MANILA’S MIRACLE POWDER

1 Feb

I, the hedonist, now have a mission. How did I get into this? Here’s a shortened version of the story.

HOME AGAIN

When I arrived in Manila in December 2011, Susan Toribio, a former classmate from Ateneo, told me about Vitaplus,  a powdered orange drink that can’t be bought from stores, only from dealers. It’s like Tang: mix with water and drink.

There's always a crowd at Vitaplus in Ortigas.

The Vitaplus office in Ortigas was always crowded whenever I visited: at least 2,000 persons were meeting, talking, carting out bags of the product into taxis, cars and vans. Why was this product selling like crazy?

First, I heard many people claim that drinking this powder it cures diseases such as goiter, different cancers, asthma, psoriasis, and so on.  I was skeptical.

A dalandan (orange) juice that can cure different kinds of cancer? Doctors that cancel surgery for patients who drank the guyabano (soursop) juice? A cure-all powder for acromegaly, cysts, leukemia, and heart problems? Come on.

I dismissed the whole thing and went on to enjoy the longest Christmas celebration in the world, which one can only enjoy in the Philippines.

MESSAGE FROM BANGKOK

Then, in the middle of my vacation, Mr. Songpol Kaopatumtip, my chief editor at the Bangkok Post, said that he was waiting for my next story. So I began investigating this “miracle powder.”

I found a lot of material online saying either one of two things: (1)  that someone is cured of a disease or disorder by drinking it, or (2) that someone earns much money by selling it.

A dealer can earn up to PHP 15,000  (USD350;  THB10,800; IDR3 million) a week…. per week? That’s a month’s salary for a copywriter in Manila.  So I dug some more.

I found more than 227  related videos, testimonials, blogs, and websites online, mostly in Tagalog, a few in English. I talked to people who told me about how this juice cured various diseases. They allowed me to take photos and to record them.

Doctors and nurses in Manila prescribe VitaPlus.

I learned that a growing number of doctors and nurses in Manila are prescribing this “miracle powder” to their patients.

I got specific names of doctors, nurses, and hospitals. (I should contact them soon.)

HERBS OF POWER

I learned that the active ingredients – the elements that cure human disorders- are the juice squeezed [via a cold extraction process] from the leaves of five specific vegetables:

  1. Moringa oleifera: Horseradish tree  (malunggay in the Philippines; maroom in Thailand; sajina in Southern India; mоринга масличная in Russia; kelor in Indonesia)
  2. Corchorus olitorious: Mallow (saluyot in the Philippines; mloukhiya in Arabic; ramput bayam in Indonesia; モロヘイヤ or moroheiya in Japan)
  3. Capsicum frutescens: Chili (talbos ng sili in the Philippines; bai prik khi noo in Thailand; dahun cabe merah in Malay)
  4. Amaranthus spinosus: Pigweed (kulitis or uray in the Philippines; rajeera or cheera  in India; phak khohm or ผักขม in Thailand; bayam in Indonesia), and
  5. Ipomoea batatas: Morning glory or Cardinal creeper (talbos ng kamote in the Philippines; kangkung hutan in Indonesia; pak bung in Thailand)

The juice of five common herbs in a convenient drink

A survey of online literature reveals that these herbs have been used as medicine and as vegetables as long as 5,000 years ago on various continents and in different cultures.

Each herb has active ingredients that cure or relieve a variety of human ailments, disorders, and diseases including – yes – various types of cancers.

These active ingredients comprise less than 6% of the contents of each sachet. How could it produce such results in so many people?

Is this a scam?

SUCCESSFUL SCAM OR TRUE CURE?

Why is the product not advertised and not sold in stores?

The official answer is that, instead of spending millions on advertising to sell the product, the company would rather give the money to people who would sell the product. 

The truth is, personal selling is more effective than competing for buyer attention in a media-crowded field with hundreds of thousands of ads, or in a store with hundreds or thousands of products. In addition, the company has had historical success with personal selling, also known as multilevel marketing.

The Vitaplus company was established 10 years ago by Ms. Rhodora Tactacan, a direct descendant of the founder of the world-renowned Marikina shoe industry of the Philippines. She was also the owner of First Quadrant, a company that sold shoes and apparel via multilevel marketing. The company was closed a few years ago.

The First Quadrant’s demise was linked with rumors of scam operations. When  Tactacan started the VitaPlus company, she chose the multilevel marketing structure instead of advertising. In addition, the VitaPlus trainings and seminars adapt and use the hype tactics which have been used by Filipino scam operators.

Although multilevel marketing is a legal business paradigm, many in the Philippines associate the concept with the word scam. Fighting against this negative perception, Tactacan ensures that the company’s operations are all legal;  Vitaplus has US FDA and halal certifications, and has received a number of product and consumer awards.

Tactacan is also one of the very few corporate heads and company owners who put their face on their product. Her photogenic features adorn the company magazine Vitalife, pages of product advertisements, and various articles in print in electronic media. This exposure reassures the public that she – and her company – has nothing to hide.

This “miracle powder” is packaged in 20 sachets per box, each sachet with 22 grams of powder, of which about 94% is sugar. The packaging says “no approved therapeutic claims” and is marketed as  a food supplement.

SEVEN QUESTION POINTS

However, try as I might, I can’t find any specific or accurate information on seven important things:

  • The exact proportion of each vegetable’s active ingredient in each sachet
  • The locations of the company’s farms and vegetables sources
  • The location of the company’s factories
  • The machines used in the production and packing processes
  • The scientists who formulated the product
  • Descriptions of the discovery and testing processes.
  • Scientific papers on the claims of medical effects, cures, and reliefs attributed to this product

This could be indicative of an elaborate scam, or it’s simply a company that’s protecting its trade secrets.

I must find other ways to investigate this “miracle powder.” I will now go for firsthand experience.

FIRSTHAND EXPERIENCE

I have Type 2 diabetes. This means that if my blood sugar goes higher or lower than normal, I feel dizzy. To control my blood sugar, I drink one Metformin and one Vitamin B Complex tablet each day.

On 17 December 2011, I bought some First Vitaplus Dalandan Flavor and dissolved it in warm water, and drank this at least thrice a day. After two weeks, I never got dizzy anymore. I went on an eating spree, enjoying all the Filipino foods, drinks, and snacks that I missed for the past 20 years.

However, during a medical check-up, I found that my blood sugar was up. I should switch to the no-sugar version of the powder.

So it works for me. People I don’t know claim it also works for them. I must now ask people I know and trust: does it really work for other disorders?

Thus, I sent one box each to four people I knew: one with a recurring fever (probably dengue), one with goiter, one with asthma, and one with scoliosis. Sorry about this but, for privacy reasons, I can’t tell you their names.

Each one of them improved after only a week or  two of drinking the orange-flavored drink (goiter and scoliosis took a bit longer).

I was amazed.  I must now talk to a doctor.

THERAPY OR AUTOSUGGESTION?

After the New Year, I had a joyous reunion with Jinjin, a childhood friend I haven’t met for 30 years.

Jinjin’s younger brother is now a doctor in Zamboanga, who says that the effects of herbal-based products are not direct therapeutic effects but are either due to a new mindset (auto-suggestion) or due to the effect of previous medication or treatment.

To test the concept of autosuggestion, I must find people who have never heard of this product before, and see if it works for them.

I asked Reinard Felix, one of my former students at Binus International University, to find some sick friends in Indonesia, and ask them to try some of the powder.

I also asked my good friend Donna in California, and my former colleague Linda in Bangkok if they know anyone who would like to try this “miracle powder,” as I called it.

Reinard found two with asthma and three with cancer, two of them parents of a close friend (two with lung cancer, one with cervical cancer).

Donna has cancer of the blood (lupus), and Linda has preventive medications. Both want to buy a bag of 12 boxes immediately. The rest want to try a sample first.

I’m shipping their requests by DHL courier as soon as possible (that is, within the first two weeks of February 2o12).  I’ll post the results in this blog. When the story is complete, I’ll submit it to the Post.

DETOX REACTIONS

Detoxification expels body toxins.

If you know people who are suffering from any serious disorder and are willing to try the product, please tell me. I’ll send a box for them to try, and include the results in my story.

If you want to try this product, I can send you a few sachets, too. However, you must know that the powder begins to work by detoxifying your body.

The detox reactions can be different for each person.

For instance, when I began drinking VitaPlus, many pimples grew on my head. On the other hand, my friend had running fevers and expectoration of thick phlegm. Meanwhile, my godson’s mother had stomach pains and frequent trips to the toilet.

If you use this product, you should also expect some kind of detox reaction.

After the detoxification, the body begins the healing process.

MOTIVE, MOTIVE!

There are three reasons why I’m doing this mission.

I'm an investigative journalist.

1: I like writing. I investigate the facts of an interesting story, then tell it to the world.

For example, my story “Are You Man Enough to Be Woman?” is online at www.bangkokpost.com.

It was cited in www.genderlife.com; in www.thailawforum.com; and in en.wikipedia.org. This makes me feel that I contribute to the world at large. This is one of the main reasons why I write.

2: Medicines can be bad. During my two years as editor of the Medica Tourism magazine in Bangkok, I found that medication contain poisons. Till now, I avoid medicines when possible.

The pharmaceutical industry earns big money by not telling us the contents and side effects of these medications. When they do, the letters are so tiny that few can read them, and language is so technical that few can understand them.

I’m not alone with this view.

For instance, Paul Andre Glaser writes on www.videophile.org that “… western medicine treats most disease by using chemical medications, many of which are extremely toxic and need to be used over and over whenever the illness recurs.”

Pharmaceutical companies are so profit- oriented that doctors are influenced as well. In a report on http://www.motherjones.com, Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor of New England Journal of Medicine, says: ” … doctors are too willing to provide drugs for very minor conditions…  too often the … most expensive, heavily advertised … drugs…. Patients have to get a little savvier about that…. Nearly every drug has side effects.”

Thomas Bodenheimerand Ronald Collins, in the report, What Drug Companies Don’t Want You to Know at http://www.cspinet.org, explain that “… Pharmaceutical companies have designed studies to make their drugs look more effective and less toxic than they really are.”

Drug companies pay billions to politicians “to make the system work in their interests,” says Johann Hari, in his article The Hidden Truth behind drug company profits  on http://www.independent.co.uk.

“Drug companies do everything in their power to suppress risk information and paint a false picture of benefits – even when they know their drugs needlessly kill or injure,” says Byron Richards in his 2007 report, FDA Sleeps While Common Medications Poison the Elderly.

In fact, in the USA alone, millions are victims of acute medication poisoning, according to the 2010 report Recognition and Management of Acute Medication Poisoning by Ivar Frithsen MD, and William Simpson Jr., MD, of the Medical University of South Carolina.

Toxic contents are in drugs as common as paracetamol and over-the-counter (OTC) cough and cold medications.  “Paracetamol is now the most common drug in self‐poisoning, with a high rate of morbidity and mortality,” says the 2002 report on paracetamol toxicity of QJM International Journal of Medicine

You’ll find similar ideas on the internet: big pharma is out to get your money by any means they could get away with – even if you’re poisoned.

Don't waste money.

 3: I hate waste. Whether it’s my money or not, I don’t like the idea of waste; even more so when one is miserable or desperate.

There are many who suffer from sickness that use up so much of their money but never get cured – this is simply unacceptable to me.

So, this is my mission:  I offer to send samples of VitaPlus to people who want to try it out as an alternative to hospital treatments, doctor prescriptions, and expensive medications. If the trial results work for them, I will help them contact someone to help them get discounts when they buy the product.

FULL DISCLOSURE

I use the VitaPlus product. I’m not a dealer. Meaning: I don’t sell it. I know some dealers who know the actual prices. They can also can help and get you the dealer’s discount. Meaning: I know people who sell it. (Update 03 Feb: I became a dealer today to avail of the 25 percent discount on a bag of VitaPlus – I saved more than 2,000 pesos this day.)

I know that one sachet of the orange-flavored powder costs about PHP 40 at retail price and about PHP 35 at dealer price. Dealers get 25% discount. I also learned that fake versions of VitaPlus are being sold at lower prices. Meaning: You may get different information about prices. The effects of the fake products may be different from those described here and on the company website.

DIABETES: You’ll find websites saying that VitaPlus doesn’t cause diabetes. However, diabetics should use the no-sugar version, mix it with warm water and drink it thrice a day. Meaning: The regular version contains more than 90% sugar, which can increase the blood sugar in diabetics.

DENGUE: For cases of dengue fever, expect blood platelet counts to be high. Meaning: Dengue fever patients will still suffer all the usual symptoms. However, VitaPlus drinkers kept their blood platelet counts high, and that makes the difference between life and death. If you have a low enough blood plate level, you die.

CANCER: Cancer patients should mix the soursop [guyabano] version (has a more sour taste than the orange [dalandan] version) with warm water, and drink it from six to eight times a day. Like goiter, cancer cases should expect at least three months of use before improvements are obvious. Meaning: Unlike the less serious disorders, cancer and goiter cases could expect to spend from PHP 21,000 (about USD 490)  for a three-month supply before any obvious improvements are observed. Small improvements, however, can be observed within the first month.

DOSAGE: It’s a vegetable juice in powder form for your convenience. Meaning: it’s not a medicine, so there’s no dosage, no overdose, no under-dose, and no side-effects. Drink three sachets a day at minimum. Cancer and diabetes patients should drink from six to eight sachets a day.

WATER TEMPERATURE: Dealers tell me that the water temperature affects the reaction of VitaPlus powder. For instance, insomniacs mix the powder with lukewarm water to help them go to sleep. Meaning: if you want to go to sleep, dissolve the powder in room-temperature water and drink.  For those with low energy or who feel sleepy, mix one sachet in cold water and drink it with cold water as an energy booster. Meaning: if you want to cure an illness, dissolve the powder in lukewarm water and drink. Lastly, never use hot water, as that kills the active ingredients.

That’s all for now. I’ll keep you updated. Cheers!

01 February 2012

UPDATE: 03 February 2012

I attended a health seminar by Dr. Rolan Mendiola. A quick online search shows his name listed here as practicing at St. Jude General Hospital & Medical Center in Sampaloc, Manila for six years as of July 2011.

He’s also listed as one of at least 24 doctors that endorse VitaPlus online here .

While he did say right out that he owns a VitaPlus product center in one of the provinces outside Manila, his bona fides as a physician appear sound and above-board.

Dr. Mendiola is listed as one of the doctors on the Zuellig Foundation’s Disaster Response Program for Quezon Province. The foundation’s 2011 report online here lists his name. He’s the guy standing at the back with eyeglasses on this online photo here.

Dr. Mendiola said that he and other doctors give First VitaPlus to their patients who are suffering from serious illnesses and disorders.

He described the different ways the powder detoxes the body: fevers, vomiting, phlegm, itchy skin, constipation, diarrhea, etc., and why. He explained how infants, diabetics, and dialysis patients should drink the powder – and more (he spoke for two hours).

I’ll include the details in my next report – including why I had to buy a bag of VitaPlus and register as a dealer. I’m sending samples out to Jakarta, California, Cebu, and Bangkok tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Update: 05 February 2012

It’s been raining every day here in Pasay City. Rain causes traffic, and I hate getting stuck in traffic. I’ve been putting off that round-trip taxi travel from here to Ortigas. But I have to go soon; I have promised to send the product to my friends in the USA, in Bangkok, in Jakarta, in Cebu, and now in Zamboanga.

In San Diego, Donna Holmes is down with fever and general swelling; I think it’s the medications for her lupus. In California, Madelyn Green has high blood while her dad, father, and brother in law in Iloilo have high blood and diabetes. A retired school principal in Zamboanga is down with severe lung disorder.

Before I go to that, I’ll tell you now why I had to buy a bag of VitaPlus and register as a dealer: Research shows that the guyabano is a potent cure for tough disorders such as nine kinds of cancers, kidney stones, and blood disorders. A bag with 12 boxes of VitaPlus Guyabano Flavor costs more than 10 k. To avail of a 25% discount, I had to register as a dealer; I saved more than 2k.

Now: to Zamboanga.

My former classmate in Ateneo and now a teacher and mother, Emma Gonzaga (now Mrs. Austero) wants to try it for her high blood and diabetes. 

I was able to contact Danilo Madrazo, principal of Dole Philippines School until about 18 years ago. He is broke, suffering from COPD, emphysema, and severe asthma. He is now a “senior citizen” and says, “please pray for my survival and recovery. No quiere pa yo muri (I don’t want to die yet),” he said in a message to me just now.

Thanks to Ryan Marin for alerting me to his situation, and to Mitmit Ursabia for giving me his mobile phone number. Danny has neither facebook nor email. His financial situation prevents him from accessing the internet.

I promised to send him a box of VitaPlus. However, when I realized the seriousness of his illness, I saw that he needs not a box, but a bag (with 12 boxes) good for one month, and he will need the more expensive guyabano version (9,350 PHP).

I have just contacted Romy Lopez, a Chavacano who is also an ex-Dole Phil employee for help. I asked Mitmit, a Dolefil graduate, to help me contact Danny’s former students for a contribution. I hope to get at least seven persons, each to contribute that amount, so that Danny gets 7 bags, good for seven months.

My plan is to register Danny as a VitaPlus dealer. Everyone who contributes a bag for Danny, I will register as his downlines. Now, Danny’s condition is serious; if he gets well, his downlines will spread the story. People might be convinced to try the product too, and buy a bag for their own use.

In this way, Danny can get a weekly cheque that can help him buy his monthly supply of VitaPlus. This way, Danny will not be dependent on us for the rest of his life. He will have a business, and … he will have his pride intact, too.

Update: 06 Feb 2012

Yesterday, Danny messaged me and requested that I stop the idea of asking people to help him. He said he would prefer to try and survive with pride and dignity. Enough said.

Today, I sent 10 sachets each to two people in Iloilo, one in California, and five in Jakarta. I took photos of the packages at the post office in Ortigas, so that you guys know what’s coming to you.

We’re ending our guest stay here at Susan’s house on the 15th of February, so we’re scrambling to find a room for rent near a skytrain station, with wi-fi and private  bath if possible, but nothing more than 4k.

Update 09 Feb 2012

Yesterday, I mailed one box of VitaPlus to Thavy Yimsut in Wisconsin, one box to Danny Madrazo in Zamboanga, and one box to Linda Ravelo in Bangkok. We’re off for ocular inspections of rooms for rent in Manila, particularly those with low prices, low deposits, low minimum-stay requirements, private baths and kitchenettes, and near any of Manila’s three skytrains. I’ll keep you posted. Come back for more updates.32

 

9 Responses to “MANILA’S MIRACLE POWDER”

  1. arlene February 4, 2012 at 8:03 am #

    Oh la la you just cited all the staple food of a common Filipino household. Which I love. Will surely check this out when I go to Pinas. Love the article and the facts that come with it. Keep doing the good job and pray it will make a difference far and wide.

    • Jaime Alfredo Cabrera February 5, 2012 at 5:22 am #

      Thanks, Arlene, muchas gracias! You inspire me. I’ve updated the blog, thanks to your kudos. Cheers, Jaime

  2. life insurance February 9, 2012 at 7:46 pm #

    life insurance Hey, I really enjoy your web site here, it is a pleasure to read it and I will undoubtedly return quickly. My passion would be to speak about life insurance. Thanks!

  3. Mayris February 16, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    Thanks for this helpful information. I’m now following your blog. The product is really effective. On my case, I drink a glass of Vitaplus Dalandan flavored juice whenever I get an upset stomach.

    • Jaime Alfredo Cabrera February 16, 2012 at 12:38 am #

      Hi Mayris, thank you for your positive message. I didn’t know that this soothes a troubled tummy. May I use your quote in my story? Do you mind if I provide a link to you? Also, where do you get your Vita Plus, and at what price? Thanks, Jaime

      • Mayris February 16, 2012 at 12:48 am #

        yes it really is. I also wonder why in the packaging it shows “serve hot or cold.” but you said its not good to use a hot water.hmmm.
        I got it from a friend whom a dealer. I’m helping her sell it to my colleagues at work. It costs 38/sachet for the Dalandan and Melon flavor, but the guyabano costs 50 /sachet.
        No I don’t mind at all. You can use it on your blog anytime..

      • Jaime Alfredo Cabrera February 16, 2012 at 1:03 am #

        Hi Mayris, If you know anyone else personally, who has negative or positive comments about Vita Plus, I’d love to connect with them, to flesh out this story.
        I understand that hot water kills the active vegetable ingredients, the way cooking kills vegetable nutrients. The recommendation is to use lukewarm water.
        My friend, a dealer, sells dalandan and melon at three sachets for 100… his goal is to spread the blessings, same as my goal… he sells the guyabano at three sachets for 130…. I can hook you up with him if you want. Cheers!

      • Mayris February 16, 2012 at 3:36 am #

        I love your idea of spreading the blessings, and I will support it in any way I can. I will inform you if ever i come across with someone who can share their experience with the product.

  4. Jaime Alfredo Cabrera February 21, 2012 at 4:57 am #

    Thanks for the support, Mayris! Cheers!

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