Cory brings personal advocacy to bigger stage
Health and Wellness CONFEX 2019 executive director Cory Quirino on getting older: ‘The bad news is, aging begins in your late 20s. The good news is you can delay the aging process at any age. So, when you look (at yourself), ‘Oh my goodness, how much time have I lost?’ The good news is, it’s really never too late to start.’
Photos from Cory Quirino’s Facebook page

Cory brings personal advocacy to bigger stage

Nathalie Tomada (The Philippine Star) - March 12, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Sixty-six and proud of it. You don’t even have to ask it, but Cory Quirino mentions her age with the ease and grace of someone who has fully embraced getting older.

The radio-TV personality and wellness guru may look noticeably younger than she is, but it’s more than the physical. She’s all about the holistic approach to delay the aging process or, in her words, to “prolong life.”

Quirino speaks from a wellspring of experience, after making wellness her personal advocacy since 1995. She has books like the best-selling series Forever Young and shows — as co-anchor of Ma-Beauty Po Naman on DZMM Teleradyo and host of Graceful Living on ANC — about the subject.

“For about 20 years, I’ve been promoting wellness on my own because I firmly believe that’s the only way you can prolong your life or at least, have some kind of sense of balance and wellbeing in your life. I’ve come to realize it’s not all about being just physically healthy; it’s also about establishing peace and calm in your life, in your mind and in your heart,” she told The STAR.

“And this personal advocacy, I suppose, became so authentic in my life, that I had to apply it on my own. And women were the first ones to notice this. While we cannot stop the ravages of time on our body — as eventually, we will grow old — we can delay the aging process. There’s a graceful way to age, and still maintain your beauty and more importantly, your strength and vitality.”

 Now, Quirino is taking her life-long advocacy to a bigger stage and setting her sights on building a community that advocates a holistic healthy lifestyle via the Health and Wellness CONFEX 2019, wherein she’s executive director. 

Happening on April 26 to 28 at the SMX Convention Center of the Mall of Asia, the CONFEX will hold a conference, expo and experiential activities, at the same time gather stakeholders in health, beauty and wellness for that consolidated effort to promote the Philippines as a world-class health and wellness destination. “We have every possible beauty, talent and expertise in the Philippines. We are already ready,” said Quirino.

According to a Global Wellness Institute report released in November 2018, wellness tourism is a $639B global market in 2017 and growing more than twice as fast as general tourism. In the same report, the Philippines was ranked No. 25 in the Leading Growth Markets for Wellness Tourism Trips for 2015 to 2017. Three ASEAN countries — Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand — made it to the Top 10.

“Whether we’re No. 25 or No. 8, we want to get one percent of this multi-billion dollar wellness industry. We should’ve really gone for No. 1. That means, we have to continue promoting, advocating, talking about it, promoting it. We cannot stop. We can’t just make a campaign and forget about it.”

The Health and Wellness CONFEX is supported by the departments of Health and Tourism. Quirino said, “The big dream really is to get more government support. You see the campaign of many countries like India, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, they are so aggressive in promoting their countries. They have such strong government backing and incentives. This is what we want to see happen.” 

In terms of wellness offerings, she believes the country has all the elements already — from food and lodging to activities and medical-related services — but “we just have to get our act together.” 

She further proposed: “We just want maybe DOT, DOH, DENR (Department of Environment and Natural Resources), DA (Department of Agriculture) ­— those four giants in government to get together and work with the private sector, and then come up with one huge, dynamic, inspiring campaign. I know it can be done. Definitely, (I’m open to lead that campaign). Wellness has been my lifestyle and advocacy for the last 25 years.”

How did her wellness story begin? “It’s such a very vain story. It starts with vanity actually,” Quirino admitted with a laugh.

She recalled, “A long time ago, I was 15 pounds overweight. At that time, I was working for the Hyatt Hotel. And my general manager told me, ‘Cory, we’re going to host a formal sit-down dinner in two weeks.’ I was a public relations (PR) director at that time. To a PR director, that’s something almost impossible to do, to get the A-list of Manila to sit down to a formal dinner and you only have two weeks to prepare. But that’s fine, we were able to get our act together. Problem is, that same evening, I pulled out my favorite little black cocktail dress and then realized I couldn’t zip it up (laughs), and I said, what happened? With all the entertaining in the hotel, I had gained 15 pounds and I just didn’t notice.”

Instead of buying a new dress though, she decided to shed those excess pounds in two weeks. “Actually, I lost 20 pounds in two weeks. That’s when I started researching how to lose weight naturally, without any intervention and any health hazards and risks.”

Since she would work out every day, her gym mates were the first to notice the changes. “I started to have a following of women first, who would ask me for advice after aerobics at that time, it wasn’t zumba yet, they would come to me and say, ‘Cory, can you give us some tips?’ So, I said, listen I could give you some tips but you got to be motivated to do it. You got to have the discipline to do it. You got to be committed.”

This led her to write her first-ever book, Forever Young: Cory Quirino’s Guide to Beauty & Fitness. She also did the first celebrity workout video.

Before long, however, she would find out that her book only helped women get started but not in reaching their goals. “So, I started studying what is it about human nature that they get started with a good goal, and then not pursue it to the very end? I realized that wellness isn’t just about the physical, it has to be about the mind and the spirit. So, when I wrote (the next) book (Forever Young: Cory Quirino's Guide to Beauty and Wellness), it revolved around the concept of wellness as body, mind and spirit.”

What started out as an act of vanity then evolved into an advocacy because everywhere she’d go, strangers would come up to her for advice on beauty and fitness. Eventually, these questions became tougher as they treaded on disease prevention and living long and well. And so, Quirino expanded her advocacy to health and wellness.

When asked what is it like for her every day, so as to sustain that state of wellness, she said, “Every day, I look myself in the mirror, and say, oh my goodness, I have to fight aging rapidly because I am 66 years old. How much more time do I have to promote wellness? But I have to be well myself. I’m such a rah-rah girl. I’m always in fifth gear. But I always have to remind myself that a basic part of wellness or one of the foundations of wellness is stress management.”

To de-stress, Quirino meditates twice a day. “The only way to combat stress is to meditate daily, to pray and to establish that harmony within yourself. And the only way to do that is really to connect with yourself.

“You just have to be able to tell yourself, ‘Oops, I’m going beyond my limits and boundaries here.’ You’re tired, listen to your body, relax and get enough sleep, and say no to those extra social engagements on your calendar. You have to learn to say no.”

She’s also careful with her food choices and intake. “I haven’t eaten beef or pork for 25 years. I’m on intermittent fasting now... We have to nourish our bodies, but we have to be mindful about the fact that every food we eat can raise our blood sugar or add more calories to our body,” she said. “That’s fine, we just got to burn it. So, here comes the physical aspect of managing your body. You have to exercise. The secret really is to adopt a balance.”

For those who dread aging, this is what Quirino had to say: “The bad news is aging begins in your late 20s. The good news is you can delay the aging process at any age. So when you look (at yourself), ‘Oh my goodness, how much time have I lost?’ The good news is, it’s really never too late to start.”

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