Belo with No White Skin

“How are you related to Vicky Belo?”

I’ve always been proud of my family name. Thanks to Vicky Belo! My family name has turned into a brand name for beauty. I support her cause as what she said in an interview, “para maging patas naman ang laban.” Her self-esteem issues as a kid is somehow inspiring for people who think they are physically inferior.

Then Belo came up ad campaigns for their skin whitening products and services. They picked celebrity endorsers like Sarah Geronimo who now has noticeable fairer skin  than she used to have. While I still enjoy the popularity of my name ( Belo is  a family name easy to remember), I am afraid that my family name may be associated with white skin,(which apparently I don’t have)

I have nothing against people who want to enhance their appearance. After all, to innovate is to be empowered. At some point in our lives, we are not satisfied with our weight, hair, and height. We want to remove some moles, freckles, and blemishes. While it may be necessary to use science in addressing these personal needs, I don’t think changing skin color can make a big difference. Of all the possible things you can do to improve your looks, enhancing your skin color is the least reasonable. I don’t even understand why there is such a business for whitening products. No matter how many times you used Papaya soap, you will never be white enough to look like a mestiza. I am not arguing that morena skin is better. There is no superiority in colors, only in perceptions. But what am I trying to say there is something wrong with you when you don’t like your skin color. It speaks so much of your self-concept and worldview.

Well, if you think you are fat, it can be attributed to excess calories or the amount of food you eat. If a pimple grows on your cheek, it is because of oily food and lack of sleep. If you apply hot oil and other treatment to your hair, it’s fine. Your hair just needs tender loving care. If you want to remove your eye bags,  I totally understand. But if you go to a dermatologist and pay her to inject something to turn  your skin into white (eg Michael Jackson), that is something I cannot comprehend.

Unlike pimples, scars, unruly hair, and fats, our skin color is part of who we are. It is not a result of proper hygiene and styling but it is an inheritance. We are products of our past. It is the color that has been passed through many generations.  In the Philippines, we often associate beautiful people with white skin. This is another effect of colonial mentality. If you look like our country’s former oppressors,  the more you are perceived pretty. I don’t get it. We find Filipinos mixed with foreign blood pleasing to the eyes when their categorical looks resemble people who once enslaved us. These are my random thoughts on colonial mentality.

When you are not proud of your skin color, you are not proud of your heritage, your history, and maybe your family. If you are half Filipino and half Australian, you should be proud of your fair skin.  People can see that love surpasses cultural differences through your skin color. It can even symbolize united nations or world peace. On the other hand, if you are a pure Filipino with tanned skin, you should also be proud. Your color has been preserved throughout many generations. It is a collective effort of people who love their race. It is the color of your forefathers who fought for revolution. Lapulapu who fought Magellan by the seas of Mactan, most probably had the same shade of color as you have.

TV commercials make us feel inferior with our summer skin but wait, are our feelings towards our skin valid? Why feel bad when our color represents the majority of Filipinos?

embrace your color
love the skin you’re in

Some of the things I write here may sound funny but is it not laughable that we try to change what remains permanent, and that we try to cure our skin color as if it is a skin disease? Our skins don’t need a remedy but our minds need a solution.

Can’t Wait to Lose Weight?

I don’t know if I am the right person to talk about weight management. I was overweight in some episodes of my life but I wasn’t obese (I assume though one of my high school classmates told me that  I was). Perhaps, these photos below will give me some sort of little credibility. No, I don’t believe that “ Thin is in“ and I think “Fat is fab.” But your weight somehow shows how you take care of yourself.

When we talk about losing weight, we always have excuses.

“This is not the right time to lose weight (maybe after my birthday, Christmas  and all the festivities)”

When to act upon your decision to lose weight should start now. There is no better timing. Because the longer you spend on waiting, the more calories you accumulate.

“It would be nice to be on diet if  I am a good cook.”

This is a very lame excuse. I don’t buy this logic. If you are good in the kitchen, then you spend a lot of time with food. Hence, you have more chances of gaining weight.

“It’s expensive to be on diet or to enroll in a gym or weight management program.”

Another lame excuse. I know cooking shows and healthy recipes in magazines make health living sound luxurious. But if you think again, there are a lot of people who lost weight because they have no money to buy food. So where’s the logic that losing weight is expensive?

“It’s going to make me hungry.”

We all get hungry.  It’s a matter of learning to distinguish between plain appetite and hunger. It’s a  matter of quality of what you eat rather than quantity of what you eat.

But wait, let me share simple ways on how I lost weight (just a few pounds)

Determine your ideal weight

There should be a specific goal. Do you want to lose 10 pounds or you just want to be anorexic? If you can get a doctor’s advice on your ideal weight, the better.   I go for the weight that is recommended by a specialist than your self-perceived ideal weight.

Have your own weighing scale

If you don’t check your weight using a standard measurement,  everything you do seems pointless. By constantly monitoring your weight, you will know how your body works.

Evaluate your lifestyle

Ask yourself why did I gain weight? Food is not the only reason why we gain weight. Exercise, sleep , and how we eat are other variables that can have so much effect in our weight.

Avoid fried food

Why fried food? Because they are probably the easiest to avoid yet they are the ones that give a lot of excess fat. You know when you’re about to gain a pound, when your  face turns oily.

Limit your rice serving

If you cannot totally give up rice, try one cup of  rice. If you spend eight hours sitting in front of your computer, a cup of rice is enough to survive the day.

Learn to eat vegetables and bananas

IMG_1318

I know vegetables cannot give much energy but if you increase your vegetable serving, it can help. This is the only type of food that you can eat in excess. Note: Avoid potatoes. Why bananas?  They make your stomach full.

Have a supply of tuna and eggs

Why? These kinds of food are always available and since you are going to eliminate portions of carbohydrates, you need  protein for another source of energy. If you are going to buy canned tuna, choose solid in water. Have boiled eggs, not fried or scramble eggs

Drink coffee and water only

Have a regular exercise

Some people give up on the idea of exercise because it requires time and effort. If you  start with a rigorous physical activity, it is so hard to keep it as a routine. But if you start a simple activity such as walking or climbing the stair, chances are you will continue to the very end. Consistency is the key.

IMG_1113

Last week of October 2012

PARK11st week of March 2013

Something Healthy

Christmas is really fattening!  I know feasting does not culminate today and will extend on the first week of January. We stop our calorie count for a moment in celebration of love, family, new beginnings and sweet endings.  Just in case, you want to have something healthy in the middle of your feast with lechon, ham, cheese,spaghetti and other fatty food. I want to share something that is good for those who are health-conscious during the season. And if you have leftover pasta, that would be great.

Presenting my Pasta Primavera

IMG_1334

This dish is inspired from  Jenni Epperson  (Thank you!) recipe of Primavera.

And of course, with the assistance of  my sister  and our helper (Because I lack culinary skills)

Ingredients

Olive  Oil, Sea Salt, Ground Black Pepper, Mushrooms, Broccoli, Tomatoes, Bell Pepper, Pork Floss (Optional)

IMG_1317

IMG_1342 IMG_1327

Step 1:  Cook the pasta in boiling water and add some salt

Step 2:  Mix vegetables with olive oil, salt, and pepper in a bowl

IMG_1324

Step 3: Grill the vegetables  in an oven for about fifteen minutes

IMG_1331

Step 4:  On a heated pan,  add garlic, chili flakes and olive oil.

Step 5:  Toss the pasta in the pan

IMG_1333

Step 6: You can now add grilled vegetables and may opt to add pork floss for meat flavor.

IMG_1339

Merry Christmas everyone and  Happy New Year!