By Alwin M. Ignacio
“Once na makatulong ka sa kapwa mo at nakita mong may improvement sa mga buhay nila, fulfilling na yun. I think by being a good person first and sharing the goodness inside you to others, that is the true measure of success.”
The Millenials know him as Biff, the conflicted son in Pahimakas Sa Isang Ahente, the Tanghalang Pilipino play adaptation of Death of A Salesman, with its script written by the late National Artist for Theater Rolando Tinio. His portrayal of the pivotal role earned him his first Gawad Buhay from PHILSTAGE. He bagged the Male Featured Performance in a Play award.
They also watched him nightly as Manager Henry, when the Filipino adaptation of the Korean drama The Baker King was still on air, with TV 5’s pride Mark Neumann as its lead star.
For the denizens of Manila, however, he was the former Councilor who has served them well with a lot of concern, integrity and heart.
Yul Servo, the actor turned politician now eyes as a seat in congress, with the hope to become the next congressman for the third district of Manila, come election time.
This glitter.ph correspondent had exclusive interview with Servo during lunch, inside Quezon, the latest buffet restaurant inside Fisher Mall.
Servo (John Marvin Nieto in real life), admits that his showbiz career is currently on hold as his hands and schedules are full because of his latest political aspiration.
He says, “Simula talaga nung naging politiko ako, bihira na akong mag-showbiz. Di kasi ako pwedeng magtaping every Tuesday and Thursday because that is the time of the council meeting. Mas importante sa akin to be there all the time. As the councilor of the 3rd district of Manila, di ko talaga dapat pinababayaan ang concerns at issues of my nasasakupan. Malaki ang 3rd district kasi ang kasama dito ang mga areas of Sta. Cruz, Binondo, Quiapo, parts of San Nicolas at Blumentritt.”
Why is he running for Congress? The charming councilor answers swiftly, “Tapos na kasi ang terms ko as counselor. Ang nag-udyok talaga sa akin na tumakbo kasi I want to do to things on a higher political level. Gusto kong makagawa ng mga batas na mas makakatulong sa nakakarami.”
He relates, “When my manager, direk Maryo delos Reyes found out that I have this desire to run for public office, he really discouraged me. Ayaw niya akong payagan, Mas gusto niyang I just remain in acting. He was afraid of me. Na baka the political system changes or corrupts me, Sabi ko kay direk Maryo, ‘Pag pinayagan niyo ako, bilang konsehal, maigi at tapat akong magtratabaho.’ Pumayag rin siya and eventually, nakita naman niya and the rest of my constituents na hindi ako pumasok sa politika para magpa-pogi at ngumiti lang. Ang sarap maging lingkod bayad. Isang tunay na pribelihiyo ang makapaglingkod.”
“When I see kids roaming on the streets begging or doing petty crimes, nalulungkot ako,” Yul reveals. “They don’t deserve that kind of life. Dapat matulungan sila. In my experience as councilor, may mga bata akong tinulungan na makapag-aral, hanggang sa maka-graduate sila sa kolehiyo sa PLM. Fulfilling sa pakiramdam yung mga taong tinutulungan mo, tinutlungan rin ang mga sarili nila. Na naging masipag sa pag-aaral, masinop sa baon, binigyang halaga ang sakripisyo ng mga magulang nila. That is how it works eh.”
What he promises to do, in case he wins, “Maipapangako ko sa kanila na magtratrabaho ako ng maigi, tapat, bukal sa puso at may takot sa Diyos. That is how I work. I put my heart into everything. Always thinking na dapat may trickledown effect yung mga ginagawa ko.”
Another aspect of Yul’s life that people have been religiously following is his being an actor.
Servo has won international and local awards. Some of his winning performances are in the films Brutus, Ang Paglalayag, Torotot and Naglalayag.
Servo shares, “I still have a lot of roles that I want to do. May pwede pang itaas ang level ko as an actor. If given a chance, gusto ko mga character roles, like maging bulag o kaya Pinoy super hero. Dream roles ko yan.”
“Gusto ko ring makatrabaho sina Sharon Cuneta, Maricel Soriano at Vilma Santos kasi I had the chance na makatrabaho ang nag-iisang superstar, si Ate Guy.”
He avers, “Masarap na tinatawag akong magaling na artista – natutuwa ako, nagiging proud ako na kaya ko pala yun. Ang hindi ko pa nagagawa eh yung magka-box office hit na movie.”
When he hears his name being called as the winner, how does that moment feel? The famous “Yul Servo smile” happens and he replies, “Nanlalamig ako. Nagugulat! Kasi nga yung mga kasama kong nominado pulos matitindi tapos ikaw ang mapipili, Yung maging nominee ka nga, heaven na sa feeling dahil nga best of the best na yung kasama mo tapos ako pa yung pinalad na mag-uuwi nung trophy. Nung first time ngang manalo ako, pag upo ko, iyak ako talaga sa galak.”
Of course, no conversation with Yul will be complete without mentioning Piolo Pascual, who remains to be one of his showbiz friends despite the nasty rumors that constantly hounds their friendship.
Yul says, “Sa ngayon, hindi kami nagkikita o nag-uusap although alam kong nandiyan naman siya lagi, naka-suporta. Matagal na kaming di nagkikita, may taon na rin. Pero pag nagkikita naman kami, okay lang.”
“Alam namin ang totoo. Alam mo naman sa showbiz pag may mga lalaking magkakaibigan, kahit walang malisya at kulay, nilalagyan. Sanay na kami. Ganun talaga sa showbiz,” Servo adds.
In the nearest future, he does not mind working with Pascual again. He wants to do an all-out action movie with the actor just like the Bourne Identity franchise which starred Mark Damon.
As my final question, I asked him when did he realize he is guapo?
The famous “matang ngumingiti” happens with a tinge of blush on his face? “ Ano ito, resulta ng once a month visit sa dermatologist ko saka pag-gy-gym,” he sheepishly reacts.
“Ano naman ako, low maintenance. Ang turo ni direk Elwood Perez, pag gising mo sa umaga, dapat you feel handsome na agad. Na pag tumingin ka sa salamin, sasabihin mo, ang guapo ko today and all day. Hahahahaha!”
The charming soon-to-be congressman ends, “Joking aside, what makes me feel and look good, yung katotohanan na kahit paano, in my small, humble ways, nakakatulong ako sa kapwa ko. By becoming a good a person. At yun ang talagang magpapa-guapo o magpapaganda sa kahit na kanino.”