She may be one of three showbiz scions endorsing BENCH’s skin whitening lotion but Sam Rodriguez is no sun-shunning princess. Quite the contrary, in fact. The model-cum-travel blogger has helped put together La Union Soul Surf, an annual music and arts festival fronting the waves of San Juan, L.U.
The three-day beach extravaganza, with its surge of offbeat foreign acts and carefree revelry in surfing culture, is the perfect embodiment of its organizer. Despite the looming legacy of her late father, actor and legendary dreamboat Miguel Rodriguez, this is a “daughter-of” who’s grown into a woman both independent and easygoing.
Over a bowl of French onion soup, B/BLOG chats with the light and enlightened 24-year-old about lying low, riding high (airplanes and roller coasters, mostly), and why Palibhasa Lalake will always have a special place in this girl’s heart.
Hi, Sam. What have you been up to lately?
Aside from endorsing Bench Whitening Lotion, which took the beginning of my year by storm, right now we’re in the process of finalizing our plans for Soul Surf 2014. It’s the La Union surf festival—we’re bringing in international acts that I can’t mention right now. Surprise nalang. Last year, we had RAC, Panic City to name a few. This year, we’re going a good five notches up.
Who are you organizing this festival with?
It’s basically a group of friends who love the beach, love La Union, and decided, ‘Why not invite everyone there?’ Especially since the TPLEx is going to be done soon. What used to be seven hours to get to La Union will be cut into three hours.
From what I noticed yesterday at the shoot, you like your adrenaline rush. You were totally game to ride the rollercoaster again and again.
I’m a super rollercoaster junkie. I’m the type of person who will—I’ve actually done this—go to Six Flags and ride the rollercoaster by myself because no one wanted to ride with me. If I had to ride a rollercoaster alone, I would just to get the thrill out of it.
What was your favorite Six Flags ride?
Oh my God, it’s either the Medusa or this one that goes completely vertical.
Were you the type of kid who got a lot of scrapes and bruises?
Yeah, I’m actually really clumsy. I remember when I was a kid, I was running and, you know how normal children that are makulit and magulo scrape their knee on the asphalt? After that happened, I had a big wound on my knee and I kept telling myself, ‘Okay, I’m gonna be more careful.’ After a few days, I fell on the same knee (laughs).
Are you still in school?
No, I just graduated last year from Ateneo de Manila so it’s actually my first year as a working person! I graduated BS Legal Management. When I entered Ateneo, I thought I wanted to be a lawyer. That’s not completely shut out yet but I guess I just wanted to hone my creativity more while I’m young. I cried over a lot of different things—Accounting in Ateneo is awful. It’s so hard. I also took all four of my Philosophy classes in straight Tagalog.
Anything you learned in Philosophy that you won’t forget?
I remember [my professor] was talking about the existence of a higher being and he was saying how—you know how for example, if you have a family member who passes away and you ask the doctor why the person passed away? The doctor will give you the reasons, like if there was head trauma or ‘cause his heart failed or whatever, but even if he gives you the real reason, you never stop asking why. It’s that why that tells you there’s something more.
You’ve experienced death in the family with your dad’s passing. If you can never stop asking that question, is that positive or negative?
Well I think for me, it helps me be a better person. It’s very humbling to know that you don’t know everything. I’m not gonna step into this world na nagmamarunong. I think the most humbling thing is that we don’t know everything and that we need to learn from other people. We learn from our parents, from friends, and I think it’s more empowering to be humble rather than to do things and make mistakes on your own.
How often do you think about your dad?
All the time. I mean, they always say that when someone passes away, you get used to it but I don’t think the grief really ever leaves you. The sadness comes and goes but for the most part, what I’m happy about is that all of my memories of him are good. The great thing about it is that he was an actor ‘cause now I can turn the TV on and see him on Cinema One or Pinoy Box Office. ‘Hey, it’s my dad. Hey Pops, what’s up?’
Any favorites from his work?
I like watching him in Palibhasa Lalake. His true self came out there more. He was just trying to be funny, which is how he was. He’s very charismatic that way. Everyone really enjoyed his company. That’s the type of person I like to remember him as. I remember we were on the road and we were driving. If anyone would notice him, they would hover around the car and yung type na naglilimos or asking for an autograph, and my dad would never say no to anyone. I remember this one time, there were five street children that were so star-struck that he was in the car driving. He gets everything from his wallet and gives them everything he has. That’s always how he’s been. If we were in the mall, he would stop for everyone. He really cared about his fans.
What else do you care about or like to do?
I like to travel. I just launched my travel blog recently. It was just an idea that a friend gave me. Since I was traveling so much, why not do a chronicle about it. It’s nice to share it with friends ‘cause they get some tips. I tell them which restaurants are good, stuff like that. I’m set to go to Europe next week.
The countries you’re visiting, have you been to them before?
This trip in Europe is gonna be new, which I’m so excited about. I haven’t been to St. Tropez. I’ve never been to Monaco or Ibiza.
What have been some very memorable places for you?
My favorite place to date in the whole wide world would be Edinburgh in Scotland. It is the most beautiful city in the world. J.K. Rowling was inspired to create Harry Potter there. There are schools that are as grandiose as Hogwarts. The city itself comes to life—the architectural wonder, the history behind it, it’s really beautiful. It’s so funny because my cousin, the son of my mom’s twin, is actually going to boarding school in Edinburgh. I’m so excited for him.
Is it more rural there?
It’s a mix of everything. When you get there, it just feels surreal. What I love about traveling is that sometimes you’re in Manila and you’re in a stressful situation, you tend to get jaded and get stuck in the feeling that everything is about you or your work. When you go out of your comfort zone, you realize that oh, I’m just a speck in the universe. It’s liberating.
This whole skin whitening thing for Bench, how do you feel about it? You think you’ll be doing more of that stuff?
The thing with that is that it all happened so fast. I found out the second week of December, we had a shoot in January. It was quite overwhelming since I’ve been used to being a low-key person. My mom comes from a very conservative Chinese family. When I was growing up, everything was strict. This kind of attention was inevitable because of my dad. It’s not something I feel bad about. I greatly welcome it and it’s something I have to get used to. Of course, I’m open to more of these opportunities.
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