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Ladies Who Lunch

In her own words, how Korina did it

By: - Lifestyle Editor
/ 05:56 AM January 28, 2018

Korina Sanchez-Roxas in another outtake of the shot used in the billboard

People are talking about Korina Sanchez-Roxas’ “new” look and her  billboard photo. By people, I mean not only women, but also men.

The talk at lunches and dinners I’ve had the past week inevitably zeroed in on Korina and that billboard for Belo Clinic, and questions—was that Photoshopped? Is that really her? Do you like it?


Then everyone, including the men at the table, would turn into an instant “beauty” expert—no, make that opinionated beauty expert.

Ramon Tulfo, whom Korina hadn’t heard from for years, suddenly called her up and  gasped  about the look.


Noli de Castro told her, “Koring, whatever you’re having. Have it all!”

And what did her hubby, Mar, say? “They say I lost a wife and won a new girlfriend.”

I wasn’t that surprised by Korina’s “transformation” and that billboard.

First, all that didn’t happen overnight. As early as  last September, in the wedding of Dr. Vicki Belo and Dr. Hayden Kho in Paris, where Korina was a guest, the guests were already taking note of her svelte and leaner figure, her well-chiseled face, her tan.

Second, I’ve always known that Korina has always been into beauty and style, even as the rest of the country associated her with hard news coverage and politics.

I remember how, when I was still with ABS-CBN magazine publishing, I’d learn about the latest beauty treatments from her; she was our veritable expert.

When Korina puts her mind to something, there are no half-baked measures for her. She does it with acuity, assiduousness—and good research.


This time, she achieved her size 0 after the Keto diet (no carb, just meat and fat) worked for her. But, she told us, “It’s very important to be guided by your doctor and monitor your levels.”

It helps that her energy seems inexhaustible. Korina is into mountain climbing (because of Mar), diving, and a little yoga (compared to Mar’s definitely not-so-little yoga).

She’s very active in her social work, helping  kids, who have lost their legs, to  have artificial limbs—“This is important to me,” she said.

She continues to distribute slippers nationwide, and is active in the rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing of dogs and cats suffering from abuse and neglect.

“We help whenever and however we can, if we can.”

She’s  into a personal care product line business. And, as many know, she has her  prime time magazine show, “Rated K,” and is starting on a TV documentary on HIV/AIDS in the Philippines.

The more she goes out there, the more she is with people. What does she say when they say she looks different in her billboard  photo? “But that was the whole point, to look different,” she told us.

One more thing, I observed how it helps that Korina has good rapport and a long-standing relationship with Dr. Vicki Belo, the doctor who unshackled today’s woman, where inhibitions about looks are concerned.

You could say hers and Korina’s is a collaboration of modern women in the new millennium.

(And men don’t want to be left out, as well.)

By the way, Korina, below, has a point—it’s the hairdo that helps give a different look. I’ve taken her photos a number of times the past months, at socials, and it’s the same chiseled features. The change comes from whether she wears her hair straight, pulled up or in curls.

In our Q and A, Korina answers  what people have been talking about.

I’ve always known you to be highly informed about style and beauty—something the public hardly knows. How did you research about the treatments you had?

Well, I’m a journalist so I’m trained to research. And it’s my face and my body so, of course, I have to be careful and thoughtful about choices.

The more natural way, the better. If nature is falling short, then you go to the next less conservative approach. Like, all my life I’ve avoided all sorts of medications, like sleeping pills or antibiotics or pain relievers. Some people pop these like candy.

But as I got older I concluded that I need a little help now with sleep. I now take melatonin sometimes, the more natural option to prescribed sleeping aids. I take a muscle relaxant for some of the pain. I combine these with stretching and mild yoga. Super helps.

It isn’t so different if you want to try battling external aging. Yes, you can exercise and eat right and stay healthy internally. But your skin will eventually fail you. It’s nature. Gravity.

Yes, you can put a ton of cream on your face every day but, at a certain age, if what you see in the mirror bothers you, there are now options to battle gravity. For some, they don’t mind the folds and creases and bags. Some wear these lines like a badge of honor. Which is admirable.

I prefer to not have any of those if I could help it. Time will come, it will prevail and I will surrender. But not today. Because today, there are options.

By observation, there definitely are certain looks I want to totally avoid. So I researched more about the least invasive types of treatments. Yes I ask, I read, I consult, I negotiate, haha!

What treatments, procedures or diets did you have or are doing to achieve the look that’s won over so many people?

Can you describe what it was like?

I described it all in my Instagram account with matching video, hahaha! I had to show the video of the before-after of my jawline to prove the billboard photo isn’t altered. I curled my hair and some people think I had a nose job, it’s hilarious.

So, first, I lost the weight, 15 pounds. I dieted and got very active.

The sudden change in food intake and the activity jolted my system, and my body responded. And for my frame and height, losing 15 lbs is a lot.

The first to get smaller, whenever I lose weight, are my face and neck. And then the sag on the jawline became very noticeable. What to do?

I do Thermage with Belo every year. It’s like maintenance. In an hour you’re done for the year. It is deep skin heat infusion that effects tightening.

After a while, I did short protein threads which is, like 30 minutes and the lift from the jawline is instant. In my IG video I showed one cheek with the threads, and the other without. The difference is quite dramatic.

I think the number of threads one needs depends on how much you want to lift.

Right after the threads I did the third step—this machine called BeloVita. It is microneedling hyaluronic acid into the skin and this results in unbelievable smoothening and promotes collagen production.

Painful? None to very tolerable. Fast and instant! I’m amazed myself!

How did you build the resolve to look slimmer and achieve the head-turning looks?

Hahaha, that’s a good question. I was telling my (ex)classmates over a reunion lunch that there’s really no big secret to losing weight. Just stop eating the carbs and sugar.

The problem isn’t how difficult it is. The problem is the lack of will to be consistent. There’s no pill for that.

To answer your question: My husband and I agree that there are very few things in life you actually have total control over. Not even your health. We hear of vegans and athletes developing cancer, right?

But our weight? We can control that. We can control how we eat, rest, exercise.

So, I guess this is about taking control of yourself to live your best life. I’m certifiably middle aged. Time to overhaul and maximize potential of what’s still there. And at this age, there’s still a lot to work with.

If we can still climb a mountain or take a technical diving course, or have Thermage every year, why not?

How was the treatment in the clinic like?

The Belo clinics are all very well equipped and their staff are so nice.  Over the years they’ve become friends. The Greenbelt clinic is my favorite, very private, well appointed.

Are you aware that people are talking about it and about your billboard?

Yes, and how! I’m wondering a bit, what the fuss is all about. I’ve been slimmer and darker for a while now and I’ve been wearing my hair curled quite a bit.

I realize it’s because I’m not in daily TV news now so they don’t see me. Since I started on TV 30 years ago my shows have always been daily. Suddenly, I’m absent. And if you don’t follow me on IG, and you see me on that billboard, I guess it could be shocking. Wala pa namang na-ospital, hahaha! But to those who have been following me, they’ve seen the process over months, how I lost the weight.

In a party one woman came up to me with a cell phone in her hand and there was my billboard photo. She actually held it up against my face and said, “Oh ok, yes it’s her.” I kind of wanted to swat her but, it comes with the territory, and I do think she meant well.

A few have said, “What did you do to yourself!” And I’m like, “Uh… what did I do nga ba? Curl my hair?”

The conservative ladies don’t like the look, and that was predicted. The trolls will be trolls. But we’re all happy with the outcome of this campaign. Targets achieved. Our monitoring places response online to be 88 percent positive.

Based on your feedback— do they say it looks like you or a different you?

Most of what I’ve read and am told is, they’re very pleasantly shocked, hahaha! You won’t believe that it is the male friends who call and text and say, “Whoa!”

The gay friends come second. Larrie Silva texted, “Korina we are a van full of badings and when we passed by your billboard we all applauded!” haha! It’s been fun.

I think it’s the hair that makes such a difference. And the low-cut dress. I’m sure if I were wearing a suit and wore my hair like a news anchor,  the reaction wouldn’t be such disbelief.

With the grueling campaign over, your career relatively in cruise control, would you say you’re in a better place now? What keeps you busy? You’re not bored? Do you miss the hectic 24/7 schedule?

Bored? Hahaha! I wish! For some reason I find myself double hectic these days. Can’t even find time to just stay in bed and linger till noontime.

Being away from the daily news grind gave me all the time to do what I’ve always wanted to get into. And there’s a LOT. Suddenly it’s as if there isn’t enough time left in my life to do everything I want to do and accomplish.

My daily grind for 30 years kept me from all this. And now I’m trying best to catch up on this Best Life Project I put myself on.

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