"Hello Marlou! Can I see you
today in the clinic around 3pm?"
This was the first text exchange between Marlou and Dr. Eric “Doc Yappy” Yapjuangco in March. It was the sort of inquiry that Doc Yappy would usually get on a typical day at his Icon Clinic. And like all other patients, Doc Yappy’s standard procedure was to schedule an appointment at the clinic.
“Sa totoo lang, hindi ko siya kilala until I met him at the clinic,” remembers Doc Yappy. “It turned out that Marlou had some friends who were my clients, he saw the results, and that was why he presented himself. Hindi namin iniisip noon na magiging viral ito.”
By then, it had been a week after “Xander Ford” was first revealed on Rated K, on October 1, Sunday. Social media instantly went nuts after that episode with people’s feeds flooded with before-and-after photos of Marlou Arizala, Hasht5 member, and this stranger that wasn’t quite yet K-Pop star but looked like he was preparing for it, Xander Ford.
Dr. Samuel Eric C. Yapjuangco, 43, is the CEO and chief plastic surgeon of his own Icon Clinic. He took his med proper at UERMMMC. After med school, he practiced general surgery at the Makati Med, then specialized in plastic surgery under Consortium 1 Makati Med. In 2011, he put up Icon Clinic.
Before Xander Ford, you would not have heard of Doc Yappy because he did not have any high profile patients like the other more prominent figures in the business. “Apart from the fact that I couldn’t afford celebrity endorsers, I still had to prove myself in the industry.”
In fact, Doc Yappy first came to the public’s attention with a tragedy: Last March, 29-year-old Shiryl Saturnino died of complications following a liposuction procedure at Icon Clinic. Doc Yappy was the attending surgeon. The case is still pending in court.
In this FHM exclusive, Doc Yappy talks about the highs and lows of his line of work. “Typical day in the office ang Xander Ford procedure. We do it every day, on real people.” In the end, Doc Yappy is a plastic surgeon, and it’s his job to fix faces.
Tell us about that first meeting at the clinic.
Consultation na yun, kasi finally I saw him na already. This was sometime in July na. Dun na ako nag-assess sa kanya. I said to him, ‘hindi pwedeng nose lang, kailangan mo rin sa chin, to give balance to your face.’ And then skin care—kasi ang daming acne scars eh, so we had to fix that also, magme-makeover tayo, So after we had the usual pre-op diagnostics—yung mga CBC, chest X-ray, ECG—he was cleared, and then we scheduled him for an operation.
When you do these procedures, do you start out sketching first, like an artist, so you can see how you want the face to look like after?
No, I don’t. I guess it comes with experience. Habang dumadami ginagawa mo parang nasasanay ka na rin. So nung nakita ko siya [Marlou] I know na that for him to look good he would need this kind of chin and that kind of nose.
But were you able to visualize how Marlou’s face would turn out after? Did he give you a peg?
Sort of. Wala siyang binigay na peg. I just did what I normally do. I was just going with my imagination. I actually based it on the name he said he wanted—Xander Ford—na he sounded like he was going for a caucasian look. And he was also mentioning names like Daniel Padilla... so nai-imagine ko na he was going for “that” look.
What we’re getting here is that Xander’s face could have turned out differently if you saw him in some other way. It was your call, after all.
Yes. Kasi pag tinaasan mo nang kaunti ang ilong mag-iiba ang hitsura. Pag ibang shape ng implant ang nilagay mo sa chin, ganun din. In my experience, the nose is the most complicated procedure because there are so many things you need to do and the outcome from one doctor to another can be very different. Ang daming factors that can affect the results—the bone, cartilage, skin—that it’s up to the doctor how he reconfigures them. The nose can make or break a face, kasi siya ang focal point.
Did Xander Ford immediately like what he saw?
Actually, yes. As early as one week pa lang kasi nakikita na niya yung changes. Hindi naman sa iniinsulto ko siya, pero si Marlou kasi medyo weak talaga ang chin niya, medyo pango talaga ang ilong, and malapad ang noo niya, so pag inayos mo talaga ang hitsura na, gagwapo talaga. Nung nag-reveal mga one month na yun. Strictly speaking, best results will be seen in six months to one year.
We haven’t reached that yet. Ibig sabihin mas “popogi” pa siya.
Yes, exactly. It will look much better, more natural.
What is your take on all the talk that Xander Ford is stirring up? It’s been a moral debate out there.
We live in a society where if you look good, more doors open. I think everybody has a right to feel good about themselves. Mapapansin mo, yung mga taong binu-bully, bina-bash, maraming insecurities ang mga yan [about themselves]. Some of them eventually get these surgeries done because they want to be better persons. To them, it’s life-changing. Life-changing kasi my clients tell me themselves—suddenly they feel much better about themselves.
Of course the philosopher-bashers would say, “pwede mong baguhin ang mukha, pero yung pagkatao hindi.”
Well, hindi ko na linya ang pagkatao, ha ha! Hindi naman kasi ako psychiatrist or psychologist, I’m a plastic surgeon. Pero siyempre I hope that when these people get the results that they want, along with it comes yung tamang ugali, kasi suddenly they have this power.
This story was originally published in the November 2017 issue of FHM Philippines. For more on this FHM exclusive, grab a copy of the magazine.
Minor edits were made by the FHM.com.ph editors.