In Korina Sanchez-Roxas’ social media nowadays, two things have been noticeably constant — her twins Pepe and Pilar, and the stories she does for her long-standing news magazine show Rated Korina (formerly Rated K).

“At saka mga bathing suit shots ko, napansin mo ba yun?” Korina mused during a recent STAR interview.

But the broadcast journalist, who just came from a Rated Korina shoot in Bacolod, agreed to an observation that the “pandemic never really stopped me from going out.”

“Parang even at the height of the pandemic, wala pang Delta (variant), wala pang vaccine, I just tried my darndest to be safe and I’ve always been paranoid about my health,” she said. “God is good because I’ve never been infected and Rated Korina goes on.”

No surprise there, really. Even before she got married, she said she declared to her husband, former senator Mar Roxas, that “you’re marrying somebody who will never stop working. I’m just like that. To me, it’s a very short life; it has to be purpose-driven.”

One motivation now is to leave a “legacy” to her kids, especially daughter Pilar, “that she has to be indefatigable.”

Korina, nevertheless, noted, “Nakakaramdam na ako ng pagod ha, make no mistake. I know my age and I know my limits. I try to work around them. Sometimes, I bump into a wall because feeling ko, there’s still no limit, but there is. But you have to push it to the limits.”

“So no, I don’t think I’ve thought about relaxing. Not yet (laughs),” she added.

This relentless drive in her journalism career spanning nearly 40 years was recently honored with the Excellence in Broadcasting Lifetime Achievement Award from the PMPC Star Awards For Television.

On her reaction to her latest recognition, Korina said, “I think it’s the same reaction with everybody else who has gotten Lifetime (award) before they turned 50. In my head, I’m still 28 (laughs). I heard that Lea Salonga said the same thing: Why? Is my life over? You’re giving tribute to my contributions?

“I’m far from done. I mean, I appreciate my work, and it’s been substantial. But it’s not done yet… At midlife, I’m far from done,” she said.

But, “I’m very happy to have been acknowledged for it,” she stressed. “One thing it tells me (is that) one, I should continue doing it as far as I have the opportunity.”

Early days

Korina fondly recalled her early days in broadcast journalism. Before her many years at ABS-CBN, she revealed that her first job was at MBS “making coffee” for the likes of fellow broadcast journalist Mel Tiangco.

“Hindi niya alam yun. Wala lang. Masyado akong excited to have lived the dream of being in a newsroom, and I just walked in and applied. I was an undergrad. I had no backer. I don’t know, parang binudol ko lang yung boss ko (laughs). It was like, at that time, the most important job in the world was to make coffee for Mel Tiangco and cut the carbon paper… To me, parang no job is too menial. Every job deserves your best.”

At that time, she also joined a program called Philippines Incorporated, which was the training school for broadcasters Eddie Ilarde and Bobby Ledesma, and it was never the same after that.

“I got a taste of something that stayed in my bloodstream forever. Tinuloy-tuloy ko, I graduated, I applied, my parents never knew that I skipped the semester. I intercepted all the notices from school to my house. This is not something for others to copy. But that’s what happened. And the next thing they knew, I was already on TV. They never expected it of somebody like me who hardly even talked at the dinner table. And then talking became my profession,” said Korina.

Some of the ABS-CBN shows she anchored through the years included Hoy Gising, The World Tonight, Bandila, Balitang K, Rated K and TV Patrol. She also did some of DZMM’s most iconic shows like Tambalang Failon at Sanchez and Korina Sa Umaga, and was once chief correspondent for ABS-CBN’s Integrated News and Current Affairs Division. Her current show Rated Korina under Brightlight Productions airs weekly on Kapamilya Channel, A2Z Kapamilya Online Live, The Filipino Channel, TV5 and Cignal TV One PH.

One of the career-defining moments is the “big news in small lives” that she gets to do through Rated Korina and its predecessor Rated K.

She remembered a kasambahay who wrote to her “and said, gusto ko lang umuwi sa probinsya, wala akong pera. And then I find out that she only has one leg. And I said, OK, pwede kita bigyan ng pamasahe, pero gusto mo magkaroon ng dalawang legs? Kasi pwede ko i-ex-deal yan… So I had her fitted and got her a prosthetic leg. She started walking on two legs and she went home to the province, tapos na ang storya. The next thing I knew, this woman became a mountain climbing leader who ended up in the US because she married one of her mountaineer mates. So, imagine the changes in the lives of people…You know, the big news in small lives of people through Rated K.”

Her time as a tough-talking radio commentator is also a career highlight. “I do miss it. But then, I miss a lot of things like my energy. Oh my god, I’m still looking for the fountain of youth (laughs). So, you realize your limitations. And I got married to a politician. I love him. I now have kids. I enjoy my peace of mind. When you’re in talk radio, banat ka ng banat, marami kang kalaban.

“But yeah, I’d like to go back to it once in a while. In fact, when ABS-CBN was closed (due to franchise non-renewal by congress), I made a conscious decision to answer the bashers. Otherwise, I don’t mind them. I want all my social media platforms to remain positive, and dedma to issues, biases and fully political opinions.

“It’s all good vibes, food, fashion, interior decoration, flowers, animals. But for the ABS-CBN closure, I spoke out and spoke till the very end. So I’m selective about issues that I really go the whole nine yards for… So, yeah, I miss it but I also enjoy much of my life the way I think it is redesigned or reinvented today.”

Motherhood

By “reinvented,” Korina also means being a proud mommy to toddlers, the reason she’s trying to be healthy and fit, as the swimwear pics on her Instagram prove it.

“A part of me cringes because I’m 50-something. ‘Talaga ba Korina, ngayon ka pa mag-bathing suit in public?’ Hindi naman ako naka-two piece. Palagay ko naman kahit naman si Michelle Obama ay nagsusuot ng ganyan, even Jane Fonda at her age (83), still does two-piece. And what has it done for the world? It inspires. (Again) I try to be purposeful. Yes, I like to see myself being praised for being fit at my age, but I also happen to know that it inspires. When I’m asked, I’m very happy to share secrets to health and fitness,” said Korina, who stays fit with intermittent fasting, supplements (around 50 but with the guidance of her wellness doctor), and swimming every day.

Given that she welcomed motherhood a bit late in life, Korina said she’s just being realistic about doing this special project with her husband, wherein they film videos for their kids to watch in the future. “Iniiwan ko na lahat ang mga bilin ko sa mga anak ko when they turn 50 because I may not be around. And yung mga video ko, per decade and per topic. You know, what to do if you have a bad boss? Or what to do when you first had your period? Or, what kind of girl to stay away from, Pepe, please? So when they’re 50, gusto ko rin masabi kay Pilar, you have to look like this when you turn 50…”

“I want them to know me and I don’t want stories passed on to them from other people. Like when I hear stories today about my mom when she was still a singer in Hong Kong, I get so elated and I try to piece the puzzle together because I didn’t know her during that time of her life,” she added.

As for the advantages of having kids in her 50s, Korina shared, “Sabi nga nila, you take up the same subject at different decades of your life and it shifts you differently. Like, I took up my Masters (in Journalism) also, I was already in my 50s. Iba ‘pag natuto ka at a certain age. Iba yung latag ko sa kanila dahil marami na rin akong pinagdaanan.

“And it’s really just so exciting. I mean, it’s education for me and Mar, and it keeps us young. It’s like our tawas at the end of a day of negativity. Yeah, there are many benefits. But you just have to plan the future.”

Meanwhile, The STAR asked why her husband isn’t joining the 2022 national elections, Korina honestly said, “Alam namin ano nangyari nung nakaraang election and yung election bago nun…Yun ang gusto ng tao. Yan ang gusto niyo, di yan ang sa inyo. Di ba ganun yun?

“But I just tell him without asking questions, alam mo quota ka na eh. Napakarami mo ng naging contribution sa bansa na ito, sa dami palang na-legislate mo na batas…

“I mean, tama na. Ibig kong sabihin, ‘wag na sasama ang loob mo na you can’t keep on doing it. Maybe there will come a time, the right time when you will be called back to service because he’s still young. But if it’s not now, we are blessed with two kids who need your attention.”





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