Thus far, Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s wife of 28 years has rarely been seen with him in the 2022 campaign, preferring to stay in the background. But on Wednesday, she gave the public a glimpse into her personal life in an interview with Boy Abunda.
“I mean, I rarely give interviews. I really like my anonymity,” Araneta said. “Like New York, di ba? I love New York. Nobody knows you, you can do your thing.”
Even when asked how she would deal with public scrutiny in case her husband won the elections in May, Araneta said it was a bridge she would cross when she got there.
“I think people can be as public as they let themselves be, right? Some people like posting about everything, some people don’t. So it’s really up to the person, right?” she said.
Araneta is a lawyer who is also the founding partner of her own law firm, M&A Associates.
But how does she see herself as Marcos’ wife?
“Supportive?” she said before quipping, “Mataray?”
Araneta said she first met Marcos in New York through mutual friends.
“We were just friends; it wasn’t love at first sight or whatever,” she said.
Even if she came from the opposite side of the political fence, being from the influential Araneta clan, that didn’t stop a relationship from blooming between her and Marcos.
“We just used to hang out together and became friends and then I could see he was really a kind person,” she said. “He’d make me laugh and we just developed that way.”
In the 8th month of their relationship, they began going out.
“My parents were coming to visit in Manila. And they were arriving at 4 in the afternoon. I’ll never forget. And (I said) ‘Get out, get out of my apartment.’ My parents will know that, you know, I was dating a Marcos, di ba?” Araneta said.
“And he (Marcos) just refused to go out. He was taking his time, ganu’n. I said, ‘Bong, my parents are . . . Get out’,” she continued. “And after a couple of days, he gave me tapa and said, ‘O tayo na, ah?’ There’s no harana. Tapa and tayo na.”
After Marcos got Araneta’s parentss permission, he and Louise got married in Italy in 1993.
In 2018, they celebrated their 25th anniversary at the same church where they tied the knot in Florence.
Being a teacher
Some of the years in Araneta’s career have been devoted to teaching law in various universities such as the Mariano Marcos State University, St. Louis University, Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila, Northwestern University, and Far Eastern University.
“I’m a lawyer, I like teaching, I like staying out of the limelight, like my son,” she said.
Araneta said she mainly focused on helping her students pass the bar exams, to the point where she put her own salary as a teacher toward paying for their expenses.
“A professor gets X amount, right? So I don’t accept it and I just tell them, ‘Just make it puhunan until the 4th year’, and then my students would take the bar, right?” she said.
“I’ll give an example. In Northwestern (University), so it was the 4th year and then they took the bar. So the bar was in UST, so I transported everyone, got them a nice hotel, asked Ateneo to brief them, even the bar tips. I mean, these are people who can’t really afford.”
Even if her husband won the presidency, Araneta said she expected to stick to teaching while staying out of government.
“I’m a lawyer, but to enter government? No way. They can’t afford me,” she said in jest.
Who is Bongbong?
When asked who her husband was when no one was watching, Araneta said he was a chef.
“When we travel, we visit (our children) in England, so we always stay in a hotel where there’s a supermarket,” she said. “And Bong would take them every morning and then they’ll cook breakfast, lunch, dinner.”
According to Araneta, the former senator also liked to collect firearms and loved shooting to the point that he sponsored a shooting competition in the Ilocos region.
“He was the one who put together the Philippine team for shooting,” she added.
For Araneta, Marcos was one of the nicest people a person could ever meet, despite the allegations of corruption and human rights violations leveled against his family.
“Sana makilala mo siya tulad ng nakilala ko siya,” Araneta said. “Mabait talaga si Bong. I can’t even begin to say how intelligent and how kind he is. If that were me being bashed like that for 30 years, oh my god, I’d be a basket case. But he doesn’t get pikon.
“In fact, he looks for the good in people, you know?”