Jon’s Martin Nievera mindset

Jon Santos (Photo courtesy of VIVA Concerts)

He’s wacky. He’s outrageous.  But most of all, he can bend backwards when out-of-the-box ideas crop up.

That’s why Jon Santos adores Martin Nievera as a host the way he looks up to Tessie Tomas as a live performer. 

“Martin After Dark had a wacky element. You end either with a surprise or with a heart,” Jon explains.

Thus, his Ate Vi character interviews “Bourne Legacy’s“ John Arcilla. Jon, as Lady Gaga sits down with guest Danton Remoto and asks “Are you born this way?”

And surprises galore spring like a jack-in-the-box to amuse televiewers in Jon’s 12-times-week show on the Viva Channel.
On TV, as it is in life,  surprises are not  pleasant all the time.  Martin, notes Jon, has had his fair share.  But the best thing about Martin,  Jon observes is that “my mentor” eats humble pie and apologizes when the show gets into trouble.

So far, Jon doesn’t have to apologize for his new show.  But like Martin, he’s humble enough to admit that his team does fumble at times.


“It hurts when we miscalculate,” Jon says.  “For instance, nalaman namin na sanay pala si Daiana Meneses sa street food. Hindi pala siya nagugulat. We wanted to do a 'Fear Factor' type of show.”

Jon is less afraid  of falling flat o n his face when he impersonates less and sings – yes sing – more in “I ♥ MLA (Kasi Nga, It’s More Fun in the Philippines),” set Sept. 5 and 19, Oct. 3, 10, 17  and 24 and Nov. 7, 14, 21 and 28 at Music Museum.

Yes, he is performing with  seasoned singers  Bo Cerrudo and The  CompanY. But Jon knows he can hold his own because The CompanY’s Sweet Plantado taught him the ropes.

“Tinawag akong tenor!” Jon gushes. ”I can pat myself on the back dahil  natawid ko ang rehearsals with The CompanY.”

Jon can’t just sit back and relax, though.


“Matindi ang pressure dahil pag may pumalpak na punchline or sintunado ka, you just don’t let yourself down. You let six other voices down. Mas mahirap yon.”

Jon  doesn’t have the heart to do that, not just for  the show, but for friendship’s sake.  Jon has become so chummy with co-performers, he consults Rina,  Bo’s architect-wife, about something as personal as pest control.

While he’s at it, Jon is toying with the idea of a Vi (Jon impersonates Vilma Santos) and Bo show, perhaps reminiscent of the  Vi  and Bot (Bobot Mortiz, what else?) tandem decades back.

Meanwhile, Jon will go further down memory lane in the Manila  of  his childhood – when the sweet taste of Butterball candy lingered and children played with  plastic balloons, not gadgets in “our love letter to Manila”  -- the 10-day concert series.

Now that Manila’s floods,  grime and crimes creep on you like the plague, Jon, Bo and The CompanY might just remind you that yes, things weren’t as bad as they were. And yes, you can retrace your steps, if only through  song, dance and lots of laughter.

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