Marvin Agustin

- Vanessa A. Balbuena () - May 23, 2010 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - Archery is a precision sport that requires  much skill and concentration to execute correctly. More of a mental game than method, the strict training regimen entails discipline, patience and determination—the very same traits that had helped Marvin Agustin reach the kind of life that he has now. Small wonder he was attracted to the sport, for the guy seems to thrive on achieving discipline and finding balance in everything.

The actor’s early struggles have been an open book. For someone who used to wait on fast-food tables and take up menial tasks to support a family that had lost a breadwinner when his father had to do jail time, and to now own 11 flourishing restaurants, enjoy a successful showbiz career, and have the luxury of pursuing his other interests, no one would disagree that Marvin possessed grit and focus.

He paid Cebu a visit when he recently competed at the National Archery Tournament held in the Mandaue City Aboitiz Field. It served as the qualifying tournament for Filipino representatives to the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China on November 12 to 27. This was Marvin’s fifth tournament, having previously joined Asian Grand Prix’s in Thailand and in the Philippines, and world championships in Bangkok and Korea.

Over lunch at the Maya restaurant in Crossroads, Banilad a day before the competition, Marvin was a picture of contentment as he talked of his passion for archery, his continuous TV and movie projects, the possible expansion of one of his food ventures in Cebu, and his simple aspiration for his twin boys.

MARVIN THE ARCHER. It was another actor-athlete who introduced him to archery three years ago. “A friend of mine, si Richard Gomez, told me about it. I liked it, but I stopped and then I went back again. Since a year and a half ago, I started getting serious with it under my coach and I haven’t stopped. Sa simula pa lang, nagustuhan ko na. It’s just that I got busy with a lot of things din, hindi ko natuloy-tuloy. But now, I’m more focused. I have more time for training. Kasi yung coach ko din, dedicated. Whenever I’m free, pumupunta siya sa bahay or pumupunta kami sa range,” he said.

Marvin trains religiously at the University of the Philippines Diliman campus with his Korean coach Choi Won Tae, a former Olympiad. Incorporating archery into his daily routine, he sometimes brings his set of bow and arrows to tapings and trains in a corner.

When asked what drew him to archery, he answered: “It’s a relaxed sport. Well, it looks relaxed pero mahirap siya kasi accuracy, consistency and precision are required. Those three elements are very important. Pero kung tutuusin, it’s just one form that you’re doing over and over pero kailangan ma-perfect mo yung form na yun. That’s what attracted me most to it. It’s good to have that kind of discipline eh. Not just for the sport, but in life. It’s good to have balance, to be focused and determined in life.”

The multi-tasker feels lucky to have a very dedicated coach who could adjust to his showbiz commitments. “Whenever I’m free, he comes to the house or goes to the range with me,” he said.

He has been a dedicated student too, spending the first two hours of his day for practice. 

“I wake up at 5:30. I’m on the range na at 6 am to practice. Tapos I have tapings at 9 am. Ang lagi ko lang request sa shoots ko pag meron akong tournament, mag-start akong mag-shoot after lunch para maka-practice ako till 12 noon. And sometime naga-grant naman nila. They’re accommodating naman. Alam nila yung passion ko for archery kaya napagbibigyan ako. Pag-uwi ko naman ng bahay, I have an 18-meter range at home, so nakakapag-practice pa rin ako,” he said. 

“My coach is very happy with my performance and my form. Nagiging stable na,” he smiled.

Marvin wants to promote the sport and encourage others to engage in it as he believes this is another field Filipinos could excel in. “Wala siyang height requirement kaya pwedeng-pwede tayong mag-excel dito. This could give us golds in international competitions, masuportahan lang.”

But Marvin lamented the lack of government support for archery. He realized when he represented the country in the Asian Grand Prix and in the World Championship that he needed to train more “because the quality of archers that they have in other countries...para silang robot. Ibang klase, ang gagaling. Their government is really supporting them. Ako, I’m lucky I could support my sport. Ang malungkot yung ibang passionate archers na gustong-gusto pero they cannot support their own sport.”

MARVIN THE RESTAURATEUR. In the business front, he has been busy with expansion work, as he announced three more restaurant openings this second quarter of the year.

A certified chef, he had built his own restaurant called Sumo Sam, which specializes in Japanese-American modern cuisine and Ricecapades. He also co-owns the Japanese resto John and Yoko, the Cafe Ten Titas, Samurai Chef, Oyster Boy Bar, Marciano’s, Harajuku and a franchise of Mr. Donut.

Good news to Cebuano food enthusiasts, for Marvin divulged plans of bringing either Sumo Sam or John and Yoko here. “Yes, actually there’s a negotiation happening right now with Ayala Terraces. It could be either of our Japanese brands. Hopefully, it will push through,” he said.

MARVIN THE ACTOR. Proof of his network’s vote of confidence, Marvin has never been idle since his transfer some years back. Aside from currently being a “Party Pilipinas” mainstay and resident villain of GMA 7’s primetime series “Panday Kids”, Marvin has two upcoming films that will showcase yet again his dramatic chops.

“I just finished shooting, ‘Sigwa’, a movie with Joel Lamangan. It will be released this July,” he shared. “I’m about to start a movie also with Marilou Diaz-Abaya, ‘Ikaw Ang Pag-ibig’. Heavy-drama siya, under Unitel with Judy Ann Santos. Siblings kami ni Judy Ann in the movie.”

MARVIN THE FATHER. Does he let his four-year old twins, Santiago and Sebastian, watch him as the evil Lizardo in the child-oriented show “Panday Kids”?

“Oh no. Not because of the role but because they can’t understand yet. Baka malito sila at matakot sila sa akin,” he replied. “But I actually encourage kids to watch ‘Panday Kids,’ not for the bad things that Lizardo does, but for the values that we impart to the audience. Kaya ko din tinanggap yung role eh. I want the kids not to follow the bad things that I do kaya ginawa naming masama si Lizardo as much as possible para makita nila yung difference na hindi talaga magta-triumph pag masama ka. It’s a good show for kids dahil pinapakita namin na kahit bata ka, you can do things para sa sarili mo, sa pamilya mo at sa bayan mo.”

The boys live with their mom, Marvin’s former girlfriend. They enjoy joint custody so he gets them during weekends or whenever he is free during weekdays. Apart from watching movies (“They’re really into movies. They like ‘Iron Man’, ‘How To Train Your Dragon’ and ‘Avatar’”) and eating, he bonds with the kids through sports. One boy is seriously training in golf.

“Gusto niya eh. Hindi naman namin pinipilit. Siya pa yung nagsasabi na he wants to go to the range. Yung isa, he doesn’t know his passions yet so hindi muna namin pinipilit yung bata,” said the proud dad. “They also go with me sa practice ko when I train for archery. And they have their small toy bows.”

Marvin is thankful that the twins are behaved enough that he doesn’t have to resort to physical discipline. “No, we haven’t reached that point. Good thing pag sinabi ko, sinusunod nila agad. When they were two years old, napa-face the wall ko sila and since then medyo na-trauma na sila dun. So hindi na namin ginagawa yung mga paluan. I practice kasi a harmonious relationship at home. Walang away, walang galit. So they’re happy boys.”

With archery, showbiz, his restaurants, and his kids all needing his time and attention, he revealed the secret to successfully juggling all of these: “My key is to have great partners. Like I have a great partner-coach. I entrust my skill in archery to him. Sa negosyo naman, I have good partners—Ricky Laudico, Raymund Magdaluyong and Nikki Nicolas—who are managing the day-to-day operations of the restaurants.”

At 31 years old, the man seems made. What else then, does a Marvin Agustin still aspire for in life—aside from, of course, collecting archery trophies and maybe a girl to settle down with in the future (he claimed to currently not dating anyone)? “So far, okey na ako with my restaurants, itong hobby kong archery medyo nagiging serious. With acting, I plan to do that forever. Enjoy din ako sa passion kung yan.”

He decides his goal now is to pass on the discipline, the patience, and the determination he’s learned in sports, as well as in life, to his children. “Now, I’m just focusing on my kids. Lagi kong pinagdarasal na kahit hindi sila matalino or magagaling, basta mabubuti silang bata. I just want them to be properly guided in values.”  

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