By Marinel Cruz
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Posted 20:44:00 06/15/2009
MANILA, Philippines – “I thought I’d be single forever,” Korina Sanchez, radio-TV personality, once told inquisitive entertainment journalists. ‘’Then the right person came along at the right time.’’
The right time for her came five years ago, when she announced on her (now defunct) morning TV show on ABS-CBN, ‘’Morning Girls,’’ that she was saying yes to a relationship. On Sunday night, the right person, Senator Manuel “Mar” Roxas, formally asked for her hand in marriage in a traditional "pamamanhikan."
There was a three-hour program that involved much singing and dancing, and the groom-to-be was in the mood all evening for some good-natured ribbing.
Originally set June 6 but cancelled due to inclement weather, the “pamamanhikan”— when the groom’s parents visit the bride’s to seal the engagement— pushed through at the Sanchez home in Merville, Parañaque City. Since the bride-to-be’s parents had both passed on, it was Korina’s three brothers EG, Milano, and Mickey, who gave their blessing.
The Roxas family was led by the former Judy Araneta, mother of the groom-to-be. Mar is the grandson of the late President Manuel Roxas and son of the late Senator Gerardo Roxas.
A Mass was celebrated at 6 p.m. inside the 1,200-square meter property at No. 19 Florida St. Pastor Nomer Bernardino, former spiritual adviser of Korina’s mother Celia, gave an inspirational message.
The program, hosted by actor-comedian Epy Quizon, began at 8 p.m. Sanchez's nieces, Tyra and Maya, sang and played the violin.
Dinner was served under huge transparent tents that covered the lawn, around the bean-shaped pool. The tents were in anticipation of his off-key singing, Roxas jested.
The 52-year-old senator, dressed in a striped light-blue, buttoned-down shirt over black trousers, sang an old Tagalog love song to Korina. Comedians Tado and Jason Gainza accompanied Mar on the guitar.
The 44-year-old Korina, in a light-bronze sleeveless dress, joined in the singing. ‘’To keep Mar on-key,’’ explained a family friend who attended. Epy repeatedly reminded the audience, ‘’He’s a senator [not a singer].’’
Mar also recited a long Tagalog love poem for Korina and engaged in a “balagtasan” (debate in verse) with poet Jericho Tanig.
‘’Kahapon, Ngayon at Bukas (Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow),’’ the wedding song— specially composed by Vehnee Saturno based on Korina's response to Mar’s' wedding proposal on nationwide television— was previewed in a performance by ABS-CBN talents Erik Santos and Sarah Geronimo.
Later, the couple joined performers from Bulacan in a traditional dance, according to Korina’s friend, showbiz journalist Cristy Fermin. ‘’The guests threw flowers at their feet, and made a toast for Korina and Mar to have a good life together,’’ the journalist said.
Guests were served pasta, paella, and steak cutlets prepared by the Araneta-owned Italian fusion restaurant Cibo. "Callos," a Sanchez family specialty, and cheesecake from Korina's personal recipe were also served. (The four-car garage had been transformed into a huge kitchen.)
Korina's immediate relatives and close friends were present. The Araneta-Roxas clan members in attendance included Stella Marquez-Araneta, Veana and Margarita Fores, and Mar’s 15-year-old son Paolo, whom the senator introduced as "someone I am very proud of."
The engaged couple still did not give a wedding date, but said it would be before the yearend. The senator joked, ‘’Sinasabi ko nga kay Korina magtanan na lang kami. [I suggested to Korina that we should instead elope].’’
On Monday last week, Korina said in a radio phone patch from Japan that the wedding ceremony would be held at Redemptorist Church in Baclaran, Parañaque, or at the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo, Manila.
On the same program, Korina announced that Baby James, the two-year-old son of TV host Kris Aquino and cager James Yap, would be the ring bearer.
In an unconfirmed report, the couple is said to have asked former Philippine National Red Cross governor Rosa Rosal to be one of their principal wedding sponsors. Rosal was one of the guests at the "pamamanhikan."