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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.

Aug 17, 2021






LUCY TORRES says it was a very difficult time for their family when her husband Richard Gomez was infected by the Covid virus. 

“When someone gets it, the whole family is affected and it’s a mental as well as physical battle and we also have to guard our emotional health.

"The tendency is to panic but each covid case is a very individual journey, so you have to just listen to your own doctor and stop reading about other cases as they are not your case. 

"It’s overwhelming as it’s not like the regular flu since it can go in so many ways, so you take it one day at a time. 

"I’m just thankful that my husband is very energetic and it happened at the time of the Olympics kasi otherwise, he will not stay put, lalabas pa rin yan. 

"But the games distracted him so he can he rest and just watch them. Otherwise I’d handcuff him to myself, para akong nanay niya. 

"I always remind him to conserve his energy for faster healing. But now, he is back to work but I tell him to take it easy.” 

She is glad that in Ormoc, the cases are not as rampant as in Manila. 

“Our cases are relatively low. Last report I got is we got only 18 cases. We don’t have the bigger health care capacity of bigger cities, so from the start our thrust is prevention more than treatment. 

"We’re very strict with our border controls to keep Ormoc safe. People from other municipalities cannot just enter our city. 

"In terms of land area, Ormoc is actually as big as Manila, but with lesser people, only 200,000, and there are more open areas and we have easy access to the mountains and the sea.”   

She’s on her last term as Ormoc representative. Is it true she is running for the senate next year?  

“I still don’t know. It’s still fluid. The priority now is covid response and how to cope with it as a people, as a nation, we’re all fighting the same battle. We should all look out for each other. 

"I’m still weighing my options. But Richard, he will be the one to run for a seat in congress as it’s my last term.”

But it’s said she’s included in the slate of Ping Lacson for president and Tito Sotto for vice president. 

“Well, I’m glad somebody wants to include me in their slate. I’m thankful as it’s a blessing, an added value. 

"We should listen to anybody offering their services to the people as to what they exactly have in mind in terms of the services they’d give. 

"And Sens. Ping and Tito always relate to the people what their plans are on how they aim to serve. 

"But wala pa kong formal talks with them and I haven’t really decided yet.” 

Will their daughter Juliana follow her and Richard in politics? 

“I cannot speak for her. Richard and I never impose our own wishes on our daughter. We don’t want to stress our child. Whatever she wants to do, it’s really entirely up to her and we’re just here to support her. 

"Right now, she’s still training for fencing so it’s up to her if she wants to go into sports. She’s turning 21 and is still in college. Whatever path she wants to take will be her own decision.” 

How do they cope when she has suitors? 

“Dating is part of getting to know other people and part of growing up so okay lang yun for us. 

"There’s nothing wrong with falling in love but we always remind Juliana of her priorities. First and foremost, don’t neglect her studies. 

"We encourage her to ask her suitors to come to our house so we can meet them. It’s important for you as parents to know kung sino ang mga kaibigan nila. 

"Juliana is actually easy. She knows the rules at hindi siya pasaway na bata.” 

She also tried showbiz, hosting a dance show like “Shall We Dance” and a talk show like “Sweet Talk”, also acting in a sitcom like “Richard Loves Lucy”. How different is it to politics? 

“When I joined showbiz, parang laro-laro lang yun and I enjoyed it. Politics is a much more serious responsibility. 

"For the longest time, I’m a people pleaser, a yes girl, but when I became a public servant, I knew it couldn’t be that way because we make hard decisions and people don’t see the process you go through. 

"I learned to choose my battles. May thing na palalampasin mo na lang. 

"You cannot give from an empty cup so sometimes, you should step back and guard your emotional and mental health to maintain a balance as you cannot be everything for everyone. Hindi lahat papatulan mo.”

She’s 46 years old but she has maintained her youthful looks. What’s her secret? 

“There’s none, really. I can just attribute it to my being mindful five years ago of what I’m eating. I transitioned to a more healthy way of eating. 

"I eat a lot of fresh food, specially fruits, I eat whatever is in season.”

Has she tried beauty enhancements? 

“I’ve never tried anything invasive. I’m scared. 

"My game plan is pahabaan na lang ng shelf life by natural means. 

"I exercise, I do yoga and when things are very stressful, I do arts and crafts as it helps me become less agitated. 

"It’s finding what works best for you. I also have my own vlog. 

"Its part of my coping mechanism as we’re all fighting our own battles. I want to share gentle ways on how to cope with our very rough life now because of the pandemic. 

'If I touch just one person and help him get through the day, that’s fine for me.”

In two years, Richard and her will celebrate their silver wedding anniversary? What’s the secret of their marital durability?

“Marriage is just like a dance. When you know your spouse, alam mo na kung ano ang sayaw na gagawin mo for the day. Be sensitive to what your spouse needs. 

"There was a time when  we spent a lot of time away from each other because he’s based in Ormoc as mayor and I’m based in Manila to attend congress. 

"But now, we’ve been together in Ormoc since the virus surge and it’s a time we cherish the most. Richard even cooks for us. 

"Not everyday is good, there are days that we’re stressed, but just know when to stay quiet and give each other space. Kung stressed ang isa, huwag mong sasabayan.” 

Do they have plans for a big 25th anniversary celebration? 

“None. No plans for a big one. If ever, it would be small. We had a grand wedding then, but since then we just have small, intimate gatherings lang."

How has being in the legislative branch of government changed her and what are her achievements? 

“Being in congress has changed me in a positive way. I learned so much and it strengthened me. It improved my character. 

"I gained so many life lessons, work lessons, and I made some very good friends. 

"As for my achievements, ayoko namang magbuhat ng sariling bangko. But our people know the improvements I’ve made for them so, much better kung sila na lang ang tanungin.”