Both health advocates, endorsers Supermodel Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez (right) and Dance Diva Regine Tolentino (left, with Organique Acai owner Cathy Salimbangon) claim that the product keeps them active and productive
The Acai story: Healthy is beautiful
CALVENTO FILES SA PM - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - November 29, 2016 - 12:00am

LOS ANGELES, California — Until Cathy Salimbangon gave Leah Salterio and me one bottle each of Acai to taste (and test) its efficacy, I wasn’t aware that there was such a “premium health food” even if Tweetie de Leon-Gonzalez has been endorsing it in regular “Healthy is Beautiful” ads in the Tuesday Health page of this paper’s Lifestyle section. Tweetie is described as a “supermodel, entrepreneur, mother and health advocate.” (I would find out that my 86-year-old neighbor has been taking it for several years now, swearing by its benefits, and as active and energetic as women half her age.)

Cathy and her husband, Elton Salimbangon, are the owners of Organique, maker of Acai (pronounced a-sha-yi) which has been in local market (available nationwide in Mercury Drugs, Robinsons Malls and South Star outlets) for eight years now (since 2008) and is believed to, among other benefits, (“it may”) help cleanse and detoxify the body, improve sexual health, help prevent prostate enlargement, prevent osteoporosis, ease up menstrual pains, lower blood pressure, protect blood vessels, improve glucose and lipid levels, and reduce risk of Alzheimer’s disease.  

A native of Cebu, Cathy is a nurse who used to work at a nursing home in California.

“It was there where I realized that most of old people were suffering from lifestyle ailments because they didn’t take care of their health when they were young,” said Cathy. “My husband and I thought that there should be a food supplement that is palatable enough to make people take it regularly, hindi ‘yung hindi malasa na kailangan mo pa ipilit inumin.”

After she resigned from the nursing home, Cathy continued taking care of senior citizens, visiting them in home-care facilities around Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Elton worked at a neo-nutritional company with a research and development team composed of food scientists, nutritionists and chemists. Soon, the couple formulated an acai berry blend.

“Acai is a generic plant, a berry found in the Amazons,” explained Cathy. “It’s very popular among Brazilians. That’s the secret of their nice bodies, matipuno ang katawan at mataas ang libido. Our product has no preservatives. It’s made of natural, wild harvested acai berries from the Belem region in the State of Para, Brazil. We manufacture and distribute a full line of pure acai berry products formulated to the ideal standards of native Brazilians.”

Among the celebrities who have been taking Acai is Cory Quirino who, although not an official endorser, so swears by the benefits of Acai (also said to be a potent anti-aging food) that she has featured it on her radio program Ma-Beauty Po Naman (over DZMM mid-mornings on Sundays).  

Organique has enlisted Tweetie as endorser.

Cathy and husband Elton Salimbangon, her Organique Acai co-partner. During the testing event at the Pacific Supermarket in Panorama City, from left: Philippine STAR L.A. Correspondent Raymond Lo and his cousin Girlie, stylist Monet Lu, Asian Journal Publications publisher & CEO Roger Oriel, your Funfarer, Miss Mae of ABS-CBN, blogger Earth Rullan, Salimbangon daughters Luisa and Martina, Cathy, Regine and Elaine Maghirang also of ABS-CBN.

“Tweetie is a careful endorser, maselan sa endorsement,” said Cathy. “She endorses only a product which is really good. She had just come out of the hospital when we met with her. Akala daw niya malala ang sakit niya. Actually, she was diagnosed to be suffering from acute hyperacidity.”

Mentioned on the flyer was this: Acai may help overcome acid-reflux diseases (Gastric Esophageal Reflux Disease, GERD). The array of anti-oxidants in acai may help protect and repair the lower esophagus damaged by GERD. It may also heal ulcer (the anti-bacterial properties of acai kills bad bacteria, fungi and parasites, including H. pylori, the ulcer-causing bacteria.

“I’ve been taking Organique acai berry since April when the product was personally introduced to me by Cathy and Elton,” Tweetie told Funfare. “I am not much into health supplements but their story and my curiosity gave me the nudge to give it a try. For two months, I’d been taking it regularly, though I experienced the beneficial effects in as short as one week from taking the drink. I was able to control my increasingly unmanageable hyperacidity through this drink without over-the-counter meds. That along was enough to keep me on the habit. But wonderfully, it also keeps me alert in the mornings and thus productive all day.”

How much of the drink is Tweetie taking?

“I used to take a mere shot of 30 ml., a tequila shot’s worth if you may, hehehe!, upon waking up. However, now that I am hooked, I drink a full glass in the morning and another glass before dinner.”

Tweetie felt that the drink brought back her sense of normalcy as far as her strength and well-being are concerned.

Left: At the product launch at Dream Palace Banquet Hall in Glendale, California, with (from left) Roger, Eric Soriano (of the Organique Acai executive committee), Regine and Cathy. Right: Regine and Cathy with Luisa and Martina lead the testing activity at Island Pacific, one of the 25 supermarkets around California owned and managed by Nino Lim (husband of Krista Ranillo).

“Acid reflux attacks kept me weak and in pain, forcing me to cut back on my daily activities,” added Tweetie. “Though mostly physical in nature, it could be quite exhausting, debilitating even, emotionally and mentally as well. I am grateful to have found my jive back.”

Made in California, Acai has been available in the US but was formally launched only last week, with Dance Diva Regine Tolentino,  the other endorser, promoting the product in events were invited clients (and prospective buyers) to join a round of zumba before educating the audience on the health benefits of Acai. Like Tweetie (who begged off from the launch), Regine is a health buff and is therefore another perfect Acai endorser. The launch was first held in San Francisco before the one in L.A., followed three days later in Las Vegas. Aside from The STAR, also invited to cover the triple-launch was the marketing team of TFC (The Filipino Channel) which helps popularize Acai in Filipino communities in the US, devoting whole episodes on the Salamat Dok show which TFC airs abroad. Also with the media team was blogger Earth Rullan.

The hectic schedule didn’t faze Regine who, after having three children (the eldest daughter will have her coming-out party next year) by estranged husband Lander Vera-Perez, has maintained her good looks and shapely figure. She would go back to the hotel late and was up early for the day’s activity which she opened with zumba.

“I’ve been taking Organique Acai for two years now and I haven’t been sick,” shared Regine who, together with Cathy and her daughters Luisa and Martina, led the Acai-testing at the Island Pacific Supermarket in Panorama City, one of the three outlets in California (also including Seafood City and Arko Foods outlets). Owned and managed by Niño Lim (husband of Krista Ranillo), Island Pacific has 25 outlets around California. 

A reminder from Cathy: “Acai is sensitive to heat so it shouldn’t be mixed with hot water or any hot liquid. But it’s safe to mix it in cold water like what I sometimes do. But better to take it in its pure form because it tastes good.”

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. You may also send your questions to askrickylo@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)

ACAI STORY ORGANIQUE REGINE TOLENTINO TWEETIE DE LEON-GONZALEZ
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