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Love in the Time of Retirement

A tale of love that lasts


By Rica Arevalo 



Boots Anson Roa Rodrigo has done it all. From her humble days as a University of the Philippines Speech and Drama student to her stint as press attache, cultural officer, and special assistant to the Ambassador at the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. in the ‘80s, Anson Roa, or Tita Boots, is now contemplating retiring.

Last month, the 74-year-old president and trustee of Mowelfund sat with Manila Bulletin Lifestyle to discuss her intentions this love month. “My plan is to slow down. This time I want to synch my personal timeline with that of my husband,” she muses.

She believes it would enhance their “young” marriage. “When he retires, I retire, at least from the day time, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. job. But as we discussed, I will still do movies, TV upon choice,” she said.

Married to respected lawyer Francisco “King” Rodrigo, Jr., she would love to learn how to plant since this is her husband’s first love—farming. “We will spend more time together, more leisure time. Maybe go to Tagaytay more often,” she adds.

She started to plant an atis tree in their little garden. Their caretaker remarked to her that it has become color yellow and might be in the ICU. “I’m not surprised because even the plastic plants die on me,” she laughs.

Sometimes Tita Boots is off limits to Tito King’s garden. “But he allowed me to walk on his soil. He got the atis seeds in his paso. Maybe I can learn to be more loving to plants,” she beams.

She is still determined to “grow” a green thumb. “King helped me in that little atis. I will still plant,” remarks the former chairman and president of IBC-13.

How is her relationship with her husband? “Generally blissful, it’s more than I expected. With a younger marital status, you have more anxieties, sensitivities,” she says. “But when you reach a certain age, contentment comes easier. You have fewer ambitions, fewer desires.”

Tita Boots found in Tito King everything a wife would want to have in a husband. “He is decent, a very disciplined person, a hard worker, and a good provider,” stresses the recipient of The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service Award (TOWNS). “He’s very responsible, very solicitous, sometimes generous to a fault.”

She jokingly calls him azucarera de papa. “If he were not my husband and I am his mistress, he would be like a sugar daddy talaga. Ganun ka generous,” she says.

But Tita Boots still wants financial independence from her knight in shining armor. “When the material things are concerned, I emphasized to him, ‘No, you cannot provide for me 100 percent.’ In our daily life, yes, in our marital life, yes, ’cause he insists on chivalry. Fine, good for me,” she says. “I also have to remind him where my advocacies, my charities, and my help to extended family are concerned, I have to work for that.”

He would always remind her to get used to the idea that his money is hers too. “Yeah that’s good, that’s very comforting,” she says. “I’m the one who tells him, ‘Tama na, don’t give, tama na ito (you’ve given enough),’ I have to spend personal money for it.

He doesn’t like it but mabuti pumayag na siya, (good thing he has agreed).”

Aside from farming, Tito King loves to travel. “Happily, King is a travel person. He likes taking me to trips. In March, we are doing Tokyo. I’ve never been to Tokyo. That’s a treat!” shares Tita Boots. Her plan is to write an autobiographical book composed of her personal essays on her 75th birthday in 2020. Fulfilling her life goals—give birth, plant a tree, and write a book. “I do not want to start with this book project unless maka-plant ako successfully.”

Their fifth wedding anniversary this June coincides with Tito King’s 80th birthday.

“The only dream we cannot have is having a baby. That is our joke to one another,” she smiles

Tita Boots will continue to serve in Mowelfund’s Board of Trustees after her “retirement” as president if fate would have it.

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