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Boots is Ms.Cool

Perpetually serene Boots Anson Roa-Rodrigo was never known to raise her voice, lose her temper and figure in scandals   Photo by VER PAULINO

When you think of cool and calm, you think of Boots Anson Roa-Rodrigo. Perpetually serene Boots was never known to raise her voice, lose her temper and figure in scandals.

She might as well come with a halo around her head. And her staff members at home, and at Mowelfund (Movie Workers Welfare Foundation), where she sits as executive director and president, are lucky.

But Boots would be the first to junk her angelic image. After all, she’s as human as you and me.

“Yes, I lose my cool,” she admits. But she has mastered the art of self-control.

Instead of railing against the person or the situation, Boots keeps quiet, puts herself in the other person’s shoes and prays.

Then she realizes “the problem is not the aggressor but me.”

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That’s why her late husband Pete Roa, tagged her as “the world’s greatest apologist.” Lawyer King Rodrigo, her second husband, whom she married four years ago, agrees. King tends to describe his wife the same way.

But make no mistake. Boots has a boiling point, which she reaches when people lie, are irresponsible and insensitive.

She cites an example.

“When I know that the other party is lying through his teeth with a straight face, especially if the lie affects others, I confront the issue with him ‘like a lawyer’ — on a cool front. This is generally effective. It can make parties cry with shame and guilt.”

Yes, even when angry, Boots is unruffled — but effective. No wonder the lines don’t show on her face, even if she’s turning 72 on Monday, Jan. 30.

Her convent-school background (primary and secondary education at the Assumption) has given her a strong spirituality that keeps the worry lines away and makes her look younger than her years.

Marrying for the second time, when all her four children are grown, was a leap of faith. Boots asked — and got — signs that God approved of the union.

“God is generous with second chances. God gave me my second chance at a more ardent love and a sublime union in marriage with King, not because I deserve it, but because He is a loving and compassionate God.”

Boots is so self-effacing, she measures success not in  pesos and centavos, or even fame.

To her, the greatest achievement in her life, the one that makes her glow with pride, lies in facing and hurdling many challenges, and “with the Grace of God,” emerging wiser, stronger, more compassionate, unscathed and unscarred.

True to form, she prays, not for more accolades, but, like King Solomon, for wisdom “to understand life.”

“I pray that I may never take God’s mercy and goodness for granted; that when God gives me trials, He may also give me the wisdom and strength to surmount them.”

She prays that Mowelfund coffers grow some more so it can help marginalized movie workers who depend on it.

“With our health and welfare program well-placed after 42 years of service, we want to strengthen and enhance the housing, training and livelihood components of our program and expand film education opportunities with the cooperation of Mowelfund Film Institute benefactors and alumni. After careful planning and due diligence, the Mowelfund Board, with the guidance of our founding chairman, Manila Mayor Joseph Estrada, hopes to maximize infrastructure potentials to make the foundation more financially secure and independent,” Boots explains.

Health and circumstances allowing, Boots sees herself still serving the film and television industry five years from now. She wants to do volunteer work in related agencies. She longs to continue acting and hosting for TV and film.

The professor in her looks forward to holding more film workshops.

The loving wife’s best wishes also go to her supportive husband.

“I pray that I may grow in love and respect for King through whatever time we are given in our advanced years.”

Under King’s constant, loving care, Boots knows she might wake up one day with tell-tale signs of age: “An expanded waistline, more laugh lines on my face, a sagging chin and more unwanted pounds.”

But she doesn’t mind. She believes in King’s promise of undying love, in his vow to take her “any way and any weigh (pun intended) I am.“

Happy birthday, Boots! You deserve every blessing that comes your way!

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