Estranged parents don’t always produce problem children. That’s what Lloyd Samartino is proving, especially now that his wife, Jo Ramos, with whom he has been separated for more than 10 years, has passed away.
Their son, Sergio, 17, is not a spoiled only child. In fact, he’s a far cry from the rich brat who parties all night and hates books with a vengeance.
“Magaling magpalaki ng anak ang wife ko,” Lloyd told media at the presscon of his latest project, TV5’s “PS I Love You,” whose pilot episode airs Nov. 21.
Sergio could have sky’s-the-limit allowance. The grandson of former president Fidel V. Ramos could eat the most expensive food money can buy.
So Lloyd was taken aback when he learned that Sergio gets by at only P100 a day allowance a day (his mom would bring him to school and fetch him after classes). The boy, reports Lloyd has five pieces of pan de sal (alternating with corned beef) to munch on in school.
His well-to-do grandparents can always ask any of the house help to prepare a clubhouse sandwich for Sergio. But his mom wants to teach him to be simple and frugal (remember, the Ramoses are true blue Ilocano).
So the boy subsists on a modest allowance and no-frills meals.
The results, says Lloyd, are encouraging.
“My son is not spoiled. He’s doing well in school.”
He wants to start driving and explore the world on his own. But he didn’t complain when Lloyd advised his in-laws against getting Sergio his first car.
Lloyd can’t help but fear for his only child’s safety.
“He’s only 17. At iisa pa ‘yan,” Lloyd explains.
He’s more liberal when it comes to Sergio’s choice of school and college course.
“Sabi ko sa kanya, kung anong gusto mo, go! Gagawin natin yan,” Lloyd told Sergio.
Turns out the boy is into music, like his mom. In fact, Lloyd reveals his son might go to Julliard School of Music, thanks to a college fund FVR has put up for Sergio and his cousins.
“I told him he can study anywhere in the world,” adds Lloyd.
Sergio stays with his grandparents. But that doesn’t mean Lloyd has left all the responsibility of raising him to the Ramoses.
“We talk thrice or four times a month,” reveals Lloyd.
Despite the tragedy that Jo faced, fate has been kind to Lloyd so far. His apartment building business is doing good. So he doesn’t have to turn to showbiz for his bread and butter. Lloyd acts simply because he wants to.
Like old times
He enjoys the camaraderie on the “PS I Love You” set because two of his co-stars, Gabby Concepcion and Dina Bonnevie, are his contemporaries.
“Kasabayan ko si Gabby, Albert (Martinez) and William (Martinez). This is my second soap with Dina. Liniligawan pa non ni Vic (Sotto) si Dina when we were doing ‘Anak.’ And then she got pregnant. Ang sungit niya sa set kasi nga siguro naglilihi,” recalls Lloyd.
Dina and Lloyd’s rapport is such that he’d jokingly rib the former about not being “maarte” on the set anymore.
“Sabi ko, ‘Dins, ang sarap mo nang kasama ngayon,’” Lloyd states.
Dina herself admits she had mood swings in her younger days. But, as Lloyd attests, she has put those days behind her now.
“I love working with Dina. Iba yung nagkakaintindihan kayo sa trabaho. Mabilis ang trabaho. Tinginan lang okay na. Dina is an ace actor and she continues to get better.”
Like Dina, Lloyd is enjoying acting all over again. He missed what he calls, is “my showbiz family” in all the seven years he stayed in the States to work with Columbia Pictures and do other things.
Lloyd realized he had to return to his first love: acting. But first, he needed an honest-to-goodness offer.
“Hindi pwede yong ‘kunin n’yo ko.’ They won’t give you a decent pay. So I had to wait for the offers to come.”
Director Maryo J. delos Reyes’ offer came like an answered prayer.
“He called and asked if I want to start acting again,” Lloyd relates. He said yes, of course. One thing led to another until Lloyd found himself doing dramas like “Dyosa” and “Sinner or Saint.”
Lloyd is one of the few actors who has worked with the top three TV networks. And he’s looking forward to working with Regal Films again.
“I am very, very blessed,” he gushes.
Most people agree.
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