PLAYBOY: Since you’re both blessed with fame and wealth most men would die for, how do you give back to society through your respective advocacies?
EDU: I don’t want the term wealth to be taken out of perspective. We live comfortably, but all throughout these years, we have been known to not indulge in excesses. As for my advocacies, I have an anti-child pornography advocacy that we launched. I discovered the magnitude of the problem in my current capacity as Chairperson of the Optical Media Board (OMB). I took a personal initiative on this because it’s not part of the scope of the OMB. But I, together with a couple of lawyers, opted to put up a anti-child pornography campaign.
LUIS: I don’t have one yet as profound as that, but like what my dad said, yes, we do live comfortably. But of course, given all these blessings, the best thing that I can do is to be a good role model for people. Teach them to avoid drugs and alcohol, and simply be the best example that I can be.
EDU: But I want to add something. My son and I are very active in La Salle. I’m a rabid La Sallian. I have been for many years sponsoring the La Salle Greenhills Adult Life High School. It’s an opportunity for people, like household helpers, drivers, bus conductors, and even farmers, who never had the benefit of a high school education, to finally earn a high school degree from La Salle. We’ve even had 65-year-old graduates! We’ve been supporting this for a very long time now.
LUIS: We also have Bahay Pag-Asa in La Salle Bacalod.
EDU: Bahay Pag-Asa is a facility initiated by Brother Gus Boquer, who put up the Kundirana of La Salle and spoke to members of the judiciary, the Supreme Court, and Chief Justice Davide to allow juvenile offenders to spend some reflection time in Bahay Pag-Asa. In there, people teach them music and gardening. People like Jose Mari Chan and Mrs. Gretchen Cojuanco. These people who have made a name for themselves in society volunteer their services, time and money to this institution, Bahay Pag-Asa. It’s now also going to open up in De La Salle Dasmariñas, Cavite to hopefully turn young individuals around and help them make a positive contribution to society.
PLAYBOY: Luis, do you see yourself following in the footsteps of your dad and one day becoming the chairman of an important government board, too?
LUIS: Definitely! One, let’s not forget that that my dad was also vice-mayor of Makati. And when it comes to showbiz, it’s safe to say that I have already sort of followed in his footsteps as a host. Second, it’s different now that my dad is the head of the OMB. You see that he actually helps society and even to some degree, the economy. Even as vice-mayor, he helped people’s livelihood. As a host of Game K N B?, he makes people laugh and never fails to make a lola smile. But it’s different when you help a city, build more roads, and provide more jobs. So in terms of that, yes, I would definitely love to follow in his footsteps.
PLAYBOY: How about the Papaya Dance craze? What do you both have to say about this infectious dance that even Good Morning America caught on? Luis, can you see yourself at the helm of a future dance craze?
LUIS: Wow, that’s one thing, I was never blessed in terms of singing. Dancing, yes, I do dance. But I don’t think I would ever come up with a dance, or at least popularize a dance that will go all the way to America. Even the composer of the original Papaya…
EDU: She’s also dancing the Papaya now, on YouTube!
LUIS: I highly doubt that I’ll have something that big. Good Morning America — who would have thought? Now the song and dance steps are being used everywhere – from election campaigns to jingles.
EDU: You know, I’m entertaining an offer now to dance in Russia — at the Kirov Ballet. I’m thinking about it. You know after Papaya, I don’t think dance will ever be the same again [laughs].
PLAYBOY: You’ve been heralded internationally as the copyright enforcer of the year, so how does this compare to an acting award?
EDU: No comparison! To be honest about it, it’s nice when people take cognizance of your efforts. It’s not an easy job being an actor, but more so when you open yourself to public scrutiny. When you take on an adversary, like organized crime, you’re bound to be criticized one way or another. But it’s kind of sad that we’re recognized more internationally than on our own home front. The crab mentality in our country still exists. But I when you talk about copyright enforcement, it’s not just a reflection of my efforts, it’s everyone’s [efforts] in the agency. I’m not a one-man team.
PLAYBOY: As TV personalities who dabble in all sorts of things, from comedy to drama, are you conscious of being scrutinized by the public? Scrutiny in terms of looks, embarrassing moments, rumors and relationships with women.
LUIS: Everything is amplified. That’s a given. The moment you sign your first contract, especially for me. I mean, modesty aside, I was a celebrity since birth. People always had something to say about me. That’s why you have to a bit more careful but never ever sacrifice who you really are. You have to try your best to be the best each and every day. But of course, once in a while, you’re bound to make some mistakes along the way but you just to be ready to face the repercussions. People will create something out of nothing. It comes with what we do.
EDU: When you start believing your own publicity, you’re in big trouble. I don’t worry about people writing about my “supposed” relationships with different women, I’m more worried about them writing about my “supposed” relationships with men.
LUIS: It happens! Almost all male celebrities have gone through the whole “gay issue!”
PLAYBOY: How do you deal being in the public eye, especially whenever you feel your privacy has been violated?
LUIS: I was already given the mindset to accept the whole situation. I know myself better than anyone. I don’t need to explain myself to anyone. The moment I start putting too much effort to change myself to please someone else, then that’s not who I am.
EDU: My son is smart! He really impresses me. [Smiles] I agree with my son. If you do something wrong, you know it’s wrong, but you do it, then you get burned [for it], you can’t complain! But if you continue to try your best, to do good, and not hurt anybody, then at least you have a clear conscience.
PLAYBOY: How about your lifestyle? What do you do to keep fit? What’s your secret?
EDU: I’m lucky that I started to do a morning news show, a news and current events show, so that forced me to say goodbye to the nightlife. I try to steal a moment every now and then, but I have to be up by 3:30 AM every day. I have to be in the studio between 4:30 and 5 AM. Once I’m there, I read the newspaper to prep me for my commentaries on the things happening around us. I take vitamins and follow a good diet. I even ask tips from my son for diet and vitamins. I’m also taking a very good multivitamin designed for guys, like me, who are in the “maturing years.”
PLAYBOY: Edu, your face is plastered almost everywhere with ads and billboards! What separates everything that you endorse from the respective competitors of your endorsements in the market?
EDU: Better plastered on the billboards than on the sidewalks [laughs]! That’s one thing I feel very strongly about. I would never promote cigarettes or alcohol. Maybe a light beer, somewhere along the way, but that’s it. It’s very important to actually use the product. I use each and every product I endorse. And all of the products I endorse are institutions in themselves. I don’t promote anything that I haven’t been using for years.
PLAYBOY: Luis, you’re an endorser for a ready-to-drink Tea beverage, right? What made you decide to promote this certain beverage among all the ready-to-drink Tea beverages?
LUIS: One thing, yes, I’ve had my fair share of ready-to-drink Tea beverages. But when I first tasted One White Tea, I was hooked. Honestly, my ref is full of One White Tea and whenever my friends come over, we always have One White Tea. Plus it’s very, very healthy. And it says, and I mentioned it in the commercial, that it has the most number of antioxidants.
PLAYBOY: Who are your respective big influences in today’s cutthroat world of show business? What were they able to teach you about life, everything, and the universe?
LUIS: I would have to say my parents. Not just in showbiz, but in life in general. The best thing that my mom and dad taught me is that it’s not about what’s inside the pocket that counts, but what’s inside the heart. And especially from my dad’s side, one thing he taught me is to always treat a lady with all the respect that she deserves. And I’m happy to say that even after 26 years of existence, I still apply everything my parents have taught me, big or small, in my daily life.
EDU: You know, be it in the movie industry, banking or in any other industry, many people who kept the most good publicity and who are built up to sound like demi-gods actually don’t deserve it [publicity]. Unfortunately, we tend to forget that there are other people, who the most wonderful people in this world, who don’t look for fame, but simply live their life day in and day out. I would like cite an example — Gloria Romero. You can’t hear anything bad about her. She is the ultimate queen of Philippine cinema. The nicest person you can ever meet in your lifetime. As she goes about her job, she delivers. Everyone she meets and everywhere she goes, she continuous to inspire.
PLAYBOY: How about in business? Who do you guys most admire and what attribute would you seek to emulate the most?
EDU: It was very sad but Luis was only three years old when my father passed away. My father would do anything to make a living. If he had to sell siopao, he would. He would sell anything as long as it’s all in a decent day’s work, and he didn’t step on anyone’s toes. That is something that I learned from my dad. I went through some hard times with Luis as he was going through school. But I took care of Luis’ education 100%, and even though there were times that I couldn’t pay the tuition. But I had all kinds of jobs, and I’m proud of everything I did. I still believe in making money the old-fashioned way — hard work
LUIS: Same thing. Yes, I’m blessed in this industry. But behind all the glitz and glamour, it’s still the same thing. When you have to provide for someone important, I still believe that you need elbow grease, sweat and tears. That’s what work really is.
PLAYBOY: Edu, you were in politics before, and Luis’s mom, of course is still involved. What do you think of actors who seek public office?
EDU: They’re a lot of clowns in public office — actors and non-actors. I’ve learned though the years that some of these public officials are better actors than the real actors! They can cry in campaigns and portray themselves like as bidas. I say, bring back the debates! Candidates should go before Universities, and let the students scrutinize and see if they really have what it takes to hold office. I don’t mean to offend anyone in the entertainment industry, especially any of my friends already in the government, but we’re not just talking about everyone’s lives today but the lives of generations to come.
LUIS: I agree that there are only a handful of people who truly deserve to be in politics. But we do have to admit that popularity surely got them there. I agree that the debates will help the people see the integrity, intellect and quality of the candidates.
PLAYBOY: Edu, what’s your idea of the ideal wife for Luis? Luis, do you agree?
EDU: She has to be extremely understanding. For one thing, my son works very hard. Second, he demands a lot of himself. So he demands a lot, too, from the people around him. My son is honest. I’ll take my son anywhere and I’ll be proud of my son. I may not have endowed him with a lot of money, because I’ve never really had very much, but I gave him the values. It’s being able to walk side by side and people say, “Met your son. Hayop. Galing ng anak mo. And bait ng anak mo.” That’s every father’s dream.
LUIS: Well, that would be pretty mayabang if I said, “Yes, I do agree.” But I’m very, very happy that people feel that way. But that’s exactly the same way with my dad. He deserves so much love and to be taken care of. There is not a single day, whether I’ll be out or around ABS-CBN, people would go, “Ang lupit ng dad mo!” They would always look for my dad. And my wife? Hopefully, yes, who wouldn’t want an understanding wife?
PLAYBOY: What do you guys think defines success for a man? Recognition, Riches or Respect?
EDU: Easy question — riches [laughs]. Mukhang pera ako [laughs]! But seriously, it’s respect! And I don’t think anyone would say otherwise. It’s nice to walk up to people straight in their eye and you know that they won’t turn away. They’ll either nod, smile, or move in a certain way that acknowledges you. When you see someone and you know he’s nothing but a crook, you can’t help but look away.
LUIS: We all know that respect is something you earn. When you’re given respect, then you know you must have done something right!
PLAYBOY: Edu, who was the most memorable contestant who’s ever appeared in any of your game shows?
EDU: We’ve tried to create an atmosphere to let the audience members and contestants to throw bricks bags at me. I am not the king of the show. They’re the kings. I throw a joke at them, and one time, a guy said, “I’m selling Wagyu Beef!” I ask him, “Why should I buy from you when I can buy in Makati! I have to go to Bukidnon for your beef” He went, “I’ll give you a Senior’s Citizen card!” Fantastic! I laughed! Another contestant, a jueteng collector named Pogs. I asked him what he was doing in the show, and he told me that there was a crackdown on jueteng so he wasn’t making any money. He was dark, bald, and really thin. His size was extra small, but his shirt was large. I told him to come with me and we took a break. We came back after the break, I was wearing his shirt and he was wearing mine! It looked better on him. He comes back six months later and he just wanted to win a thousand bucks. The whole studio was cheering for him. He went home with P25,000! I asked him if he went back to jueteng, but he told me that he was now into sabongan. Sugal nanaman [laughs].
PLAYBOY: What was the first thing you bought for yourselves when you realized that you’ve “arrived.”
LUIS: My very first car — the CRV. When I started endorsing, I realized that I’m starting to make money for myself.
EDU: Me? A washing machine! The veins of my hands were starting to show. So even though I didn’t have a car back then, and I have to take the jeepney and bus, at least I had a washing machine.
PLAYBOY: What’s your idea of kicking back and relaxing?
LUIS: A good day at the gym, watching a good game after and just being at home. I don’t consider going out as relaxing anymore. I think I’m past that already. Having a good workout is much more relaxing.
EDU: Cross-stitch [laughs]! I even made my own socks [laughs]! You know, I still need to learn how to take it easy. I’m always on the go. I feel there’s so much to do. I don’t mind if I’m short on sleep but I love to be with people and exchange ideas. Being able to listen to people who can inspire me, that’s my way of relaxing,
PLAYBOY: Remember any interesting stories of particularly persistent fans?
EDU: Oh my god, I woke up and she was beside me [laughs]!
LUIS: Now I call her mom [laughs]! But there was one very, very persistent fan. I’m guessing she was a mother, who was calling me for at least 40 times a night. Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate the love and support of my fans, but I needed to get some sleep, too.
EDU: There’s something that I learned from Vilma. We don’t have fans. We have friends. We treat them as friends. We’re nice to them, they’re nice to us. I have seen some “Vilmanians” and they came to the taping of Game KNB? and I remember them! The mania then was crazy, during the heyday of Vilma and Nora’s time. They would scratch their favorite artists and tear their clothing. But now, times have changed. The “Vilmanians” have mellowed. But still, if you treat them right, they’ll treat you right.
LUIS: I make it a point to contact my friends, and I do my best to meet up with them via Internet or even when I’m free for lunch.
PLAYBOY: Some actors feel their movies will be successful if the crew and cast have tons of fun… how do you guys gauge the same sort of thing when you’re on set on a project?
EDU: I grew up in the States. I once worked in a facility for juvenile offenders. I learned how to mix with them. You are one among equals. So if the crewmembers don’t like you, they don’t make working with you an easy or delightful experience. Nobody has ever said anything negative about my son. That’s why I’m very proud of me. In my case, throughout the years, I’ve become their [crewmembers] Ninong sa kasal and their kumpare. That’s a very important indicator of what you’re like. They don’t even ask for gifts or money, even in their weddings! The little things they do to you in turn, it makes you realize that you’re not such a bad person after all. You have to understand that they have problems, too, just like you. Wala kang karapatan mag-sungit. Kung nag-away kayo ng asawa mo, malay mo sila nag-away mag-asawa!
LUIS: If your call time is at 7 AM, the crew team has been there since 4 AM. If we’re not in front of the camera, we get to eat or sleep, but the crewmembers have to stay, fix everything and pack up. No one, none of the artists, has the right to be a diva. No one has the right to get mad at the cameraman, utility, dolly, catering, and the rest. If I’m tired, it’s a lot worse for them.
PLAYBOY: What’s next for your life in the next five years?
EDU: Honestly, I’ll try to stay in shape. My daughter is turning 18 in three years. Who by the way, loves her kuya [Luis]. Her name is Amanda Danielle. I want to be able to dance with her on her 18th birthday. I’ll be 55 when she turns 18, and I want to be standing and not running after her in a wheel chair [laughs]! I want to dance! I want to look good for my kids.
LUIS: Same thing. I do have [siblings] Adi, Enzo and Ryan. I just want to look good when they grow up. I’m sure they’ll come to me when they have certain problems.
EDU: I have a question! Can we put our clothes back on now? It’s getting pretty cold now.