Latest Stories

For Margie Moran Floirendo, 60 is really the new 40


DANCING the tango with Jay Jarana in an Ito Curata outfit

Forty years after being crowned Miss Universe, Maria Margarita “Margie” Moran Floirendo is still hot—at 60. Beyond looking good for her age, she still makes news.

When she celebrated her birthday two Saturdays ago at Whitespace, Floirendo announced her age with pride.

“I contemplated that for a whole year. I was excited to turn 60,” she says.

The media has been harping on 60 as the new 40. In a survey conducted by the UK Daily Mail, respondents set down age 66 as “old,” not 60. At 60, many of them said, they felt they were in their best financial and physical shape ever.

The Daily Telegraph also describes “60” as the time for “late-life epiphany” and “the age of creative renewal.”

HELPING build a home in Baseco, Tondo for Habitat for Humanity

“The joke used to be that life began at 40, but it seems like it really gets going at 60,” says the Daily Mail.

“Turning 60 is one of the most exciting things to experience because I feel confident,” says Floirendo.

She recalls how her grandmother had a younger lover, and how her mother didn’t slow down at that age.

“When you say 60 is the new 40, you can be youthful in your mind, but not physically,” says Floirendo.

Still, she prepared for her big to-do. “I didn’t want to look heavy-duty.”

The former dancer took private ballet lessons for three months at Arts in the City to shape up for her number in her party.

She went on the HcG diet, which restricts calories to 500 a day. Floirendo lost 15 lbs, and became trim enough to fit into a body-hugging Hervé Léger.

Working with women from different cultures and backgrounds via the Mindanao Commission of Women.

Her daughter’s wedding

She admits she’s still trying to cut down on her carbohydrates, sugar and salt, as she girds for her daughter’s wedding.

Monica Floirendo, a culinary consultant, and banker Keenan Ugarte will tie the knot in January in the family-owned Pearl Farm.

As an endorser of the Belo Medical Group, Floirendo took Dr. Vicki Belo’s supplements and underwent stem-cell rejuvenation.

She admits that she has tried minimally invasive procedures such as stem-cell technology with dermal fillers.

“Maybe when I’m 65, I will look 60,” she says with her trademark girlish giggle.

At her party, baby boomers forgot about midlife and relived their youth in the sparkling disco days of the ’70s. The event’s highlight was a mock restaging of her coronation in the Miss Universe Pageant in Athens, Greece.

With the Bagobos who make a living weaving fine t’nalak for retail

In her life, Floirendo has worn many crowns of responsibility—as a tourism executive, producer, writer and humanitarian, among others.

Her career largely depended not so much on her youthful appearance as on her leadership skills.

When she became president of the 44-year-old Ballet Philippines, the company grew in size, attracted bigger audiences and raised more donations and revenues. Plans are afoot to improve the housing program for dancers and build another studio.

Affordable housing

Upon the invitation of Fernando Zobel de Ayala, chair of the Habitat for Humanity (HFH) Asia-Pacific Capital Campaign, Floirendo has also been working as a trustee of the campaign.

“He asked me to help in the Youth Build volunteer group,” recalls Floirendo, who was in her mid-40s when she joined HFH, an international nonprofit organization that provides affordable housing for the poor.

She witnessed how, in a decade, projects grew from 200 houses built to 5,000 houses a year. HFH works with the Department of Social Welfare and Development to give shelter to Filipinos living in danger zones.

Since the Floirendos own agricultural businesses and ports in Mindanao, she focused on areas that have been devastated by calamities.

Some 6,000 houses will rise in Cagayan de Oro after the onslaught of Typhoon Pablo. In Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental, HFH assisted victims of Typhoon Bopha.

Floirendo adds, “As part of the rehabilitation and peace process, we got funding from the European Union. We built houses in post-conflict areas.”

She says HFH has been very transparent with donors and the DWSD. “We make sure they visit the communities to see where their money went.”

Floirendo continues to work for the support of agencies, DWSD and private donors, for capital and land. She’s encouraged her daughters to volunteer to help build houses or raise funds.

“I merely serve as a catalyst,” she says.

Peace advocate

As women’s issues are close to her heart, Floirendo is the chair and a founding member of the Mindanao Commission of Women (MCW), an nongoverment organization that works to foster harmony among Muslim, Christian and tribal woman leaders in the region.

“We’ve been teaching women how to confront feuds and establish peace in their communities,” she says.

One of its most successful programs was the “Mothers for Peace” campaign in 2003, which crusaded for nonviolence and drew attention to the plight of civilians, especially women and children in war-torn areas of Maguindanao.

Floirendo was at the forefront of this campaign, collaborating with Archbishop Orlando Quevedo and Tabang Mindanao, an NGO. After three months of intense media campaign, the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front declared a ceasefire.

“We want to have a vision of what Mindanao will be 20 years from now. We have been having conferences with the MILF to make sure that when they get funds, they set some aside for women’s livelihood.”

One result was when Tarhata Ibrahim, Nur Misuari’s second wife, successfully organized a women’s program after a peace agreement.

Floirendo says the country needs more education in building peace, especially in conflict-ridden areas. MCW is working with women’s groups to influence lawmakers to make better laws and policies.

The former beauty queen certainly knows how to balance substance and style. A few days after her disco party, Floirendo flew to Davao for an HFH fund-raising activity at Abreeza Mall.

While busy with travel, tango lessons and socials, she finds time to listen to lectures on meditation.

“At this age, you’re more aware that you have to live life to the fullest,” she says.

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Tags: Fernando Zobel de Ayala , hCG Diet , Margie Moran-Floirendo , Maria Margarita Moran Floirendo , Miss Universe , Whitespace

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94
  1. How to enjoy Buntod
  2. World bids Gabriel Garcia Marquez ‘Adios’
  3. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  4. ‘Wild West’ Masbate’s pristine marine gems
  5. Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  6. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  7. Life lessons I want to teach my son
  8. Garcia Marquez left unpublished manuscript
  9. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  10. Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Are your favorite malls open this Holy Week break?
  3. ‘Labahita a la bacalao’
  4. Miss America: Don’t suspend teen over prom invite
  5. Historic Fort Bonifacio tunnel converted into a septic tank
  6. This is not just a farm
  7. How Margie Moran-Floirendo keeps her dancer’s body
  8. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  9. 12 other things you can do at Pico de Loro Cove
  10. President Quezon was born here–and so was Philippine surfing
  1. How Zsa Zsa Padilla found Conrad Onglao; Sharon Cuneta played Cupid
  2. Mary Jean Lastimosa is new Miss Universe Philippines
  3. Did Angara ruin Pia Wurtzbach’s chances at Bb. Pilipinas?
  4. Dominique–Gretchen and Tonyboy Cojuangco’s daughter–now an endorser
  5. Vinegar test helpful vs cervical cancer
  6. From Jeannie to mom of suicide victim
  7. San Vicente beaches hidden but not for long
  8. Borgy and Georgina are back; others are off–again
  9. Why is the lifestyle set now afraid to wear jewelry–before Kim Henares?
  10. Sen. Angara: I thought Pia Wurtzbach gave a good answer


  • Maid confesses in killing of 2 and stabbing of employer in Laguna
  • N. Korea finally offers condolences over ferry tragedy
  • 16 CADPI sugar refinery workers now out of danger after toxic shower in Batangas
  • PNP denies Purisima’s involvement in questionable deal with courier firm
  • Pro-Russian insurgents hold journalist hostage
  • Sports

  • UP nips St. Benilde; Adamson blasts RTU in Filoil women’s caging
  • Kevin Garnett responds to Raptors’ GM F word
  • Albert Pujols hits 500th HR of major league career
  • UST posts twin kill in Filoil pre-season cup opening day
  • Wizards beat Bulls in OT to take 2-0 series lead
  • Lifestyle

  • Entering the monkhood a rite of passage
  • Haneda International Airport: A destination on its own
  • Wanted: Beauty queen with a heart that beats for the environment
  • Kim Atienza: At home with art and design
  • Life lessons I want to teach my son
  • Entertainment

  • Bollywood Oscars, film stars come to Florida
  • Ex-Fox exec denies allegations in sex abuse suit
  • Kris Aquino backtracks, says Herbert Bautista and her are ‘best friends’
  • Summer preview: Chris Pratt enters a new ‘Galaxy’
  • Bon Jovi helps open low-income housing in US
  • Business

  • SM to rebuild Tacloban hospital
  • PSEi slips after 4-day rally
  • Toyota sells 2.58 million vehicles, outselling GM
  • McDonald’s 1Q profit slips as US sales decline
  • SEC approves SM’s P15B retail bond offer
  • Technology

  • Viber releases new design for iPhone, comes to Blackberry 10 for the first time
  • Engineers create a world of difference
  • Bam Aquino becomes Master Splinter’s son after Wiki hack
  • Mark Caguioa lambasts Ginebra teammates on Twitter
  • Brazil passes trailblazing Internet privacy law
  • Opinion

  • One-dimensional diplomacy: A cost-benefit analysis of Manila’s security deal with Washington
  • No ordinary illness
  • Reforest mountains with fire trees and their kind
  • Day of the Earth
  • When will Chinese firm deliver new coaches?
  • Global Nation

  • US Secret Service in Manila ahead of Obama visit
  • Palace thanks Estrada for successful HK mission
  • Hong Kong accepts PH apology; sanctions also lifted
  • China won’t budge, wants PH gov’t to apologize to HK
  • Cha cha train to follow Obama visit?