Ever since he arrived in the country by himself in order to join Pinoy Big Brother in 2009, Tom Rodriguez admits he finds it hard not to miss his family back in Arizona. “I miss my family so much, lalo na yung mga pamangkin ko. We keep in touch when we can pero pag nasa probinsya ako, walang signal,” he shared with Push.com.ph.
The Fil-Am hunk said that even though he wasn’t able to head home for the holidays to be with his loved ones, he didn’t totally miss out on the holiday festivities. “Minsan pag sinisuwerte, nung nagtrabaho ako for Christmas sa Legazpi, sakto my family were all together [sa States] tapos saktong may signal sa hotel and we Skyped. Napanuod ko yung mga pamangkin ko habang binubuksan nila yung mga gifts nila so sobrang sarap ng feeling,” he shared.
In the States, Tom said that he would often be mistaken for another race. “I would tell them I am Filipino, but I’d get mistaken for Mexican. In Hong Kong naman, they asked if I was Eurasian daw. But my mom is pure Filipina and my dad is white,” he clarified. Even though he grew up in a Filipino household, Tom admitted that he didn’t have that many Pinoy classmates. “Arizona is so small that there’s like few Filipino people there. Usually friends of my family. But most of my really close friends weren’t really Filipino,” he said.
Although he grew up speaking English and Waray at home, Tom says he has been working on improving his Tagalog by reading local comic books like Pugad Baboy. The aspiring actor also hopes to continue playing the sports that he used to love doing in the States. “American football was my sport in high school. I haven’t played football in a while. My position was a free safety and wide receiver. I haven’t played in so long I want to get back to it nga eh. I got my love for football because I grew up with it,” he shared.
The former PBB housemate is also a self-confessed homebody. “I sit at home and paint. Sobrang boring kong tao (laughs). Ang babaw ng kaligayahan ko, nasa bahay lang ako magdro-drawing lang ako, magpe-paint. Ngayon, I’ll make music. Yun lang,” he shared. One of his biggest passions is painting. “I liked doing it since I was really young. It started when I was in high school. I got the love for art from my sister. When I was in grade school lagi lang akong magdro-drawing tapos nung tumanda tanda na ako parang na-feel ko na ito talaga yung passion ko. Pinag-aralan ko na. I use anything from oils to acrylic, watercolor, charcoals, pencils, pero one of my favorites is digital art kasi kahit saan puwede ko dalhin tsaka mabilis gawin kasi I can put my ideas down kagad. Kung anong nasa isip ko kaya kong ilagay ng mabilis. Especially sa trabaho namin sobrang busy, parang ang hirap naman siguro pag nasa set na magse-set up ka pa for painting ‘di ba? At least ito madali lang,” he explained.
Although he chose not to finish his art studies, Tom believes that practical applications count for more than a flashy diploma in the art world. “The thing with art naman is you don’t need a degree, you need a really good portfolio so yun yung gusto kong pagtuunan ng pansin. I-bi-build up ko yung portfolio ko ulit and maybe it can be more than a hobby again one of these days. I don’t want to give up on it,” he said.
Along with the rest of Voiz Boyz, Tom is preparing for their concert next month at Music Museum. “We’re doing different sounds pero for my solo, I want to do ‘Hello’ by Lionel Ritchie. I really like that song. I want to see kung papayagan nila ako to do it