If, indeed, a thing of beauty is a joy to behold, then senatoriable Risa Hontiveros is making a lot of people smile these days, she being one of the most charming and impeccably dressed candidates around.
Almost always subscribing to a Filipiniana look or an Asian look, Risa favors ensembles that are made of local materials such as piña and abaca. And while others do the same, she sets herself apart by wearing an “alampay” or shouder kerchief of color that depends on her tasks when she wears one.
“Nagtrabaho ako sa kongreso for six years at dun ako nagsimula magsuot ng alampay kasi napakalamig sa building so parang ginagawa kong kumot yon. At kung ano yung bill na dini-discuss ay dun na-ba-base ang kulay ng alampay na suot ko: purple na simbolo ng kababaihan, green kapag temang environment, red kapag tungkol sa manggagawa…” the AKBAYAN representative revealed in a recent interview.
Apparently, Risa’s kerchiefs are given to her by friends and family members who all believe in her advocacies such as the crusade against corruption, on peace and human rights, and on health and women’s rights. She has already lost track of how many alampays she has but she knows when there’s more than enough because her closet refuses to close!
“’Pag ganun ay nagbabawas na ako ng damit. Pinamimigay ko sa charity or dun sa mga may relief efforts,” she said.
Asked if she goes for branded clothes, Risa let out a laugh.
“I can’t afford to buy those, ’di ako bumibili ng mga ganun. At ang gusto ko, mga damit na pwedeng i-handwash lang…”
As for her beauty regimen, she has always adhered to K.I.S.S. (keep it simple, silly!) even when she used to be part of show business [Risa is a former theater actress] and a broadcast journalist, an awarded one at that.
“I wash my face every night para ’di ako makatulog with make-up on then I apply moisturizer. Nag-workout ako – I used to do yoga regularly – and I eat as much fruits and vegetables as I can, and I don’t drink nor smoke. Hindi pa nga ako nalalasing sa tanang buhay ko!” she exclaimed.
Risa hopes to grow old gracefully---grey hair, laugh lines and all. She is also the type who won’t let vanity get in the way of learning about the needs of simple folks. She doesn’t shirk being out all day with farmers, workers, fishermen just so she could hear from them directly and to listen to their dreams and frustrations.
‘Sometimes they ask me, ‘Bakit andito ka? Hindi ka sa mundo namin.’ But in the end, when they see that I stick it out and that I’m comfortable around them, they realize that I belong here with them, that I am with them.”