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EXCLUSIVE: The Legacy Of Fatherhood—Richard And Juliana Gomez On Metro.Style's Father's Day Special Cover

 

#RichardGomez (@richardgomezinstagram) plays many roles. He’s an accomplished actor, a decorated athlete, a trendsetting model, Ormoc City’s respected mayor, and an emerging artist, but the role he holds most closely to his heart is that of being a loving father to his daughter, Juliana (@gomezjuliana). This #FathersDay, Richard opens up about the joys of fatherhood and getting to know his daughter, and Juliana lets us in on why she’ll be her dad’s number one fan for life, unconditionally. • Produced by @gracelibero and @_judyarias?Photography by @charismalico?Creative direction by @theonlychookiecruz?Makeup by @robbiepinera?Hairstyling by @jayweehair?Styling by @stylizedstudio?Writer: @saraloopdeloop?Shot on location at @benchcafeph?Special thanks to @piacampos and @renzjoshuaesguerra of @wtalentmanagement; @tessg28, @darwinmorfe and @bcbench of #BenchCafe • #People #RichardAndJulianaOnMetroDotStyle #HappyFathersDay #JulianaGomez #wellstyledlife #lifestyled #lifegoals #inspiredliving

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Richard Gomez plays many roles. He’s an accomplished actor, a decorated athlete, a trendsetting model, Ormoc City’s respected mayor, and an emerging artist, but the role he holds most closely to his heart is that of being a loving father to his daughter, Juliana. 

 

READ: EXCLUSIVE: "The Bond You Can Have With A Father Is Unlike Any Other"—Leila Alcasid Writes A Letter To Her Dad, Ogie Alcasid

 

“It took us two years before Lucy and I had Juliana. I remember I came home from ASAP, and I was so tired. I got home late, then Lucy told me, ‘I’m pregnant.’ Napatalon ako; I was so happy! I was so happy,” Richard gushes with an uninhibited smile, recalling the good news as if learning about it for the first time all over again.

This dad of one was of course reminiscing the anticipation of the arrival of his only daughter, Juliana, who is now 17 years old. To Richard, she’s the most precious thing in the world alongside his wife—the princess and queen that give light to this king’s life.

This Father’s Day, Richard opens up about the joys of fatherhood and getting to know his daughter, and Juliana lets us in on why she’ll be her dad’s number one fan for life, unconditionally.

 

On Juliana: White button-down long dress by Rajo, nude block heels by Aldo / On Richard: blue jacket and khaki trousers both by Paul Smith, henley top by Cotton On, khaki trousers, belt by Aldo, and brogues by Pedro

 

 

Family first, and family always

As a man raised by his grandmother and who found family with friends in his youth, Richard has gone to great lengths to ensure that Juliana can grow up knowing that she has a place to always call home, and a mom and dad to depend on no matter what.

Home is where the heart is, as they say, and according to Juliana, nothing quite compares to her father’s heart that gets bigger and bigger all the time. The two are best buds, and it’s easy to see why; they’re alike in many ways, beginning with their expressions and mannerisms, their values and principles, and up to their hopes and dreams for each other. They know each other inside and out, and their palpable closeness can be credited to Richard who made it a priority to develop a solid foundation with Juliana despite his busy lifestyle.

He explains, “I have so many good memories with her. Since she was a baby, up until she was 16, she slept and stayed in our room. When she was growing up, I told her that she needed to spend a lot of time with us, because the time will come when she’ll be going out more with friends. I always remind her to spend time with us when we have the chance, and she’s okay with that!”

The setup would have stayed the same, but Richard’s new mayoral responsibilities meant he would be spending more time away from Manila, and much less with Juliana. It’s been two years since Richard became Ormoc City’s mayor, but rather than lose touch with his daughter, the two have only strengthened their bond.

“I was used to him being away, but then he made it a point—and he always makes it a point—to make time for me and family. I don’t really feel the distance. I miss him all the time, but it’s not sad; it’s more of being excited to see him again,” Juliana shares. 

These days, Richard only comes home to Manila on weekends and spends most of the week in Ormoc. But when he’s home, the two are practically inseparable.

“That’s the reason why I come; it’s to be with her,” Richard warmly shares.

 

 

Typically, you’ll find Richard and Juliana doing one of three of their favorite activities when they’re enjoying downtime together: playing ball at home, training together (volleyball, most often), or their absolute favorite, heading out in the morning to go to the grocery to shop for snacks and ice cream that they’ll share with mom later. On Sundays, specifically, the day is often reserved for attending mass together, and at least one meal spent as a complete family.

As an only child who many might have expected to prioritize friends over family like most girls her age, Juliana pleasantly surprises; she loves the time she spends with her dad and wouldn’t trade it for anything. It’s also why she’s content being an only child; with siblings, she says she might have never gotten the chance to form such great relationships with her parents.

While fondly describing how her dad tends to her when she’s tired from training, cooks for her, or cares for her and her mom with his instinctive thoughtfulness, she points out that which defines her relationship with her dad more than anything: traveling. Every time Juliana goes on a school break, the few free days she gets are devoted to family hangouts—which, by the looks of her dad’s social media posts, are always a blast.

“Traveling is such a big thing for us because it’s the only time we get to spend together when we don’t have anywhere else to be. We’re just together. We don’t get a lot of times like that. Traveling is super special to us,” Juliana reveals.

 

On Juliana: Plaid suit by Paul Smith / On Richard: Blue blazer and khaki trousers both by Paul Smith, henley top by Cotton On

 

For this pair, quality time and actions speak louder than words; rarely vocal with their feelings, they let the other know they love them when they give their time and effort to each other.

Most recently, this family of three headed to New York and San Diego where they enjoyed the US cities’ sights, sounds, and flavors, too. Before that, Juliana got a taste of Spain during the Holy Week holiday, and says that her family’s travels to Europe are some of her favorites because of the region’s unique culture and vibe. (A cruise to Africa is next on their family travel bucket list).

Simply head over to Richard’s Instagram account that’s dotted with snippets of their adventures together for proof of their closeness. The genuine laughs, unguarded moments, and pure love documented in each photo and video are as real as it gets; for this father-daughter duo whose relationship is nothing short of admirable and praiseworthy, nothing can ever come between them.

 

 

Like father, like daughter

But even with their constant bonding, Richard still considers every day to be a learning experience.

“Everyday you learn something new and discover something when it comes to your relationship with your child. Nothing is mastered or perfected,” he reflects.

And with each day that passes, Richard learns that Juliana is becoming more and more like him—an observation that she considers a compliment and wears like a badge of honor, and for Richard, something about his daughter that he’s immensely proud of.

Interviewed separately, Juliana and Richard unknowingly mirrored each other’s responses when asked what they loved most about each other: Juliana pointed out her father’s simplicity, discipline, and sincerity, while Richard had much to say about Juliana’s kindness, dedication to hard work, and humility. Without a doubt, Juliana and Richard are two peas in a pod.

 

Black chair - New Antiques by Cappellini

 

Laughing about their many similarities, Richard expounds that their like-mindedness isn’t coincidence; he, along with Lucy, made sure to instill values and morals in Juliana that they knew would be essential in helping her become a responsible adult.

“First, I don’t spoil her. Second, when she wants to do something, I make her realize the repercussions or the effects of a decision. I give her the chance to think about things then decide for herself. I think that’s one thing that she got from me; she’s given the chance to say yes and no, experience things, then decide,” he explains.

In addition to teaching Juliana good judgment, focus, setting priorities, and developing a good work ethic were also lessons Richard passed on to her—the very trinity of values that helped him thrive as a University of the Philippines undergraduate juggling academics and a burgeoning acting career when he was his daughter’s age.

 

 

More so, when faced with an unfamiliar situation, Juliana has one and only one mantra to help her figure things out on her own: “He’s the wisest guy I know; that’s always at the back of my mind. Everything I do in life, I ask, ‘What would Richard do?’ WWRD?’ Because I really look up to him! He’s my role model,” she quips.

Last but not least, at the heart of all of Richard’s life lessons for Juliana is nurturing relationships. Without knowing how to care deeply for friends and family, the picture can never be complete.

The result, as told by Juliana, is her wanting to keep her dad’s trust in her. While aware of the independence she’s accorded, she’s conscious of being respectful and never overstepping boundaries. And with disagreements between Juliana and Richard well-managed and far in between, this tandem has found their unique blend of giving and taking—a language only they speak to express their appreciation, concern, and love for each other.

 

 

Responsibility redefined

Thinking back to what it’s been like to raise a daughter for the past 17 years, Richard—who his fans and daughter both consider a pretty cool dad—has only one parting thought: he never truly learned the meaning of responsibility, until Juliana.

“Fatherhood changed my life so much. I only understood the words ‘being responsible’ when Juliana came into our lives. I was very carefree, very easy living, then Juliana came, and I had to be responsible. My priorities changed,” Richard says with a noticeable change in tone.

But the change was a welcome one; rather than see the responsibility of child rearing as the end of his life before parenthood, the ever-positive Richard quickly realized that being a dad to a bubbly girl was one of the most fulfilling things life could ever offer.

“When you see them smile, when you see them laugh, that’s what’s most satisfying. And what’s heartwarming is when you help them, then they’re able to do the things that they want to accomplish,” he describes.

Fatherhood, as it seems, fits Richard to a tee. He’s happiest and the best version of himself when he’s around Juliana and Lucy, and it looks like he’s gotten a hang of the complex tasks of being a dad and husband.

 

On Juliana: Blue button-down by Kashieca, striped blazer by Cotton On, denim culottes by Bench, slides by Charles & Keith / On Richard: denim shirt by Paul Smith, brown boots by Aldo

 

The skill mastery comes at an opportune time as Juliana is preparing to start her last year of high school, when Richard funnily admits to having at least one last year of smooth sailing until the inevitable happens. Like most doting fathers, he has full trust in his daughter, but can’t help worry about things that unsettle dads—boys, the exposure to both good and bad influences, and essentially the whole range of college experiences followed by the open-endedness of life itself.

As difficult as it might be for Richard (and Lucy, too) to accept, the time will come when Juliana will want to spread her wings and fly the nest, but comforting Richard is his full confidence in the apple of his eye to discern right from wrong, because of how he raised her.

“Fatherhood is a big responsibility. It starts from when a child is born up to when you raise them. It’s a lot of adventure, lots of experiences. Fatherhood should be a legacy—for me, that’s raising Juliana to be the way she is,” Richard says.

 

 

And because of her respect for her father, Juliana, too, acknowledges her end of the bargain and knows that this responsibility is a two-way street—in this, Richard is already reaping the harvest of the legacy he has sown.

With a sense of self-assuredness beyond her years, Juliana says, “There’s no definition of what a ‘good daughter’ is; it’s just being someone your parents can trust—no matter what. They can trust you to take care of yourself, and also trust you to take care of them.”

“They don’t ask for a lot—my parents, at least—they just need you to be a kind person, disciplined, someone who they can trust,” she continues.

At the end of the day, what's most important to Richard is that Juliana is safe, happy, and healthy. Even when far apart, the love of this father is far-reaching and powerful.

Blessed with a daughter whose only real superhero is her father, as well as an equally affectionate, supportive, and admirable wife, Richard Gomez can course through life knowing that things will always be good, and that his ultimate legacy of fatherhood has indeed, already been set in place.

Happy Father's Day!

 

[photos]

 

Produced by Grace Libero-Cruz and Judy Arias

Photography by Charisma Lico

Creative direction by Chookie Cruz

Makeup by Robbie Piñera

Hairstyling by Jay Wee

Styling by StyLIZed

Shot on location at Bench Café - 2nd level, Bench Boutique, 9th St. Lane O, BGC, Taguig

Special thanks to Pia Campos and Renz Esguerra both from W Talent ManagementTess GutierrezDarwin Morfe, and Ben Chan of Bench Café