Erich Gonzales, who turns 20 today, September 20, got the best gift yesterday at The Buzz. It wasn't a diamond ring, a car, or anything remotely expensive. It was a birthday letter from her mother Gloria Rica.
Erika Chryselle Gonzales Gancayco became known to the public when she won the Star Circle National Teen Quest back in 2004. She changed her name to Erich, and took her Mom's maiden name to make it easy for people to remember her.
Erich's claim to fame was last year's primetime ABS-CBN drama Katorse, where she played the lead role of Elena "Nene" Reyes. The role further solidified the young star's career.
She appeared live on The Buzz yesterday to talk about her mom and her career as an actress. Host Charlene Gonzales (they're not related) welcomed Erich by showing a video interview of her mom.
Said Mrs. Gloria Rica Gancayco of daughter Erich: "Kung ano man naririnig niyang negative, e carry [on] pa rin niya. Taas noo pa rin siya."
Her mom also offered this advice, "Kung ano mang mayroon ka ngayon, pasalamatan mo mga tao. Keep your feet on the ground always. Don't lose hope, marami pang darating sa iyo. Tiwala lang sa Diyos lagi. Love you!"
When the tape ended, Charlene asked Erich: "Gaano kayo ka-close ni mommy?"
"Sobrang close po talaga. Si Mama na po ang tumayong tatay at nanay ko. Lahat ng problema, siya palagi ang nandiyan para sa amin," she said.
Erich lives alone in Manila while her mother and brother are in Davao. A sister resides in Japan.
What does she miss most about her family?
"Siyempre po nasanay ako na kasama sila lagi," admitted Erich. "Super different lang right now na kasama ko lang P.A. [Personal Assistant] ko. But iyong ate ko miss na miss ko siya dahil ang tagal ko na siyang hindi nakikita. Hopefully ma-visit ko siya sa Japan soon."
Does she get lonely living alone?
"Madalas, pero ito ang gusto ko at ito ang consequence na mapalayo sa family. Pero lagi lang ako nagpe-pray and I ask God for guidance na makaya ko ang lahat ng ito."
How does it feel to celebrate her birthday without her family?
"Nakaka-sad, sobra po," said Erich, "Pero nandito ako nagtratrabaho para din sa kanila. At kung ano man ang narating ko ngayon, I know na sobrang happy sila [for me]. Kumbaga nandiyan sila, laging sumosuporta sa akin."