What Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles is really like
Cabinet Secretary Karlo is one of the most visible government officials as co-chair of the COVID-19 Interagency Task Force (IATF). Married for 13 years now to the former Marga Montemayor, owner and proprietor of Kaayo Modern Mindanao, a clothing brand that aims to bring indigenous Mindanao artistry to the world, Karlo has always worked hard to excel. He graduated with a degree in Management Engineering at the Ateneo de Manila University and ranked 23rd in the Bar Examinations.
Karlo and Marga, who is also the exclusive distributor of the brand Havaianas in Southeast Mindanao, are blessed with three beautiful children, Mateo 13, Massimo 10, and Nikka 9.
For Marga, the only child of Davaoeños’ Leon Garcia Montemayor and the former Mary Ann Maceda, meeting Karlo was destiny. Karlo’s uncle, who was past president of the Hijos de Davao Rigodon (an annual Davao Ball), could not make it to the ball, so he was assigned to take his uncle’s place as the dance partner of Marga, who was the past muse. And yes, it was love at first sight.
We asked Marga to share with us 10 endearing things about Karlo:
1. He will give his all and more in everything he is assigned to do. Karlo is a worker and he is very thorough. He will write and edit his own speeches; he will not go into anything without studying it properly. He will spend hours and hours meeting with and briefing his team and he leads by example. His staff would often be caught off guard when he goes out to print or photocopy papers himself.
2. He has always worked hard to excel. He was the valedictorian when he graduated grade school and the corps commander when he was at the Philippine Science High School. He graduated with a degree in Management Engineering at the Ateneo de Manila University and ranked 23rd in the Bar Examinations (although he tells me to stop saying that. He says after the Top 10, the rest won’t matter).
3. He is a wonderful father. When Karlo gives his time to the kids, he gives his 100 percent attention. When they were babies, he would change their diapers; when they were in pre-school, he would join me in picking them up any chance he would get. He would check their homework, teach them how to swim, how to bike — and now he has “one-on-one” talks with them. School activities and date nights take top priority in his schedule, no matter what is calendared for work.
4. And he is an even more amazing husband. When I feel like I am about to freak out because he has no time for me, he does something amazing (like he can read my mind). He will plan a trip, maybe, or a nice dinner. It doesn’t have to be something extravagant — just a reminder to let me know how important I am to him. And whatever he does, no matter how small, it is always, always enough. He is extraordinarily able to balance his work, his time for me, his time for our three kids —and now his time for our baby puppy, Cloud. And is able to make each one of us feel special.
5. He is the only one who takes our Cloud to the veterinarian. He says Cloud won’t like going with anyone else. He and our vet are now BFFs.
6. He loves to sing, and dance! Karlo doesn’t like staying out too late, but if we are singing, we can stay until the wee hours of the morning. His top three karaoke songs are: “You” by Basil Valdez; “Di na Natuto” by Gary Valenciano; and “Tuloy Pa Rin” by Neo Colors. Because it is his “pitch”!
7. He can sleep anytime, anywhere and everywhere — in the car, on the plane, in the train, you name it! (On the plane, most especially.)
8. He will finish every movie he starts – no matter how boring or bad it is! Even if he’s watched it multiple times, he has to finish it!
9. His faith is what keeps us strong. I believe it’s his faith that has kept us grounded all these years and throughout all the storms and rollercoasters in our lives. Did you know that when he was a little boy, he wanted to be a priest? That was until he realized that priests are not allowed to have kids!
10. He can be moody/masungit (he claims it’s called “seriously working!”) only because he is just so intense. But I always remind him to enjoy life, take care, not to stress out and have fun. Luckily, he listens to me.