Body Talk with Taguig City Mayor Lino Cayetano on why he made a U-turn from showbiz to politics
I suppose it was the path destined for him, so it was easy for Taguig City Mayor Lino Edgardo Schramm Cayetano to make a U-turn from showbiz to politics. His family is steeped in politics. The late patriarch of the family, Rene Cayetano, was a senator. Lino’s brother Alan Peter is congressman and former speaker of the house, his sister Pia is senator, while his sister-in-law Lani is city representative, a position held by Lino before he became mayor.
In his bio-data, Lino, 42, is identified as a film director/politician although he did act in very few movies and was linked to actresses like Shaina Magdayao, KC Concepcion and Bianca Gonzalez. He was a heartthrob in his own right.
Asked what are the three most pressing problems of his city (with 28 barangays comprising 987,442 residents), Lino said, “Poverty, crime and access to government services on the national and local level. Our 10-point agenda articulates a clear vision for the City and helps address these problems.”
He has a way of juggling his time between work and family. (He and wife Fille Cainglet have three children — Ino Philip, 6; Fille Renee, 4; and Lily Saint, 2. She was a volleyball player with the Ateneo Lady Blue Eagles while Lino was once a member of the UP Men’s Volleyball Team.)
“Lately, I have been spending half of the week with my family at home during the mornings, then for the other half, I make it a point to be home for dinner. I spend my entire Saturday afternoons with them and the rest is spent at work — whether at the office or meeting and talking to people in person or via online meetings.”
A day in the life of Lino revolves thus:
“During the pandemic, I’ve adjusted my hours a bit. I used to wake up at 4:45 a.m. and work around 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. but because now we have been working round-the-clock, I get to sleep around 11 p.m. and wake up at about 6:45 a.m. I usually start the day meeting with my core group, with the city administrator Atty. Lyle Pasco and my chief of staff Atty. Noli Flores, early in the day so we can discuss important matters (via Zoom) and go about our various tasks.
“I always set a strict daily schedule, something I learned from my days as a film director. We always go on a shoot with a very detailed taping guide which helps us maximize the 18 to 20 hours we have to shoot. That’s similar to how my team and I approach our day. We try to maximize all meetings by structuring our schedule and have clear objectives with every department, cluster or stakeholder meeting we set. Even our kwentuhan is scheduled so it does not take away from other tasks of the day.”
No matter how busy he is, Lino never forgets to bring coffee as baon.
“Yes, coffee! In my bag, I usually have my iPad, my headphones, extra masks and my bottle of green juice.”
Why did he cut short his entertainment (TV) career, and why did he do only one movie?
“I transitioned into producing sometime in 2017 partly so I can have more control over the material I direct. Working with GMA and ABS-CBN allowed me to meet and learn from some of the most creative and talented people in the industry. I felt like after more than 10 years, it was time to work independently from the big producers — this is when I partnered with writer-directors Shugo Praico and Philip King and started Rein Entertainment.”
Although linked to some of showbiz’s most desirable women (mentioned earlier) and his love life became a fodder for the gossip mill, Lino was hardly affected by it.
“I didn’t realize that (gossip) when I was younger, but now I understand how it is part of generating interest in the entertainment industry and how it is important to engage the press and let them in.”
Where and how do you get the energy to sustain such a demanding job?
“I was a student-athlete in UP so early on, I got used to multi-tasking and working hard to get the job done. I played for the UP men’s volleyball team in the UAAP for four years while I was studying film.
“After that, I took up triathlon and running while I was teaching in UP, again I learned to manage my time while accomplishing multiple objectives. I finished the New York Marathon, the Amsterdam Marathon and the New York Triathlon together with a lot of other local races in Clark, Subic and Batangas. I was able to do all this while I was starting out as a young director in the film industry.
“As you know production work, particularly TV production, is physically demanding. We often have 18 to 22 hour shoots, especially back in the days before regulation. I learned to pace myself and carve out little moments within the day that can help me relax.
“I think this helped me build a strong foundation on how to balance work and find the energy to work on multiple projects at the same time.”
What kind of diet do you follow (what’s for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks between meals), food that you avoid and food that you always crave for?
“Lately, my breakfast is oat milk and coffee. I would usually just have coffee in the morning but having it with oat milk makes it a little less acidic for me. Lunch is not always healthy, I either skip (I tend to forget to eat when I’m working) or have something light like a bowl of monggo, a sandwich, or cup noodles. For dinner, I usually get home very tired so I make sure to have a proper meal with vegetables, rice and maybe fish or a meat substitute. I enjoy Mediterranean and Japanese food which both have lots of non-meat dishes.”
How much water do you take per day (what about soda, coffee or tea)?
“I drink too much coffee! I usually drink four to five cups of coffee daily but I am constantly trying to cut it down. I try to drink eight to 10 glasses of water or more but with today’s health protocols of wearing masks, I sometimes forget to drink enough water which causes me bad migraines.”
What vitamins/supplements are you taking?
“I just take basic daily multivitamins but I also drink a protein shake daily.”
Any health regimen?
“I drink one to two glasses of our own version of green juice every day. It’s a concoction of leafy vegetables with apple juice as a sweetener. I don’t eat meat on weekdays and limit eating pork, beef and chicken on weekends. We also substitute rice with vegetable rice at home. We mix steamed broccoli and cauliflower chopped into smaller pieces and have it as rice.”
How often do you see your doctor and dentist?
“I regularly visit my dentist once or twice a year. I visit the doctor when necessary and have check-ups twice or thrice a year mostly because of a sore throat or bad migraines.”
What workout do you do and how often do you do it?
“I work out around four to five times a week. I would like to work out every day but long days at work are unavoidable. Lately, I have been doing light workouts, I bike or run for 30 to 45 minutes then lift weights for another 20 to 30 minutes. My workout routine is very basic and straightforward. Nothing exciting.
How much sleep do you get per night?
“Anywhere from six to eight hours – on weekends I sleep in more.”
Last thing that you do before going to sleep?
“I watch Mythbusters with my son until he falls asleep. I say a prayer and kiss my wife and son good night. My girls sleep in their rooms but my son sleeps with me and my wife, Fille.”
First thing that you do as soon as you wake up?
“I always say a little prayer and thank God for another day and then reach for my son’s hand who lately has been sleeping beside me and my wife.”
How do you cope with stress/unwind (music, movies, meditation, massage)?
“Mostly by exercising and making a good cup of coffee. I enjoy preparing my own coffee and it’s my daily destressing ritual.”
“La Union. and Tagaytay. But during the pandemic, my favorite hideaway is my mom’s house because she has a big garden while I live in a condo.”
Outlook in life (optimist, pessimist or worrier)?
“Always an optimist.”
What type of books do you read (last one that you have read)?
“Lately, it has been mostly non-fiction books — this way I am entertained and I don’t feel like I’m taking too much time away from my work. Currently, I’m reading two books: In the City of Bikes by Pete Jordan and Building theCycling City by Melissa and Chris Bruntlett.”
What’s the best lesson that you got from your dad?
“I learned so many lessons from my dad. He led by example and I watched and observed everything he did when I was growing up.”
(When Lino was 25, he donated one-third of his liver to his dad, former Sen. Rene Cayetano, who was sick of liver cancer. The older Cayetano passed away in 2003.)
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