Tag Archives: Health

Investing in affordable health care is easy with PhilCare’s ER Vantage

I was 33 years old when I realized how unprepared my husband and I was for life’s emergencies.

It all started with a throbbing, steady pain, said my husband. He would wake up at 12 midnight staying until 3AM, silently bearing the pain on his right abdomen.

After months of trying to keep it from me, I woke up one morning to see him curled silently in the couch downstairs. The check-up and all the tests that followed confirmed our suspicion: gall stones, which was then pressing already to the small opening leading to his liver. After months and months of tests, medications and even a complete check on his stomach to make sure there wasn’t any other obstruction — a sudden, sharp pain one Saturday afternoon finally sent us to the Makati Med ER where the doctors immediately scheduled him for surgery.

Our expected expense: about PHP250,000 including doctors’ fees. Our bank account had a total of PHP20,000, give or take a few hundreds.

It was my health card that saved us from all the worries, and gave us the energy to focus on his treatment and on getting the best medical care possible.

After surgery and recovery which constituted the five days he was in the hospital, our total bill came up to PHP220,000. I paid 50 pesos for the portable potty he needed to use; while PhilCare, my health care provider took care of all the rest — hassle-free.

It was that time when I became obsessed on getting any form of health care for my loved ones. Granted that my health care coverage was made possible by employment, I was relieved to note that PhilCare took their services to the next level by introducing a line of prepaid health cards.

The following Christmas, I gave my favorite aunt and uncles PhilCare ER Vantage cards, and encouraged cousins to buy one. Before my father turned 65, I bought him his own ER Vantage.

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One of the earlier versions of the current ER Vantage. This served my father well. Having the peace of mind by having any form of health card was my goal always.

It is not surprising that PhilCare would come up with an affordable prepaid card.  Only 4% of Filipinos enjoy HMO coverage, and the bulk of that small percentage have that coverage as a corporate benefit from their employers.  The reality for most Filipinos is that if and when a major health crisis does occur, they simply aren’t prepared.

As one of their most popular products, ER Vantage is available for both children and adults and will cover the bearer for a single use or a period of one year — whichever comes first.

ER Vantage gives you a one-time coverage for emergency room care and hospitalization expenses, inclusive of Doctors’ fees, Laboratory and diagnostic procedures, Room and board (regular private room) Medicines (except vaccines) as medically necessary during confinement except for cases declared as non-coverable, Special modalities of treatment which are medically necessary during ER and confinement and subject to standard inner limits, Diagnostic and therapeutic procedures as medically necessary during ER and confinement

Emergency cases are the sudden, unexpected onset of illness or injury, which at the time of contract reasonably appeared as having the potential of causing immediate disability or death or requiring the immediate alleviation of severe pain and discomfort. Emergency cases include but are not limited to Massive Bleeding; Acute Appendicitis; Fractures/multiple injuries secondary to accidents; Convulsions; illnesses or conditions resulting in moderate or severe dehydration such as diarrhea or fever; and Syncope. Pre-existing conditions and those conditions under the general exclusions of PhilCare are not covered.  In addition, ER Vantage comes with a death of dismemberment payout.

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The latest version of the ER Vantage – can’t wait to have this again as a gift for the oldies this Christmas

Prices for ER Vantage for adults range from Php 1,050 to Php 4,950, amount of coverage is between Php 40,000 to Php 80,000 depending on the ER Vantage card/voucher purchased.  For kids the prices range between Php 2,950 to Php 4,950.

In my family, I have a lot of aunts and uncles who have no children, or those with no means to get their own health card. Like before, I’ve bowed to get them the ER Vantage Plus 40 for Christmas.

I know, it’s a bit pricey as a Christmas gift for the extended family, but since these are my favorite aunt and uncles — and from experience — would depend on our help during medical emergencies. Giving them the security and protection afforded by a health card is worth it.

 

If you want to know more about ER Vantage or shop for your own:   http://shop.philcare.com.ph/index.php?route=product/search&search=er%20vantage%20plus

 

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Discovering what it means to be truly healthy with LifeScience

I don’t need much to know that at my current state: I am beyond unhealthy. It’s not even the excess 25 kilograms that I can’t seem to shake off – it’s the long nights awake, the stressful situations, the fact that I don’t eat right and almost have zero exercise.

For the longest time, I have been trying to understand what’s wrong with my body and what I can do to fix this health mess that I am in. There are days when I feel helpless with what’s happening with my body, especially since I am getting older and my metabolism has been out of whack for about 10 years already. To say that I am in bad shape is a gross understatement, but I wanted to know how and why.

One of the things that I have been looking with much interest is Functional Medicine, a science-based approach to health, which turns the disease-centered focus of the traditional medical practice on its head by focusing on the whole person, his lifestyle habits, work and environment, and not the symptoms alone. Functional Medicine first started in the States but has started to pick steam here in the Philippines.

Practitioners of Functional Medicine spend time getting to know the patient’s history, and looking into the genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can affect their long-term health. By incorporating the latest developments in genetic science, the relationships between body organs, and analyzing the patient’s lifestyle and environment, Functional Medicine gives solutions to the individual’s health issues tailor-made just for them. This data and knowledge not only enables physicians and other health professionals to practice proactive, predictive, and personalized medicine, but it also empowers patient to have an active role in their own health.

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The foremost practitioner of Functional Medicine in the Philippines is LifeScience Center for Health and Wellness (LSC) in Bonifacio Global City, which is staffed with health care practitioners who specialize in Functional Medicine for many years already. They are all about finding ways to optimize health and prevent diseases by customizing programs specific to you, the individual. There are no one-size-fits-all treatment programs here.

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The relaxing deck at the LifeScience Center facility

I was recently invited to their top-of-the-line facility to know more about the service they offer and also to meet the men behind LifeScience, Group CEO Michael Genato and Senior Medical Consultant Dr. Roland Aquino Balburias.

LifeScience Center is the place for people from all over the world who don’t want to get sick, and for patients with multiple health issues who have tried conventional medicine but have yet to feel whole and better. To fully understand and know your needs, every LSC program begins with an in-depth consultation with you — the patient — about your health, medical history, and lifestyle.

From this conversation, the doctors get an idea what kind of diagnostic tests you can consider taking in order to understand your body better and to see what imbalances in body that need to be addressed. LSC partners with the best laboratories around the world so it can give its patients access to cutting-edge diagnostic tests, including gene tests. From there, LSC designs programs that are tailor made for your health goals, using the exact type of nutrition, movement, and medical treatments suited for your body. This way, you and the doctor work together using these information and programs towards the goal of optimized health and wellness just for you.

During the event at LifeScience, we were given a preliminary study of our health. My results did not came really as a surprise, but only validated the many things that I worry about my health. Dr. Balburias shared that all of our health concerns actually begin with our food intake, as they affect the performance of our body’s cell. This means that from the get-go, it’s important that we watch what we eat and we put inside our body. Exercise, proper sleep and steering away from the sedentary lifestyle also helps.

 

For more information about LifeScience Center for Wellness and Preventive Medicine, visit http://www.lifescience.ph. The center is located at the 8/F AccraLaw Tower, 2nd Avenue corner 30th Street, Bonifacio Global City.

 

The Fitness Diaries: Day One of Boxing – where I hardly floated, but looked like a bee

The Greatest of All Time, Muhammad Ali once said, “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee…”

In my case, “it was floated pathetically like a bee…” THIS. BEE. 

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The most famous bee in history – Photo not my property – credit to owner

Seriously speaking, I always knew that starting to get healthy is not a walk in the park. I have wasted a lot of years reveling in my sedentary lifestyle – too stressed, too busy and too broke to start a fitness regimen.

However, the bitter pill of being overweight is not something that can be ignored. Especially when I suffer from PolyCystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which was one of the off-shoots of being overweight. Other health issues are also mounting: Breathing became hard when doing physical activities, I easily get tired and my knees are killing me. I tended to dread Annual Physical Examinations because I always hear the same thing from my doctors – the blood sugar is elevated, there’s too many carbs in my body and yes, I need to lose weight if I wanted the PCOS to go away.

Further adding to misery is the hassle of buying clothes. My friends know that I can be really picky when it comes to the things I wear. I am all for style, but I also can’t resist a good bargain. Thing is, local brands tend to carry small sizes, you’re lucky if you can find an XL that fitted really well. Since my ass can rival that of the Kardashians’ – looking for jeans can be a hassle.

Let’s not even get started on the style. Even before, I noticed how local plus sized clothing can be frustrating for those who wanted a bit of style in their clothes. If it’s not the God-forsaken color-blocking pattern which can make anyone look like a glorified chess board, it’s a whole lot of animal patterns (cheetah, tiger, zebra, you name it!) I always end up buying from Marks & Spencer, Forever 21 and H&M who carries European sizes. For someone who doesn’t have a secret stash of unlimited cash somewhere, this is a big hassle and a pain in the pocket.

Lastly, being overweight, especially in the Philippines, is not exactly good to your self-esteem. People can be really cruel and insensitive. Classmates and colleagues from ten years back will not greet you hello, but the standard, “ay bakit ang taba mo na?! (why have you gotten fat?)”To some, to laugh about your expanding girth is not considered offensive but just “part of the joke,” a means to toy with you or simply part of the conversation.  If you’re heavier than the usual, you have to have guts of steel – not to digest the food you eat,  but basically to keep yourself sane from people who seemed to find offense in being heavy. You have to have a good comeback, a witty, sarcastic personality or be really funny to survive.

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At the end of the day, it wasn’t the off-center jokes, the usually shopping bill that got to me. It was the need to get healthy. I became tired of being lazy – heavily dependent on the laptop and the smart phone, while Chromecasting my way to early death. I knew that if I wanted to see positive change in myself, I needed to start on the physical.

So, I enrolled into a boxing gym, started eating healthy (eschewing cake and pastries which was like death to me)  and started guzzling massive amounts of water.

First day at the boxing gym was tough. While I never entertained notions of going all “Girlfight” on my first day, I also didn’t anticipate that I’ll be the lamest person in attendance. I go to Empire Boxing Gym in Makati where they have good trainers and coaches, and maintained a “no-bully, no-judgement environment” but being around people who box like a long-lost Pacquiao sparring partner can be jarring. Especially if you’re that someone who looks like a munchkin armed with a borrowed boxing gloves.

However, what I lack in physical strength, I more than make up for in determination. I might be taking a long time finishing my reps, but I tell you – I will finish it. I may take a long time doing burpees – but I will finish it. I may look like I was punching on nothing but air – but I will throw my best straights and lefts, so help me God. Given that I was on my first day, I went home with all parts of my body screaming for mercy. And you know what? I cannot wait to go back.

I am also thankful for people who had my best interest at heart. A good doctor friend reached out to me and – via Facebook messenger – gave me tips on how I can lead a healthier lifestyle and do physical activities even when I am not going to the gym:

  • Keep hydrated and drink 8 glasses of water
  • Always eat a good, sizable breakfast but stay away from carbs during dinner
  • Choose fruits and vegetables as much as you can
  • As much as possible, and if you can, walk. Aim for 10,000 steps everyday
  • Don’t sit the whole day. If you are working, try to designate times when you are standing. I recently started doing this. After lunch, I work standing — I propped my laptop on an old box so my posture won’t suffer. Fidget as much as you can.

I know it’s tempting to revert to the old lifestyle – and honestly, I allow myself to be lazy during weekends. But at the end of the day, my determination and my will to live a longer life, a healthier life so I could enjoy the fruits of my labor secedes any lingering pangs of “wanting to just be lazy.”

I will never have the body I had when I was 23, but I can always have the better version of me.

Wish me luck on my wellness journey 🙂 I really needed it.

 

711 Run for 2017 All Set

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As someone who is constantly stressed and famished due to work and my other side hustles, 711 has always been my happy place. Every day, after work, my hubs and I will hie to the nearest 711 and get our comfort food. Mine usually involves green tea and their famous hotdog-in-a-bun while my husband takes comfort in his favorite snack. While our nightly runs to 711 might need evolve into choosing the healthier options they offer (like the salad, boiled egg and yogurt prominently displayed on the fridge), I am happy to note that come February 05, 2017  (Sunday), my “run with 711” will be more than the usual.

That’s because the highly-successful and highly-anticipated 711 Run will happen on that day, with runners joining the 10KM, 16KM, 21KM, 42KM categories and 10KM Buddy Run will enjoy the course and the scenic view along along the Skyway. For those joining the 500M, 3KM and 5KM categories (like I do!), the race course is along Filinvest City.

The race is open for individuals aged 18 and above, while the Kids Run will accept runners as young as 3 years old, provided they are accompanied by a guardian on the day of the race. (For more information, go to the 711 Race Guidelines here)

Top 3 winners per category will receive cash prizes and medals, while the top 3 Filipino males and females in the 21KM and 42KM categories will be given a chance to represent the Philippines to join an international marathon in Asia, through a  sponsorship by 711.

Through 711’s unique system of SELF-SELECTED WAVE STARTS, participants can choose their wave start and run with people with the same skill or speed, or with their friends!

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To join, register online at http://www.run711.com/ and pay the fees at any 7-Eleven store within 48 hours. Race Kits can be claimed on the date indicated on the receipt, and from the same store where payment has been made.

711 has prepared a really cool finisher shirt and medal to those who will be able to complete the race:

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Online registration for 711 Run 2017 is until January 18, so hurry!

Hope to see you on race day!

 

Piolo leads call to “Go Well;” launches this year’s Sunpiology Sugar Wars

Piolo Pascual

Heartthrob Piolo Pascual is like a Pinoy Tony Stark – even without the “Crush Ng Bayan” tag which followed him all his life, Piolo is well-loved and known to his followers as a product endorser, as a savy businessman, a philanthropist and a budding athlete. This is aside from being a loving father, brother and son to his family. 

For a few years already, Piolo has added another title to his already long multi-hypenates. Following his long-term partnership with leading financial services company, Sunlife. From espousing the values of saving up for the future, Piolo is also now the face of Sun Fit & Well, Sunlife’s foray to wellness products and its Wellness Advocacy component, Go Well

“SUN Fit and Well provides coverage for 114 critical illnesses and can help replace funds used for diagnostic procedures and check-ups. But more than a usual health insurance, it provides benefits to keep customers healthy and well. It is available in limited pay and Advantage variants, which includes hospitalization and follow-up care with a specialist,” explains Mylene Lopa, Sunlife Chief Marketing Officer. 

It’s Wellness Advocacy Component, Go Well is a community with a website that provides nutrition tips, exercise ideas, and content about a more mindful life. But more than just an online community, Go Well members can enjoy discounts in partner establishments, as well as free access to regular community classes featuring the hottest fitness trends

The Go Well program introduced its various ambassadors, leading different aspects of wellness. These include Rovilson Fernandez for CrossFit, Bubbles Paraiso for Yoga, Tessa Prieto-Valdez for Yoga, Piolo Pascual for cycling/strength, Sunlife Health & Wellness Manager Jaymie Pizzaro for running and Inigo Pascual for the Youth. 

“GoWell marks Sun Life’s entry into the wellness space,” according to Health and Wellness Manager Jaymie Pizzaro. “GoWell is envisioned to be a wellness community offering credible and relevant health and wellness information and high impact fitness events to help Filipinos live healthier, brighter lives.”

Go Well is available for Sunlife members and non-members. Those interested to live the healthy life can go to www.gowell.com.ph. Varying benefits are available depending on the coverage. 

As someone who fiercely advocates wellness, Piolo is again lending his name to this year’s Sugar Wars Sunpiology Run happening on November 19, 3PM at Camp Aguinaldo, QC. 

Aside from his Go Well co-ambassadors, Star Magic artists will also join the yearly run mixed with fun activities, through the leadership of the Run Rio team. 

In spite the fact that there is a constant influx of new pretty boys, no one can deny that Piolo remains on top of the “hot guys meter” – add to this his acting mettle and his Well-loved personality and it’s common knowledge that he can still give any 20-something guy a run for their money. 

Piolo credits his youthful look and energy (take note: he is nearing his 40s) to his dedication to living a healthy life. Unlike younger guys who strictly watch what they eat, Piolo believes in “eating what he wants” as long as there’s proper moderation and that he works out after. 

He favors cycling now adays but during his early foray to fitness, he has trained with Well-known running guru Coach Rio. In fact, the two had an easy banter during the Q&A, with Piolo noting that it has been a long time winded their last run. 


More than his drop-dead features, its the many facts of Piolo Pascual, the man, that will forever endear him to the public. After all, dor almost two decades in the industry , he remains our one and only “Papa P.” 

Too Fab to Be Stressed – thanks to Fern C! 

First, you would have to forgive me, because I’m gonna go on a bit of self-love. 

On any given day, I’d like to believe that I am pretty awesome, even when there are days when I feel like I am not


I have a corporate gig where I do branding, PR and events (and I must say, I am pretty good at it); I have a side hustle here and there: writing press releases for various agencies plus I manage an event here and there; I blog (though with a hefty backlog, PR friends- sorry); I travel here and there; I do calligraphy and I draw. I do all of these while playing the role of a wife to an amazing guy, daughter to the most awesome parents, sister to crazy yet loving siblings, friend to equally insanely smart friends and a lot more roles for various people in various stages of my life. 

To say I am busy is an understatement. To say that I am stressed… Well, that’s a major one. 

A wise senator once said that she eats death threats for breakfast. Well, she ain’t got nothing on me because stress is my favorite brand of popcorn! 

What do I do when I get stressed? Usually I read, blog or stream Korean dramas or TV shows and ogle these cute Korean hearthrobs. Or I watch NHK and pretend I am living in Japan. 

But when it gets really bad, that’s when I rely on my Fern-C. 

Fern-C has vitamin C which strengthens the immune system and is regarded by many as a “cure all” for most ailments, because its primary function is to boost the immune system, protecting the body from flu, cough, bronchitis and other viral and bacterial infections. Aside from this, it also acts as a potent anti-oxidant. Finally, Sodium Ascorbate FERN-C also promotes healthy gums, teeth, bones and other connective tissues.


While it is a common misconception that Vitamin C comes only in one form – Ascorbic Acid, the truth is there is in fact another form of Vitamin C called Sodium Ascorbate and it is actually superior to Ascorbic Acid in areas where it counts.
For one, Sodium Ascorbate dissolves faster upon ingestion. This means that the body reaps the benefits of Vitamin C faster, enabling it to quickly act on stress. In addition to that, Vitamin C Sodium Ascorbate supplements are non-acidic and thus better tolerated. Unlike Ascorbic Acid which causes stomach discomfort unless taken with meals, Soduim Ascorbate can be taken on an empty stomach.

Travel: best stress buster – after your daily dose of Vitamin C

With its pH level at 7.5 to 7.8, Sodium Ascorbate FERN-C is alkaline-based to neutralize acidity in the stomach. This makes it the perfect vitamin for those with hyper-acidity, and people whose schedules cause irregular sleeping and frequent meal skipping.
The good news is that the number one Vitamin C Sodium Ascorbate brand in the Philippines, FERN-C, which used to be available only via multi-level marketing, is now on sale via retail and can be bought in any major drugstores nationwide. 

The quality of FERN-C is assured because each pack is certified with the Quali-C seal, as the Sodium Ascorbate which is the active ingredient of FERN-C was developed and it manufactured by DSM, the only European Vitamin C manufacturer.

AskND.ph dares Filipinos to get healthy through proper nutrition 

The people behind AskND.ph talks to invited media about the website
I have a problem with my weight – try as I might, I just can’t seem to shake it off. I know that problem lies in me: I have to consistently work out, I have to consistently watch what I eat and I have to be more disciplined. 

The recent launch of AskND.ph opened my eyes to the importance of taking into account the food we eat. As the saying goes, “You are what you eat” highlighting that proper nutrition is the cornerstone of good health – it influences the proper function of the body, prevention of health issues and natural healing. 

Global Medical Technologies (GMT) who has been at the forefront of bringing medical innovations in the country, takes its advocacy of creating a healthy nation through nutrition a step further with the launch of AskND.ph. GMT, together with its partners, including LIfe Science Cenyer for Health and Wellness, created an online community where experts in health and nutrition give access to Filipinos to current, valuable and up to date information and advice on nutrition and dietetics, and provide the most apt and precision for their health and nutrition concerns. 

Mr. Jason Ramos, Country Manager of GMT
Dr. Nigel Ambraham, Nutrition and Allergy expert, Cambridge Nutritional Science in the United Kingdom

“AskND is positioned to help healthcare professionals and individuals in addressing nutrition issues. For individuals, AskND.ph allows them to consult and work with nutritionists and dieticians in creating their personalized nutrition program. For professionals, AskND.ph allows them to access information, studies, partners and tools to better equip them in guiding their patients,” shares Jason Ramos, country director of GMT. 

“Through AskND.ph, we hope to bridge nutrition gaps by connecting stakeholders, such as health care professionals, food suppliers and producers, and allow them to work together in helping patients achieve optimum health,” he adds. 

Up to date knowledge and advanced medical tools available at AskND.ph is attained through a partnership with the world-renowned Cambridge Nutritional Sciences in the United Kingdom, Institute for Functional Medicine in Cleveland, USA and Genosense in Austria. 

At the launch of AskND.Ph, Dr. Nigel Abraham, a Nutrition and Allergy expert and scientist/laboratory director at the Cambridge Nutritional Sciences, shared the recent study findings on the “human gut microbiome.” The recent study findings further establish the influence of the food we eat in the population and metabolic activity in our body. It also presents a deeper understanding of microbiome a in our body, how it influence health and diseases and how it can be harnessed to understand and address diseases. 
Understanding what I eat and its effects to my body 

For me, the highlight of the evening is the opportunity to truly understand the impact of the food I eat to my general health. I am fortunate to be invited to try out the “Food Detective,” a food intolerance kit being offered by GMT. The kit checks my blood’s compatibility with 48 food types and provides information on which food to avoid and which to intake. 

JM Aspillaga, channel sales manager of GMT shares that consuming food types that are usually incompatible with us often leads to illnesses, bloatedness, migraine, among others-further highlighting the significance of consuming food that is only compatible with your body. 

The test is relatively quick and painless and would only entail drawing of your blood sample. 


In my case, the findings showed that I should stay away from some of the food that I love the most like potatoes, peanuts, wheat, dairy, yeast, corn and almonds. 

The recommended time frame is to stop intake for at least three months. To lessen the impact of the abrupt change in eating habits and to curtail any feeling of deprivation, GMT recommends a gradual phasing of food. To this, I agree. While I am already missing my potatoes and cheese, I also realize how my body have taken so much beating with my weight gain and my constant illnesses. If getting healthy means having to exercise discipline, then it’s a must do for my family. 

Know more about your health and how nutrition can play a big part, go to www.askndph.com