A Chat with Lloyd Samartino

Apr 23, 2007
Lloyd Samartino's last TV apperance was in 2002 via GMA7's TV series "Habang Kapiling Ka," with Angelika dela Cruz and Snooky Serna. After five years, he is back! The mestizo actor will play a dad-role to Bobby Andrews and Eda Nolan in ABS-CBN's "Walang Kapalit."

He's into erections!

Yes, actor Lloyd Samartino's business now deals with building buildings, erections so to speak. PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) got the chance to have a one-on-one session with him during the presscon for "Walang Kapalit," topbilled by Piolo Pascual and Claudine Barretto.

It was a breeze to see an old friend who's back into the game he has always loved.

What's up, Lloyd?

"I have my own company now. Yung apartment in Makati where we lived, and where you and most of our friends spend the day, is still ours, pero pinapa-rentahan na namin ni Mommy [chanteuse Carmen Soriano]. But I still live in Makati."

Back in the 80's, Lloyd's career boomed with his outstanding performance in "Gabun." He also did several projects with the greatest directors of his time—Lino Brocka, Ishmael Bernal, and more like Maryo J. delos Reyes.

And he went on reminiscing the good, old days.

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"Those were the Golden Years, I should say. The superstars—from Nora [Aunor] to Dina [Bonnevie]... Though I only worked with Brocka in "Strangers in Paradise" with Snooky [Serna] and Tom Babauta, there was so much to remember sa pakikipagtrabaho sa kanya. But after a while, no, hindi naman sa tinamad ako, but there were no more roles available o bagay na para sa akin.

"I wanted sana noon pa lang to try out na doing bida-kontrabida roles. Pero during that time, parang hindi pa nila tinatanggap na maging kontrabida ang mga mestizo. Nung bandang huli na lang nangyari ‘yon, when I was in the US na.

"Aksidente lang na nagkita kami ng kaibigan kong si Albert [Martinez]. And sinabi niya sa akin na dapat bumalik na ako sa acting. Wala na raw, kulang na raw ang mga artista. Wala na rin si Miguel [Rodriguez]. Eh, that talk with Albert was so inspiring. Iilan-ilan na nga lang daw kami that can tackle pa good roles kahit marami ng mga bago. Sabi ko naman, ‘money is not a problem with me.' Lalo na small roles...

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"Hindi ko alam kung saan uli ako mag-uumpisa, kaya sa TV pa rin ako nakagawa ng ilang mga projects. I worked with direk Maryo J. I did ‘yung "Habang Kapiling Ka" with Snooky and Angelika dela Cruz. Eh, si Maryo, nakasama ko naman sa "Annie Batungbakal", "Bongga Ka, ‘Day."

Why did he suddenly disappear?

"I had to leave lang after that. Naiba ang takbo ng buhay ko because I got married din, eh. I was in the US before I got married [to then-presidential daughter Jo Ramos]. And while I was in the States, gumagawa naman ako doon ng mga movies. Nagdi-direct ako, and there was this project where I directed Tita Celia [Rodriguez] in "Corazon." Ang katrabaho ko noon was Toto Belano.

"Ang punto ko naman that time since the roles being offered to me were getting scarcer, sabi ko, ‘magugutom ako kung maghihintay lang ako ng projects para sa akin.' So, I decided to go there na lang muna and stay with my Mom. And doon, nakaisip na ako na have my own business.

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"And after that, I got married na nga. We had our kid Sergio, who is 13 years old na last April 9."

His marriage didn't work out.

"But Jo and I are still very good friends."

And his marriage to Jo gave people the reason to drag his name into government-related matters, like this taxi issue which erupted on the news years ago. Did he really own that line of taxi at the NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport)?

"For a long time, ang paniwala talaga ng mga tao, eh, ako ang may-ari ng line ng cabs na nagse-service sa airport that time. Sa managerial ng airport ‘yon at kami lang ang kausap nung Koreanong nagpasok nito para magkaroon ng business with the airport. Eh, nung magkagulo sila, kami ang na-name drop about it dahil kakilala nga namin ‘yung Koreano.

"Nagkagulo at nagkaproblema dahil in the end, we found out na hindi na pala binabayaran nitong Koreanong ito ‘yung mga tauhan that has something to do with the line of taxis in the airport. And that time din, kapag tinatanong naman kami about it, hindi kami nagko-comment kaya lumabas na kami nga, o ako particularly ang may-ari nito. Kasi kahit ‘yung mga drivers nung cab ‘pag natatanong sila, ang alam nila eh, akin nga ang mga taxi na ‘yon."

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Is he staying here for good?

"Nag-start ako ng career ko in 1978. Umalis ako in 1984. Bumalik ako in 1991. Yes, I get to miss din acting. And now that I'm back, I want pa rin naman to take a different challenge as far as roles are concerned. Tapos na tayo sa mga pretty boy roles. Noon, hindi pa sila ready sa mga mukha na gaya ko para gawing kontrabida. Pero now na nararanasan ko na ito, I'm kinda enjoying it."

Lloyd admitted that he almost gave up.

"At some point, I was getting frustrated na. And looking back now, wala naman akong ire-regret sa naging decision ko. Kasi, tama lang that I had to stop. I was able pa to spend a lot of time with my Mom who got married to a doctor in the US. I did the right thing.

"And kahit naman nung I was married na, I told my wife naman I still would want to go back to acting, eh. It just so happened na wala sigurong mga roles for me then."

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Or maybe, a lot of people got reluctant in getting him since he had his own world being the presidential son-in-law.

"In some ways, maybe. And besides, that time, I was doing din naman other things, kami ng wife ko. And naramdaman ko naman ‘yon, na nung maging son-in-law ako ng mga Ramos, talagang wala ng nagtatangka man lang na kumuha pa rin sa akin para umarte. Inisip ko na lang, siguro feeling nila hindi ko na kailangan ang pera," he said in jest.

And there's still this gnawing thought.

"Parang alam ko na ‘yan. You're really a friend na hindi mapapakali until so many things are answered. What is it?"

You were not spared from issues regarding your gender—this "kabaklaan" thing. A lot of times, you and Albert were played up in so many articles, and even blind items, na naging kayo.

"Wala naman ‘atang artista'ng hindi dumaan sa ganoong klase ng issue, eh. Kaya when I get to talk sa mga younger artists, I tell them na ihanda na nila ang sarili nila sa mga ganitong klase ng intriga. I was never bothered by that issue. Noon, bata ka pa, gustuhin mo mang uminit ang ulo, remember, kumakain na lang tayo sa bahay."

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Since in some ways, he was able to taste the life of being in the world of politics, is he, in the future, planning to get a taste of it for real?

"Noon, marami ng humihikayat sa akin to get into politics. Hindi pa ako ready, eh. Kailangan, when you throw your hat into the political arena, bukas ang sarili mo sa ganoong mundo. Hindi ko pa kaya'ng maging ganoong ka-open to that. Mas masaya ako ngayon doing something I like best, getting back to being an actor."

Lloyd portrays the role of Susan Africa's husband and Bobby Andrew's and Eda Nolan's father in ABS-CBN's "Walang Kapalit."

And he doesn't mind portraying father roles now?

"I am a father, and a good one at that in real life. My boy is already in his teens, so believable."

Is he still that very private Lloyd?

"I guess my life has already been an open book. There are some things though, gaya ng mga katatanong mo lang sa akin na for a time were left unsaid and unanswered. Only a friend can ask those things, and say I'm into erections!" ended Lloyd with a laugh.

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Lloyd Samartino's last TV apperance was in 2002 via GMA7's TV series "Habang Kapiling Ka," with Angelika dela Cruz and Snooky Serna. After five years, he is back! The mestizo actor will play a dad-role to Bobby Andrews and Eda Nolan in ABS-CBN's "Walang Kapalit."
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