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Body Talk with Gaby dela Merced
Not many girls can be as daring as Gabrielle Chanel "Gaby" dela Merced to go into a risky (some say, "life-threatening") sport like racing.
She has been at it since she was 16, the year she learned how to drive.
Those who followed the ABS-CBN reality Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) Celebrity Edition 2 last year must know that Gaby has caught the public interest when she became one of the very few Filipinas to dominate the Asian Formula 3 circuit and the only Filipina who competed in the full season of the series, finishing first runner-up in the Philippine National Formula championships.
She's also a familiar face, thanks to the Creamsilk Conditioner commercial (her other commercial starrer was for Carefree Feminine Wash) that highlighted Filipinas with "power, brains and beauty." Her other endorsements include Goodyear, Standard Insurance, Oakley, Puma and Prestone.
"Racing gives me a big sense of freedom," said Gaby who is a Gemini, born on June 10, 1982. "I'm schizophrenic," she added in jest, then turning serious. "When I'm racing, I feel that the world is mine, na kaya ko lahat-lahat."
The fourth among six siblings from, Gaby admitted without any apology, "a broken family," she has a positive outlook in life. "We exist to be happy and, if possible, to make other people happy, don't we?"
A busybody, Gaby learned one important lesson inside the Big Brother house - that is, to slow down.
"I'm forever racing, not only on the tracks but in everyday life," she said. "Inside the Big Brother house, I realized that I needed to change my lifestyle. You see, I'm the type of person who lives a chaotic life. I often schedule three meetings a day. I'm always racing with time."
During this body talk at Annabel's restaurant, Gaby ordered fish fillet with French Fries and iced tea.
Is really that risky?
"You know, any sport is risky. In basketball, when you lay up the wrong way, you can break a bone. You just have to take the necessary precautions. During a race, I wear all fire-retardant gears - helmet, suit, gloves."
Is racing an expensive sport?
"Kinda. Medyo masakit sa puso if I add up the expenses."
Off the track, what car do you drive?
"Now? Integra Honda. My first car was a second-hand Rav4, passed on to me by my dad."
What kind of driver are you, offensive or defensive?
"I'm an aggressive driver."
How many injuries have you sustained so far?
"Oh, just a few minor ones."
Aside from racing, what other sports do you dabble in?
"Flag football and ultimate disc. When I was in grade school and high school, I was a member of the basketball team. I've been doing capoeira (a Brazilian martial arts)."
What kind of workout do you do?
"Aside from capoeira? I go to the gym; I do mostly cardio exercise. I have a trainor, Joe Pagulayan."
What part of your body is most vulnerable?
"My throat. I'm having acupuncture for that."
What part of a guy's body do you notice first?
What about your diet?
"I eat anything edible. I love to indulge, I love eating."
What's usually for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
"Hmmm, for breakfast I usually have juice consisting of pineapple, orange, apple, cucumber and carrots. When my mom gets to convince me to eat, I have a bagel with organic butter and preserve. It really varies when it comes to lunch or dinner. It depends on how I feel or what I'm craving for. Like if my body is recuperating from a heavy work, I make it a point to eat a lot of meat or eggs for protein. Or if I have an extreme race coming up, I load up on carbs a couple of days before. Or when I'm running late."
And for snacks?
"Snickers, Snickers! Or I grab fastfood."
Any food that you avoid?
"No dairy products for me. Bad for my asthma."
What vitamins do you take?
"Berocca and Lifewave."
How much water do you take every day?
"I make sure I take eight glasses. No soda for me. I also take a lot of juices. Coffee? No. Tea? Yes, sometimes."
How much sleep do you get per night?
"I try to get eight hours."
Do you snore?
"I wouldn't know. I sleep alone."
Do you talk in your sleep?
"I used to as a kid."
Do you sleepwalk?
"I used to as a kid."
Are you a pillow person?
"Yes, I am. I love to hug pillows."
What's the last thing that you do before you go to sleep?
"I watch TV - Discovery Channel, AXN or CSI. And then I put my celfone on 'silent' mode."
And the first thing that you do when you wake up?
"It depends on what I have to do during the day."
You are always out in the sun. Any protection?
"I apply a tanning oil."
How do you cope with stress?
"I get a massage. Or, if I am frustrated or irritated, I listen to the soundtrack of Rent. I've been listening to it so many times that I have memorized the songs."
"I usually spend nights doing capoeira. I seldom go to parties."
Name three guys you think have nice bodies.
"David Lacasse (a gymnast). Rich Harden (a basketball player). Lance Armstrong (the cancer-survivor biker)."
And three women...
"Issa Litton. Sarah Fisher (racer). Marian Jones (track-and-field athlete)."