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Tita Tita: On Cosmetic Procedures (A Little Here And A Bit More Here)

Ayayay, another deadline. I was so caught up fixing the bougainvilleas in the garden and cooking in El Campo where I invited some of my classmates to a girl’s weekend. I forgot I had another deadline! I thought I would wait for being back home in Manila from the beach to get to my desk and write. Actually, I lie. I write on the sofa or on the bed, with my labs at my feet (or on my shoulder, or my head, que cute no?).

Now, as we zoom down EDSA… wait, you just can’t do that. Que barbaridad, it’s a parking lot. Pero it was Sunday, and as I was thinking of what to write about, then another epiphany. I saw it.

I said “Artemio, si Korina Sanchez ba yan sa caratula?” Artemio has been with the family for 40 years, he was our houseboy in fact, and would stay up late to open the gate and not tell Mammy of our raucous girly things.

Opo Tita (he calls me by my first name since we like grew up together), ‘di ba kilala mo siya?”

Yes, I know Korina, I met her in my early days working in the industry. Her cherubim face hid her professional, go-go news sense that made her, and, and yes still one of the most important reporters/anchors/TV personalities in the country. I kept looking at the photo as we drove by this behemoth of a billboard advocating the new Belo. And I began to think. Oye, she looks so so good….no??? And so flaca. It is almost too good to be true. Before I left for the beach, I know the amigas were talking about it on our Viber group, but I really didn’t give it a second look. I remember seeing her in a pop-up. Its just a bazaar in Forbes and she was really looking fit and sexy, and yes, radiant. She tells me she is doing Keto and has now taken a liking for the outdoors with her hubby Mar.

For the time everyone talking about the Vicky Belo’s Paris wedding, I took notice of Korina and her stunning gown, and her gorgeous look. Effortless. I have known here to be a perfectionist, a kind soul and very good to her craft. She works hard for the good things, and really is very DBF. I love her silver sales, and her advocacies. She is really quite a complete woman, to borrow the words of Conchitina Sevilla Bernardo. So the all-important question was, how much did she have done? Oye, she might send her lawyers after me. I decided to check her out on Instagram. She actually has had a very diligent regimen for longevity and anti-ageing for as long as I have met her. She does what every women can do with the means at her disposal. She is ravishing. Por Dios, don’t say I am fan girling, but I am simply in awe. But mind you, Vicky Belo is quite a genius!

When I was growing up, there were very few options to relax (or tighten) a tired face. Most of the time it was just the eye bags, the cheeks and the nose that we redone. And it may have brought forth a new breed to women who simply wanted to do things to their features, with wanton disregard to what ageing could do. The 70’s saw a lot in the cosmetic scene, with ladies flying off to see surgeons overseas, and spend their vacaciones en America o Madrid.  I asked Mammy why she never considered it. In between puffs of Marlboro on her long pipe she blew out, “Tita, you need to be happy with what God gave you, but si tienes dinero, por queue no? I need to help send all you kids to school first.” Oh Mammy, always thinking of us first.  But the work was all done in secret, only leaving tongues a wagging.  But the late 80s saw the birth of the society doctor, one who would tout the idea of age defying beauty. So Ponds ha-ha…you know what Ponds is? Hahahaha… There's more done now than just the face.

The infamous fat sucking lipo suction became hip. Well, it really helped with getting the hips sexy de verdad. Using a  long canula, prodding in under the skin gingerly sucking away last nights peking duck fat cradled within the epidermis (that’s a scientific tern he!) came a size or two drop! With liposuction came the all important Xenical, in its earlier form, really helped drain the fat off what you dined. Que asco no? Going to bano despues de comer. It was so so horrible. But it felt good…ahhahhahahhahhahhhahahahahah. Not enough, the treatments to defy the wrinkles of time kept coming. And honestly, became more and more expensive.

With the body being shaped, let’s do the face. From botox, RF, thermage, invasive surgery and aptos threads – the list goes on -- it was just too much information. In our lunches, and the girls talk about who is doing what, I can’t seem to get over the amount of work my amigas get done. Don’t get me wrong he? They workout, do Pilates, did Cohen now on paleo or keto, see Ted Achacoso at Bio Balance, all kitted out in their athleisure Lululemons, but I guess at a certain age we just want to be youthful. Oh, did I forget Zumba at Polo or Steps? Soy malo. The amount of work done to them can be like my Tito forever tinkering with his MG Roadster. But I will admit, I have had a lipo suction and a few rounds of RF and poked for botox. I am guilty. But happy. Could it be this eternal quest for youth. Or being loved more by their husbands or partners?

What I really find funny is how some, not all, especially not Korina, use it as an ends to a means. For me sabes, you do it, if you can afford it, to enhance the hard work you have done on your own. You lost the weight, you have excess skin, pues go.  But who am I to judge, I just observe. It is said, you end up looking like the company you keep over time. I think it’s more like you end all looking alike because of the surgeon you keep. Just look at the magazines, no ba? No crees? My infamous left to right?

I think we all should learn a lot from what Korina has been able to achieve. She is driven woman who can stand above men. Pero quiero decir is that she worked at it. Be it a journalist, and an advocate she put in the time.

For me, it’s keeping de regimen. I am no longer a size 2. But I still can fit into a 4. I did get a muffin top, but I don’t have double chin. I don’t need to pout when I look at the camera. I watch what I eat. Sugar is really a menace, and watch the carbs. Lessen the cold beers at El Campo, and keep to an occasional gin and tonic at Rambla (Oh did you go their new place en Podium, el nuevo Las Flores…es maravillosa). Maybe I will succumb to a thermage. A reward.  I do it for my health (yeah sure). I feel better, more alert and can still hit my drive down center weekends in Calatagan. Okay, okay, I do it also so  Tito’s eyes won’t stray too much, but men are men, live with it…they always come back!

“Tita, Tita, gusto niyo po dumaan sa Podium para mag pica pica? Si Senorito (Artemio calls Tito that, don’t know why) galing sa Wack Wack, nagtext sa akin... nakatulog po kayo”

 I look at myself in my shorts and sport shirt, aged Gucci loafer and aviators. Oh well, I don’t look bad naman.

O sige Temio, let’s go, ano one for the road?”

Artemio retorts, “Sige lang Tita, maalaga ka naman, sorry ha, pero iba mong kaklase pabaya, ‘yung iba, ‘di ko alam ano nang ginawa nila sa mukha, bata pa mga ‘yan, nakikita ko sa bahay niyo.”

A pregnant pause. Oh well, maybe I am not that bad after all. My aunt who owned a beauty school used to quote Charles Revson, founder of cosmetic giant Revlon, saying “There are no ugly women, only stupid ones.”

I searched and never saw an attribution. And its pretty politically incorrect in this day. But I will say, given the information at your disposal, only the uninformed will truly be disadvantaged. Remember beauty lies in eyes the beholder as we are told. But a “little bit here, and little bit more there” is always welcome.

My Tito and the G&T awaits.


Un abrazo…te hecho mucho de menos