Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mar and Korina: True Love Waits

Mar and Korina: True Love Waits
Manila Bulletin
The Better Half
By : Czarina Nicole O. Ong
February 20, 2010

During the photo shoot, Mar would constantly crack jokes and teasingly ogle his beautiful wife, and Korina would let out a girlish chuckle and lovingly embrace her husband. (Photo by RAYMOND SALDAÑA)

Many tongues were sent a-wagging last October 27, 2009 when vice-presidentiable Senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas and his long-time love broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez tied the knot. Many remarked that it was merely a political set-up, a union which was created out of a need to bolster the senator’s chances in the 2010 elections.

But one only needs to see the couple sans the political and media spotlight to determine whether their love is genuine or simply a puff of smoke. In their abode, all sense of pretention and drama is thrown out the window as the laid-back Mar and the graceful Korina laugh and joke with each other much like an old married couple.

“Our relationship did a slow burn, para bang uling. Hindi siya ‘yung maliyab na explosion,” begins Mar. They first met during an awarding ceremony hosted by the National Press Club. “It was rainy, it was stormy and normally, the other awardees did not come because the streets were already flooded. I saw Korina and so naglakas loob nalang ako and I went and introduced myself to her,” he recalls.

He asked if he could sit beside her, but the ever-aloof Korina gave Mar a disapproving look, raised her eyebrow and asked, “Are you a journalist? Because this row is for journalists only.” Undeterred, Mar persisted in getting to know Korina. “All I know is that she’s beautiful and sexy. Bilang lalaki at bilang isang binata, gusto ko siya makilala!” admits Mar.

Little did he know that the attraction was mutual for them both. “He was my crush, even before. I just pretended I did not know him,” confesses Korina. “I’ve read about him in a newspaper spread. I thought he was somebody very interesting to meet. More than anything, he seems responsible, and that’s my ideal guy.”

Since it was raining heavily that night, he engaged Korina in a conversation about diving and was even brazen enough to ask her to arrange a diving excursion for them. “Right then and there, I already had my alert sign up. I thought, ‘Why am I going to do the organizing?’ Iba ang style niya!” notes Korina.

“Hindi kasi siya sanay na ‘yung guy lalapit nalang bigla sa kanya to say hi or pleased to meet you. Nakasanayan niya ‘yung magpapadala muna ng lihim sa pinsan niya, or sa pinsan ng pinsan niya. Ganoon ba,” Mar explains.

The diving trip never actually happened, but Mar and Korina did see each other several more times after that. “We would see each other during coverages,” says Korina.

“Unlike other courtships where the couples would see each other every day, ours was intense but it was sporadic. May coverage siya kung saan saan, may coverage din ako. But it is very nice, kung baga sa cemento, it was built layer by layer. Hindi siya mabilis nagawa so it’s very stable, and it just became such a natural evolution,” explains Mar.

The evolution involved years of friendship and subtle courtship. After six years of going steady, Mar proposed to Korina. “When I proposed to her during Valentines’ day, I didn’t even ask her. It was a declarative sentence. I said, ‘You know of course that we’re getting married.’” recalls Mar. Korina’s answer was also a one-word declarative sentence: yes.

They got married in Sto. Domingo Church, and thousands of Filipinos witnessed their heartfelt union. “I was excited during our wedding, but at the same time there was a sense of serenity. I felt that everything is as it should be,” Mar muses.

And since they have known each other for so long, their adjustment towards married life came just as naturally. “Let me give a sample,” says Mar. “For whatever reason, we quarrel over the silliest thing. And then out of the blue, may darating na hotcake sa akin. As a mature person, I know that’s her way of reaching out to me. You’ll just know. So later, may mais con yelo namang darating sa kanya. And the next time we see each other, it’s as if nothing happened.”

Even simple things such as sharing the television and blanket are laughingly dealt with by the couple. “Korina usually sleeps late that’s why we bought headphones for the TV,” says Mar. “She also knows that I love to channel surf, but she can’t stand it! So she waits around 10 minutes until I finally fall asleep, and it’s her turn to get the remote control.”

Mar continues, “Ito pa isang adjustment namin – ‘yung agawan ng kumot! And the only solution for us is that we just have to sleep closer to each other.” Ultimately, the couple is happier with the compromise.

Now, Mar is busy with his campaign while Korina took a leave from work. “I understand the demands of his job. And I’m not as busy as I used to be because I’m on leave. What I try to do now is to be the dutiful and obedient wife. It’s a shift towards the side of me that I have long not been in touch with, and that is my Martha Stewart side. Actually I sorely missed that side of me, so it is not totally unknown,” shares Korina.

She makes sure the vases of their house are always filled with flowers, and prepares snacks and refreshments for Mar when he goes campaigning. “Pinagbaon nga niya ako ng egg sandwich na naka-wax paper pa. She knows how much I love to eat,” says Mar.

“I also prepared a cooler for him before he left. Inside are towels and ice so that when it’s really, really hot, he could use it,” says Korina. And her efforts are much appreciated by her husband.

“While we were campaigning one time, I was feeling hot, parched, and dry. Then out of the corner of my eye, I see her watching me. And just looking at her, I felt more alive. It’s as if I have been splashed with cool water,” gushes Mar.

Aside from caring for his campaign needs, Korina’s thoughtfulness also extends to Mar’s feeling loved and comfortable at home. “There was one time I came home tired from campaigning. She was already sleeping, but on our bedside, there’s a piece of chocolate for me. And I know she thought of me before going to sleep,” narrates Mar. “She also left a DVD for me to watch just in case I couldn’t sleep. But I don’t like her choices because she likes paranormal movies, ones which involve vampires.”

“He likes watching nonsensical movies, because he really just wants to relax,” explains Korina.

“We’re in a good place right now,” Mar reflects. “And it’s because of the way our relationship was founded. If you compare our relationship with cooking, it is similar to slow cooking. I think it’s the best process, and just look at the result. For sure, it’s not fast food!”

Years of slow cooking their relationship has definitely paid off, and the results show that Mar and Korina are exactly where they should be right now — happy, content, and in love.

On physical attraction

He said: It’s hard for Korina to escape anybody’s attention. She’s in the public eye, and even before I entered politics, I already knew there was a Korina Sanchez. I didn’t know her personally at first; all I know is that she’s beautiful and sexy.

She said:
Physical attraction is not really my priority, but it’s not to say that Mar isn’t good-looking. Of course, tingin ko talaga na gwapo siya. I like men with glasses. I don’t know why, maybe it’s because my dad also wore glasses.

On falling in love

He said:
Si-net up talaga niya ang meeting namin. Matagal na niya ako pinagplanuhan! Malamang sabi niya, ang pogi nito, may six-pack abs pa siya! Gusto ko ito makilala! (Laughs)

She said: I landed my dream boy. I like being with him, and I also like the idea of being with him. Even if we’re not together, I like thinking of being together with him.

On marriage

He said: Our wedding day is the highlight, and you feel like you’ve already reached the tip of the mountain. But the next day, I discovered that it gets even better. It’s just been a wonderful time for us.

She said: I’m enjoying being a wife right now, I’m afraid I might enjoy it too much! But I’ll also be going out and helping him with the campaign.


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