MANILA, FEBRUARY 14, 2012 (PHILSTAR) FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo - (PHOTO - Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos and husband Sen. Ralph Recto: 26 years together and going strong(er)

Although tired from the impeachment trial where he sits as one of the senator-judges, Sen. Ralph Recto went home recently and found his wife, Batangas Gov. Vilma Santos, fully made up having just attended a social function.

“Eh, ang ganda-ganda ko,” Vi related to Funfare in an exclusive interview. “Ralph hugged and kissed me at, walang exaggeration ha, he told me, ‘You know what, if I were given another chance to marry you, I will marry you a hundred times!’ Walang biro ha, nangyari talaga ‘yon.”

Asked how she reacted, Vi laughed. “I told him that I would say ‘Yes!’ a hundred times.”

It’s Valentine’s Day today but the couple isn’t celebrating it because to them every day is Valentine’s Day.

“We don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day on Feb. 14,” explained Vi. “Hindi kami sumasabay sa iba because on the day itself the restaurants are full. We usually mark the day by having dinner at a fine-dining restaurant. Actually, Valentine’s Day is just a reminder that you shouldn’t take each other for granted.”

Vi and Ralph have been married for 19 years. Add to that their going steady for seven years and they’ve been together for 26 years.

“Up to now,” she swore, “we still say ‘I love you!’ to each other every day,” adding, “like what Ralph told me, hindi ko ipagpapalit kung anong mayroon ang relasyon namin. That’s why when he told me that he would marry me again a hundred times, I didn’t know how I should feel. Ginulat n’ya ako! Honestly, I love Ralph more today than yesterday. Uy, parang linya ng kanta ‘yon, a! Hehehehe!”

Did “something unusual” happen that night?

“Kailangan ko pa ba ikuwento? Alam n’yo na ‘yon,” she said, laughing.

“You know, Ralph and I have no privacy whether at home in Manila or at our vacation house in Batangas. So what we do is go abroad once or twice a year. At least there, not many people recognize us kaya kahit paano may privacy kami. Kung gusto naming maglambing-lambing sa poolside o kaya sa highway, okey lang. But here, try doing that at naka-headline ka kaagad the next day. Abroad, I can be a plain housewife. Like, I prepare Ralph’s morning coffee. Change of environment can help strengthen your marriage, di ba?”

Is it true that you also wash Ralph’s briefs?

“Hmmmm, hindi pa ako umabot sa ganoon.”

But Vi would never dare iron Ralph’s shirt again.

“I did that once. While Ralph was out in the mall, I ironed his favorite shirt and I burned it! I folded it and hid it under the bed. When he started looking for it, I told him na hindi ko nakita. It was only when we were packing our things when we were going home that he found the shirt. Sorry ako nang sorry sa kanya.”

That incident was an eye-opener for Vi.

“Just because you can iron your husband’s shirt well, eh, good housewife ka na; it’s in how you respect your husband. Pag nagbigay ka ng respeto, respeto rin ’yung ibabalik sa’yo. I think ang nagpapatibay sa inyo hindi ‘yung ayusin mo ‘yung gamit n’ya, kung hindi ang ibigay mo ‘yung respeto sa kanya as your partner.”

Vi said that, unlike some couples, she and Ralph don’t giver each other gifts on Valentine’s Day.

“Ralph is very thoughtful. Ako nga, sometimes nakakalimot pa, eh, so pagpasensyahan n’yo na ako. He gives me little gifts even if there’s no occasion,” like the diamond ring that he gave her during their family vacation in Bangkok and Malaysia late last year. “On Valentine’s Day, he never fails to give me flowers, white roses which are my favorite. Pag gising ko, nandoon na sa room namin ang flowers.”

So Ralph is thoughtful. But is he, uhm, faithful?

“Oo naman! Do you think our marriage will last this long if he’s not? But that’s not to say that Ralph is perfect. He’s only human.”

Asked what her Valentine message is not only to “my constituents in Batangas” but to citizens of the world, Vi smiled.

“Give love to everybody with a smile. You wake up with a smile. Then, you smile at the first person you see and if that person also smiles to the first person he/she sees, the smile will travel from face to face until the whole world is smiling. Gaganda ang mood ng lahat at gaganda ang feeling ng buong mundo.”

If only things happen as simply as that.

But then, it’s Valentine’s Day and we should smile along with Vi.


Oh no, not again!!!

Fill in the blanks:

Meanwhile, ____________’s public cheating scandals left his wife “devastated,” says the source close to her. “___________ was mortified that ______________’s infidelities became so public.” After the breakup, adds the source, “she started learning more and more (about ___________’s dalliances), and it crushed her.

If you filled the blanks with Dr. Vicki Belo and Hayden Kho, you’re wrong, although that paragraph could apply to them, lifted from an article about Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher in a recent issue of People magazine.

The country’s most talked-about May-December romance is in trouble again after Hayden’s alleged (hidden) romance with Nancy Castiglione surfaced in the Internet. Of course, they denied it, with Nancy saying that her family is intact and she’s happy combining work (at a multi-national company?) and mothering her twins, adding (I guess in jest) that she’s sure that no video will come out soon.

Oh no, not again!!! If Hayden is indeed “wandering” again, people can only shake their heads and ask, “Hasn’t he learned his lesson? Why is Vicki (still) tolerating him?”

Before she left for L.A. Saturday night (without Hayden as originally planned), Vicki issued the following statement:

It is over — I hope.

[PHOTO - Dr. Vicki Belo and Hayden Kho: Is the May-December romance really over because, according to rumors, of Nancy Castiglione (inset)?]

Yes, we had been fighting about Nancy. I think it’s true. I am letting him go so that they don’t have to be ‘hiding-hiding’ anymore. She doesn’t have to blame anybody. This was bound to happen because he is young.

Yes, we were in love but I am not ilusyonada to think it will be for life given the age gap between us. I don’t need to make a longer statement. I just want people to stop picking on him. He was so good to me and made me so happy.

Sometimes, relationships just don’t work out. It’s sad but there’s no one to blame.

Some reactions of those close to the just “un-coupled”:

• Nauntog na ba si Vicki?

• Will a suicide attempt hit the news again?

• Will Hayden be calling Vicki soon from a pineapple plantation somewhere in Batangas?

OMG, what a way to spend Valentine’s Day!!!

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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