The prime of Charito Planas, 83, after stem cell therapy on the cheapBy Rima Jessamine Granali
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Now she can literally walk a mile.
Lawyer Charito Planas, 83, used to have a hard time getting up. But she can now walk without pain, thanks to stem cell therapy that cost her only five figures.
While hospitals here and abroad charge millions for the treatment, a wellness center in Tagaytay offers the service 10 times cheaper, Planas said.
“The cane I used to walk with is just an accessory now, for I walk freely, without pain, without limping,” said Planas, a political and human rights activist who sought refuge in the United States during the Marcos martial law administration.
“My heavily grey hair has now regained its ebony shade; my skin—both body and facial skin—has regained a youthful, shining glow; and my wrinkles are slowly fading away,” she added.
Planas underwent six sessions of stem cell therapy from March to April at Green and Young Health and Wellness Center, owned by Dr. Antonia Carandang Park.
Former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo reportedly visited the Filipino physician a day after she was released from detention at Veterans Memorial Medical Center (VMMC) in Quezon City after posting a P1-million bail in July last year. She was taken back to VMMC in October.
Other well-known personalities, such as justices, physicians and a senator, also reportedly frequented the wellness center.
“Doctor Park, the woman with an angelic face, performs the treatment and her fees are so minimal,” Planas said.
Her bill for the six injections amounted to five figures. “It costs a tenth of the prevailing treatment price,” she said, requesting that the exact amount be kept confidential.
Park, who is married to a Korean, uses human placenta for the stem cell therapy and technology from South Korea.
Placenta is a vascular organ that develops inside the uterus during pregnancy and is expelled after birth.
The three politicians who allegedly died after treatment in Germany underwent “xenogenic” or animal-based stem cell therapy. Last week, the Philippine Medical Association issued a warning against the procedure, as well as undergoing the treatment in nonhealth facilities.
Planas said she believes placenta-derived stem cell therapy is safer, but she could only speak based on her experience.
Park, who studied and researched on alternative treatment, herbal medicines and stem cell therapy, also used the treatment to cure her lupus-stricken son, Planas said.
“I don’t claim it is the panacea of all illnesses nor will it respond similarly to another individual nor can it be a better treatment for another,” the former head of Nayong Pilipino and deputy spokesperson of the Arroyo administration said.
“One thing that I am very confident about is that the stem cells act as repair system of the body for those needing repair and act as replenishment for adult tissues,” she added.
The therapy allows the body to heal itself.
The procedure, which lasts for about an hour, is very simple, she said. Preparations, like detoxification and enema, were more taxing.
Before the injection, her legs were wrapped and needles were inserted into her skin, similar to acupuncture.
The number of sessions depends on the condition or illness of the individual.
For six weeks, Planas traveled from her home in Marikina City to the wellness center in Tagaytay every Saturday morning.
The trips were worthwhile, as she felt better and looked fairer after the treatment, she said.
“I was never in search for the Fountain of Youth. Age has never been a problem to me,” the former Quezon City vice mayor said.
“What excites me is the promise of functional years. That was my aim when I considered stem cell therapy,” she added.
The wonders of science helped her achieve the healthy and active lifestyle she has always wanted.
Weight loss formula
Even before the stem cell treatment, she has been adapting actress KC Concepcion’s mantra of exercise, proper diet and positive attitude. This formula helped her lose weight.
“I used to weigh 203 pounds for as long as I can remember,” she said. “Now, I tip the scale at 128 pounds.”
Her morning ritual includes 100-count bed exercises of leg-pedaling and 30-minute brisk walking along the paved streets of Provident Village, Marikina City.
She greets everyone with a smile and a warm hello. “Even a child who did not know me before now kisses my hand, as I have become a doting grandmother,” she said.
Planas always starts her day with a prayer. “I further ask our Creator to show and guide me the way to deserve this wonderful day,” she said.
“I also pray that proceeds of the socialized housing project for 280 families on my property be paid soon for the completion of my committed six concrete three-room school buildings, complete with Monoblock chairs, computers sets and other school paraphernalia for the Aetas and other indigenous children of Central Luzon,” she added.
“I have been living a simple, healthy and clean lifestyle… no vices at all. I sleep early and wake up early. But if being alive and well at 83 is something that many people wish for, the ‘asset’ of having a sharp memory at my age is what I am really proud of,” she said.
“My appointment book contains invitations for speaking engagements, which I wholeheartedly accept whenever my schedule allows me to. I still deliver extemporaneous speeches and I quote names, dates, events and trivia with accuracy and with much gusto, the way I used to during the height of my activism days, when I was the most vocal opponent of the late President Ferdinand Marcos,” she added.”
Fruits and vegetables have been her staple. Her breakfast consists of fruits, ginger brew and blended green apple, celery, cucumber, carrots, parsley and green bell pepper.
Despite her healthy lifestyle, the “not-so-pretty” signs of aging caught up on her.
“There was a time when I experienced pain on my knees that gave me a hard time getting up and walking,” she said.
Three doctors advised her to undergo immediate surgery but a fourth surgeon told her otherwise, telling her that she could become bedridden because of her old age, Planas recalled.
And the answer to her problem came from a retired justice, who had also undergone stem cell therapy and introduced her to Park.
“I met a retired justice who regularly attends the Thursday Club meeting held at the house of a common friend. One day, I noticed how young and energetic he looked and I couldn’t help coming up to him to exclaim my astonishment. He told me about stem cell therapy and later introduced me to a Filipino physician,” she said.
“After gaining all the knowledge about stem cell therapy and how effective the treatment is, as far as regeneration of old and/or damaged cells are concerned, the physician conducted the therapy on herself,” she said. “Needless to say, the physician was greatly awed by the effects of the therapy and what else do you expect?”
Now, with her renewed strength, she said there’s no stopping her from doing what she still wants to do.