Success waited until Dr. Jun Reyes was ready

As a physical therapist, Jun specializes in vertigo conditions.

By Cristina DC Pastor 

“The road of life is unpredictable.”

It’s an aphorism that has followed Juanito ‘Jun’ Reyes Jr., PT, DPT early in his career.

He aspired to be a medical doctor and ended up being a physical therapist. He landed his first PT job at a big Philippine hospital and was laid off before the six-month probation. As if to console himself, he retreats to his favorite joke, “Man plans, God laughs.”

Jun, 42, is now a successful physical therapist in Baldwin, a community in upscale Long Island, New York that is home to robotics professor James McClurkin and rap musician Busta Rhymes.

Jun Reyes has been serving Baldwin for 15 years providing “quality and effective” physical therapy treatment. He and his wife Charina, who is also a physical therapist, put up a clinic, Reyes Reyes Physical Therapy, on busy Atlantic Avenue, in 2009, the risks of running a business weighing heavily in the decision. 

In 2011, after Jun earned his Doctorate of Physical Therapy from Stony Brook University, the couple aimed higher and realized the American Dream was within reach. They purchased a building and an apartment while growing their business. It was overwhelming at times, but they soon found out that real estate and health care are good together.

“I came to the U.S. as a tourist in 2001,” the Sta. Ana, Manila-born Jun began his story. “It was a very difficult process and a long road to citizenship. My first job was a private caregiver, responsible for dressing and undressing, feeding and exercise activities for the elderly. I will travel two hours just to make $50 dollars for the entire day. I would study my reviewers and textbooks when my patient was sleeping. I was relentless and determined to pass the exam.”

Jun and Charina. They aimed higher and realized the American Dream was within reach.

He remembers distinctly the kindness of Josie Corales, a cousin to his wife, who offered him a place to stay while he was putting his life together.

He passed the physical therapy examination and quickly found a job with a company that was willing to sponsor his employment. The following year, Charina arrived in the U.S. and the sweethearts got married. “We rented a small apartment and started from zero,” he said. 

They opened a clinic early on in the marriage. “We sold our car and used all of our savings.”

In the beginning, the clinic was open only three days a week.  It quickly became a full-fledged outpatient clinic serving Baldwin’s compact community six days a week with additional two PT assistants and two physical therapists. 

Jun and Charina both studied physical therapy at Emilio Aguinaldo College in Manila and met after graduation. It was at the dean’s office while waiting for their credentials to be released so they could take the board exam that a short ‘hello’ became a long conversation about their “goals and dreams.” After two years, the two wed and started their future together in New York. They now have two daughters – Lauren, 11; and Emily, 4 — who both attend private school.

No ordinary PTs

Jun and Charina would be considered specialist physical therapists. Jun, a Certified Vestibular Therapist trained from Emory University and hundreds of continuing education hours, treats patients suffering from vertigo.

With daughters Lauren, 11; and Emily, 4.

“Vertigo is a common ailment that affects a lot of people and it can affect their quality of life significantly. Despite how common dizziness is, many are unaware that physical therapy can help to restore and improve balance,” explained Jun. Exercises are important. 

Not a lot of physical therapy clinics specialize in vestibular rehabilitation. Jun said. Reyes Reyes Physical Therapy “makes sure that all our patients are evaluated thoroughly and given a treatment plan that is evidence-based practice. We have a high success rate and we are highly recommended by the local doctors.” He said the clinic has overhead ceiling track harness that would help a lot of patients to eliminate the fear of falling. 

A Vestibular Therapist for more than 10 years, Jun shared how one of his patients thanked him in tears “for bringing my life back” and gave him a big hug.

Charina, born and raised in Nagcarlan, Laguna, has training in soft tissue mobilization, myofascial release, and muscle energy technique. With extensive experience in manual therapy, she has worked with patients with orthopedic, sports-related, and neurological conditions. 

Despite professional and entrepreneurial success, Jun said he will not forget where he came from, how he once lived hand-to-mouth raised by his grandparents until he was 7 years old. He has known a life of want, he said, and reminds his daughters how once upon a time “I had no money and no fancy things.”

During the holidays, the clinic provides free consultations and treatments to the community’s retired and elderly patients. 

“I am a firm believer that what matters most is appreciating the people around us,” he said. 

© The FilAm 2019

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: