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This Techie Lolo Teaches Young People How to Fix Things

Lolo Smart also shares life advice while he does it.
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This story originally appeared on Reportr.


Speaking in simple Filipino, Rodel Pacis showed how to repair an electric fan in a YouTube video that was exactly what a filmmaker needed to keep up with the summer heat. Word spread on Facebook and the internet discovered its new Mr. Fix-It, Lolo Smart.

Since Ramil Lantican raved on Facebook about Rodel "Lolo Smart" Pacis, the 67-year-old's eponymous YouTube channel's subscriber base exploded to 145,000 from just 500 last March 10. Lantican's post was shared 45,000 times.

It was Pacis' calm way of explaining how a repairman would bring his electric fan up to speed (and with captions) that resonated with Lantican. "I don't know but I just felt amazed while watching him," he said. 

"Galak na galak, overwhelmed kami sa biglang taas. 'Di namin akalain 'yun, natulog lang kami, kinabukasan libo na. Tapos umaakyat nang umaakyat. Talaga kaming masaya, lalo na sa comments na natuto sila, nagawa na nila 'yung bentilador, nagawa na nila 'yung platsa nila nang dahil sa video ng Lolo Smart. Masaya po kami," Lolo Smart told reportr.

A mobile photography hobbyist, Lolo Smart fought boredom during the COVID lockdowns by fixing broken appliances in his Paranaque home. That hobby has now turned into a fast-growing YouTube source for quick and easy home repairs.

From vocational school to YouTube University

Pacis studied electronics for two years before opening his own repair shop in Marilao, Bulacan. 

"May seminar dito, may seminar diyan, attend ako nang attend to improve 'yung technical know-how ko," he said.

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Pacis also taught in a vocational school, where he unlocked a new skill -- how to deal with slow learners with a sweet voice and grandfatherly smile.

When the pandemic struck in March 2020, he had to close his 40-year-old repair shop. Bored at home, he tinkered with his grandchildren's broken toy cars, bringing them back to life within minutes. His eldest grandchild, was the first to brand him as "Lolo Smart."

"Marami akong kaibigan nagsasabi sa Facebook ibahagi ko 'yan o sa YouTube para malaki, malawak, marami ang mararating, ang matutulungan. Sabi ko bakit? It's a knowledge na naka-stock sa iyo, marami ang matututo, marami ang magkakaroon ng hanapbuhay. So sabi ko, sige."

Armed with his Android phone and tripod, he shared tips and tricks on mobile photography, his other passion, and some how-to videos including a tutorial on how to make your own spice rack.

Initially shy in front of his camera phone, Lolo Smart placed the tripod on one side, allowing him to talk as if to a friend. "Feeling ko kasi para siyang isang tao na nandito sa tabi ko, kaya minsan natatanaw ko pa, 'oh diba? Ito ang titingnan mo, ito gagawin mo'."

It's a one-man production for Lolo Smart, who takes the selfie video, edits it on his computer, and uploads it on YouTube in a span of two days. His wife Marina would sometimes help him put the English subtitles.

In October 2020, his videos barely made it to 2,500 views.

It was his conversational approach to his audience that charmed netizens to his channel. Now, they call him the grandpa or father they've never had. Watching Lolo Smart also made film maker Lantican miss his own father even more, he said on Facebook.

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"Masaya kasi dumadami ang aking mga apo online saka masaya din dahil ang follow-up comments nila ay natututo sila, imbes na ipagawa e nauuna tingnan, sinusundan video at nagagawa na naman nila at ang saya mapakinggan na nakakatulong talaga sa kapwa," Pacis said.

It's never too late to start vlogging

After going viral for his DIY videos, Pacis' family urged him to consider going full-time on YouTube instead of opening another repair shop.

To give back to the online community, Lolo Smart said he would upload more videos on the basics of mobile photography to encourage more people, especially the elderly, to share their expertise to the world.

"Kung siya ay isang kagaya kong edad na may maraming kaalaman at nagsasabing 'Daddy, lolo, gayahin mo si Lolo Smart, meron kang alam, meron naman tayong cellphone, may tripod tayo, shoot!'"

"Kahit na ano 'yan -- pagluluto, paggawa ng bisikleta, pagkukumpuni -- kahit ano puwede mo siya i-video at i-YouTube, marami pong matutulungan. Go, go, go!" he added.

He said he set up his Facebook page, Lolo Rodel, to accommodate questions on how to start a vlog.

"Huwag kayong mangamba. Wala pong edad-edad 'yan basta meron kayong passion, gusto mong maibahagi ang alam mo at mapapakinabangan naman ng nakakarami, makakatulong ka sa nakakarami, bakit hindi? Shoot shoot, nandito lang ho ako kung may tanong kayo."

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