Tom Rodriguez not letting ‘fear, panic’ outweigh his ‘sense of optimism’ | Inquirer Entertainment

Tom Rodriguez not letting ‘fear, panic’ outweigh his ‘sense of optimism’

By: - Entertainment Editor
/ 12:20 AM June 13, 2020
Tom Rodriguez

Tom Rodriguez

Celebrities are often perceived to lead charmed lives. But, these days, they’re just as emotionally vulnerable to troubling situations weighing down on the common man’s pandemic-driven concerns—from the all-too-real possibility of getting infected by an enemy we can’t see, to the economic effects of the industry shutdown.

Just ask Tom Rodriguez.


No one can articulate this “vulnerability” better than the Kapuso hunk (“Dragon Lady,” “The Cure,” “Maledicto”), whose ability to clearly express himself has always impressed us.

For instance, when we asked the actor early this week what has been most difficult for him during the quarantine, his answers went beyond the perfunctory “bola” that many celebrities spin so well.


“The most difficult thing for me has been the thought that work has been halted by this pandemic for a majority of people in this country [and around the world], but the bills and taxes are still being incurred,” Tom told us matter-of-factly. “I empathize with the fear and panic our kababayans have been feeling as I, too, have had to deal with similar emotions.”

Such unguarded eloquence is one of the things we’ve always loved about the hunky 32-year-old “Pinoy Big Brother” alumnus, and makes him readily relatable to people listening to him.

It’s the long lull of the quarantine period that has made Tom realize how badly panic attacks occasionally weigh him down.

“I tend to overextend myself to appease a need to please those around me, and my inability to do so induces panic and anxiety attacks,” he said, disclosing what he discovered about himself during this period of isolation. “I am now learning to be content with the things that I can positively affect, meaning my response to stimuli and where I choose to direct my time and energy.”

To keep himself positive and productive, Tom engages in activities he’s passionate about and supports causes he feels his sphere of influence and fields of expertise can be of help.

With girlfriend Carla Abellana

With girlfriend Carla Abellana

“I’ve been kept busy by commissioned artwork for charity, videos and live events for various organizations,” he said. “But household chores have taken up the bulk of my quarantine time. The moments I have for myself have been reserved for reading, reflection and precious time with loved ones.”

Yes, Tom spends his time reading, playing video games or creating art. Asked what books to read and movies he’d recommend to like-minded fans, he singled out well-made screen actioners about heroes who defy seemingly insurmountable odds and come home stronger and transformed.


Tom explained, “I am a sucker for adventure films that have Campbellian arcs, like Steven Spielberg’s ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’ and Robert Zemeckis’ ‘Back to the Future.’”

To balance his choice of films’ more mainstream persuasion, the actor’s choice of reading material is more cerebral and philosophical. “When it comes to books, I would recommend the ‘Tao Te Ching’ by Lao Tze, ‘Meditations’ by Marcus Aurelius, and any of Seneca’s writings,” he said.

How has the lockdown changed Tom’s perspective about life?

“When this whole quarantine is over, I will continue to take everything day by day and not let the thoughts of ‘the new normal’ and whatever it may bring defeat the sense of optimism that my intuition tells me I should keep.”

But Tom did miss the “organized chaos” of show biz, he admitted. “I miss walking into a full set and being amongst the hustle and bustle of the cast and crew at the start of a taping day. I miss the controlled chaos that happens on set.”

And speaking of loved ones, what has he and girlfriend Carla Abellana discovered about each other during the quarantine period?

“I discovered simply that we are in this together for the long run,” he answered with a smile.

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TAGS: Carla Abellana, Celebrities, Tom Rodriguez
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