Being a member of the affluent and powerful Lopez family of business owners, politicians and philanthropists from Iloilo, there’s indeed no wonder why Regina Paz “Gina” Lopez has become as prominent and as influential as their late father Eugenio “Geny” Lopez Jr. and her brother Eugenio “Gabby” Lopez III, Chairmen Emeritus of ABS-CBN.
But throughout her colorful and inspiring 65 years of existence, she’s able to establish her own name not in the entertainment but in the field of public service. When she was still alive, she was able to touch lives through her benevolent works as an environmentalist, child protection advocate, philanthropist, and anti-mining activist. She fulfilled these during her stints as the chairperson of ABS-CBN Foundation, wherein she founded many of its noble initiatives such as Bantay Bata 163, Bantay Edukasyon, and Bantay Kalikasan, and as the appointed secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) under President Rodrigo Duterte.
While we are already aware of these, there are still a lot of things that you might not know about the one-and-only GL (as what her colleagues fondly call her), so here’s a rundown of 10 of those.
She had a happy and ordinary childhood
In her appearance on Magandang Buhay in 2017, she imparted that despite living a lush life, she and her siblings were still able to have a happy and simple childhood and do everything that they pleased just like ordinary kids do.
She also disclosed that among her six siblings, she’s closer to her sister Marissa, to whom she used to share the same room with, and to their family’s firstborn Gabby, who’s only a year and half older than her.
She’s not a mom-zilla
Just like how their parents raised them, Gina was also lenient to her two sons with ex-husband Sona Roy and had been very supportive of their endeavors.
“My son wants to be a farmer,” she related as she told her son to just do whatever he wanted. “Just let them do what they wanna do. Gano’n dapat, ‘di ba? Kasi if you keep on forcing to fit a certain mold, where’s their freedom, ‘di ba?”
She loves to play hide-and-seek
On that same interview in the morning show, we also learned about her fondness of playing hide-and-seek or
taguan and even showed us her skills as she played with the Magandang Buhay momshies.
Further attesting to this was one of her staff members who reminisced the memorable moment when Gina invited them to play the game as they whiled away the time waiting for their boarding at a local airport.
She’s an adventure junkie
When she was already in her senior years, Gina refused to lie low and instead continued in taking on strenuous activities and pouring out her energies to the things she loved to do. She remained unstoppable and got extra zealous, especially in embarking on various thrilling adventures, just like what we could see in each episode of her Philippine travel and lifestyle television program G Diaries.
She’s always up for any challenges
Being the go-getter and palaban that she was, she’s also always ready to accept every challenge that came her way, including the “Taga-Saan Ka?” dare popularized by It’s Showtime. She might not be a dancer, but she didn’t hesitate to heed to the request of the madlang people and demonstrated a few snazzy moves to everyone’s delight.
She loves “I Believe I Can Fly” so much
Just like what we have mentioned, Gina was not a dancer nor a singer. However, if there’s one song she really loves, it would be R. Kelly’s hit “I Believe I Can Fly” for it completely embodies her and what she believed in. She also swore by its lyrics:
If I can see it, then I can do it / If I just believe it, there's nothing to it / I believe I can fly / I believe I can touch the sky / I think about it every night and day / Spread my wings and fly away / I believe I can soar / I see me running through that open door / I believe I can fly
She owns a social enterprise
Since part of her many advocacies is taking care of and saving the environment and uplifting the lives of local communities by creating sustainable livelihood for them, she launched the health and wellness company G Stuff in 2013.
Based on the store’s official Facebook page, “G Stuff aims to help eradicate poverty while protecting the natural environment. Profits from product sales go back to support local social and environmental projects. Gina believes that by making choices that are good for you, good for the environment and good for others, you can help change the world.”
They sell a wide array of all-organic food, wellness and herbal remedies, and personal care products, as well as indigenous accessories in its online shop and physical store in Makati City.
She never left their house without meditating
In her interview with the veteran host Boy Abunda at The Bottomline in 2014, the late environmentalist and philanthropist confessed that she never left their house without meditating as she started her every day by doing it for an hour. According to her, it was through meditation that her love for the Philippines grew intense. She also schooled the host about the proper way of doing it and told him about the technique she was using during that time.
She despises pork and white sugar
On Gina’s first visit on Tonight With Boy Abunda in 2017, she wasn’t spared from undergoing the nerve-wracking Fast Talk. She actually had a lot of revelations in that fun and exciting exchange, such as how she hated everything with pork and white sugar and how much she admired the King of Talk, Angel Locsin, and Piolo Pascual.
She is on the ‘quest for love’
As she returned to the weeknight talk show almost a year after, she enthusiastically introduced and discussed her passion project iLOVE, which stands for “Investments in Loving Organization for Village Economies”. It’s a non-stock, non-profit organization she founded that “serves as a dot connector to loving organizations whose primary purpose is to develop areas by converging forces and resources in order to enable poor and vulnerable communities to economically sustain themselves, maintain ecological integrity, uplift their social conditions, and govern themselves effectively and justly.”
Thus, in pursuit of encouraging organizations and groups to join this movement, she spearheaded the launch of “Quest for Love”, which is “a nation-wide search for Loving Organizations seeking to transform marginalized communities into viable localized economic zones, such as successful resource-based agro-forestry, fisheries, or eco-tourism sites and the like. Through the Quest, the Investments in Loving Organizations for Village Economies (ILOVE) Foundation and its partners will provide financial and technical support to eight (8) deserving organizations, with the hopes of promoting wide-spread social and environmental development.”
Out of the 128 applications they received from different parts of the Philippines, they were able to pick the Top 8 “Loving Organizations” that they’re going to help in supporting their chosen community beneficiaries. They are the University of the Cordilleras (Benguet), Agap Bulusan (Sorsogon), Busikong Greenland MPC (Maguindanao), RIC-Kape Maramag Inc. (Bukidnon), Yellowboat of Hope Foundation (Zamboanga), LASIWWAI (South Cotabato), Mindanao State University (Tawi-Tawi), and Health Futures Foundation (South Cotabato).
READ: ABS-CBN Ball 2019 to honor Gina Lopez as Bantay Bata 163 founder and education advocate
She might have lost her fight with cancer last August 19, but let’s don’t forget how Gina, who will be honored in the 2019 ABS-CBN Ball this Saturday, September 14 at Shangri-La at The Fort, triumphantly conquered more monstrous battles in the society and environment when she was still alive. Keep on flying, GL!