Sunday, November 08, 2009

The Honeymooners In Japan: Aishite Imasu, Mar & Korina

The Honeymooners In Japan: Aishite Imasu, Mar & Korina
The Philippine Star
By: Ricky Lo

November 08, 2009

You should know what Aishite Imasu means. If you saw the Regal movie (starring Judy Ann Santos and Dennis Trillo who won a Best Supporting Actor award for his performance as a “comfort gay”) with those words in the title, you should know that they are Japanese for “I love you.” Isn’t it fitting for newly-weds Sen./Vice Presidentiable Mar Roxas and Korina Sanchez who have just flown back from a (presumably) successful and fulfilling honeymoon in the Land of the Rising Sun?

Dubbed as Wedding of The Year (okay, The Decade), Mar and Korina’s Kasalang Pilipino held mid-afternoon on Oct. 27 (postponed from Oct. 23) brought romance back into a landscape blackened by two destructive typhoons, witnessed by well-heeled guests from business, showbiz, politics and other high places in society. (Reminder: For a full coverage of the wedding, tune in to ABS-CBN tonight.)

Last Wednesday, Conversations rudely interrupted the newly-weds in whatever it was they were doing — jointly! — for a much-needed, hmmmm, “intermission.” Here are their answers to the e-mailed questions:

Were you happy with the outcome of the wedding?

Korina: First and most importantly, I’d like to thank the groom for showing up. Hahahahaha! Otherwise, no husband for me today. I thank him for his vows of commitment to me, not to make less important the six years of love and kindness and support he gave me before we got married. I thank him for making the wedding possible at all; he helped me make sense of the planning of the event.

As for the physical arrangements of the occasion, many brides have told me that, after months of planning and preparation, the wedding day itself is usually a blur. They were right. It happened so fast. I was quite detailed with the plans for the execution. But, a day before, I was determined to try my best to leave everything to the point persons for every area of concern. I was working with the best in their fields — Margarita for the food and flowers, Gino for the production design, Mike for the logistics, Rachel and Marichelle for the guests and wedding ceremony.

I was specific with most of what I wanted to see. Maybe, like most brides, we all would have wanted “at least another week” to tie things all up. In my case, it was a very short four months to plan everything from scratch. You can imagine we had to source materials, flowers, fabric, giveaways, prints, music, etc. and only then have those produced. Dinaanan pa kami ng dalawang bagyo, Ondoy and Pepeng, which set us back three weeks because we got busy with relief operations. In the last two minutes we changed plans for the reception. It was crammed and crazy.

Now, since all I did was walk the aisle and have my back turned from everyone and everything most of the time, I could only judge from people’s feedback and reactions — and the photos. Everyone told me it was a beautiful wedding. I guess everything fell into place. I loved Pepito’s piña gown and the second dress I failed to wear. I loved Randy’s and Patrice’s creations for the entourage. I loved my Heny Sison cake, she executed our design to perfection. The invite and misalette were exactly how I envisioned it would be, the music, the giveaways, Margarita’s menu. I thank everyone who shared their time, talent and treasure (yes, there were those who donated some of our needs, I love you all for your generosity) for this day which is to be our most memorable as a couple.

Mar: Yes, absolutely. Korina was happy about it and that’s what matters. I’m especially happy that lahat na nagmamahal sa amin — di lang mga kamag-anak at kaibigan pero pati mga fans, well-wishers — kabahagi sila lahat. And lahat sila masaya at natuwa para sa amin.

Everything fell into place notwithstanding all the major changes and the thousand and one details. ‘Yung pagka-executive producer ni Korina came into play; she handled everything and with aplomb.

A nice surprise was from my cousin Oye who lent us his vintage car for the drive home from church. It was a top-down car and I told the driver na ako na ang magmamaneho (which is the way Korina and I make pasyal). The people we passed on the streets were waiving to us and shouting their good wishes.

How was the “morning after” feeling?

Korina: We were both exhausted from the night before! We retired at around 4 a.m. I guess, it was like, “Oh my, YOU’RE MY HUSBAND na!” My relationship with Mar has always been of a deep foundation of love and respect. For six years it worked so well for us both, kaya nga naisip namin na magpakasal na dahil nagkakasundo kami sa relasyon namin na tumagal nang ganito. It isn’t too big a change in feeling because it was always this way between us.

Mar: Napakasarap na gising. Though we slept late, we woke up early and had our first breakfast as Mr. & Mrs. Same food but different feeling. We couldn’t stop smiling. Parang feeling “we love the world.” Hahahaha!

Have you started to look at each other any “differently” now that you are Mr. & Mrs.? What are your terms of endearment?

Korina: Kung minsan nagkakatinginan kami ngayon bigla and mangingiti kami at sasabihin, “Tayong dalawa na nga talaga, ano?” parang Bea Alonzo at John Lloyd, ‘di ba? Minsan naman, magkakatinginan kami tapos matatawa kami, “I can’t believe we’re married!” We call each other Honey but pronounced Heney. Mar’s family jokes about that a lot. When we call each other from afar, “Heney!”, everyone will echo us and shout, “Hoy, Heney daw!” It’s quite hilarious.

It had also crossed my mind how much of who and what I’ve evolved to be as an independent woman I would lose in the marriage. I think this will be a running topic of communication between Mar and myself as we go along. I’d like to believe, though, that Mar loved and loves me for who I am and what I have made of and for myself — as I do him.

Mar: Everything is different, but in a good way. Kung minsan nabibigla ako. What’s this shiny thing on my hand? Ah. my ring! Di ako sanay. Hahahaha! It’s a little bit like the saying that “the more things change, the more they stay the same.” Korina and I have known each other and been together for so long now that we’re like an old couple na — meaning nagkakaintindihan na, isang kindat lang alam na. But Oct. 27 changed everything in that it affected all that we are and do and aspire to be. It’s all pervasive and it makes life more interesting. It’s a wonderful new adventure.

Why Japan for your honeymoon?

Korina: We dreamed of a drive through some parts of Italy that we’ve both never been to. But because of work for both of us, we couldn’t take off for the two weeks needed for a real honeymoon like that. I suggested to Mar that we postpone the honeymoon to December. Naawa yata sa akin, kasi pinamigay na namin ang reception namin para sa mga biktima ng Ondoy kaya sabi niya, “Sige, punta tayo muna, a few days, sa medyo malapit.” We thought of Australia or Hawaii. But that’s sun and sea and I’d just come from Boracay for my birthday. We’ve always loved Japan. And each time I go to Japan I always long to go back.

This trip was a great one, particularly. It’s cold (the way Mar always likes it) and we get to bundle up and do long walks (which he also loves). We biked in the park, walked up an appetite for some really good Japanese food and Yunishigawa, a mountain town in Northern Japan, was like walking through a postcard with the changing of the colors of the leaves. So beautiful! The surprise bonus is that it suddenly snowed! It was my first snowfall, ever. I’ve traveled through snow but never during a snowfall. I loved it!

Mar: Plus we wanted some quiet time together. Some place different enough so it would be interesting but not too new and different that we would be distracted (having to do this and that, see this and that) from just hanging out with each other. It could have been anywhere, really, where we could hang out and enjoy each other’s company doing everyday things — take walks, linger over coffee in a cafe, discover/experience something new together (take the train, snow, outdoor hot spring).Have you started adjusting to each other’s bedroom habits — you know, who should sleep at which side of the bed...who prefers to have the lights on and who wants to have the lights off...sino ang mas gustong full-blast ang aircon at sino ang ayaw...little things like those.

Mar: It all feels natural and relaxed. Korina likes snacks (cookies, barquillos, anything really) before bedtime while I like ice cream (chocolate, chocolate chips).

Korina: I have been told that audio headsets for the TV prolongs marriages. That works very well for us! Mar sleeps earlier than I do. I haven’t yet adjusted to my stretched hours doing the late-night (ABS-CBN) newscast, Bandila. I don’t get to sleep until 2 or 3 a.m. So Mar is asleep earlier and wakes up very early. I watch TV till late. We both like the lights off and the air-conditioning cold, so no problem there.

At our age, we tend not to sweat the small stuff. Sometimes, I’m convinced that women are really designed to do much of the adjusting — we understand life better. Hahahahaha! But everyone knows Mar is known to be the elusive bachelor — almost urban legend — so I appreciate that he has adjusted much to me, too, as I have to him. I’ve been told this adjustment thing takes some time. Over time, we evolve, too. So adjustment is forever. That will keep the marriage exciting.

What have you been doing in Japan aside from the “you-know-what” (Hehehehe!)?

Korina: Hmmm, I’m almost afraid to answer that question. You mean...aside from having tempura and soba? Quality time these days means anything and everything that has nothing to do with current events in the Philippines; though Mar is still up early to Internet Philippine websites. We take long walks, we appreciate simple things like Japanese artistry, Japanese way of cooking, the weather. Mar is particularly observant of how first-world systems work like mass transport, agriculture, discipline. He stops on the street to talk to a street-sweeper or a vendor and interviews them. Ganyan siya everywhere we go.

Mar: I’m focused on the “hehehehehe.”

You’ve known each other for a few years. But are you ready to discover each other’s idiosyncracies, things that you don’t know yet about each other?

Korina: I guess that’s what “for better or for worse” means? I think marriage is like a bungee jump. You take the plunge despite your fears of the unknown — you’ve never tried it before. But you don’t do a bungee jump without working yourself up into preparedness first. And then you make sure all the safety measures are in place before actually doing it. Sabi ko nga kay Ted (Failon) in our radio program, “Parang sa bungee jumping. Pero ‘yung lubid kailangan mahigpit, sigurado. ‘Yan ang pagmamahal namin ni Mar sa isa’t-isa. Anuman ang mangyari pagtalon namin, nakakasiguro kami sa isa’t-isa.” Whatever we discover about each other (including snoring; hahahahaha!), we are confident our love for each other will carry us through.

Mar: Idiosyncracies? Are you referring to Korina’s cookies at bedtime and how they get all crumbly and stay on the bed? Hay naku...Hahahahaha!

Ready for the mudslinging and muck-raking during the campaign?

Mar: One is never really prepared for this even if it’s supposed to be “part of the game.” Of course, it hurts, especially since most of it are lies, half truths. Nonetheless, we soldier on. The consuelo de bobo is that “the dirt-dishing says more about the pagkatao of the one doing it than the target.” In any event, the truth will always come out and in the end that’s all that counts.

Korina: Marami na akong pinagdaanan na ganyan; alam mo ‘yan. Twenty-five years in the limelight, especially as a commentator, I am always ready for a reaction, a backlash, a consequence. Many things that have been thrown at me in the past I sincerely believe I did not deserve. Maraming imbento. It would be hypocritical to say it never hurt. But, as you are seasoned into taking it and rolling with the punches, para kang boksingero siguro. Ito ang mundo mo, panindigan mo. Sasabak at sasabak ka, lalo na kung mayroon kang pinaglalaban.

Si Mar may pinaglalaban na pagtama ng mali sa pamamahala ng gobyerno.
In my case, I’m a journalist, I’m trained to tell it as it is and say the truth as I see it. Kung anuman ang ganti sa katotohanan, ganun lang talaga, hazards of the trade. One thing that Mar has told me that I always remember is, “If it isn’t true, it won’t stick.” He’s right. Of course, I am forever hopeful the campaign will be an improvement from the last one and that candidates and their camps stay decent about campaign conduct.

There is a perception na under mo si Mar. Please react.

Korina: Hahahahaha! That is such a joke! Si Mar, ang tigas ng ulo n’yan. He thinks, analyzes then decides. Then full speed ahead. Maingat at kalmado siya. Pero pag nagdesisyon, that’s it. Lahat nang nakakakilala kay Mar alam na alam na hindi siya nadidiktahan.

Suffice it to say that I come into partnership with Mar as, precisely that — a partner. Pareho kaming buo na n’ung magkakilala kami. In our relationship, may respetuhan.

Are you close to Mar’s love child (member of the wedding entourage)?

Korina: Paolo is a fine young man. I admire his mother for that. (Paolo’s mother is a former Bb. Pilipinas. — RFL) Paolo is very malambing, mabait and he is a respectful person. Times that we are together, we are warm and we chat. I ask him to tell stories and he is the most cheerful and thorough narrator. On our wedding day, he had a Best Man’s speech which he gave to Mar. After dinner that night, we danced a bit and he gave me the sweetest, most heartfelt hug. That was all I could want.

You know, I keep a healthy distance from his affairs as Mar and his mom make decisions for him.

Saan kayo titira, Bahay na Puti or another house of your own, away from Mar’s family?

Korina: Doon muna kami titira sa bahay ni Mar sa Cubao. Malaking adjustment para sa amin ito. I have a house full of stuff I’ve accumulated over the years and Mar’s place is really designed as a bachelor’s pad. Right now my stuff will stay muna in my house until we sort all these things out in time. Besides, I am really a closet Martha Stewart and I like to be doing things in the kitchen, gardening, rearranging things, doing therapeutic “cottage industry,”, so I still get to do all those in my place once in a while.Mayroon nga bang pre-nup?

Korina: No, walang pre-nup. Mar never required it. I think he avoided it altogether until we got so busy we had no time to attend to it. As I was the one to bring it up, I still would want to put things in order. I have seen too many relationships go sour, embittered, killed by concerns which we hate addressing but are realities nonetheless. So, maybe after the honeymoon, when things settle down, I’ll bring it up again and hopefully he could be more open to it. Para kasi sa kanya, uncomfortable siya talking about money and he feels pwede nalang namin pag-usapan these things bilang mag-asawa. Para sa akin naman, ako din ayokong pinag-uusapan pa yan. Kaya, sa pre-nup, isahang beses na lang.

Mar: No pre-nup. Korina brought it up and I sort of set it aside. I am uncomfortable talking about these things as if kontrata; ano ‘yun parang empleado, heto oras mo, heto duties mo, heto dayoff mo. O kaya parang partehan, ito akin, ito iyo, ito atin. Nawe-weirdan ako.

I believe and feel that between two reasonable people na nagmamahalan, everything can be talked about in a spirit of trust, partnership and goodwill. Korina has brought this up and I’m sure we’ll get around to discussing it eventually.

You are a hands-on journalist, a perfectionist. Will you be the same as Mrs. Mar Roxas?

Korina: I’d like to be the wife that Mar wants and deserves. Wala pa ako d’un pero try and try again. Hahahaha! As far as being hands-on and being perfectionist is concerned, of course, on those matters involving us as husband and wife, I, and I expect he...we will be fully engaged. We are fully committed to our marriage. Putting my career on hold should prove beyond doubt that I support my husband 100 percent. Pero kung pwede lang ako malayo sa pulitika as much as possible I’ll be happiest.

As far as work and career naman are concerned, we each have our own ways of getting things done. If you think I am detailed, you have yet to see Mar at work. We have an ongoing joke-contest nga as to who is more OC (Obsessive-Compulsive).

I have learned to try my utmost not to get in the way of how he wants things done in his projects. In the same way, in my work, with my projects, I need to do it my way. It is a secret ingredient to a happy relationship — keeping some things apart.

By the way as to the “Mrs.” part, Mar told me I should keep my name for my professional activities; dahil nakilala na nga ako sa ganito at kinikilala naman nya na pinaghirapan ko ang aking pangalan.

How many children do you want to have? How soon do you want to have one?

Korina: I love children. Pero, pwede bang one miracle at a time? At some point in my late 30s I didn’t even think I was getting married anymore. Here I am now. If and when we are blessed with a child, I will be the happiest. For now, I am the pseudo-mother to my nephews and nieces who I love very much.

Si Mar, he loves kids, he’s always happy when he’s with his son and pamangkins. So there’s that, too.


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