MM: I think it’s a relevant issue in our country, and it was interesting, because before, I felt like there were a lot of eyes on the subject. However now, with the pandemic, everyone’s focused on COVID; it’s almost as if other diseases and ailments have completely disappeared — at least from our radar. But of course, we know they’re still there.
So for me it felt like something that I could help break the stigma, raise awareness, and encourage testing. I felt like it was something I could make a difference with, so that’s why I decided to choose HIV and AIDS awareness.
KM: That’s true. Last June, when we had our Facebook live for Pride month, and then we had Mr. Renaud Meyer of UNDP in Thailand. He did say, you have a pandemic, but AIDS in the country, in the Philippines, is still an epidemic, it’s still a big problem. So it’s good to have someone like you, Maureen, to keep shining a light on that particular disease that we can help people manage and raise awareness about.
Okay, this wouldn’t be a health and wellness interview if we don’t go into the fitness aspect, right? Who else but — aside from our athletes competing in the Olympics, or I think they’ve gone home today, but who else can we look up to for fitness tips and advice but our beauty queens?
Because we know it’s a lot of hard work also, it’s not easy. You make it look easy, but we know a lot of hard work goes into it.
So Maureen, tell us about your fitness routine. What is your exercise or workout routine, and what do you do when, like any human being, you don’t feel like it? On days that you’re not really motivated to exercise?
MM: Yes po. So like everyone else, the closure of gyms and working from home, staying at home has been so hard to manage fitness with, but it’s been interesting.
So I actually was in Siargao for the majority of the pandemic, for the first 6 months. Towards the end, we were allowed to get outside, but the best fitness activity you can ever do is surf. And it’s really full body ‘cause you’re paddling the whole time, so it’s cardio, it’s balance.
I’m also huge into yoga, and then I recently got into boxing. Boxing makes you feel good. I don’t know, it’s almost building my confidence too, because I feel very coordinated, and I feel like Manny Pacquiao, I can defend myself. But I really don’t like just going to the gym, I prefer activities.
That’s one thing I really hope we can get back to is yoga at the park. For now, socially distanced yoga. Pero I really look for activities, so whether it’s to go running — I live here in BGC, and there’s a beautiful running track. So doing that, just getting outdoors, and yeah, I always love exercising with a friend.
KM: Okay, that’s good, that’s good advice. So activities, if our situation permits, and then doing it with a friend, a buddy. Okay, that’s good. Those are good tips.
But how about your diet, Maureen? Because they say fitness is not so much the exercise, but also what you put in your body. Because you can be exercising really hard but eating pizza every day. So yeah, how do you do it? What do you eat, what is your way of eating?
MM: Yeah, well they always say abs are made in the kitchen, it really does matter what you eat. So for me, my major rule is try to eat as much unprocessed food as possible. So if it’s natural, it’s great.
I don’t really — I don’t calorie count, I don’t completely cut myself off from things. For breakfast, I’ll have rolled oats with almond milk and tons of fruit, so berries, bananas.
For lunch, I’ll have chicken breast and zucchini and maybe some quinoa, so I eat super healthy. But because I eat super healthy, I don’t have to limit my portions.
And I’ve just noticed through my own trial and error that I don’t process dairy. It makes me feel sluggish, even though I love cheese. But I try to limit my dairy, and then red meat. I actually really wanna have a blood test done to see my food intolerance test. Actually for Christmas, I think I wanna treat myself to one of those tests.
But I’ve really just started listening to my body, because as a model, although I am thin, sometimes I bloat like crazy. And especially as a woman, nobody wants to feel bloated, so I’ve just been listening to my body, and I try not to indulge. I think portion control is my biggest tip, like you can have your favorite foods, just don’t overdo it.
KM: Okay, alright. Very relatable, very realistic, thank you. Easy to follow for mere mortals like us.
How about your hair and skin care routine, Maureen? Because I’m guessing how stressful it could be for you, your schedule, packed with guestings and all that. But at the same time, your skin is also your biggest asset.
That’s what the people see, so how do you take care of your skin and your hair?
MM: Yes, I really do believe that beautiful skin can give you beautiful makeup and a beautiful look, so for me, I try to put the least amount of products as possible. Even when I apply makeup, I try not really to put it where we put the mask. Because I’m not trying to get maskne and it’s so hard now. People really look at your eyes, so I try to focus my makeup up here.
But yeah, I clean my face every day, if I don’t need to wear makeup, then I don’t. I’m a big advocate of wearing sunblock because I naturally have freckles, but I don’t wanna get additional sun damage, because while I was in Siargao, I was sobrang tan, I looked morena, and I loved it, but I got so many new freckles.