Rated K: One Moment Seals The Deal
Philippine Daily InquirerTake Five
June 17, 2008
MANILA, Philippines—Bride-to-be Korina Sanchez
answers some sizzlers about herself, her fiancé Sen. Mar Roxas
, last Sunday’s pamanhikan and... uh, are they preparing for a wedding or a presidential campaign?
What, to you, would be the perfect wedding?
The groom shows up. Haha!
The perfect wedding is... when bride and groom say their vows, knowing what the words truly mean, and their hearts connect—oblivious to whoever else is [there]. That one moment is all it takes to seal the deal of a literal lifetime. Understanding the meaning of that moment and committing to it not only makes for a perfect wedding but is key to a perfect marriage. People, especially women, have to concentrate on what marriage means, rather than how perfect the wedding should be.
More and more big celebrities like you and Mar are opting for very private, or at least very exclusive, ceremonies. Why are you inclined to have yours in Quiapo or Baclaran?
Mar and I haven’t really discussed the church. But I’d like it [to be one] associated with the masa. When the public got wind of our engagement, I was astounded as I was overwhelmed by their joyful response. Everywhere I went around the country, ordinary folk, kids, grandmothers would scream, “Kahapon, ngayon at bukas, iyong-iyo ako!” That was my reply to Mar when we made the announcement on “Wowowee.” Even Mar says people never fail to ask him, “Kailan ang kasal??”
It’s just unbelievable. Maybe it’s good news that people crave and latch on to. It tells me that the public should be part of this. After all, Mar is the product of a historic 20 million votes. My entire career is built as well on people’s trust in me as a journalist, commentator and news presenter. Every couple has the right to make their wedding as secret or public as they want.
Gift-giving is part of the pamanhikan tradition. Did you get something special from Mar and his family to mark the occasion?
Hahaha, no. No gifts. He told me they thought about it, but decided it would be too unbelievably traditional. Mar joked, “Dapat ba nagdala ako ng kalabaw?” It was enough that his entire family, from both the Roxas and Araneta sides, came to [my parents’] home. I was very touched. I was expecting only his immediate family but even the kids came! They were very warm towards my brothers and [my brothers’] kids. That is more than enough of a gift of goodwill to me and my family. You know, we are orphans. Both my parents, Ramon and Celia Sanchez, passed away in 2004. I miss them now, more than ever. Ang mga magulang natin ang mga totoo nating kakampi sa buhay na walang hinihinging kapalit. I’m certain they are both very happy, [wherever] they are now.
Cheesecake a la Korina was on the menu. What other dishes are you known for?
I’m flattered that my captive audience liked my cheesecake. My high school and college buddies loved it [though]. It’s just an Osterizer cookbook recipe that I improved on, haha! My mom [left behind] a handwritten collection of all her recipes, food we grew up loving and still love to this day. She gave each of us siblings a copy. My mom was a very good cook. She didn’t study formally; she just had it in her and could mimic and innovate just from tasting. The family recipes I love most, and which my friends keep requesting, are the callos thickened with cheese and cooked with meat and spicy olives (the guests last Sunday loved that, too); mazapan de pili, for which we grind our own pili nuts and mix them with potatoes and kondol and lots of butter. We also served that. I also like our mechado and kare-kare, as my mother is from Pampanga. Pero I have to concede na mas masarap ang kare-kare ng Lola Ester ni Mar. My mom also used to cook a mean yang chow fried rice and kaldereta, oh wow! I can cook these still— when I have the time or when I am challenged to prove I can cook. I used to cook all the time... but I have become so busy. Because of the recipes that my mom had the wits to leave to us, she is very much alive for us still, to this day.
You said on “The Buzz” that you were exhausted. But you look none the worse for it. Are you on any beauty routine? Is it true that you make regular trips abroad for a very special treatment?
Hahaha. I’ve only been once to a doctor in Singapore [who] is very much in-demand worldwide. I went for consultation [about] a lump on my right cheek. But he is quite pricey, so I have not gone back for the surgery that he recommends. Let the flaw stay! I am the most inconsistent with beauty routines. I just make sure I wash my face and take the mascara off with cream. And I am rebelling against having to actively fight aging. I work out, I eat less, indulge even less that that. I must say it is becoming an exciting challenge! But I am blessed that my parents both had good hair and good skin not prone to lines or sagging... they didn’t look their age even when they were well into their golden years. Pero darating din tayo diyan. Outward appearance is not the be-all-end-all. But, hey, I’m a girl. And I get into a better mood when I look in the mirror and like what I see. Nothing wrong with that — just don’t obsess.
Why haven’t you announced a wedding date?
Honestly, we haven’t fixed a date. It would be nice in December, but this depends on many other factors. We’re sitting down this week to figure it out. I didn’t realize so many things could happen all at once. Don’t worry, I’m an executive producer of ABS-CBN, remember? I’m trained to make sure the show goes on.
How much, or how little do you hope to spend on the wedding?
Mar is a conservative—in most ways. If it is not necessary, he won’t. He does not believe in excess and that is reflected in his lifestyle. He’s known for the rubber Timex watch, which he prefers to the Cartier that I insisted he buy for formal occasions. Hindi niya pinapansin yung Cartier niya. Sa restaurant, ayaw niya ng order nang order [kung] hindi naman mauubos. Ayaw niya ng nasasayang, ayaw niya ng OA o pakitang-tao. I imagine that, after I sit down with the wedding coordinator—his cousin Margarita Fores, who will do the food and flowers; and Veana, the censor/editor of the family, haha, Mar will be the one to say, “Why that when you can have this?” We’ll have to justify, and either he’ll say “Okay” or we’ll end up seeing it his way and trim, trim the cost. Oh, it would cost, but it shouldn’t be... of such ostentatious proportions that it would be insensitive to others.
Some people note that your wedding preparations look like a campaign, with you and Mar going around the Philippines in search of local delicacies/crafts. Would you like to address this?
Even a question can be an editorial in itself! Many times a question will be posed to elicit a reaction. But, this isn’t one of those questions. It is something we are prepared to answer because we understand why people ask.
It’s the farthest from the truth. You wouldn’t believe how many people ask about the wedding details, preparations... Wherever we go that is announced, the press will be there. We give in to interviews and photographs because it answers people’s questions. I don’t think newspapers, TV or radio programs will put on material that people aren’t interested in, to start with. I guess, we make it to those media platforms because people are interested and we are happy to share the information. We don’t say, “Vote for Mar.” We say, “We love the flowers from Davao.” Nothing political about that.
Have you had to deal with other criticisms relative to the engagement/wedding?
As with all things in life, people will comment, criticize. What I am focused on is what is important, what matters. That list narrows down more and more as you get older and, wishfully, wiser. Wala naman kaming magagawa kung natutuwa ang tao sa relasyong ito. But there hardly are criticisms, or maybe we are oblivious to whatever negativity is out there. We are too heartened with the happy response to this happy time for Mar and me.
Who will be your maid of honor or matron of honor? Who are the other names on your list of sponsors? Is the register equally divided between show biz/media and politics?
No names yet, really. Mar and I still have to sit down on that. But I imagine it will indeed be a combination. It will be an interesting mix. But Mar and I have been saying that, since we can’t invite the entire world, then we keep it as real as possible. We will surely start with immediate family and closest friends and then move outward through the layers. Kung puwede nga lang imbitahin mo ang buong bayan... Pero, siyempre naman, may hangganan ang budget. .
Speaking of which, will ABS-CBN have exclusive coverage rights to your wedding?
There are ongoing talks about this so I can’t say anything about that yet. But I believe all interested media will have a share of materials.
Mar says you’re fully in charge of the wedding.
Yes, please don’t remind me—he reminds me often enough! I was busy staying horizontal for days upon taking my leave from work—as if that could make up for more than a year of five-hour sleep days because of my late night news [program] and early morning radio work. Then I immediately went around the country for my tsinelas campaign and shooting for “Rated K,” the Sunday show that I am still doing. I left for Japan for “Rated K” and, when I came back, I had to prepare for the pamanhikan. Now we will sit down for the wedding. Names? Soon to follow.
What is the most romantic thing that the senator has done for you—so far?
This pamanhikan takes the cake, don’t you agree? I had never seen Mar, sing, dance and do poetry all in one night for anyone. The desposorio, pamanhikan and balagtasan made it so much more romantic. There is something about Filipino culture that makes it more heartfelt. May kurot sa puso. Sayang, sana napagsibak ko rin siya ng kahoy at napag-igib ng tubig, hahaha! Every woman to be married should have that chance to be serenaded the Filipino way—it’s wonderful! My last trip to Japan reminded me how important it is to move forward while keeping alive what is good from the distant past.
Surely you have full faith in Mar as the country’s next President. What kind of First Lady do you hope to be?
He hasn’t declared [his candidacy]. I’m itching to [do it] for him, haha! I tell people, “We shouldn’t give up on government, on this country, until we’ve tried Mar Roxas.” Guwapo pa! Actually, I know little about what a First Lady does. It must mean more than wearing pearls and carrying small purses. I’m guessing, that position becomes what you make of it. I have 25 years of solid public service behind me. That definitely can’t stop. But that’s getting ahead of it all. For now, what is important is that I am Mar’s Only Lady.
On Monday night, the blurb for a TV report on the pamanhikan asked if your were an asset t o Mar? Were you slighted?
I’m so ready for things like that. It’s Mar I’m sometimes worried about because he doesn’t like it when doubts are cast on his sincere intentions for me. [By nature] Mar is the type who thinks well of people. In contrast, having been in media all my working life, I developed a naturally suspicious mind. I am battle-scarred, but with good lessons learned. We’ve discussed this. He is always relieved when I tell him: “I know you love me and I love you. No one can convince me otherwise. Let them talk about us. Don’t you see? It [just] means... we matter to them.”
While I acknowledge that the association [with me] does help Mar reach people’s hearts, the electorate isn’t stupid. No political analyst can insist that our relationship is all that Mar stands on. It is irrefutable, what Mar Roxas has done for this country and, just as important, what Mar hasn’t done—as 20 million voters in 2004 knew—he never cheated, never lied, never stole from public coffers, never used his position to enrich himself. If not for all these, no association with any Korina would do him any good.
How have you changed as a person in the last five years?
The past five years have been an adventure, a challenge, a great difficulty, a thrill —all in what now feels like one breath. When my parents died, I inherited much responsibility toward my siblings. I’m the only girl. I’ve had to work very, very hard to bridge the lifestyle of my family before with current realities. I lost hard-earned money to a friend I trusted, which set me back quite a bit. I met Mar, fell in love, and my life was suddenly charted. “Rated K” was born and it has done so, so well. I won my Ka Doroy Broadcaster of the Year Award and New York World Festivals Awards for Best Report and Best Field Correspondent. Now the unimaginable has happened: I’m getting married. Plus so much more in between. You can’t not change after all that, huh?
It is not for me to say whether these have been for the better or worse. I’d like to think that my evolution hasn’t stopped—and won’t. I’d like to see myself simplifying, reaching for greater heights (not necessarily by popular standards), paying more attention to what truly matters: contribution to the greater good, helping, whenever I can and should, family, children, my personal development, health, peace... and what I would like to be a happy and productive life with Mar.