If you are the lead of a prime time drama with a heavy role that requires intense emotions; and host a once-a-week competition of fast-paced trending video uploads, one would assume that free time automatically equates to rest.
But for Tom Rodriguez, who currently stars across Lovi Poe in the prime time drama series Someone to Watch Over Me and host of online video competition #Like, down time means “me time” pursuing his far from heartthrob-type interests.
Rodriguez is a self-confessed nerd. In an interview to promote #Like, the actor-host proudly talked about his current book collection, which, mind you, is not comprised of best sellers. Instead, his shelves are filled with books on science, math and computer engineering for topics.
“That’s because I believe learning should never stop,” he said of his choices.
Revealing that his love for books started at home, Rodriguez shared, “My father was a supply officer [in the US Navy]of a ship, so when one of their ships was decommissioned, he had the chance to take home all the books of the ship’s library when he could have just thrown them. So yes, I think the hobby of reading, and reading different genres, started there.”
His father also taught the would-be television star to be handy in fixing almost every machine he could get his hands on—including computers.
“I do upgrades of my computers myself,” he added.
Given his experience, Rodriguez hopes that parents today keep encouraging their children to veer away from their gadgets and spend time reading books on science and technology “because that’s where the world is headed now.”
Besides academic readings, the actor-host revealed that he is a total geek, or a person who is passionate with any work of pop culture.
In his case, Rodriguez grew up loving comics alongside his serious books. “I’ve always loved comic books because that’s where I get my inspiration for my sketches, which is another passion of mine.”
He has attended the world-famous San Diego Comic Con annually since 2003. Lucky for him, every comic fan’s anticipated event found its way to the Philippines in 2015, which saw a second installment through the Asia Pop Comic Con just this August.
Rodriguez was able to attend the consecutive comic cons in Manila and credits her girlfriend, actress Carla Abellana for being the one to remember the dates of the events and get him tickets.
In the last Asia Pop Comic Con, Rodriguez was star struck to meet Filipino Whilce Portacio, the former Marvel comic artist who created the famous character of Bishop.
“Did you know that he went to the States in 1980, worked for Marvel, created Bishop, and went with other colleagues to establish their own [artists’] group? Sir Whilce also paved the way for other artists to work for big wigs such as Marvel, DC and other comic houses without leaving the country,” he shared.
He considers Portacio a hero as well for growing up in the US as an immigrant he found solace in reading comics that has characters close to his heart.
“I loved Stone, he is Portacio’s character who’s a stuntman with an emblem and who fights Philippine mythical creatures like tikbalang and duwende,” Rodriguez said.
He also floated above the clouds when he met Millie Brown of Stranger Things, a show he considers to be a well created in every aspect.
And just like his geek side, the nerdy Rodriguez has also applied his love for comics in his daily environment. He is in the process of making animated sequences for his soap opera with Poe.
An activity he does in between takes and which he has taken upon himself, Rodriguez showed The Manila Times his pet project in its initial stage.
“I used an application called Rough Animator to show the story of TJ and Joanna during the key points in their life like courtship, wedding, and so on,” he flipped through his sketch book.
Asked if he still finds time to recuperate from his demanding showbiz schedule, while seeing to his unique interests, Rodriguez, like a true geek-slash-nerd who happens to be good-looking and well-mannered, simply smiled and said, “I really can’t complain. These things make my brain active.”