Thin & Bloated Whisperers Landscapes

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For those watching their weight, tackling obesity problem, wanting to stay lean and those fighting “the battle of the bulge” of the stomach being distended, pandemic time may have become a recipe of double disaster for them.

A double disaster of two sides of a coin.

In footslogs along roads and routes along barangays in Baguio City and in La Trinidad, Benguet trying to sell mushrooms to earn a peso in this trying times, Daily Laborer met people from walks of life who confided they either gained or lost weight due mainly attributing their predicament to a what they call a “curse” that have settled on the land, cut down lives and will likely strike down more.

A curse, they believe, that won’t let go of the land and people for a long time and re-shuffled changes in health behaviors like cutting back on physical activity, eating more or eating less. Whatever the reason for these, they attribute it to anxiety.

They point an accusing finger to this curse as the main culprit that caused them to balloon, short of saying being fat, a condition that happens to hold true among children, adults and elders.

Ballooning to a point that many couldn’t already use some clothes as these won’t fit at the waist, buttons snap off, cloth strain at the seams or zippers get frayed whenever they tried to don the apparels.

Yet they view their situation in funny, anecdotal behavior.

Among the men, they whisper the curse is the hoodlum that made them inherit pot bellies. They dismiss    too much eating, too much drinking liquor and too much doing nothing physically not the reasons why they look like pregnant women about to go on labor.

On the part of the women, they hush-hushed to Daily laborer it’s not their habit of eating too much that made their bodies to lose their shapely curves.  They don’t believe their love for ice cream, chocolates, sweets, carbs made them plump.

Take Sotelo Kubungi, from La Trinidad, Benguet who said in a winking way: “Agpaysu, umin-inomak ti arak idiay balay, palpas trabaho. Ngem naparagsitak nu panggep trabaho. Ngem tuy Covid ti gapu nu apay medyo dinmagsenak. Panggep kapapanonot nu madapoonak ngata ti Covid wenno saan. Papanek tu ag- pa vaccine laengen ta maikkat danag.”

When Daily Laborer meekly advised those “fighting the battle of the bulge,” of distended stomach to try and engage in physical activity like “mag-exercise tayo tuwing umaga, at tsaka huwag kumain masyado ng marami,” they protested to Daily Laborer like he is insinuating they are finding it hard to muster energy to exercise.

They pulled the ears of Daily Laborer askew, pinched him here and there and growled, “Now hold on a minute, Bony, you son of your Mother, mebbeso you are accusing us of being lazy or being a glutton, eh?”

Last Monday evening, Daily laborer requested Joseph Manzano of Radio Mindanao Network of DZBS Baguio and Dexter See of the Information Office, City Hall, Baguio City to give a brief talk about “diay ibagbaga dagiti adu nga kinmuttung da kanu wenno tinmaba da panggep iti pandemic,” during their regular Monday DZBS program, One for the Road.

Manzano explained that he remembered the National Nutrition Council (NNC-CAR) mentioned the problem of obesity, particularly among children, in this time of pandemic. “Addu ti nag-overweight nga ub-bing.”

Both Manzano and See pointed out to the distance learning done at home as one among  reasons why schoolchildren are somehow deprived of physical activity.

See, on the other hand explained, “Kinmutong da ta nag-diet da.” As for those who got plump, See, expounded, “Tinmaba da ta naka-quarantine da. Balay lang ti ayan da. Nu nabisen da, tukab nga tukab.

Manzano assented, saying, “Entuno nabisen da, agbirok da ti makan. Tukab ditoy, tukab dita.”

See, on the other hand, continued, and said, “Tukab ti ref, tukab ti banga. Nagtimpla da ti inomen da. Nu nalpas da, inbati da la diay nag-inuman da idiay pag-ugasan. Nangamong dita.”

Observations of Manzano and See are apparently correct. From a public health, economic and moral perspective, it is imperative for the national government, regional line agencies in CAR and Region 1 to act on the issue of childhood overweight and obesity this pandemic time.

Curbing childhood obesity requires political commitment and collaboration of   both public and private sectors in an environment supportive of physical activity.

A study conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) indicated Filipinos having a Body Mass Index (BMI) in excess of 30 per cent is at risk of being obese.

And those struggling with obesity tend to have suppressed immune system, making them more susceptible to infections at this time Covid time,

Some of the married women tended to blame their husbands for their having become chubby, saying they have gotten tired seeing the faces of their husbands daily in the house.

Others just as well said they became scrawny   because of the same problem cited – their husbands’ presence at home.

When Daily laborer pointed out to the wives that they get mad as hell when husbands fail to come home, they pouted at Daily Laborer. Only points that woman are unpredictable.

Medical authorities in CAR and Region 1 note that life this pandemic time has disrupted people’s lives, creating a setup of gaining kilos and recipe of discomfort for those watching their weight.

These medical authorities explained the pandemic is an emotionally charged time, a time of stress. That being the case, many tend to engage in unhealthy coping mechanisms, for example, overeating or skipping mealtimes.

There are persons who are “emotional eaters,” and eat food to gain comfort in the context of negative emotion, the medical experts explained.

Take it from Jonah Galal, from Baguio City, who summed up the sentiment of other women, while munching on chocolate cake and downing it with bottled drink: “Apay ti kunam, Bony, gapu ta dakami nga babbae ket mahilig kami nga agsaramsam isu gapu dinmakkel ti bilbil mi. Agtagtagainip ka.”

As to the case of men   having the double stomach, well, Daily laborer says not to worry. Maybe you don’t know that men with a paunch are admired. You don’t believe Daily Laborer?

Imagine your reaction when you find yourself in a place where men with big tummies are considered handsome and admired by adoring women. Variety, Daily Laborer will tell you, is, indeed,  the spice of life.

Somewhere in Omo Valley, in Ethiopia, is home to the Bodi tribe which possesses a fascinating culture: unmarried Bodi men who have distended bellies are most desired by Bodi women. The more belly a Bodi man has, the more attractive he is to the opposite sex.

In the Bodi culture, the big belly is the king while the women rush to be the wives.

Last Sunday week, Daily laborer met an old friend, Gonham Paltiwes, a truck driver who resides at Tubao, La Union, besides Marcos Highway.

Paltiwes was standing by his truck that Sunday and happily patting his big tummy while a toothpick was inserted between his lips. Apparently, he just had a sumptuous meal from the canteen down the highway.

Daily laborer said to Paltiwes, “You look gorgeous! What magic potion keeps you glowing?”

Paltiwes smiled widely and burped. He then pointed to his big tummy and answered, “Daytoy ti mangpagpagwapo kenyak.” Daily Laborer eyed Paltiwes big tummy and envied him. He then told the story of the Bodi tribe.

Paltiwes said, “Iyarasaas kon tu man ken ni baket ko didyiay inistoryam. Ngamin pirme ti rorod na panggep daytoy dakkel nga tiyan ko. Ibagak kenyana nga adda kaparparehok nga tribu nga  mangay-ayat ti dakkel ti tiyan na.”

Whether Paltiwes broached the subject to his wife, Daily laborer will know when he will cross path with Paltiwes again in the future.