THRILLMAKER: An airport chat with Sam Concepcion

Published October 31, 2021, 6:46 AM

by Joee Guilas

Sam Concepcion

I just love airports–especially now when travel is just starting to pick up and there are still not too many people crowding these terminals. For naturally “curious and observant” people like me, such a situation makes it so easy to spot personalities we usually just see online, on TV or in the movies. It also makes opening conversations with them less threatening as there will be less people to see you fail, just in case you end up being given the cold shoulder.

In my most recent trip outside the Metro, which brought me to the islands of the Visayas, I got to sit right beside a good-looking guy who, like me, was waiting for his plane ride at the lounge of the airport gate. While waiting for my friend, who was then in a food stall buying us some snacks, I noticed the familiar looking guy just quietly tinkering on his mobile phone, and trying to not call attention to himself. I knew right away that the guy’s a celebrity then it dawned on me, it’s “Sam Concepcion”, something that I was somehow able to utter loud enough for him to hear. He looked at me, smiled and said, “yes,” which started a conversation that went this way:

THRILLMAKER: Hi, Sam! I’m a columnist from the Manila Bulletin. May I do an “ambush” and ask you some questions?

SAM: Sure!

THRILLMAKER: Last time I saw you, you were surrounded by swimsuit-clad ladies in the Miss Universe Philippines finals in Bohol and you were singing a really nice song. Tell me about it?

SAM: It is called “Diwata.” I sang it for the swimsuit competition portion of the Miss Universe Philippines show. We hope to bring something that has that kind of fun energy, that brings out the Diwata of the beauty of the contestants. We called it Diwata because that’s what they are. They are beauty queens. We wanted to capture that in a song.

THRILLMAKER: Congratulations! The song was not only nice. It actually has the potential to be iconic just like last year’s “Magandang Dilag” by JM Bales.

SAM: Well, I’ve been quite lucky to be given opportunities to interpret songs that do quite well from several years in Philpop. I always like doing that kasi parang these are creations of super talented artists, producers and songwriters. You’re given a vision, a creation by a producer, by a songwriter to be a part of something that is special. This one is very special because it is for Miss Universe.

Sam with author Joee Guilas at the airport

THRILLMAKER: Aside from Diwata, anything new we can look forward to in your recording career? What else is in store for Sam Concepcion fans?

SAM: I also just released a song in September called “Non-Stop.” I also just finished filming a TV series called Halfworlds It is an HBO series, and it will be launched very soon. The pandemic has kept us from releasing it earlier. That stars myself and Bianca Umali. For the holidays, we’re gearing up for a tour with Morisette, a US tour.

THRILLMAKER: That’s a lot of projects given the times.

SAM: I’m quite blessed to still be doing entertainment at a time like this.

THRILLMAKER: What about theater? I know you’re a theater baby before you hit the mainstream. Prior to the hard lockdowns last year, you were also in a production called “Joseph, The Dreamer” and it did quite well. Any plans along those lines?

SAM: That was actually my theater comeback after ten years. We were gonna do a re-run in September 2020 but the lockdowns happened. I hope that we still get to do it. Theater is something I’d always go back to. By the way, I also just want to do a live concert again.

THRILLMAKER: I’m sure you’ll be able to do that sooner than later. What about plans outside of show business? Do you have any?

SAM: Get into a good business that will thrive and something helpful to the community. I still don’t know what that is, something to find out for me.”

Just when he finished answering the question, the ground stewardess started making the boarding call. It was a brief but meaningful conversation I had with Sam. We took the same flight to our destination but lost touch with each other at the baggage claim carousel. Good guy. Hope he finds the “Diwata” who’ll soon turn his wishes to reality.