Usapang Illustrado: FILIPINOS VS. FITNESS


Being a fit Filipino isn’t exactly a cakewalk, given the kind of food that we normally enjoy, or the way food takes center stage in most of our familial milestones. Unlike the majority of our Western counterparts, we kabayans are comfort eaters, above all. We like abundance, and richness; food that are so heartwarming, they feel like hugs. But oddly enough, we Filipinos are also incredibly obsessed with body shape. On top of the usual “hi’s!” and “hello’s,” we greet each other with “Uy, antaba mo,” or “Uy, pumapayat ka!” We’ve actually managed to make criticizing one’s weight a part of our daily courtesies! Why are we so caught up in this sordid business of shape-shaming? Just how important is fitness to us, really? 


Louise Monique Soriano – UAE

Louise Monique Soriano - UAE

Physical appearance, body shape & fitness are important to me though sometimes I tend to neglect it. I have a love/hate relationship with fitness but nonetheless, I accept and love my body through thick and thin. Right now, I think I need to improve my physique. I have been neglecting exercise for quite a while and I know I have to get back at it soon. In terms of surgical & non-surgical methods of improving how I look, I’m only up for non-surgical method. I don’t have any issue with people who are up for going under the knife for the sake of beauty but it’s just not my cup of tea.

Being fixated on fitness and aspiring for a certain body type is okay as long as that pursuit brings joy in your life. It depends on the reason why you’re doing it. If you are only doing it to gain likes on social media or if you do it to please your are you going to keep up with that? You have to do it for you. You have to do it for your happiness.


Ronna Rita Garcia Ellsworth – USA

Ronna Rita Garcia Ellsworth - USA

Physical appearance is important to me because I believe that one should present the best person that they can be. We come in different shapes and sizes , beauty is in the eye of the beholder. No matter how physically attractive a person is. If one is insecure, mean and has an ugly personality, the ugliness will eventually show. Personally I’ve experienced this. I used to be 250 lbs. Most of my friends and family would say ” I never saw you that way”. I was always perceived as a confident person with a great sense of style. I believe one should find the best aspect of themselves and showcase it. Always put your best foot forward. Not a copycat because you will never be satisfied. I do plan to have reconstructive surgery ( mommy makeover ) this year. I am getting myself physically fit to control my blood sugar ( I used to be insulin dependent diabetic ). Making sure my post surgical recovery is uneventful. I believe that my outer shell should show the inner me- a sexy, vibrant, talented woman. Mother Nature needs a little help in that department.




Fitness ranks high on my priority list. To be fit is to always feel healthy and strong and to have the ability to control my body.  I can only accomplish that by having a balanced diet, a lot of water intake, sufficient sleep and rest, a daily dose of laughter and exercise and most importantly having people around me that exudes positive energy. To ensure I remain attractive, I consciously make an effort to go beyond just about how I look, but how I feel about the way I look.  Being attractive is not confined within the image that I see when I look at the mirror.  I need to constantly develop my personality enough to pull in the attention of others.  I always make sure that I am confident in what I do and that I should always know the right thing to say.

There is nothing wrong with being passionate when it comes to fitness and to aim for a certain body type if it is for the right reasons.  We want to be fit because we want to be healthy, happy and live a longer life. I am happy and confident with my body but it does not mean I have to stop from making it even better.  I cannot stop aging and I cannot control the various external factors that affect my body.  In a world that is constantly altering the definition of beautiful, sexy and fit, I need to keep up.  I need to be proactive to ensure that I continuously improve as well.




The importance of fitness in my life varies. There are moments when I am heavily invested in my body, but there are also moments when I convince myself that to invest so much time and effort to pointless vanity is alarmingly narcissistic and perhaps, ironically, even unhealthy. So, its importance in my life ebbs and flows, but I don’t think that it’s necessarily a bad thing. Rather, for me it signals a tendency towards balance and moderation. The problem, as I see it, is excess; that is, to fall in either extremes of the spectrum; to either be fascistically devoted to working out at the expense of other aspects of one’s life or to be neglectful of one’s health under the pretext of keeping true to one’s supposed principles. So it really is just the rather banal problem of balance, of negotiating the tug-of-war between those two opposed tendencies.

I think much of what we consider as the ideal body is controlled—even insidiously manipulated—by the media. Bodies come in irreducibly diverse forms and shapes but it seems that only a select few get exposure and representation. Just think about the types of bodies you see on movies and TV and compare those to the type you encounter in daily experience. The gulf is far and wide. It’s also deceptive that those ideal bodies are depicted as involved in the same type of life that regular people live. So, the problem is that those images may set standards that are near impossible to reach and the fitness industry has taken the impossible and made it a challenge. I think we must resist that and be able to distinguish between image and reality. Health must mean a balance between mental, emotional, and physical health. We have to learn to be comfortable in our own skin and not in someone else’s.