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WATCH: Lead Singer of VST & Co. is Now a Baggage Handler in San Francisco

Spanky Rigor left his rockstar life for a simpler life in America. 
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Spanky Rigor used to live the life of a rockstar. He was a founding member of the iconic group VST & Co or simply VST. The  “S” in VST actually stands for his name Spanky, while the “V” and “T” stand for the other lead singers of the group: Val and Tito. 

But now, he lives a simple life as a baggage handler at the San Francisco International Airport. 

In a video by Rigor’s nephew, Albert Samaha, for Pop-Up Magazine on Facebook, it reveals how Rigor has spent the last 30 years as a baggage handler in an airport. 

Aside from being one of the lead vocalists of the group, Rigor also wrote and produced songs and played guitar for the band. 

In the ’70s, VST & Co was among the bands that popularized what came to be known as Manila Sound, but they became more popular for their disco mania hits. Among their timeless tracks are “Disco Fever” and “Rock Baby Rock.” Their biggest hit is also their debut single, “Awitin Mo, Isasayaw Ko,” which was released to phenomenal success in 1977. 

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In the ’80s, Rigor was cast in TODAS (Television’s Outrageously Delightful All-Star Show), a variety show and competitor of Eat Bulaga. It entertained Filipinos from 1980 to 1989. 

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Life was all glitter and glamor for Rigor, who only realized he was famous when he encountered a busload of students screaming at him while he was waiting for his taxi driver to finish repairs on the roadside.  

“The whole bus started screaming and I was just looking. The cab driver got out of the hood, looked at the bus, then looked at me, then looked at the bus then looked at me,” said Rigor in the video. 

“I go like ‘what are they screaming about?’ And then they were looking at me and I just waved. And when I waved the more they screamed.”

Rigor spent his VST days attending red carpet events, guesting at celebrity basketball tournaments, and greeting screaming fans whenever they recognized him. 

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At one point, he was named among the sexiest men in the Philippines. 

But in 1988, he surprised the whole nation and even his bandmates when he decided to leave that life behind.

Why Spanky Rigor Left VST & Co.

At the height of his fame, Rigor decided it was time to move on and leave it all behind. 

“Sometimes they would tell me ‘What the hell were you thinking about?’ You practically had it made here,” said Rigor. 

He sought out what many people aspire for: the American Dream. His mother had immigrated alone to the States in 1978, and his whole family followed one by one. His wife left for the U.S. in 1981 in what was supposed to be a temporary setup to support his mother. By the time she got there, he knew it was only a matter of time before he followed. 

“It was like going to La La Land. It was going to another dimension, another world.  Everything I see ‘Wow. Beautiful.’ I couldn't see the dregs of life. I couldn’t even see garbage. I couldn’t even see homelessness.” said Rigor, describing his trips to the U.S. before finally deciding to settle there. 

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“All I thought was, ‘Wow, what a beautiful place.’” 

Watch the video below to know what happened to Spanky Rigor, founding member and lead vocalist of VST & Co. 

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Mario Alvaro Limos
Features Editor, Esquire Philippines
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