1. Risa is a talented singer. She loves to sing and among her favourite pieces are classics like “All I Ask of You,”“Ikaw Lang Ang Mamahalin,” and Gary Granada’s “Saranggola sa Ulan.”
2. When she was thirteen, she played one of the Von Trapp children in the Repertory Philippines production of the “Sound of Music” along with the likes of Lea Salonga, Monique Wilson, and Raymond Lauchengco. If she weren’t into politics, Risa would have loved to be a professional theatre actress and singer.
3. Risa was initiated into activism as a high school student in St. Scholastica’s College fighting for nuclear disarmament. Hers was one of the youngest voices which spoke against the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant.
4. She was a scholar during college at the Ateneo de Manila Univeristy where she graduated cum laude with a degree in AB Social Sciences. She was an active leader in the Student Government and after graduating, taught at the Ateneo at various times. Rep. Mikey Arroyo was once her student.
5. She was still in school when she entered the world of journalism, and in 1994 was awarded the Golden Dove for Best Female Newscaster by the Kapisanan ng Mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas (KBP).
6. She was only 22 years old when she became the Secretary-General of the Coalition of Peace. She eventually served as a member of the Government Panel for Peace Talks and in 2001 she received the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) Award for Peace Advocacy from the Philippine Jaycees.
7. Risa is a nature lover and staunch environmentalist. She is a licensed SCUBA diver, who wishes she could spend more time in the Great Outdoors.
8. In 2005, Risa became a widow after her husband Frank, a police colonel, suffered a severe asthma attack. She and Frank have four kids between the ages of 18 and six: Kiko, Issa, Ianna, and Sinta. A devoted mother, Risa sees to it that she personally brings her kids to school in the morning and makes time in between appointments to run errands for them. She takes them to Sunday mass. She is also active in their school PTAs.
9. She has family all over Luzon and the Visayas. She belongs to the Hontiveros, Miraflores, Acevedo and Pardo clans of Aklan and Capiz on her father’s side. On her mother’s side, she is related to the Suasas of Cavite and the Navarros of Mindoro Occidental. Her husband, a Baraquel, traces his roots to Camarines Sur and Albay.
10. Her grandfather was Jose Hontiveros, a Senator during the 1920’s, of whom it was once said, “Only an Hontiveros can speak his mind in front of Manuel L. Quezon.” She is the sister of broadcaster Pia Hontiveros, and is first cousins with veteran broadcaster Maan Hontiveros and singer and civil society Leah Navarro.
11. Risa loves shawls. She is known to always be wearing an “alampay,” not so much as a fashion statement but as a political statement. Depending on the day’s advocacy, she will wear a green alampay for the environment or agrarian reform issues, a pink one for women’s rights, or a red one for her activist ideals. She’ll readily admit though that she will bring one along simply for its functionality.
12. Risa lives a healthy lifestyle. She prefers a breezy outdoor space over an air-conditioned room. She does yoga whenever she can, avoids soda and dark meat, and does not smoke.
13. Si Risa lang ang tanging “senatoriable” na Crush ko 🙂