Sunday, April 11, 2010

Mar The Technocrat Has Funny Side, Too

Mar The Technocrat Has Funny Side, Too
The Philippine Star
By : Aurea Calica
April 11, 2010

MANILA, Philippines - A technocrat through and through.

Liberal Party (LP) vice presidential bet Sen. Manuel “Mar” Roxas II showed his “true colors” during a forum with The STAR editors, columnists and reporters.

Roxas admits he tends to over think, and after all the analyzing, he still ends up telling himself that he could have done better.

But the technocrat nevertheless did reveal a funny and playful side.

During the forum, he started to hum along with a Carlos Santana song playing in a videoke joint beside The STAR office.

The music grew louder as he was explaining a serious issue, and when he could no longer be heard, he decided to join in and sing along.

Roxas describes himself as “kenkoy” (playful) and down-to-earth, but admits he can be rigid and detailed.

Just as he answers questions logically and complete with facts and figures, he orders food in restaurants with specific instructions on how it should be prepared and presented.

Despite his high survey ratings, Roxas constantly asks people, “What else can they do (to us)?”

Even The STAR editors were not spared, as he probed for their reactions to and opinions of certain situations and scenarios.

He says he finds it difficult to be complacent, even with their lead in the surveys.

Roxas also asks questions and gives comments that may throw some people off guard, such as when he wondered why some women journalists wear sandals or even flipflops. He said women reporters should dress appropriately, and not wear sleeveless shirts even on warm and sunny days.

According to Roxas, his day now starts with media interviews and meetings.

Roxas said he had to divide his time attending to administrative concerns being the LP president while joining campaign sorties in the countryside.

Aquino and LP campaign manager Florencio “Butch” Abad had defended Roxas from recent criticisms that he was going on his own campaign.

Aquino and Abad said Roxas has to attend to party matters, such as their concerns before the Commission on Elections (Comelec).

“That’s about it, I don’t really have much time to unwind (these days),” Roxas said.

Despite the hectic schedule and arduous multitasking, Roxas said his health has not been affected.

In fact, Roxas said, he had been gaining weight since his wife, broadcast journalist Korina Sanchez, had been feeding him a lot, and admitted that Korina didn’t like him to wear tight-fitting shirts because his tummy was beginning to show.

Since he could not work out the stress at the gym, Roxas said he compensates by indulging in comfort foods such as rice, scrambled egg and corned beef, and admits he “eats rice like a construction worker” and likes sweets like buko pandan.

“I’m Ilonggo, so I like my rice with some sweets,” he said.

Roxas admitted he was not really conscious about his diet and could sometimes engage in an eating binge.

His vitamin regimen includes “every letter in the alphabet,” but he said he would “swear on any Bible that I have never taken Viagra.” He does, however, take an aspilet every now and then.

“Every day I have bit of oatmeal and muesli in a Tupperware and I carry it around in the car to my meetings,” Roxas shared, but when other food is available, the oatmeal is left in the car.

When he gets the rare free time, Roxas spends quality time with Korina and his 16-year-old son Paolo.

His mother Judy Araneta-Roxas stays in their home province of Capiz more often now to help the LP’s local candidates. Roxas said she gives him perspective on issues as well as provides a historical view.

And how is his sex life? “I was taught not to brag,” Roxas replied with a straight face and a hint of a smile.

Having married late, Roxas said he “had a good time” as a bachelor who “loved” all his girlfriends.

He also said his growing up years were as normal as any adolescent.

Roxas said he could be domesticated and could cook, having lived as a bachelor in New York, where he worked as an investment banker.

He had to leave the private sector when his brother Gerardo Jr. died and he was called to continue the family’s legacy in public service.

This was what inspired him, he said, to push for cheaper medicine after witnessing the difficulties of getting sick in the country.

Roxas said he and Korina are both focused on the campaign now, but he gushed that married life had been good so far.

“I love it,” he enthused. “I also want to make babies.”


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