Fab at 63: Jo finds the fountain of youth via common sense and discipline

“Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you do not mind, it does not matter.” – Mark Twain

There is no secret at all. The fountain of youth is right in our hands. 63-year old Jo proved it works with discipline.

Take a look again. Does she look like one? I mean, is she 63 years old and now is eligible for that senior citizen’s card plus benefits. No way, you’d see. Some will say, it is unfair or it is in her genes. Ok, we can list a lot of excuses and never ran out of them.

I have known Jocelyn Suelo, or Jo, to us her friends and her family, for probably over 20 years since our all-women Venture Club of Koronadal days. She is one of those friends who, when you need anything urgent, all you need is call. But I cannot for the life of me, imagine she past 60!

Then in our of our annual impromptu get-togethers, this time at our farm house, she shared her unforgettable climb at Mount Sinai in Egypt. Yes, all the glorious 3,500 steps on foot from 12 midnight to 7:30 in the morning.  That’s 7 and half hours of uphill walk. “I did it and was never tired at all when I reached the top. I even wanted to shout at the top of my lungs but I got concerned other people around might get annoyed at me”, Jo recalls.

“I wanted to shout but I might annoy tourists around us.” Scaling the 3,500 steps of Mt. Sinai was a major victory for her.

While the rest of the entourage was slumped with exhaustion and lack of sleep, Jo was almost starting her day and ready for more adventure. Any secret? She reveals, “During the steep climb that felt like an eternity, I was focused in praying. In every step after completing 15 Holy Rosary Mysteries, I prayed Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory Be. It made me very strong and full of energy.”

Jo’s consistency in watching her diet and doing her daily physical exercise is paying off beautifully. Take that literally. Imagine how storekeepers’ eyes get wide with surprise at her when she hands over her senior citizen’s card like she was making a joke.

Jo did the incredible at her age together with friends Fr. Louie, Mary Ann and Susan.

“I maintained a healthy lifestyle from the very beginning. I seldom drink soda, hardly eat pork and beef. My food always consisted of veggies, fruits, fish, seafood and milk. I love sleeping and would always complete my 6-8 hours and still take a nap after lunch. As soon as I wake up in the morning, I drink 2 tall glasses of warm water. I don’t drink any cold water at all. Yes, I laugh and smile a lot”, she says smiling.

The eldest of 6 sibling, Jo is the only girl. When her father died, she was 26 years old and became the head of the family taking care of everyone including her youngest brother who was 5 years old at that time. “My father did not leave us anything like a farm to support all of us, not even a spoon of property”, she wryly recalls.

There is no secret. Maintain a healthy diet, exercise, sleep for 6-8 hours, pray when you are troubled and smile a lot!

Jo became a working student at the South Cotabato Integrated Provincial Health Office since 1974 to sustain her education. She eventually was hired when she finished college and still works there until now. Despite the tough life she went through, Jo said she maintained a very positive outlook at life.

“Everyday I thank God for my blessings. If any problem comes, I resort to prayers and ask God for help and guidance. He has never failed me. God never ignored my prayers”, she says adding as a reminder, “Keep on smiling. There are so many reasons to smile.”

After standing by her 6 brothers, one of whom is now a ship captain, Jo lives her life to the full. Her daily routine? She shares what all of us can do daily, “I do zumba and always find an excuse to stand up and walk when at work. I love sweeping dried leaves in the backyard of our ancestral home that never failed to get my sweat pouring out.”

No rocket science involved here, right? Jo just exercised dear old common sense to practice and got very good at it through the years. Despite all the banquets, endless parties and celebrations she attended, she never went beyond her 50-53kg. weight.

Jo got us all thinking and it is not too late. If she can do it — then we too can!

Remember what Maya Angelou said? “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor and some style.” Sum them up simply as ageing gracefully. Yes, with a smile!

Surrounded by friends and her loving family, Jo lives a full life despite being single.

Malaysian doc keeps coming back

Posted:1:22 AM (Manila Time) | Mar. 31, 2002
By Maria Cecil B. Laguardia
Inquirer News Service

Dr. Anga’s (6th from left) one of many visits in the Philippines. Here he was met at the Davao City Airport by Rotarians of the Rotary Club of Marbel.

HE is often asked: “Aren’t you afraid of getting kidnapped in Mindanao?” He just answers with a smile and an unaffected shrug as if to say it’s not fated, it won’t happen.

Tugging a baggage of medical instruments, he walked confidently at the Davao International Airport, unmindful of the raging newspaper headlines about Mindanao around him. He looked at home.

At this time when foreigners avoid Mindanao like a plague, Dr. Angamuthu “Anga” Rajoo of Johor Bahru, Malaysia, flew back to Koronadal City in South Cotabato via Davao City to fulfill a promise.

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Making Mindanao children’s “right to play” a reality

“The true object of all human life is play. Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground.” – Gilbert K. Chesterton

Simple joys that create a huge difference in the lives of our children.

It started with a chance visit in the public school where I completed elementary education in Mindanao. I was actually thinking of putting up a library. I believe it is among those urgently needed. It still is, of course.

After a long-winded discussion about the needs in public schools, my sister Nanette and I narrowed down our conversation to … playgrounds! Yeah, we did not have one 40+ years back when I was there. How did we play?

We did hide and seek on trees and classrooms, “tumbang preso” using old tin cans that you need to kick or hit with a slipper so you can do a home run in water marked points.

The first time I saw a real playground – with swing, see-saw and slide – was when I went to Davao City and my parents took us in an amusement center. I was already 12 years old by then.

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One Bucket List ticked: Married off a daughter nicely

The bouquet.

“Once in a lifetime you meet someone who changes everything.” – Anonymous

How did it feel? This is one oft-repeated question from family and friends.

I take a bit of air before I answer. Not because I don’t want to – but because I have many to say. Oh, well – moms are always good in long-winding sentences that end up in several cluttered paragraphs. Just give it to us.

It was actually surreal. In countless colors. You can’t believe its happening. I got through not thinking too much about it by fixing my forthcoming trips. Zambia sounds exciting – Victoria Falls beckons.

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Life is one long jogging track

“… jogging can burn close to 100 calories per mile. An average human being would take close to 10-12 minutes to jog a mile, so that’s like 10 calories burnt per minute, which is definitely a good number. It’s also suggested that if you weigh more than 150 pounds you end up burning 8-10% more calories than a person who is less than 150 pounds in weight – the logic being that the more strain the body needs to endure the more calories that are burnt in the process.” – Tim/IamnotObese


I am hooked. Five in the morning has been jogging time for two weeks now. Ten rounds at the oval track at least (1km per round). That deserves a wow! In the past, it was intermittent. On and off when my fading energy would prod me. Most of the time lame excuses win. I can see you nodding in agreement.

TIP: Your true motivation, to lose weight, should come from a place of love – when you truly starting loving yourself for who you are and want to better your body as an expression of love for yourself, that’s when you really get on the right track.

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12km walk with my father

Everything I learned about the value of hard work, I learned from my father.

“It’s only when you grow up, and step back from him, or leave him for your own career and your own home — it’s only then that you can measure his greatness and fully appreciate it. Pride reinforces love.” – Margaret Truman

Until the late 80s, transport in our village from town was limited. Jeepneys then ply only twice a day. If you miss them, you wait until the following day. That’s it.

One day, together with a neighbor, my father and I arrived past 5:00 pm at the transport terminal and found out we missed the last trip. I dreaded the next decision but I know there was no other choice.

A very decisive man, my father immediately bought kerosene, used bottle and cloth from the store and made a makeshift sulo (torch). It was getting dark. With an impish grin – perhaps amused of what lies ahead – and torch in hand, we started our walk home. That was my first walkathon!

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