WITH passion being the main driving force for his means of living, Edison “Jingle” Saynes—a professional event host, licensed tour guide and seasoned actor and director—is one of the few gifted with the opportunity and talent to earn from doing what he loves. He graduated with a degree in Linguistics and Literature at the University of San Carlos-Main Campus, but his passion for theater first started when he was in grade school.
“Six of my cousins went to Ma. Montessori Children’s House and I would get jealous because they had annual plays and musicals and I would watch them every year. Though the school’s tuition I was in was cheaper than Montessori, my mom sacrificed to transfer me because she knew that’s what I really wanted—just for the annual musicals. The only condition I had was to keep the grades up,” he shared as he explained that he studied there from fourth grade until he graduated high school, participating in the productions they had every year. He added that when the annual plays stopped during his second or third year of high school, he started joining school press conference competitions.
“That’s how I got trained to write—fun fact, I write better Filipino. I joined the feature and editorial sections and even reached regionals.”
Theater Actor and Performer
Not only has his theatrical prowess been time-tested through almost two decades of experience in the performing arts (working onstage and behind the scenes), he has also worked with various notable performers, directors and organizations such as Little Boy Productions (training with Miss Saigon’s Michael Williams), Tita Doti Aznar, Brett Aleonar, Benjie Diola, Tuxqs Rutaquio, Nar Cabico, Raki Vega, Daisy Baad, Jude Gitamondoc, among many others.
Back in his days at the University of San Carlos, he became a member of the USC-Theatre Guild—one of the oldest and most established university-based theater companies in the Visayas and Mindanao. Jingle was also part of the pioneer cast and crew of the longest-running original Cebuano musical, “Siddhartha, A Musical Journey to Enlightenment,” where he rotated acting in different roles on top of being one of the directors for the show that toured around Cebu, Manila, Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan and New Zealand. Apart from Siddhartha, he also directed a number of productions like “You’ve Been Facebooked! The Musical” (cited that year by Broadway.com as one of the “Top 13 Unforgettable Plays & Musicals in the Philippines”), “Gugmang Gi-atay The Musical” in Manila (which was awarded “Best Musical” by Inquirer), “Jeepney Love The Musical” and “Hsing Yun The Musical.” On top of all that, he is also a resident creative director of Offbeat Concepts Production House.
Recently, he starred in Cebu-based Vaudeville Theatre Company’s “The Addams Family: A Broadway Musical” where he nabbed the lead role of Gomez Addams.
The licensed tour guide disclosed that he got his passion and knack for tour-guiding from his mother. “I owe everything I have—especially tour-guiding—to my mom. She is also a tour guide who focuses on Japanese tourists and speaks the language fluently. She taught me how to count in Japanese and would let me tag along with her when she hosted her Japanese guests. That’s how I got to love tour-guiding,” said Jingle, who discovered the joys of tour-guiding during his OJT. “I’m outgoing and it’s fun because I get to take people around and help them discover Cebu. It never feels like work for me.”
Jingle started tour guiding back in 2009 but says that to stand out among the others, one has to be unique. “There’s competition in tour guiding. Though you have all the facts, what really matters is how you tell the story. I’m a performer and host so that background really helps me as a tour guide. That’s my edge.”
Jingle also added that, “tourism is theater and theater is tourism”—a line Carlos Celdran said when he visited Cebu, which he always remembers.
Event Host and Emcee
The third arm to this triple-threat individual is hosting events. Jingle started his hosting career doing events for his family and friends. “I was known as talkative, energetic and fun, so I started for the weddings of my friends. Come 2012, two of my friends (Michael and Michelle) got married and got me to emcee. It just so happened that my girlfriend now, Vanessa, was their coordinator. After that, she asked me what my day job was and found out that I was a tour guide. A few months after that, she started getting me as a regular for her events and the rest was history,” Jingle said with a smile as he recalled the days he met his partner. The two are a host-and-event-coordinator tandem at Vangail’s Perfect Union, apart from him booking events independently.
“I believe that in whatever you do, there’s going to be a time where it becomes monotonous—at some point it plateaus. My way out of that feeling is that I imagine the corporate world and dragging myself to work day in and day out. Then, I realize how lucky I am,” he said.
“Keep an attitude of gratitude. If you feel like you’re tired, think about all the little things that you’re grateful for and that will lead you back on track,” added Jingle who shared that he had learned that lesson from a late colleague he had in the theater community, Daisy Baad. “How I do the gratitude attitude is: when I’m feeling down, I list down the things I’m thankful for and really say it like: ‘I’m grateful for...’ Fill in the blanks from the littlest to the biggest and that will lead you home.” (S)