AFTER HELTER-SKELTER LIFE AS JUNKIE

Romano Vasquez finds fulfillment in food cart business

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RONNIE CARRASCO 3RD

RONNIE CARRASCO 3RD

THE ’80s fans of the then-widely followed youth-oriented program That’s Entertainment hosted by the late German Moreno would surely remember erstwhile heartthrob Romano Vasquez. He belonged to the Friday group and was teamed up with Shirley Fuentes.

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Known for his pair of goose bump-causing “killer” eyes, Romano—pet named Manoy—may not have been as popular as his co-member Romnick Sarmenta but he proved to be a singer to watch.

“I got destroyed by drugs for five years,” the returning singer, now under the managerial wings of multi-awarded film director Maryo J. de los Reyes, confessed on Radyo Singko’s Cristy Ferminute (CFM).

Romano, the only child whose mother passed away when he was three years old, thought that drugs would make him stumble upon the real meaning of life.

“I had much money then, it was easy to earn, but I got involved with people who were into drugs. I lost all my money, same with the friends I had when I had full pockets. I experienced sleeping in the streets, short of being called taong grasa (street vagrant),” he sadly recalled.

Seeing himself down in the dumps, one day he called up his father, “I told him I was going home. He accepted me without preconditions. I realized that when you have nowhere to go, when the whole world has turned against you, it’s still family that you come home to.”

It was when he began fixing his life that he met Alma who’d later become his wife and mother of their two kids. “She recommended me as singer in a gay bar in Pasay City. That was the time that I told myself, ‘I’ll get up! I’ll work my hardest! I’m gonna be rich!’”

Romano’s initial attempt at business (he put up a lugawan) proved unsuccessful, “It earned much just like the proverbial lugaw but whatever gains I made just all went to rentals.”

It didn’t, however, dampen his spirit until he joined JC Premiere Business International, Inc., a networking organization, where he now holds a key position. “We’re the supplier of siomai, sweet corn and other goods for the push cart business. I go around the country and conduct seminars myself for those interested to put up this kind of business, but I usually begin my motivational speaking engagements with singing,” Romano said as he repeatedly emphasized the greater benefits of taking business risks than being employed.

Business set aside, Romano revealed that he sorely missed showbiz, “I’m back with my latest 10-track album titled Chicken Adobo. I just hope that showbiz would accord me a second chance despite what I went through in life.”

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GUESS WHO? A film producer (FP), who’s just learning the ropes of the trade, feels terribly upset with a multi-awarded actor (MWA).

FP, a self-confessed fan of the MWA before they became friends, personally handpicked MWA to star in his initial film venture to play villain opposite the lead actor. The former—knowing full well that acting is MWA’s bread and butter anyway—offered him a talent fee more than he deserved.

Sadly though, the MWA flatly declined the offer saying, “Bro, you know I am a big star, I’m not for villain roles.”

Such words of rejection broke the FP’s heart. One, because he had seen the MWA portray one or two villain roles on the big screen in the past; two, because during the MWA’s dire financial straits, the FP was there to lend him money without getting paid back.

The MWA—who comes from a huge showbiz clan—has been many times reported to be hanging around casinos.

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