Becoming Blake

There’s more to Blake Go than being just a bachelor—after all, he’s holding his own as the scion to a family business, with plenty of other ventures in his own right—but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some tricks up his sleeve.

It’s Lifedance Wicked Summer, what many considered the summer’s culminating party. The air is particularly humid, and the crazy dancing didn’t help—in fact, the crowds of people congregating around the stage are wearing shirts that are practically plastered to their backs. It’s a good thing, then, that we’re standing on the second floor balcony of the VIP area, wherethe heat is equally unbearable but the crowds are at least thinned out.

You kind of notice Blake Go the minute he enters your line of vision. And really, how could you not? He’s surrounded by a group of friends, wearing a coveted all-access ID pass and has a statuesque beauty on his arm. That’s not noting the amount of people who turn around to greet him—it seems every few steps, he stops and gives out a loose hug or a kiss on the cheek to an acquaintance, our group included. And then he’s off, with his posse not too far behind him.

It’s not surprising that a certain curiosity follows in the wake of this seemingly high-profile and well- connected persona, and when their queries are answered with a single name, what so often follows is, “Who the hell is Blake Go?”

The day of the shoot is Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Dressed in a bright red shirt and casual shorts, Blake arrives and greets everyone before playfully excusing himself to catch a glimpse of the game. He bounds up the stairs to Jan’s studio, the cheers and frustrated groans audible as the Heat and Spurs volley for the lead, despite the selection of Passion Pit’s discography that we chose for the day’s soundtrack. Every few seconds, he peeks out the door and gives us a thumbs up. “Sorry guys,” he says. “I have a bet riding on Miami winning today.”

Unfortunately for him, the game goes into overtime and it’s time for him to get into hair and makeup. That doesn’t faze him though; he sits on the makeup chair with his phone at hand, constantly refreshing the page that tells him the scores. Finally, we let him go to watch the game’s last few minutes, knowing full fell he couldn’t concentrate on looking good for the camera if he was constantly jittery about whether or not there’ll be a Game 7. When the game is over, he makes his way back on set with a big smile, despite the fact that he still lost the bet (because of some point system that this writer doesn’t completely understand). Either way, he’s happy. His team gets another shot at the championship—something they use well when they beat the Spurs in the final game a few days later.

That upbeat energy and boyish charm is something Blake seems to have a lot of, as he jumps from story after story with unmatched enthusiasm that makes you feel immediately atease around him. “Everyone says I’m easy to talk to,” he notes in the kind of nonchalant tone that is unself-conscious despite the fact that he’s basically pointing out his own good points. “I guess that’s why I’ve been called a playboy, because I hang out with a lotof girls, just because they find me easy to talk to. But sure, I like looking at beautiful women. I guess that’s just my personality.”

The candid way he says it is refreshing, especially at a time when people can tend to pretend they want something deeper than they actually do. “With me, what you see is what you get,” he says with a shrug.

That’s not to say, though, that there isn’t more to him than what meets the eye. As the eldest son of Nelson and Jennifer Faith Go of the family behind Prince Warehouse Club, a popular chain of local supermarkets and department stores, Blake Nelson Go was born into a childhood that’s probably more normal than you expect. “I have two younger brothers, Cris and Jake, who are both currently finishing school in San Francisco,” he shares. “We do get along, maybe a little too well,” he adds with a laugh, recalling some of the crazy memories he’s shared with them. “One summer, my brother Jake was home on vacation and we were coming home from the beach, driving on my convertible with the top down and the music turned up loud. We were dancing, standing and taking videos of ourselves while we were driving home. He’s deaf, but I guess he managed to dance along to the beat from the loud bass,” he recalls.

His relationship with his parents is an endearing quality, with his mom dropping by the shoot and giving him tips on how to pose more naturally. “I’m very close to my whole family, especially my parents. I like to think that I’m the tie that binds everyone together,” he says. “My dad is my hero, and the source of strength and guidance, while my mom just has the biggest heart and all the patience in the world.”

She must have needed it— Blake admits to some crazy childhood moments. “My most vivid childhood memory was when I was five, and my parents and I were in Chicago. While they were asleep, I snuck out of the house, and they later found me tumbling around in the snow butt-naked,” he laughs, before adding, “I even have the photos to prove it, but that’ll have to remain hidden.” Later on, though, his antics were shared with his brothers. “We usually have Sunday lunch with the family and sometimes Cris would have a date and couldn’t go, so I would cover for him and pretend that I have a huge hangover from the night before,” he recalls. “I guess he learned it from me, because when I was younger I would ask him to do the same thing.”

From rolling around the snow in his birthday suit, he went on to study at Sacred Heart School Cebu and then the Oxford Brookes University in London, where he received a BA degree in Business and Retail Management. “It’s hard to believe, but I actually graduated with honors.” It was a stepping stoneto his place now as the CEO for Prince Warehouse Club and SELLGORealty Corporation, their family’s core business. “Not the COO, okay? Child of Owner,” he jokes. Seriously speaking, though, he admits, “It’s always beena dream of mine to make the family business grow.”

He’s since moved on to venture into his own personal businesses, which includes Buddies, a chain that serves up burgers, Mexican food and hotdogs. With locations in Capitol, Talamban and a third branch that’s soon to open, the eatery is most popular for their Ultimate Burger Challenge. Has he been up to the task? “Yes, I’ve done it. The time limit is five minutes, and I finished the one-pounder burger patties and two orders of fries in about eight minutes. I’ll probably do it again soon and try to make it in five minutes.”

Blake also has his hand on the Cebu night scene. Together with JP Chiongbian, Jaja Chiongbian-Rama, Wayne Congmon and Derick Yap, he’d recently acquired Scrapyard after the House of Cebu transitioned into The Henry Hotel. The uniquely designed nightspot is a great venue on theweekends for 80s and 90s music, with a roster of bands playing on weeknights. “We’re renovating this month,” he shares, saying to expect a more lounge vibe.

Right across the parking lot from Scrapyard is Blake’s latest venture, Cable Car. “We’re very excited about it finally coming to Cebu,” he shares. “While I was studying in Manila, preparing to go to London, I went to Cable Car a lot to eat. We’re really famous for the Cable Car rice, the sisig rice—the food’s all actually really good, so that’s what we’re trying to promote.” Keeping it similar to the Manila set-up, Paseo Saturnino’s outlet will also have beer pong tournaments, which they take pretty seriously. “Whoever will win in Cebu will have to compete in Manila.”

The biggest thing, however, might be Lifedance, arguably the biggest and hottest party on the island.“It actually started out as Paradiso, a beach party six years ago that ran for four consecutive years in Tambuli and Portofino. It was my brother’s business and idea, and I was helping him out, but when he left for the States to study, I carried on,” he recalls. Pretty soon, the party had gotten too big for the resorts to accommodate, which led them to the boardwalk complex and a new concept. “The first one was May last year, andthe second was during Sinulog, which made history for Cebu. About 15,000 people showed up, some from Manila, Hong Kong and Singapore.” Endorsed by the Department of Tourism, it seems only inevitable that Lifedance continues on a steady rise. “Our goal is to be a part of the party calendar—the onethat includes Tomorrowland in Europe, the Zouk Out in Singapore and the Thailand Sensation Party.” He even ofers a little tease for those already looking forward to next January’s party– “we’re working on bringing in one of the top five DJs in the world. I’m just not going to say who.”

“What else do we have to talk about? What would be interesting?” he asks me while we’re sitting down post-shoot, and I feel a little rushed considering he’s supposed to be on a plane to Manila in just two hours.

“We are playing you up as a bachelor,” I begin, which he quickly replies with, “So my girlfriends?”

It’s no secret that Blake’s got a bit of a playboy reputation. When he’s out, he’s usually in a group that includes some of the best-looking women in the room, and has been linked to several ladies over the years– a list that includes actresses and some prominent personalities in Cebu. “Let’s not give names though, because I’m a gentleman,” he says, and insists that it’s purely an image people tend to attach to him. “A lot of people think I’m a chickboy. I’m surrounded by a lot of beautiful women, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that I’m romantically interested in them. I haven’t had a lot of relationships. Most of the time, I’m single.”

Perhaps this is what has allowed him to narrow down his preferences, and when I ask about what he first notices in a woman, he answers quickly, “I look into the eyes, that’s what really captures my attention. But of course, it comes down to personality. I like intelligence, because I really like to talk– I talk a lot.” Yes, he really does. “So I want to be able to talk about anything and know we’ll understand each other. She has to have a sense of humor, and of course, I’ll notice if she’s really hot.”

And what exactly does he do after he takes notice? “I don’t really have a pick-up line. I just look at them and if they look back, then I’ll go up to them,” he shares, although he admits to something else after a short pause to think. “I have this thing when if I like a girl, I don’t really show them at first. I’;; pretent like it’s nothing, especially if I notice a lot of guys talking to her– I’d just say hi and then leave. Then she’d wonder, ‘why is this guy making deadma to me?'” He laughs when I point out that the gameplan is simple but effective. “I guess that’s my move.”

Once he’s won her over, it’s a different story. “When I’m a bachelor, yes, I go out a lot and people start calling me a party boy. But when I’m in a relationships, I really just stick to one,” he says, mentioning his longest relationship that lasted for four years. “It was a really good one. I learned a lot but I was probably too young. I was caught between staying in Cebu and pursuing a better education. In the end, I followed my dream.”

In the end, it seems, Blake really is a romantic at heart. “I’ll do anything to win a girl over. Seriously, I’ll do anything that I can think of. Sky’s the limit,” he answers, though he’s a little hesitant about sharing his craziest act of love, “Let’s not mention it, some of them might get jealous,” he laughs, although he’s careful to reiterate that “when it comes to girls, when I like her, I’ll do anything just to get her.”

When I ask him about the best piece of dating advice he has, I don’t expect it to be all that pragmatic– after all, he just admitted to going to great and unreasonable lengths to getting the girl. “Don’t go overboard,” which, in all honesty, seems like something he doesn’t follow himself. He continues though, “Just be yourself, because eventually they’ll find out about you. You can do whatever you can think of at the moment– buy her flowers or fly a plane just to see her for an hour.” Well that seems like a confession of a crazy act for love. “Yes, I did that,” he admits, “I flew a plane just to say hi, then came right back.”

To be fair, though, that is Blake being himself. After all, this is a guy who spends his free time driving his vast collection of sports cars, riding his bike along the sloping streets of Maria Luisa, taking his speedboat on a cruise on the Mactan Channel, or playing a few rounds of golf. When I ask him how many cars he owned, he smiles and answers, “A lot.” That I don’t find the answer immediately obnoxious is proof to how likeable he is while in conversation. “I don;t really have a favorite one– most of my sports cars have different characteristics. There’s one for a chill Sunday drive, and there’s a sporty one that I use for racing.”

The need for speed is something that Blake’s been addressing since he started go-karting when he was 15, winning National Rookie of the Year on his first year and eventually being awarded National Champion. “Eventually I moved on the to the toys for the big boys– cars. I was into drag racing, and was the first Filipino to be the two-time back-to-back champion for Quick8 and Class A drag racing.”

I guess, in some way, you can say that Blake has grown up– but that’s also not saying he’s not young at heart either. The 16-year old inside of him does rear its smiling head, as seen from the bouts of jokes peppered into every sentence and the unaffected laughter that’s a little bit contagious. Still, he’s set on achieving his goals for the next five years. “I’ll be expanding the family business and I’ll have a family of my own.” He adds cheekily, “That means I have five more years to live up to the Most Eligible Bachelor title.”

There seems to be no secrets when it comes to Blake Go. As he picks out the clothes he’s bringing along on his trip amongst the piles he’d brought along to the shoot– a collection of button-downs in various colors, tailored blazers and designer shoes– I ask him what outfit he feels most comfortable in. He smirks. “Naked.”

  • by Shari Quimbo
  • creative director David Jones Cua
  • photography Jan Gonzales (shot with a FujiFilm X-E1)
  • fashion stylist Michael Sanchez
  • assistant Lor Yutico
  • hair and make up Jay Castilloand Jomer Arances (Secanara Hands)
  • assistants Suzaine Smith and Geneva Villasencio
  • models Jaime Herrel and Cristlet Gerona (WAFER Models)
Shari Quimbo
Shari Quimbo

Shari Quimbo is the managing editor of Zee Lifestyle. In her spare time, she likes cooking for family and friends, and escaping to the beach on weekends. Follow Shari’s adventures on Instagram at @sharinuh.

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