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Mario Bautista, has been with the entertainment industry for more than 4 decades. He writes regular columns for People's Journal and Malaya.

Dec 23, 2016

Tom Rodriguez Left For The U.S. To Be With Parents, Carla Abellana Will Follow Before The New Year

TOM RODRIGUEZ left for Yuma, Arizona last Thursday to be with his parents during the holiday season. Before he left, he wrapped up work for his hit primetime soap on GMA-7, “Someone to Watch Over Me”. We visited its set last Wednesday at St. Camillus Medical Center in Marikina and got to interview Tom before he taped for his final scene, which will show him, now deformed and “tulala”, being taken to a hospice by his loved ones, Lovi Poe, Edu Manzano and Jackielou Blanco.

How will he describe his role as an Alzheimer patient? “It’s really the most challenging role I’ve ever played,” he says. “Physically, emotionally, nakakapagod talaga. Since we started in June, I got hooked sa character ko, si TJ, kasi we see his deterioration from being a healthy young husband and father to someone who slowly loses his memories and becomes totally alienated from his family. It’s a great learning experience for me kasi when we began, I have no background about the disease. Then I met the family of actual patients and I understood what they’re going through. Iba-iba ang kuwento nila, but it’s all tragic kasi their loved one na may Alzheimer becomes a living dead. Hirap ang pasyente, pero mas hirap ang loob ng families nila.”

People now call him TJ. “When we tape my other show, ‘#Like’, in various places, they inquire about my character and they tell me they like the show so much. Malaki ang naging impact nito sa viewers. And I promise you, yung last few episodes nito, lalo na ang ending, madudurog ang puso nyo, nakakaiyak talaga. Bilib nga ako kay Lovi Poe at sa character niya, si Joanna, so selfless. At si Lovi, ang daming luha ang ibinuhos dito sa bawat episode.”

He’s leaving for the U.S. to visit his ailing dad who’s battling the big c. “But with God’s help, he’s okay now. He’s gaining weight again after radiation therapy on his lungs. Sana huwag nang bumalik ang cancer niya. He’s 76 now. Kine-claim ko talagang he’s fully healed na.”

So he won’t be with his GF Carla Abellana this Christmas. “No, she’ll spend it with her family. But after Christmas, she’s flying to the U.S. to join me for the New Year and then sabay na kaming uuwi rito after the New Year.”

A new character has been introduced in “Someone to Watch Over” this week, Mikael Daez. He plays Dave, the estranged husband of Max Collins in the U.S. who follows her to Manila with the aim of reconciling with her. “Abangan nyo kasi marami pang magaganda at exciting developments sa story on our last two weeks,” adds Tom. “Na-extend na kami ng three weeks but we’re now finally ending on January 6.”