Simple life in Scotland
Spencer works as a bus driver, giving a thumbs-up that life in a foreign land is something he has always dreamed of.
Simple life in Scotland
CONVERSATIONS - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - October 18, 2020 - 12:00am

Away from it all, away from the topsy-turvy showbiz life, away from the prying (sometimes unkind) eyes of the public.

Twelve years ago, Spencer Reyes and his wife Shiela Reyes migrated to Scotland, hanging up his dancing shoes and starting a new life as an ordinary citizen. Spencer was one of the members of the Streetboys, the dance group formed and managed by director Chito Rono who also groomed the boys as actors in such movies as Spirit Warriors and Computer Kombat.

“We moved to the United Kingdom (UK) in 2008 kasi pinili ko pong magkaroon ng tahimik at simpleng buhay kasama ang pamilya ko,” Spencer told Conversations in an exclusive e-mail exchange. “Boss Chito knew about my plan and I’m really happy that he supported me in all my plans.”

The other Streetboys (according to Chito): Vhong Navarro and Jhong Hilario are hosts of It’s Showtime and active also in films, with Jhong venturing into politics as Makati City councilor; Michael Sesmundo is also in Scotland; Sherwin Roux is on his way to a theme park in Dubai, UAE; Meynard Marcellano is a performer at the Universal Studios in Singapore; Danilo Barrios is a businessman living with his family in Tarlac; Joey Andres is back (from abroad) and is into cellphone and other electronics; Chris Cruz is in Cavite; and Nikko Manalo is in Manila managing his Streetwheels business.

Spencer’s wife Shiela studied Architecture at UST.

Spencer with his wife Shiela

“She comes from a conservative family in Bataan,” was how Spencer described her. “She’s a simple, pretty, kind and lovely wife. We met through a blind date in 1994. Wala kasi siyang ka-partner, so...the rest is history.”

They have three children: Sasha, 21, a Pharmacy junior at the Strathclyde University in Glasgow; Sofia, 17, a Marine Biology freshman in Aberdeen; and Macoo, nine years old, who is in primary school.

Mababait at magagalang po silang tatlo. They can understand and speak Tagalog. At home, we talk to them in Tagalog. We are raising them the Filipino way para hindi nila makalimutan ang kultura natin.”

The family has easily adjusted to the Scottish way of life. It helped that Spencer’s sister-in-law was there ahead of them.

Spencer with his wife Shiela and their children Sasha (21), Sofia (17) and Macoo (9) during a family outing and at home. Spencer works as a bus driver (below), giving a thumbs-up that life in a foreign land is something he has always dreamed of.

Maganda ang pamamalakad ng gobyerno dito, in terms of health and education. Life here is okay, mahirap na masarap, hard but satisfactory. We don’t have maids, so all of us have to do the household chores. We have experienced how to commute and how to walk sa malalim na snow. When Macoo was born, it was only Shiela and me who alternated in taking care of him...paghugas ng feeding bottles, palit ng pads, laba, luto, linis ng bahay. I have learned every household chore here and others, including changing the car oil. Labor here is expensive so I studied basic plumbing, joinery, painting, welding and fabrication, and electrical engineering which I finished in four years even if I was working full-time. I work as a driver of a bus that is like a double-decker, coach, etc. Mahirap but very fulfilling.”

And also a frontliner.

“Even during the pandemic, I still work because we have to drive health workers to the hospitals and care homes. Safe naman ako because we are isolated at the driving area; may salamin na enclosed, and we wear face mask, face shield and gloves, at parati kaming may dalang sanitizer.”

Every now and then, Spencer (42; last April 18) has to put on his dancing shoes when he’s invited to perform in barrio fiestas all over UK and sometimes even in other parts of Europe.

“I miss performing and acting,” admitted Spencer. “I miss Boss Chito, I miss my family and my friends back home.”

And, of course, his fellow Streetboys.

Spencer and Streetboys manager, director Chito Roño.

“We have regular communication. We talk every day. We have a WhatsApp group chat at kasama din namin si Boss Chito.”

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

In photo are: top (from left) Meynard Marcellano and Joseph de Leon; second row (from left) Jhong Hilario, Vhong Navarro, Spencer and Joey Andres; and bottom (from left) Michael Sesmundo and Nikko Manalo. Not in photo are Chris Cruz and Danilo Barrios (the last to join the group).

 

SPENCER REYES
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