Love can wait for Raymart
Beleaguered actor is not ready to date yet and focuses on family and his health insteadBy Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Sundays have changed for actor Raymart Santiago, who is currently embroiled in a legal tussle with estranged wife Claudine Barretto for the custody of their children Sabina, 9, and Santino, 6.
He cannot spend time with his kids as often as before and cannot talk about them extensively as well, to respect the family court’s gag order.
In previous interviews, he has acknowledged that he misses his children, though. “Hopefully we can be together soon,” he said.
In the meantime, he told the Inquirer that he hangs out with his siblings, including director Rowell Santiago and singer Randy Santiago.
“My focus now is on my siblings and mom. I devote most of my free time with them,” he volunteered.
On the Sunday that the Inquirer interviewed Raymart, he had just had lunch with brother Rowell and their friends, singer-actress Agot Isidro and talent manager Olive Cruz. “We watched the Tom Hanks movie, ‘Captain Phillips,’ too.”
Later that day, Raymart met up with Randy, who brought along his two sons, at the SM Mall of Asia, to watch the Dickies fashion show.
Raymart is thankful for his brothers’ full support. “It’s only right for siblings to love and protect each other.”
Randy said: “Only we (his immediate family members) know his real character.”
The court battle and resulting controversy have drastically altered Raymart’s life, but he refuses to be beaten down by the Sturm und Drang.
Not a few observers at the recent launch of the GMA 7 series “Villa Quintana” commented that Raymart looked in tip-top shape, as if he was not beset by all sorts of personal woes.
“We shouldn’t bring our problems to work,” he said.
He asserted that he was “moving on and moving forward.”
Part of his recovery plan was to take care of his health, he said.
“The healing process begins with taking care of yourself. I’m concentrating on my career, too, because all my hard work is for my children’s future,” he clarified.
Exercising is not just about vanity, but a work requirement. “In our job, we have to look presentable in front of the camera. That’s why people watch us,” he said.
Even though he now tackles father roles (like in “Villa Quintana,” where he is adoptive dad to teen star Elmo Magalona), he endeavors to look trim and fit.
Yummy daddy, anyone?
“I run and do circuit training. If I have time, I exercise every day, but since tapings for ‘Villa Quintana’ have started, I work out for two hours at least thrice a week,” he remarked.
Apart from his Spartan exercise regimen as a triathlete, he recently sought the help of a nutritionist.
“I turned 40 last July,” he related. “As they say, life begins at 40.”
Will the new chapter lead to blossoming romance?
“It’s not my priority,” he asserted.
It’s not that his past experiences have made him reluctant to love again. “If it will be given to me … why not? But for now, I’d rather not go out on dates. I’m still going through a lot of issues. It would be unfair to the person I’d get involved with. I also have to consider my children’s feelings.”
Whenever people compliment his looks, he is stumped. “Is that a good thing? Did I look bad before? Was it because I was carrying around a heavy baggage then?”
He quipped, half in earnest and half in jest: “Sabi nila mukha raw akong nabunutan ng tinik. Sabi ko: Hindi lang tinik, isang buong isda yata! (They say I look as if a fishbone was pulled from my throat. I retort: It’s not just a fishbone; it’s an entire fish!)”
Although he conceded that he was uncertain about the future, he would prefer that the animosity between him and his wife would end soon.
“I want things to be fixed … No matter what happens, Claudine is still the mother of our children. And I am the father. In time, hopefully we could become friends,” he said.
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