Richard and Maricar Poon

Published in Hola Magazine Ph, November 2013

There are celebrity couples that are lovely only on-screen, when the lights are on them. Then there are celebrity couples that are lovely in real life, bringing their own light when they walk into a room. Richard and Maricar Poon are the latter. One of the newest showbiz couples have managed to inspire thousands with a love story that reminds people that happily ever after exists – not as a fairy tale, but as a commitment.

Maricar first caught Richard’s eye during her Betty La Fea days as he admits to finding her pretty even then. They officially met in 2009, when she was cast in his music video for “You and I”. The two clicked, but Richard vowed years before that his next girlfriend would be the woman he married. “I used to be a womanizer,” he explained. “So after all the physical stuff, there just comes a day when you want somebody to talk to.” He wanted to be sure that Maricar was the one, so he took a step back. “Di ko sya kinausap – umiwas ako. Finally, I saw her after a year at the Star Magic Ball. My feelings were still the same, so I pursued her.”

“The first time we met, maayos yun conversations namin,” Maricar recalled. “My conversations with him were always meaningful and fruitful. It made me think that this was a guy I could talk to for the rest of my life.”

“He’s very up-front and direct. When we got together as boyfriend-girlfriend, he was already clear na he wouldn’t have a girlfriend without the intention of marriage so by the time nag-propose sya, I knew it was coming. I just didn’t know when or how – the day itself, what the ring looked like, how he proposed – that was the surprise.” Maricar explained.

“By 2012, we were stable. Sa kanya ko na feel yun. She turned out to be my best friend slash crush ko.” Richard said. “My friends and I were planning a big celebration – yun tipong may fireworks and maraming friends. I was 90% down that road, until I talked to Juris sa Sessionistas. She said nun nag-propose sa kanya yun husband nya, sila lang.” He started hearing accounts of intimate proposals, with only the couple at the scene. He realized that Maricar was a very private person, and immediately scrapped his first idea. “One night we were just talking, and I said it. Relaxed lang. I think we’re such good friends kaya walang drama.

Richard and Maricar tied the knot in a private ceremony at the Bellevue Hotel in Alabang last June 9, with close friends and family witnessing their first ever kiss during the wedding itself. It was a testament to how much honor and respect Richard and Maricar had for each other, and the vows they exchanged. “The wedding was surreal, in a way. I knew it was happening, but it only dawned on me sa reception. I remember after the ceremony, we were in the lobby hugging and I thought, ‘We’re married!’” Maricar smiled at the memory.

When asked what it was like now, months after the wedding, Richard said, “It’s relaxed and masaya. We’re not perfect – we’ve already fought a couple of times – pero masayang-masaya ako. Ang daming reasons eh. When I look at her at night and she’s sleeping, kahit tulog sya, crush ko sya. I thank God for not answering my prayers in the past. Ang dami ko kasing prayers na ‘Lord, sana kami na nun taong to’ in the past. Mail ako eh. I’m glad that I ended up with her.”

Asked what she’s learned so far, Maricar shared, “I’ve learned that I support well, and appreciate a strong leader. That makes us a very good combo. Also, I learned that I can’t cook,” she laughed. “Well, I can, but I need to learn more.” While Richard teaches Maricar to cook, she’s influenced him to try biking. “She likes biking and joining triathlons. So I bought a bike. Tuwang-tuwa naman sya.” Richard grinned.

Quality time has always been an issue for showbiz couples, so Richard and Maricar have agreed to not be apart for extended periods of time. “We committed to making sure na hindi kami malalayo physically from each other for long. For example, if I have to stay abroad for long, like a tour, nakikiusap ako sa producer ko kung pwede sya yun +1 ko. We try to stay close but at the same time, pag may trabaho, tangap lang.” Richard said.

“If there are out of town trips longer than a week, dapat magkasama kami.   And when we’re at home, we make it a point na at least one day a week, no work. We just hang out.” Maricar added. As for children, “If they come, welcome naman. In terms of planning though, we want at least a year, kami lang muna.” Maricar said. Richard explained, “I want a year or two with Maricar lang. She’s gone through a lot and deserves to be the center of my attention right now.”

It was Lao Tzu who said that ‘being deeply loved by someone gives your strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.’ These are the traits that both Richard and Maricar exhibit, and it’s refreshing to see newlyweds still in the honeymoon stage rise above the emotional high, their hearts focused and determined as they begin a new chapter together.

“I’m looking forward to changing with him. I’m sure he’ll change and so will I, so I’m looking forward to seeing us adjust and grow. If there are challenges, I want to see how we will overcome them.” Maricar’s eyes shine with excitement. “That’s always interesting.”


The Ultimate Breakup Playlist

roberta-sorge-125543.jpgPublished September 2009 on (defunct website)

When you break up with a significant other, all you want to do is stay in bed, curl up with some tissue, and listen to a good, sad song you can bawl your eyes out. Maybe you want a loud, angry song to sing your lungs out to, or a triumphant “I’m-glad-it’s-over” song you can strut to. However you feel, you need a song. Here are ten of the best, most anthemic breakup songs of all times (in no particular order).


  1. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor

I will survive as long as I know how to love I know I’ll stay alive I’ve got all my life to live I’ve got all my love to give and I’ll survive I will survive

 It’s the breakup song even your mom knows the lyrics of. It’s a classic, and great for singing karaoke to with your girlfriends. The upbeat tempo and campy appeal make this a great choice when breaking up means breaking free.


  1. Kwarto – Sugarfree

Mga liham ng nilihim kong pag-ibig At litrato ng kahapong maligalig Dahan-dahan kong inipon Ngunit ngayo’y kailangan nang itapon

 A beautiful, melancholy song for when a relationship has ended and all you are left with is a lonely room and box full of memories.


  1. Without You – Mariah Carey

No I can’t forget tomorrow

When I think of all my sorrow

When I had you there

But then I let you go

And now it’s only fair

That I should let you know

What you should know

This song captures exactly how you feel when you break up with someone and realize what a mistake you’ve made.


  1. All Out of Love – Air Supply

I’m lying alone with my head on the phone Thinking of you till it hurts I know you hurt too but what else can we do Tormented and torn apart

It seems that Air Supply has got breakup songs down to an art. They did the original ‘Without You’, and have done other breakup songs such as ‘Goodbye’. But this has got to be their best. It’s got a memorable melody and a chorus you can belt out to.


  1. Survivor – Destiny’s Child

Now that you are out of my life, I’m so much better, You thought that I’d be weak without ya – But I’m stronger You thought that I’d be broke without ya – But I’m richer You thought that I’d be sad without ya – I laugh harder

So what if you’ve broken up? It’s not the end of the world. In fact, it’s the beginning of a new chapter in your life. This is a song for all you strong, independent women out there who don’t want to waste another minute moping about your ex.

6. How do I live without you – Trisha Yearwood

Oh I need you in my arms, need you to hold You’re my world, my heart, my soul If you ever leave Baby you’d take away everything good in my life

This song captures quite well the feelings of helplessness and loss you feel after a breakup.


  1. You Oughta Know – Alanis Morissette

’cause the joke that you laid on the bed that was me And I’m not gonna fade As soon as you close your eyes and you know it And every time I scratch my nails down someone else’s back I hope you feel it…well can you feel it

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, as the old saying goes. What better song to help release your anger? It’s got smart and biting lyrics. This song rocks, and so do you. Let him know that in no uncertain terms.


  1. Someday we’ll know – New Radicals

Ninety miles outside Chicago Can’t stop driving, I don’t know why So many questions, I need an answer Two years later you’re still on my mind

When it’s been ages since your breakup, but you just can’t get over him this song hits you straight in the gut with its bittersweet and heartfelt lyrics.

9. Before I let you go – Freestyle

I wish that it could be just like before I know I could’ve given you so much more Even though you know I’d given you all my love I miss your smile, I miss your kiss Each and every day I reminisce ‘Coz baby it’s you that I’m always dreaming of

 A huge hit in the late ‘90s with easy to remember lyrics for when you don’t want a breakup to happen, but have accepted the fact that it will.

10. One Last Cry – Brian McKnight

My shattered dreams and broken heart Are mending on the shelf I saw you holding hands, standing close to someone else Now I sit all alone wishing all my feeling was gone I gave my best to you, nothing for me to do But have one last cry

 This song is melodramatic, but in a good, soulful way. It’s infectious R&B rhythm and relatable lines make it one of the best breakup songs of the last few decades.

The Difficulties of Cubicle Love

mahkeo-277047Published April 2009 on (defunct website)

Leona met BJ in the office. Today, they’re happily married and have a son. Jo was in an on and off relationship with an officemate. Now, they’re just friends. Sometimes office relationships work, sometimes they don’t. So are they worth it?

Like any relationship, there are pros and cons. One good thing is that your partner is nearby. “You’ll get to see him every day. If there are any emergencies you can contact him right away.” Leona shares.

More time together means you’ll get to know him better. How does he handle his responsibilities and treat co-workers? Being in the same office means you’ll get to see him in ‘real life’.

What about the downside? “Like I said, you get to see him every day,” Leona laughs. Everyone needs personal space. “Spending too much time together can breed boredom. We all need to retain some mystery.” Jo adds. Also, “office romances usually triggers gossip. Personally, I haven’t had any major problems as a result of being in an office relationship. I don’t know how my bosses view me, though.” She admits.

There might be a problem if your partner is your boss, or a subordinate. It could be bad for your reputation, or career. “If your loved one isn’t in the same department or team, it won’t be that complicated.” Leona says.

And if the relationship doesn’t workout, it’ll be harder to end. Others decide to resign if a relationship ends badly. Complications and conflict are bound to occur, especially in such close quarters.

So how can such conflict be avoided? The key is respect.

Respect your boss. Don’t let the relationship affect your quality or output. Show respect to your superiors by being a professional, and you’ll maintain their respect too.

Respect your officemates. Sure, your officemates are happy for you, but do they need to hear you gush about your guy nonstop? Too much information can be awkward for them. Plus, there is plenty of time to be mushy with your partner outside the office, away from the eyes of co-workers (who might find it embarrassing).

Respect your partner. Give your partner enough space to work. The occasional sweet email and having lunch together is fine, but checking up on him every 5 minutes isn’t just annoying, it’s scary.

Respect your relationship. For romance to blossom, it needs intimacy and privacy. If you keep revealing things to co-workers, pretty soon everyone will know what you argued about last night, and where you plan to have dinner. Where’s the romance there?

Respect yourself. Define your boundaries. You’re not required to cover for your partner, or do his work for him. Outside the office you can be his sweetie pie, but in the office you mean business.

“The number one rule in handling an office relationship is knowing when to act as a couple, and when not to.” Jo advises. Follow that, and the risk just might be worth it.