Begin with the right habits

(The Philippine Star) - January 31, 2010 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - As a child growing up in Tondo, Regine Velasquez witnessed firsthand the everyday grind of living in poverty. There was her father, Gerry, who struggled to work even as he suffered from scoliosis.

“I felt really bad when I saw that. I wanted to lessen my father’s burden when I saw how hard it was for him,” Regine recalls.

Despite that, Gerry still wasn’t earning enough in his job at a construction site. Oftentimes there would not be enough food on their table. Thus, her mother, Teresa, would forego her share so the rest could eat.

So at six, Regine took it upon herself to help her parents by joining small-town singing contests.

There, she would find herself facing much older and more experienced singers. But thanks to talent and supportive parents, Regine went on to win 67 out of the 200 competitions while their family moved from Tondo to Leyte before finally settling in Bulacan. Through all those years of trying to make ends meet, Bear Brand Laki Sa Gatas’ newest advocate says her parents never neglected her nutrition.

“My parents were particular with my health, as I was already busy working to help the family at the time,” she shares. She recounts how her parents would prioritize her nutrition, starting with drinking milk.

“Despite our poverty, my mother tried her best to provide us milk. My mother was actually insistent in making us drink our milk. Every morning, we were forbidden to leave the table and go out of the house without finishing our milk. This habit lasted until I graduated from high school,” she says. “I also ate vegetables and tried to get enough sleep as much as possible.”

The Laki Sa Gatas advocate says that because of her parents’ attention to her health and nutrition, she hardly got sick despite being a thin kid.

Regine would eventually bring her milk-drinking habit along to competitions, where her father would hand her milk prior to performing.

“He gave me milk so I would have the strength and energy during competitions, which often lasted well into the night,” she says.

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