‘Hugot Marcelo’ Podcast is the New Gen’s Audio Guru on Love, Dating, and Relationships
Mar 31, 2023   •   Kyzia Maramara
8List.ph is published by ID8, Inc.
Mar 31, 2023   •   Kyzia Maramara
You can never use Marcelo Santos III‘s name in a sentence and not have it followed with words like “love,” “relationships” or “hugot.” It’s simply impossible. These words make up a huge part of who he is as a person — someone who has been dishing out love advice since over a decade ago. “Ginawa yata ako ni Lord para humugot. Parang nasa pagkatao ko yung lungkot,” he told 8List.ph over an interview. If giving love advice and making relatable hugot one-liners is a superpower, Marcelo has long been a superhero offering consoling words for the brokenhearted.
In 2009, Marcelo took his first steps into content creation and started writing stories. His genre of choice? Romance. But not the fairy tale-esque stories where everything is always rosy and golden and happiness is a sure thing. He wrote about the complexities of real-world love and inevitable heartache — experiences that we go through every day.
Marcelo’s first book, Para sa Hopeless Romantic, was first published in 2013 and turned into a movie the following year starring James Reid and Nadine Lustre. He followed it up with Para sa Broken Hearted in 2014 which also had its own film in 2018 starring Yassi Pressman, Sam Concepcion, and Marco Gumabao.
Today, he has a total of seven books under his belt and a thriving social media presence. With a combined following of 14.1 million on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, it’s safe to say Marcelo remains a well-loved figure in pop culture.
When 8List.ph asked him what made him want to start a podcast, he thought about his humble beginnings as a writer whose books were fortunate enough to get movie adaptations. “Tapos sabi ko ano kayang next pa? Meron ako sa lahat ng social media platform. Naisip ko Spotify naman eh hindi naman ako kumakanta. So sabi ko mag-podcast nalang ako!” he said, referring to his podcast Hugot Marcelo.
Starting a podcast has always been in his plans since he became a fan of the medium. And when he noticed the new Pinoy generation’s appetite for listening to podcasts in 2023, Marcelo was quick to explore it. Once Spotify gave him a platform, all bets were off.
A Hugot Marcelo podcast episode is exactly how you’d anticipate it to be — raw, straight to the point, and painful. But in a good way. It heals as much as it hurts you with the truth. After all, the podcast description says “Sasamahan kita sa healing process mo,” and we all know the healing journey isn’t exactly rainbows and butterflies.
“Bakit minahal mo parin?” “Bakit siya nag-cheat?” “Bakit ka ba nag-tinitiis?” — these are all titles from Hugot Marcelo Season 2 episodes. Marcelo’s monologues under 10 minutes never fails to drop bombs in the form of hugot one-liners.
“Ako kasi naniniwala ako na yung mga hugot, para siyang title na pinagdadaanan ng isang tao,” he said. “Kunyari nag-post ako ng ‘Wag kang manghinayang sa taong sinayang ka lang.’ Kapag shinare ng mga tao, para siyang nag-start ng conversation online tapos kakamustahin siya [ng iba].”
He shares that his wealth of topics is mostly inspired by his listeners who message him about their love problems.
“Ang daming nag-me-message sakin ng mga problema nila. Minsan sinasagot ko yung mga nag-private message sakin tapos ma-re-realize ko na, ‘Teka lang, ang ganda nitong sinabi ko.’ Ilalagay ko yon sa notes tapos gagawan ko nalang ng image para i-post,” he said.
Being a content creator for a little over a decade, Marcelo must have dished thousands of advice. He takes a moment to answer when 8List.ph asked him for the best one he’d ever given.
“Ibang-iba yung Marcelo nung 2010 sa Marcelo ng 2023,” he starts. “Ang dami ko nang napagdaanan. Narealize ko na hindi pala pagsuko ang ultimate na dapat gawin lalo na sa relationships. Kasi hindi porket nasaktan ka, dapat ka nang bumitaw. Nag-try ka eh at mag-ta-try ka. At hindi lang ikaw — kayong dalawa sa relationship niyo.”
He continues: “Ang paniniwala ko talaga dati once masaktan ka, umalis ka na. Hindi pala ganon yon. Wala palang perpektong tao, partner, boyfriend o girlfriend, relasyon. Lahat nagkakamali.”
Marcelo stresses that one of the most important lessons in relationships he has observed is to maintain healthy communication with your partner. This, combined with the desire to make things work, is a sure way to keep a relationship going.
Hugot is a topic Marcelo is well-versed in. Like the word “kilig,” there’s no direct English translation to “hugot” — the act of expressing your innermost feelings using words — which makes it uniquely Pinoy. In other contexts, “hugot,” however, literally means to “pull out.”
8List.ph asked Marcelo why he thinks Filipinos love to hugot or express their feelings in such a deep and dramatic way that others sometimes have to dismiss it as a joke to lighten the mood.
“Yung hugot yung galing sa pinakailalim ng nararamdaman ng tao. Hugot yung mga gusto nating sabihin hindi lang sa partner natin kundi dun sa mga tao sa paligid natin,” Marcelo explains, saying it’s has served as an outlet for many Pinoys.
“Sinsan shineshare natin kasi gusto natin sabihin na hindi tayo okay. Brokenhearted ako. Kausapin mo naman ako, tulungan mo ako. So yun yung mga subtle ways para ma-express natin yung nararamdaman talaga natin,” he says.
Marcelo also adds that Pinoys love to make these statements because we are naturally “expressive and emotional” and he owes this to the fact that a lot of Pinoys grew up watching teleserye that “glorify love.” After all, who here is immune to the kind of romance we see in K-dramas?
“Hindi naman masama [humugot],” he clarifies. “Pero minsan kapag sobra, dun nagiging masama.”
Here are three interesting statistics from Spotify about how Pinoys consume content on love:
Obviously, this means Pinoys have an affinity for consuming too much content on love, dating, and relationships. In a sea of podcasts talking about the same stuff, how does Hugot Marcelo manage to stand out?
“Naniniwala ako na kaya ka nakikinig ng podcast kasi gusto mo ma-validate yung nararamdaman mong sakit,” he says. “Siguro yun yung nabibigay kong [unique] sa tao. Kasi ako lang yung host ng podcast ko so parang ‘pag nakinig ka sa’kin, ikaw yung kausap ko. Ang lagi kong sinasabi, sasamahan ko kayo sa healing journey niyo.”
Marcelo believes that his one-on-one approach to podcasting creates a better relationship between him and the listener. It’s as if you’re on a phone call with your best friend who tirelessly listens to you mope about your relationship.
“Lahat naman ng content creators sa pilipinas na nasa love, relationship and dating, lahat kami gusto makatulong,” Marcelo adds. “Ako number 1 reason kaya ko to ginagawa sice 2009 kasi gusto kong makatulong sa taong may pinagdadaanan. Kasi ang hirap ngayon na magkaron ka ng problema tapos wala kang makausap, wala kang matatakbuhan. Kaya lumalapit nalang sila sa kung anong convenient, ano yung pinaka pwedeng maka-relate sa kanila. Kahit hindi kami one-on-one magusap, kahit pipili lang sila sa content na makakapag-comfort sa kanila.”
While his podcast episodes only run for about 5-10 minutes, Marcelo is convinced that’s all the time he needs to comfort a stranger. He tells 8List.ph that he hopes those who come across his podcast finds the peace and healing they’re looking for.
Some folks might describe Hugot Marcelo as a “post-break-up podcast” and Marcelo isn’t bothered by it. Not one bit. Not when he knows this is how he’s able to help a lot of people. But in all the years he’s been a content creator for all things love, what’s the most important thing he’s learned about it?
“‘Yung pagmamahal, easy siya at saka kumplikado. Yun yung natutunan ko,” he says after a moment of contemplation.
He says that one of the most important things he’s learned is that love doesn’t come with a formula. It isn’t a one-size-fits-all concept you apply to every person you meet. That’s why a person has to be patient and understanding with their partner at all times.
“Nagiging komplikado yung pagmamahal kapag hindi kayo nagkakatagpo ng paniniwala, kapag sobrang iba kayo. Nagkakasakitan na kayo. Don nagiging komplikado. Dun ako naniniwala na iba iba yung level ng pagmamahal natin sa isang tao. Walang formula yung relationship ng pagmamahal,” he adds.
“Iba-iba tayo pagdating sa pagmamahal pero lahat tayo is ang gusto, mahalin pabalik,” says Marcelo. And it’s that simple, isn’t it?
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Although it’s about to celebrate its first podcast anniversary in May — a podversary, if you will — Marcelo says he’s only getting warmed up. He regales 8List.ph with his plans for the near future such as inviting guests to come on the pod. But he says he won’t invite the typical celebrities and influencers to talk about their love problems. Marcelo would rather invite his regular listeners, folks with stories to share with everyone.
“Sobrang thankful ako sa Spotify dahil nakaabot ako ng one year. Sa relationship kasi hindi ako inaabot ng isang taon,” he jokes. “Ang first anniversary ko sa Spotify. Marami pa kong advice na mabibigay, marami pa kong kwento na ma-s-share sa mga tao na sa tingin ko naman makaka-relate sila.”
When asked if he’s going to be the Hugot King forever, he laughs and says that eventually, he wants to retire from content creation and be happy. He also shares he’s looking forward to giving happier love advice such as how to strengthen and make a relationship grow.
Whatever Marcelo’s plans for the future, we’re certain of one thing — Pinoys will need him around for a long, long time. After all, when will we ever stop trying to untangle the twisted knot that is love or stop trying to figure out how to solve its complicated puzzle? We’ve got news for you, Marcelo, it looks like there’s no retiring from the job of being a full-time superhero for the brokenhearted anytime soon.
Kyzia spends most of her time capturing the world around her through photos, paragraphs, and playlists. She is constantly on the hunt for the perfect chocolate chip cookie, and a great paperback thriller to pair with it.
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