MANILA (UPDATED) -- Tomas “Buddy” Gomez III, who served as press secretary under former Philippine President Corazon Aquino, has passed away, his family confirmed on Saturday.
He was 86.
Gomez died on Thursday while doing a pilgrimage to Santiago de Compostela, Galicia, Spain, his daughter, Human Rights Commissioner Karen Gomez-Dumpit said in a Facebook post.
Further announcements on Gomez’s wake will be posted soon, she said.
Gomez wrote a weekly opinion column "Cyberbuddy" for ABS-CBN News online.
His last 3 columns were about his pilgrimage to Camino Santiago de Compostela which honors St. James the Greater, the patron saint of Spain.
In his July 10 column titled "My pilgrimage: Santiago de Compostela," he said he was looking forward to his “spiritual adventure of a lifetime,” which started on July 19 at Sarria.
“I dedicate my pilgrimage as a peace offering to kin, friends and fellowmen, and…..to all the girls I loved (and wronged) before!” he wrote.
In his latest column published on Saturday, he chronicled the community and historic structures in the town of Portomarin in Galicia and described it as a “50-plus-years-old replacement… for an ancient river town.”
"The first fifteen kilometers was a constantly undulating uphill climb. It was gentle and moderate for younger bones but certainly not for the likes of me. What would normally take 6 hours to walk the Sarria to Portomarin stretch took me 8. After 15 kilometers, my pace had gone down to half of when I started with the first five kilometers. And then, I was strolling with my knees and legs threatening to buckle. But as I said, I survived," he wrote.
He was supposed to travel to Pals de Rei to continue his travels.
Gomez began his professional media career in ABS-CBN's (previously Chronicle Broadcasting Network) DZQL-Radio Reloj in 1957, after which he spent 25 years with the Ayala Group.
In 1986, Aquino appointed him Consul General to Hawaii and later served as her Press Secretary.
He was chairman and president of state-owned IBC-13 Network under the Ramos administration.
After government service, he became an “overseas Filipino worker” in the US working as front-desk clerk and then assistant general manager of a hotel.
He also worked as a furniture and antique restoration specialist in the US.
Seven years ago, Gomez, a native of Calbayog, Samar, began his weekly CyberBuddy for ABS-CBN News online. In his first blog, he wrote: "I am back where it all began--to my first professional engagement with broadcast media some 57 years ago, albeit this time in a totally reengineered incarnation. Back then, it was simply the radio and its assigned air-wave band and its limited local reach. Today, it is the cyberspace and the globe-wide internet."
He added that he was "truly delighted to be the latest adopted child of 'Kapamilya.' Perhaps, a long, long absent child!"
He wrote extensively about the leaders of Ayala Corp. and builders of Makati City, as well as his knowledge about the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos and his wife, Imelda, in exile in Hawaii when he was consul general.