"I do love fashion. I'm a girl, you know," Cristina Gonzales-Romualdez told PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in a recent interview in her hometown in Tacloban, Leyte.
She may no longer be visible onscreen and in showbiz circles but just like every other girl, she has always kept her style in check.
"Siguro kasi [dahil] galing akong showbiz, parang ganon, [kaya] mahilig ako sa clothes, shoes. I like to dress up. At saka may salon ako so may make-up artist din ako."
Now a second-term councilor and proprietor of the Cristina Salon and Spa in Tacloban, Cristina says accessories remains one of her passions.
"I love bags. I love shoes. But of course sa Tacloban, hindi ko naman magamit masyado because ang lifestyle namin dito simple lang. I can't naman be going around in expensive bags."
She admitted to indulging in luxury brands like Chanel and Louis Vuitton.
"Marami-rami ang LV ko at Chanel. Pero sa Manila, kasi nga dito [Tacloban], 'di naman masyadong nagagamit.
"Dito naka-Longchamp lang ako. All colors of Longchamp [meron ako]. Kasi dito, iba yung weather."
Cristina said she finds the lightweight Longchamp bags more handy when she's in Tacloban as she usually goes around the barangays to check on the progress of her projects.
She is actively advancing livelihood projects for women in Tacloban and has even put up a women's shelter to comfort and rehabilitate battered women and children.
"One of my main passions is helping women kaya nga naglagay ako ng women's shelter. Kasi napansin k,. medyo napapabayaan yung mga kababaihan, maraming mga naaapi na parang kulang pa rin ang atensiyon na nabibigay sa kanila."
These projects eat up a lot of Cristina's time, who regularly goes in and out of town to meet people. They're also influential factors when it comes to her choice of outfits.
"Basta 'pag sa Tacloban simple yung outfits ko," she said. "I just wear rubber shoes, T-shirts, simple lang dito."
But she still enjoys dressing up once in a while, just as she did when she was still in showbiz.
"Siguro kasi galing akong showbiz, parang gano'n, [kaya] mahilig ako sa clothes, shoes. I like to dress up. At saka may salon ako so may make-up artist din ako."
About her love for shoes, Cristina related, "Marami [ako] sa Manila and here, marami din."
Her favorite brands?
She answered, "Sa Tacloban, [I use] mga Aldo. May iba na mga Charles & Keith. Meron din ako mga Tory Burch na mga shoes. Basta ako, gusto ko comfort, masarap sa paa. Minsan naka-Havaianas lang ako 'pag, let's say, medyo beach area, ganyan."
"Pero 'pag sa Manila, medyo naka-YSL [Yves Saint Laurent], gano'n. Kasi siyempre, iba naman ang crowd sa Manila, e. Here naman I can't really wear that here kasi medyo masa yung ano especially if I go to the barangay."
Her choice, she said, depends on the kind of people she mingles with. "So yung mga medyo sosyal ko na ano, naiiwan ko sa Manila. When I go to Manila, sosyal. Depends on the locations. Pero 'pag may party dito, puwede ka rin magbihis. Pero 'pag ordinary ano, simple lang ako. Dress down lang."
IMELDIFIC, Now that she's part of the esteemed Romualdez clan of Leyte, Cristina has had the opportunity to rub elbows with the former first lady and noted fashion icon Imelda Marcos.
Her description: "Si auntie Imelda, naku, she's ano, very sweet. Since I met her, wala akong masabi—mabait, graciosa, super kind."
Do they get to talk to each other a lot?
"Yes. She's very nice, down to earth. Pag may party talagang ano 'yan, magkukuwento pa yan. 'O, kumusta na ang Tacloban?' Magbibigay pa siya ng tips kung ano ang dapat gawin. Kasi siyempre, she's from here and mas may experience siya sa gano'n."
Kring-Kring (her famous nickname in showbiz) only has good words to say about the stylish "Madam."
Moving on, "Talagang super nice yun. I don't know, I find her nicer than [others]. Even the other politicians na kahit dun sa kabilang ano, parang I don't believe all the bad stories about her.
"Basta when I meet her, when I got to talk to her, she's really one of the nicest people I've met—most gracious and sweet."