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Randy grateful for return to hosting at 60
Singer-songwriter Randy Santiago recently returned to TV hosting with his latest assignment, the videoke reality game show, Sing Galing, on TV5.
Photos by Gideon Estella PH for TV5 Sing Galing

Randy grateful for return to hosting at 60

Leah C. Salterio (The Philippine Star) - June 15, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Leaving a noontime show, where he served as judge for three years, was not a head-scratcher for Randy Santiago, who recently returned to TV hosting with his latest assignment, the videoke reality game show, Sing Galing, on TV5.

When the singer-songwriter was offered the hosting stint, Randy said goodbye to the noontime show, It’s Showtime, now being aired on the Kapamilya Channel, where he served as hurado for three years.

“I formally told Boss Reily, si Jun-Jun, when I received the offer from TV5,” Randy disclosed. “He’s the boss in It’s Showtime. I told him I really wanted to go back to hosting. He knows I’ve been wanting to do that, only, there’s no opportunity on ABS-CBN.”

Reily Pablo Santiago is Randy’s younger brother, who is the business unit head of It’s Showtime. It is imperative and understandable that Randy gets the green light from Reily, whom they fondly call “Jun Jun,” before he makes the exit from the noontime show.

Randy has been a veteran host of a number of TV programs through the years. He started as a host on GMA 7’s Lunch Date, when he entered showbiz in 1987. Although he joined Cicada Band even before that and he was working as assistant for his father, noted film director Pablo Santiago.

Randy subsequently hosted the noontime show, Salo-Salo Together (SST), his musical variety Shades, The Sharon Cuneta Show (TSCS), Vilma In Person (VIP) on to Magandang Tanghali Bayan (MTB). His last stint as host was Happy Yipee Yehey before venturing into TV directing.

Randy worked at the helm of the TV series, A1 Ko Sa ‘Yo (stylized from the phrase, Ewan Ko Sa ‘Yo), with Jaclyn Jose, Gardo Versoza and Solenn Heussaff, simultaneously with the early evening show, Wowowin, hosted by Willie Revillame.

Randy also starred in and directed the TV5 weekend primetime sitcom, No Harm, No Foul, joining Ogie Alcasid, Sophie Albert, Tuesday Vargas and Valeen Montenegro alongside hardcourt superstars Kiefer Ravena, Beau Belga, Gary David and Willie Miller.

The first sitcom that Randy directed was Aalog Alog on ABS-CBN in 2006, with Pokwang and Pinoy Big Brother graduates Keanna Reeves, Kim Chiu, Gerald Anderson, Zanjoe Marudo, John Prats and Jayson Gainza. An off-shoot of that was the afternoon sitcom, Parekoy in 2009, with John, Zanjoe and Jayson.

Even on the big screen, Randy got to direct the wacky comedy, Raketeros (2013), with Andrew E, Ogie Alcasid, Herbert Bautista and Dennis Padilla.

“When the Sing Galing offer came, I told Reily, I need to rest from It’s Showtime,” Randy offered. “I have a program contract naman for Sing Galing, so I can do shows for other networks if they will allow it. I’m not tied down to be seen on TV5 only. I can also do shows with Channel 7 or 2, if permitted.”

‘We are like playing on set’

Despite the transition and his transfer to another network, Randy simply breezed through when he started hosting Sing Galing. “When I do my concerts or hosting for corporate events or shows that’s what I also do,” he explained. “It’s a matter of putting yourself in another show.”

Sing Galing is produced by Cornerstone Studios for Cignal Entertainment, TV5’s entertainment block timer. The director, Mel Feliciano, is even Randy’s good friend, so the hosting job does not put any pressure on him.

“It does not come as work to us,” Randy attested. “We are like playing on the set and simply having fun. Nothing is too hard for us.”

They report normally for a week-long taping bubble to finish the episodes for a month. So far, Sing Galing has been going on air for the last two months.

There are many more surprises in store for viewers and important announcements in the coming weeks of Sing Galing, Randy assured. “From day one, when we started the show in April up to this day, there are always surprises. It’s always a thrill to watch the show.

“Just imagine the consolation prize that we give to viewers, P15,000 right away. Other programs only offer P5,000. More than the prizes, the constant bantering of all the hosts or Sing Masters (with K Brosas and Donita Nose) with the judges or Juke Bosses (Ronnie Liang, Jessa Zaragoza and Rey Valera) involved. Ang saya-saya.”

Unabashedly, Randy never imagined that he would get another offer to host a new program like Sing-Galing at this point in his career, now that he’s already 60. “The trust that the producer of the show to get me to host the program, I’m very thankful for that,” Randy said.

“I’ve also been telling my other brothers, if ever, that we are all in one station on the Kapamilya Channel. When I jump to another station, I will be away from them, but this is work. This is also something important to me.”

Randy’s brother, Rowell, plays the president of the country in the top-rating primetime teleserye, FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, where Raymart is also in the cast. “I hope they just gave me the role of a cop in FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, so we could all be together there,” Randy smilingly shared.

“I can easily kill the president in FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano (laughed). I have no problem with what type of character they assign to me, I can do that. Maybe, as long as my brothers and I will all be together in one show.”

In 2019, Randy proudly penned Nandiyan Na Si Cardo, the rock theme of FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano, that he gave to lead star Coco Martin and producer Deo Endrinal. Last year, however, Randy wrote the upbeat Dance and Sing (Basta’t May Social Distancing). Both songs are now on Spotify.

Of course, Randy is best known for his hits like Hindi Magbabago, the ballad composed by Tats Faustino, that started everything for him. What followed was a string of popular and unforgettable songs through the years — Babaero, Siguro, Damdaming Para sa ‘Yo, Pagod na Puso and Umiinit, Umaapoy.

Father’s Day at home

This Father’s Day, Randy has resigned himself to the fact that his small family — with wife Marilou and sons Raphael and Raiko — will spend the occasion at home. “For almost two years now, we have been spending all the important occasions at home because of this pandemic,” Randy granted. “I guess, somehow, we are now used to it.”

His second son, Ryan, who passed away in August 2017, is always remembered in any occasion in the family. August is a “death month” for the Santiagos. Randy’s dad also left them in August 1998 at the age of 67, while his mom, Cielito Legaspi, passed on in September 2014.

“Somehow, when August comes, I get paranoid,” said Randy, who is the eldest in the Santiago brood of six children. “Scary for us. You’ll never know when you’ll get sick. So, it’s important that you take care of yourself.”

Even if his other brothers also reside in the same area in Quezon City, they don’t go see each other on special occasions. Although he also got his second jab done, Randy is always careful when he goes out and never lets his guard down.

After more than three decades in the entertainment business, Randy expresses his desire to do a travel show and start a vlog. Yet, he is aware, he still needs to learn a great deal when it comes to vlogging.

“We are in the time of soc-med (social media), so we can do a lot of things,” Randy asserted. “After I tape for a week, I have a lot of time to spare to do other things. I have to make use of that.”

He will not mind going back to acting. When he returned to ABS-CBN in 2017, Randy was first cast in the horror-fantasy drama series, La Luna Sangre, with Richard Gutierrez, Angel Locsin, Daniel Padilla and Kathryn Bernardo.

Randy has received offers to return to doing a sitcom or even a teleserye. He will always welcome anything new that comes along, with open arms and a grateful heart.

RANDY SANTIAGO
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