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Richard Gomez: GOMA, Inc

Books for Ormoc

Filed under: Features — admin at 5:47 pm on Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Wouldn’t it be nice if every town in the Philippines would have a library?

It does not have to be a fancy one, just a decent space where people, especially children, can read for free.

Yesterday, October 26, I went to the Inquirer office in Pasong Tamo, Makati, and read a story to over 50 kids and their parents. The title was Sina Linggit at ang Barakuda, and I had fun changing my voice many times in an attempt to make the story-telling more engaging and animated for them.

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The time spent reading books is actually learning that’s camouflaged as leisure. A good book excites the imagination, and makes the reader’s world instantly bigger than it actually is.  In an ideal world, every child should have a library to go. But that is easier said than done.

Education has the biggest cut in our country’s annual budget.  But for some reason, we don’t always see the impact of that “budget,” especially when you go to the countryside. I noticed that in the province of Ormoc, which I frequent.

I have been going around the district to see how things have changed through the years, since my wedding with Lucy some 11 years ago.  I noticed that a lot of the schools in and around Ormoc are dilapidated. Very few schools have computers, and if ever some have, they don’t have printers.

I checked the libraries and realized the need for more books, both for reading and/or reference. I wished at that very moment that there was something I could immediately do about it.

Then one day, while checking my Facebook, I had an online chat with my long-time friend from Los Angeles, Mary Ann, who happened to have at her disposal some books given by friends in her area. I jumped at the chance to help her distribute them.

After telling her about the sorry state of some schools in and around Ormoc City, she graciously agreed.  The books were shipped, and soon as they arrived we gave the books to Ormoc City National High School, Ipil National High School, Valencia National High School, and Margen National High School.  All in all, there were about ten balikbayan boxes of books, most of them hardly-used and in almost mint condition.

I promised Mary Ann I would take pictures to show her the happy faces of the teachers and students. Mary Ann, I hope you are reading this now.  Many, many thanks again for all your help!

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If there is anyone reading this article who would want to help more kids and teachers in Ormoc, please do not hesitate to send your old books to Union Bank Building, Room 2408. Your support will surely go a long, long way. 


Im back…from fishing!!!

Filed under: Features — admin at 11:41 pm on Thursday, September 3, 2009

It took me six hours to travel roughly 120 km from Manila to Pantabangan Dam in Nueva Ecija for the 1st BASSPHIL (Bass Anglers Sportsman Society of the Philippines) fishing tournament for the year. When I got to where the anglers were staying, it was already past 8:00 p.m. and dinner was being served.

I was starving from the long drive to the dam. During dinner, they served papaitan na baka, breaded crispy “biya” and hot white rice. What a feast!  The food was hot and really good, while the weather was cool and damp. With me were fellow fishing afficionados Boy Bolos, Doc Allan Piedad, Bert Azana, David Gonzales, Benedict Lim, Benjie Tofello, Gil Pulumbarit—talking mostly about past fishing experiences.

I relayed to them how I braved the traffic starting from Edsa to Baliwag, Bulacan, all the way to San Rafael, San Ildefonso, and San Miguel, Bulacan. Traffic got worst when I hit Gapan, Nueva Ecija, until Cabanatuan.

Apparently, there is already an SCTEX that will lead us from Manila to Tarlac. There are also side roads that will lead us to Talavera then to Pantabangan dam. The trip, although longer in mileage, is said to be shorter in travel time. That proved true because travel time was cut by half on my way home. What a relief!

But that is getting ahead of the story. Let’s go back to Pantabangan first…

This was going to be the 1st tournament for the year because bass fishing is truly most enjoyable during the start of the cold season up until about March. People in the know say this is because bass actively bite the baits when the waters are cold.

I stayed at the 9 West Ville Transient House owned by former Pantabangan mayor Louie Uera.  It used to be his residence, but foreigners working for the hydro-electric power plant would usually lease his house on long-term basis.  Eventually, he turned his place to a resort-hotel. It is a beautiful place with a great view of the dam.

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AUGUST 1. 5:00 a.m. was the call time for breakfast. We enjoyed delicious feast of longanisa from Cabanatuan and farm fresh eggs.

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An hour later, we all headed for the waters to take our boats and fish. All of us had the silent, fervent wish of catching the biggest fish to win the tour. Our boats sailed at around 6:35.

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Shooting for fun and fellowship

Filed under: Features — admin at 9:58 am on Saturday, August 1, 2009

It was in 1999 that I started shotgun shooting.  We were in Malaysia for the Southeast Asian Games, to compete in fencing, when I was first invited by some members of the National Shotgun Team to join them and try out shooting. I did just that when we all got back to Manila.

Since then I have joined World Cup competitions in Perth, Australia; Lonato, Italy.  I won a silver medal in Trap shooting in the Singapore Shootfest with my teammates Joey Valdes and Potlog.  I was also a Member of the National Team in the last Manila SEA Games.  I have won 2 National Championships, one in combat shotgun and Sporting clays.

Together with some friends who are also shotgun afficionados we set up the Sporting Clays Association of the Philippines to promote shotgun shooting, to foster camaraderie among shooters in the country, and to bring up the level of competition in the country.

We regularly hold competitions and fun shoots at the Team Gomasport Shooting range that I own, located in Hilltop Taytay, Rizal.

Last July 12 and 26 we had a fun shoot tournament supported by Rudy Project, KIDS Foundation and Ocean Minded slippers.

Enjoy the pics!

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We will miss you, Dougs…

Filed under: Features — admin at 3:09 pm on Wednesday, June 17, 2009

(I read this letter yesterday, June 16, during my guesting in SiS!)

Dougs,

I will never be able to express my gratitude to you for taking care of my career from the very first day up until your last breath.  I am what I am and I have what I have because you were there to guide me and direct me on the right path.

sunset.jpgYou left behind people who were always happy to see you, people who always loved talking to you. You were always a welcome presence in any gathering, any life.  You have touched so many in so many different ways. Your greatest joy was making people happy. You left behind a legacy of kindness. And these we will all cherish.

folder1-41.jpgYou will always remain in our hearts and you will be constantly thought of with fondness and deep love.

It is sad that you will never get to see what will become of my daughter Juliana and the other kids of your loved ones—the kids of Joey, John, Anjo, Gelli, Janice, Wendell, Jomari, Antonio, Nadia and many more. You will no longer be around to celebrate with us our future victories, and we will not have your shoulder to cry on when we meet bumps along life’s way.

I know that you don’t want us to be sad.

Ikaw na rin ang nagsabi na ‘pag may nawala o namatay tayong kaibigan or kamag-anak ay sandali lang natin silang mami-miss. Pero hindi ikaw, Dougs.  I am not a very sentimental person but araw-araw kitang mami-miss.

folder5-71.jpgMahal ka namin at mahal ka ng maraming tao. A lot of people love you and a lot of them you don’t even know. You have touched so many people’s lives and made them better persons in the process.

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I know that you are in heaven already. Please continue to look after us from where you are.

Thank you for your love.

Last batch of Las Vegas trip

Filed under: Opinion — admin at 6:32 pm on Friday, May 29, 2009

This will be the last of my Las Vegas series.

I hope you enjoyed viewing the photos as much as I enjoyed sharing them with you. A lot of you might be wondering who Clement Carrasco is. He was my schoolmate in Grade 6, and then we met again in the ’80s when I started working as a part of McDonald’s crew.

Clement was one of the last Filipinos to be accepted in the U.S. Navy and has been based in San Diego since 1989.  He is a veteran of the big wars in the Middle East, such as operation Desert Shields, Desert Storm, and Desert Thunder. Through the American GI Bill, he finished college at the San Diego State University with a degree in Business Administration, with emphasis on Finance. Sosyal siya, di ba? Clement has since retired and is now working for the local elections agency based in San Diego.

Yaya Lita, on the other hand, has been with me during my bachelor days. She is a hardworking and trustworthy all-around girl who eventually became the nanny when Juliana turned six months old. She has been with us for a total of 14 years already. She has also joined us in most of our travels to help in taking care of Juliana.

It was wonderful 10 days of freedom in Las Vegas. It really felt like a vacation. We were able to see a lot of destinations and shows, and have a look at the different hotels in the strip. Lucy told me that she wants to experience staying at the Caesar’s Palace next time we get the chance to go there. Maybe in the next Pacquiao fight?

The only difficult part in traveling is the jetlag. No matter how hard you try to fight it, your body will always give in to sleep, lots of it, in long stretches and at very weird hours.  In this series of photos, you will see how it hit our group. We would fall asleep in restaurants, shopping malls, benches, and in the car.

Thank god for 24-hour groceries like Kmart, Walmart, and Vons. These were the only places we could go to for shopping when jetlag did not allow us to sleep, keeping us awake up to 5:00 am..

Enjoy the last batch of photos from our Las Vegas trip!

JET LAGGED!!!

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JET LAG REMEDY: GROCERY

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FAMILY TIME

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Precious moments in Las Vegas

Filed under: Features — admin at 1:46 am on Tuesday, May 19, 2009

In our recent Las Vegas trip, I featured more on the Manny Pacquiao fight. It was truly important to most of us and an interesting national event. After showing you how Manny had brought success and pride to the country, I would like to share with you the moments spent with my precious family during the same trip.

Allow me to take you to a trip, with pictures taken during some of our unguarded moments.

Enjoy it, love it.

THE ARCADE AT EXCALIBUR HOTEL

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The Las Vegas experience!

Filed under: Features — admin at 4:06 pm on Tuesday, May 12, 2009

We went to Las Vegas for two reasons: to watch the Pacquiao-Hatton fight and to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary. It was a double treat, so to speak, especially in light of the outcome of the iconic fight. For now, that is what I want to share with you.

It was truly a privilege to experience that moment of victory of the people’s champ. It was an almost indescribable feeling being there in that arena, together with thousands of others who were either rooting for Manny Pacquiao or Ricky Hatton.

Being a former national athlete, I remember the excitement and the anticipation before a big game. Your mind shuts off all else and focuses on all the hard training for months.  You try to remember and take in all the pointers your coach tossed your way. You compress all that in preparation for just one moment. Imagine, just one moment that you prepared so much for! You close your eyes and visualize your opponent’s possible moves, his every strategy. You imagine the actual fight hours before it actually takes place.

In the case of Manny, the pressure is even greater than (and very different from) the regular national athlete’s. There is so much money being paid to him for just one fight, however long it lasts. Going for the record of winning in his sixth weight division title is another thing altogether.

A throng of fans want to be with him every step of the way.  There are so many people waiting to touch him and kiss him.  Yes, he needs to be protected from the maddening crowd prior to a fight.

A lot of times, people don’t understand why he needs to be kept away from the crowd.  But really, very simply put, before a fight or a competition it would be best to keep him “sanitized,” to avoid contact with persons who might be carrying some kind of a virus.  You don’t want your champ to go to a fight sick, don’t you?

My friend John Clement Carrasco, who is based in San Diego, came to Las Vegas to watch the fight as well. He and I visited Manny in his Mandalay Bay suite. Lucy wanted to go with me, but jet lag got the best of her and she fell asleep deeply. I decided not to stay long because I know that he needs to get as much rest as he possibly can before a fight of such gigantic proportions. And so by 8:00 p.m., we left his suite to give him the privacy he deserves and needs.

The weigh in was a sneak preview of all the excitement that was destined to happen. But it in no way prepared anyone for the electrifying energy on fight day. There is nothing quite like being there, in the flesh. You absorb every thing that happens. You see a sea of faces you do not know but can somehow relate to only because you chant the same name, cheer for the same person.

Manny’s victory gave a natural high to every Filipino all around the world, especially those who trooped to MGM.

For many days, the excitement noticeably stayed in the air. And this early, the next fight is already being eagerly anticipated; after all, our champ hardly suffered a bruise.  Floyd Mayweather Jr. seems to be next in everyone’s mind. We’ll see…I’m sure we all can hardly wait.

Our ten-day stay in Las Vegas was a long-deserved treat for our family. We work so hard, and even if we love the job we have, it is always good to recharge.

Off from the pressures of work, we had a wonderful time strolling around Vegas with Juliana in tow and the parents of Lucy. Although I have been there several times, it was Lucy’s and Juliana’s first time.

Enjoy the photos—it is my way of sharing with you some of the happenings and fun that transpired during our short trip.

THE DAY BEFORE THE FIGHT

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Goodbye, Family Feud

Filed under: Features — admin at 7:06 pm on Friday, April 17, 2009


Family Feud will air its last episode tonight, Friday, April 17. Like all good things that must come to an end I am sad. I remember telling the people I work with on the show on our last taping day that this was easily one of the happiest work places I found myself in over two decades that I have been in the entertainment industry.

 

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The show was so much fun to do, and it mattered a lot to me that it made a lot of people happy. The answers are very realistic, not necessarily factual, but it is a telling picture of the voice of the masses.

 

We go off the air the same way we started—on a high note. Now it can be told. We were very realistic about ratings, given the fact that we were going up against a long-running and established game show and game-show host (Kris Aquino’s Deal or No Deal) and, at the most, our Production Unit Manager, Ms. Ali, said she would be ecstatic with a 17% rating. Our first episode raked in over 20% plus. And all throughout its run the show consistently enjoyed stellar ratings. We have all of you to thank for that. Thank you for rushing home from work to catch the show, thank you for shouting out your answers as you watched us on TV from your own homes. Thank you for starting your evening with us. It means more to us than you will ever know.

 

The show also opened doors for fans and viewers alike to know the real me, that side that only my closest friends have been privy to. The Goma you saw in Family Feud is the way I usually am on any given day—happy, smiling, always ready to laugh.  I live for light moments, I’m easy and fun-loving.   

 

I would like to think that I have somehow also proven to the GMA-7 management executives that I can host a game show.  It is something I’ve been wanting to do since I moved from ABS-CBN in 2003. Six years … like my wife always says, dreams do come true. Some just take more time than others. 

 

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I would like to say thank you to Kris. Back in December, during the Bench Christmas party and around two months into Family Feud, my Bench family surprised me with a Loyalty Award for my 20-year relationship with them. I had no idea it was going to happen that night. 

 

I have received many awards in my life but this was very sentimental to me; in fact, just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes again. I say again because I cried happy tears that night, very happy tears. My Bench family has been so good to me, and what started as a business relationship evolved into a friendship. (More on that in a future blog entry.)   For now, I would like to say thank you to Kris. I don’t think I got the chance to thank her properly. I would find out later that she volunteered to do the introduction for my award. She went up on stage (when all along I thought she was there to simply grace the occasion as a Bench endorser) and introduced the AVP that had been prepared. It was very generous of her to do that, especially because although we are friends in real life and she is very close to Lucy, people love to compare our shows if only because we belong to the two major rivals in the network industry.

 

I would like to thank all who came to the show as contestants and to the families who waited in line for hours just to audition. I had a great time with you guys. Your answers were sometimes absurd, sometimes out of this world, sometimes out of sync, and most of the time funny. You made me laugh a lot, it is good for the heart!

 

I am sad. But I am one who always looks at the brighter side of life no matter what situation I’m in. Since Day One, I have been hoping that GMA-7 will renew more seasons of Family Feud from Fremantle. Well guess what? I was just told that we will resume on September for new seasons. Hahahaha! Answered prayer? Yes!!!

 

Like my closing line in the show…

“ Ito po si Richard Gomez magkita kita tayong muli—sa September na, dito lang sa Family Feud!

Bb. Pilipinas pageant from a judge’s perspective

Filed under: Features — admin at 10:54 pm on Wednesday, April 1, 2009

For reasons known only to us, we Filipinos love watching beauty pageants. What could the reason be?

Do we love looking at how beautiful the Pinays are? How they look in their swimsuits? Or the way they answer in the question and answer portion?

I admit, to a certain degree, I enjoy watching upcoming beauty queens compete. In fact, when Lucy and I watch the pageant on TV, we pick our choices and note it down on paper. The first time we did this was just to prove that my batting average in choosing a winner is very high.  May taste talaga ako pagdating sa beauty.

I’ve had the privilege to judge the Bb. Pilipinas three times already. First was when Gem Padilla was crowned Bb. Pilipinas-Universe, the second time around was when Joanne Quintas won, and the thrid time was just—weeks ago when Bianca Manalo won Bb. Pilipinas-Universe.

Choosing the top 10 out of 25 contestants is not exactly an easy job. True, the girls are easy on the eyes but not a lot of people know that one of the most important parts of the contest is the pre-judging, which usually happens two days before the pageant night. It can make or break the chances of a contestant because it accounts for a big part of their total score entering the pageant night.

Among the board of judges for this year’s pageant night were: Betsey Westendorp; AFP Chief, Gen. Alexander Yano; PBA cager Mac Mac Cardona; Rizal Governor Casimiro Ynares III; Arturo Marquez; Sofitel hotel general manager Bernd Schneider; Asia’s Songbird Regine Velasquez; Brazilian Ambassador Alcides Prates; Pakistan Ambassador Muhammad Naeem Khan; Ms. Universe 1969 Gloria Diaz; and Supreme Court Justice Artemio Panganiban.

Looking at the scores of the judges’ tally sheets, Bianca Manalo was clearly and easily the leader. But the girls ranked second to fourth were very close in terms of points. Also, in my book at least, Ritchelle Angalot was doing very well until she messed up in the interview portion, where she was asked, “What is your lucky number?” It was downhill for her after that, but if you look closely, she was only .66 from third place. It was a very close match.

We were asked to go back to the briefing room to deliberate on who will be crowned as Bb. Pilipinas-World and Bb. Pilipinas-International because their scores were tied at 90.83. The primary consideration in choosing a winner for the both titles was where the location of their respective pageants would be held.

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Ms. International will be held in Japan this year and according to beauty pageant stats, judges from that part of the world have favored mestizas and that was the reason why Melody Gersbach was chosen. Ms. World pageant, on the other hand, will be held in Bahamas, so, a morena girl will have to be put in place, Ms. Marie Ann Umali.
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“All About Eve”

Filed under: Features — admin at 5:07 pm on Monday, March 9, 2009

We started taping for the teleserye All About Eve, which will have its pilot episode today, March 9, after Ang Babaeng Hinugot sa Aking Tadyang.

I have not been able to update my blog because of the late working hours we have.

And this time, instead of putting out an article, let me show you some shots taken behind-the-scenes.

Enjoy!

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