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Healthy does it with Tweetie
By Maridol Rañoa-Bismark (The Philippine Star) Updated August 03, 2009 12:00 AM
MANILA, Philippines - If you think super models are all glamor and glitter and nothing else, take a long, hard look at Tweetie de Leon. This mother of four (to Sabina, 12, Lorenzo, 11, Nicolas, nine and Alfonso, four) is still as slim as her super model days, years ago. Her school girl complexion would make younger women turn green with envy.
This doesn’t mean Tweetie can’t sully that blemish-free skin with scratch marks from the trees of Mt. Pulag. Or she can’t set her dainty feet on makeshift toilets to answer the call of nature. It doesn’t mean she’ll balk at wearing a simple T-shirt, leaving the comforts of home and pitching a tent on the mountain peak with only her backpack and husband, Jose Ramon Gonzalez to keep her company.
Tweetie did just that one glorious day recently, when she woke up at 3 a.m. to catch the sunrise at the peak of Mt. Pulag for the first time.
“It was very cold on the mountain top, so we were all bundled up,” she recalls. “We stood at a height of 9,000 feet, higher than the clouds. It was so beautiful!”
The experience took her breath away. And she doesn’t mind repeating it, this time in Sagada, where the toilets are just as makeshift, the living quarters are as Spartan.
“No problem,” Tweetie shrugs. “The experience was worth it.”
Worth it, too, is her rough and tumble childhood, when Tweetie tagging along with her brother, climbed trees and played in the streets.
It was an unglamorous way to spend one’s childhood, but Tweetie has no regrets. She enjoyed it. In fact, those days of climbing trees and running around made her the sports-minded, physically fit person that she is now.
At 15, she hit the gym regularly without prodding from her parents. She played volleyball in high school all the way to college. Tweetie also tried scuba diving, boxing, taebo and mountain biking. As PR officer and board member of the Squash Racquets Association of the Philippines and Sports Committee Head, Squash Division of The Palms Country Club, Tweetie formed squash clinics. She has even introduced Sabina to the sport and made sure her daughter is armed with tips to make her play the game well.
“Sabina is the creative, artistic type,” observes Tweetie. “I had to find a type of sports she’d like.”
Squash came to the rescue. And mother and daughter now spend many bonding moments on the court.
Her sons, on the other hand, take to sports like fish to water. The boys play taekwondo and basketball on weekends. Their excess energy, though, makes them forever in a rush. So Tweetie has to slow them down ever so gently.
“Take your time on the table. Chew your food well,” she urges her super-active sons.
Tweetie’s health concerns go beyond the home. She accepted the offer from UP College of Medicine’s Mu Sigma Phi Sorority to join its awareness campaign on cervical cancer and other illnesses caused by the human papillomavirus or HPV.
After getting her OB-Gyne, Dr. Florante Gonzaga’s nod, Tweetie decided to be the voice of cervical cancer awareness.
“I discuss it with other moms I meet in my children’s schools,” says Tweetie. “Young women my daughter’s age are the campaign’s primary targets. Of course, she and I already got our shots.”
The veteran model in Tweetie is also on tap for Brilyante: The Empowered Woman, a gala dinner-fashion show set on Aug. 28, 6:30 p.m. at NBC Tent, Bonifacio Global City, Taguig.
TV host Grace Lee, who, like Tweetie, believes prevention is better than cure, is joining the fashion show, which aims to raise funds for the Cervical Cancer Prevention Network Program and the sorority’s Service Committee. So are Tessa Prieto-Valdes, Angel Jacob and Trade Ambassador Mela Bengzon. Prominent doctors and cancer survivors will also walk down the ramp in creations by Randy Ortiz, Rhett Eala, JM Goulbourn, Delby Bragais, Parrish Carlos, Tina Daniac, Jun Escario, OJ Hofer, Michelle Lim, Riche Ortega-Torres and Philip Rodriguez.
“Cancer patients and survivors need not be limited by their ailment,” says Dr. Angela Rodriguez-Bandola, Mu Sigma Phi Sorority ‘99 and Brilyante co-chair. “That’s why through this event, the issues on self-image of cancer patients are emphasized in an artistic, enjoyable manner. We hope to empower them to face life with renewed vigor, hope and confidence.”
It’s about time.
Source: The Philippine Star, 3 August 2009, Entertainment Section, pages E-5 & E-6