child’s life!”

Feliz Lucas’ children

For Dr. Joy, her patients are her North Star. “They are my WHY, my purpose, and passion, the very heart of what I do!  And the big bonus? Parents who eventually become friends and family to us.” she concludes. 

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