On the Spot: Papa Jack, DJ of Love Radio’s True Love Confessions

He's the love doctor that we all deserve.

(SPOT.ph) Papa Jack is not the love doctor we're used to, but he's definitely the love doctor we deserve.

 

Even if you fastidiously avoid radio, surely you've heard 90.7 Love Radio’s nightly show ("Kailangan pa bang i-memorize iyan?") True Love Confessions. Surely, you’ve witnessed Papa Jack call out listeners on their emotional baggage. He's not afraid to interrupt, raise his voice, call listeners names, shoot them down, fire off barely-concealed snark (while a canned giggle plays on the side), and, at the end of it all, will make them recite a monologue to all concerned parties as he loops in a sentimental tune in the background.

 

He will also wax philosophical. He will make listeners feel kilig. He will, on occasion, cry. He is, in short, the pal who'll give it you straight, whether you like it or not.

 

The release of the book Everything I Need to Know About Love I Learned from Papa Jack perfectly distills some of the best quotes from the love DJ. "Kawalan ng tiwala, yan ang papatay sa relasyon," he declares. Talking about an abusive boyfriend, he says, "Tarantado siya kung nananakit siya."

 

And, of course, he dishes out the best LQ advice we have ever heard in our lives, ever: "Kapag magkaaway kayo ng misis mo, kumain ka ng malutong na chicharon para hindi mo siya marinig."

 

This anti-Joe D’Mango talked to us in between segments dispensing love advice during his show, revealing the nuts and bolts of being Papa Jack. What are his principles? What makes him tick? How does he deal with all that raw emotion? And did he really join swimsuit contests in his pre-DJ past?

 

Papa Jack inside his 90.7 Love Radio booth

 

The short bio in the book says that before you were a DJ, you were a call center agent, university instructor, farmer...and winner of several bikini contests. Is that last one true?

Ay pusang gala! Let me clear that [up]. Yung biography ko po diyan sa libro, nobody asked me about it. I have nothing against it, pero di sila nagtanong about what to put, what not to put. Nagulat ako, paano nalagay ang mga ganyan? Kung ako ang masusunod, di ko na sasabihin iyun. Pero totoo, I used to join bikini pageants when I was younger. Nakakapag-trunks pa ako nun.



Did all that life experience help you in your current gig?

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Before I became a jock, ganito talaga ako. This is how I deal with people. Ako yung tipong tao, you need to know me to love me. Kasi unang tingin mo sa akin, mabibwiset ka sa akin e: makulit, maingay.

 

Pero ngayon hindi na. Ngayon, I value my privacy. Mas gusto ko na nasa bahay lang ako.



So how did you end up as a DJ?

I was a fan of Nicole Hiyala [Love Radio's celebrated morning-show DJ, along with Chris Tsuper]. I visited the station just to meet Nicole Hiyala. Tapos yun, nag-audition ako kasabay ng pag-visit ko. Natanggap naman ako. Out of 200 plus, may mga tatlong napili.

 

Now I've been doing this show for nine years, almost 10. Dati I was yung pang-umaga, tapos naging pang-hapon, kasi di alam ng boss ko kung saan ako ilalagay e. "You are not good at anything!" Finally, nilagay niya ako sa pang-gabi, sa 9 p.m., kasi the impression was, di naman nagre-rate ang show na pang-gabi.

 

So sabi ko sa kanya, baka pwedeng gumawa ng show na ako yung mag-iisip kung paano siya ilalatag. Sabi niya, "Sige, try mo." Nagustuhan naman ng masa ang pagiging prangka ko. Ngayon, dahil sa show, may ratings survey na po sa gabi, at pang-prime time na po ang presyo niya. (Laughs)

 

 

His book excerpts around 6 month’s worth of material from the calls he received back in 2010

 

What were the early years of True Love Confessions like?

Ginutom talaga ako ng show. Di ka maka-hosting, kasi sa gabi siya, di ka makatanggap ng raket. So wala talagang pumapasok na pera.

 

But it's paying off naman. I think the Tambalan [of Nicole Hiyala and Chris Tsuper] really paved the way for me. Nagkaroon na ng benchmark ang talent fee ng mga jocks dahil kay Nicole and Chris, kasi sila naman talaga yung unang nagka-ganitong career. It was a lot easier for me, kumpara sa kanila.

 

Isa rin sa nakakatulong sa show ko is that I maintain a very strict work ethic. Disciplined ako sa trabaho. Kung mapapansin niyo, madilim lagi yung booth. Pinapagalitan po ako diyan kasi bawal iyan e. But I like it that way. If it brings me calm, ipaglalaban ko siya. Strict ako sa trabaho. Dumalaw ka rito pag hindi ko programa, madumi itong booth. Ayoko nang magulo. If you watch me doing my job, mabilis akong kumilos. Nasa muscle memory na iyan lahat.

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Papa Jack’s console records all calls, which he then rates from 1 to 5.

 

How do you take the calls?

Four calls lang ang na-a-accommodate ko sa show. Hindi pre-screened ang calls. Before I put them on air, I talk to them first. I ask the name, age, location. Pinapa-confirm ko yung telephone number nila. Every call kasi, sine-save ko iyan. Look at this. [Papa Jack gestures at his DJ console, where the calls are recorded. Beside each name is a listing of all relevant information, and then a final "score bar".] Nire-rate ko ang bawat call. Alam ko kung saan ko huhugutin if it's a good call or a bad call. It brings a kind of satisfaction at some point. "Uy, good call ’to. Five ang rating ko sa kanya."

 

It's one way for me to gauge kung truthful ang kausap ko. Siguro na-develop ko na yung skill na i-gauge yung tao kung lying o hindi, joke lang o hindi. I think na made-develop mo iyan over the years na ginagawa mo. Alam ko na kung jino-joke niya ako e.



Are there a lot of them?

Lately, hindi na. I think na-orient ko na sila na di mo ako pwedeng pagtripan, kasi pagtitripan ko sila. Mas malakas ako sa iyo. Dati, I always tell my boss, feeling ko yung mga 70% diyan, gusto lang ma-radyo e, tapos 30% yung gusto talaga ng payo. Pero at some point sabi ng boss sa akin, "Lagpas ka na sa point na iyon."

 

Kasi kung gusto mo ma-radyo, mapapahiya ka lang sa akin. Outright, sasabihin ko sa iyo, "You're wasting my time." The rule is: I can be mean to you, and you can be mean to me.



How hard is it to be Papa Jack?

Naaapektuhan ako. I cry. Galit ako kung galit. Tayong mga Pinoy, we have this ability to immerse ourselves. I think I overdid that part. I feel for my callers.

 

For example...di ko naman sinasabi na, ano, pero iba kasi ang girls magpayo sa lalaki. Ini-immerse nila ang sarili nila and they make themselves part of the story. Iniiwasan ko yun. When I give advice, I always make sure that I'm a third party, looking in, na hindi ako yung nasa kwento. But at some point you have to feel for them.

 

This is a confession, pero makalimutin ako. What happened last night, I might not even remember. Kung may caller ako kagabi, tonight, di ko na maaalala kung ano yung pinag-uusapan. Paraan rin iyan para hindi ko bitbit yung [mga] problema [nila] sa bahay.

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It's weird...I can give my heart out pag kausap ko sila, pero pagbaba ko ng phone, wala na.

 

He dislikes people taking pictures of him in the booth. "Kung halimbawa papasok ka sa booth at kukuha ng picture na walang paalam, pupukulan kita ng mouse."


Any regrets about the advice you give?

Nung first two weeks ko, nilagnat ako. Kasi iniisip ko, nagkamali ba ako sa advice? Pero wala ka nang magawa para ma-undo iyon. Tsaka di naman ako nahihiyang mag-sorry. Di ko siya bini-big deal. Nagso-sorry talaga ako sa ere.




You and your show are now a household name. How does that feel?

From day one, I've enjoyed the show. Nung nangangarap akong maging DJ, ito yung vision ko: accept calls, give advice. Pero naramdaman ko talaga na okay siya nung kumikita na ako e. (Laughs) Nung may sponsors na, okay talaga!

 

Pero private person ako at some point. Ayoko ng pagpapa-picture, hindi ako tuwang-tuwa sa ganun. Di ako komportable. During the launch of the book, I was very uncomfortable with the fact that people would come to the mall and queue sa mahabang linya for me. Gusto ko, on the side lang ako.

 

Pero part siya sa trabaho e. Kumakain naman ako three times a day, so ginagawa ko. And [the attitude] is a good thing to have, kasi conscious ako dun, na may magsabi na malaki ang ulo ko. It's a way to balance the fame out.




If you were to call your own show, what advice would you give to yourself?

Be true to yourself. Ganun naman lagi e. A lot of people would tell me, "Ang galing mo mag-advice", at lagi kong sasabihin, "Di ako magaling mad-advice." In reality, pag yung tinanong sa akin tinanong rin sa iyo, you would say the same thing. Kung yung tumawag sa akin, papatawagin ko sa iyo, yung advice ko, malamang yun rin advice mo.

 

It's the concept of right and wrong, morality, acceptable and not acceptable...yun lagi ang peg ko.




What is the one thing a caller can tell you that really gets you annoyed?

Maraming nakakagalit, pero yung isa siguro sa pinakamalala ang pagiging disrespectful sa magulang. Automatic, galita ako diyan. Yun ang ayaw na ayaw ko. Sa mga ka-relasyon, you can justify it. Pero sa magulang? Sensitive ako diyan.

 


Papa Jack’s
Everything I Need to Know About Love I Learned from Papa Jack is available at all bookstores for P143. (Get it? 143?)

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