Meet Lolo Smart, YouTube’s adorable new Mr. Fix It making apos miss their grandpas 2
Lolo Smart’s most watched YouTube video is about fixing an electric fan whose blades have started to turn slow. Screengrab from his YouTube video
Culture

Meeting Lolo Smart, the senior repairman who’s also YouTube’s latest star

The senior handyman can fix anything from broken fans to broken grills—can he fix broken hearts, too?
RHIA GRANA | Mar 12 2022

Lolo Smart, the 67-year-old vlogger who does appliance repair tutorials on YouTube, is thrilled to tell ANCX Friday night that his channel has reached 95,444 subscribers in a matter of two days. “Naka-live counting ako,” he says with a bright smile. 

The happiness over his channel’s fast-rising numbers shines through the grey-haired Caviteño’s glasses. His wife and three sons are pretty psyched about it too. Just last Thursday, he had less than 600 subscribers. As of this writing, he’s surpassed the 100K mark.

Lolo Smart credits Labambanito Lantican, a new subscriber to the site, for the sudden growth of his YouTube Channel. Lantican’s electric fan broke Wednesday evening so he thought of browsing tutorials on YouTube. This is how he came across Lolo Smart. 

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“I don’t know but I just felt amazed while watching him,” Lantican shared on his Facebook page. “I think it's because of how calm he talks. Parang inaalalayan ka talaga nya in every step.” Lantican then appealed to his friends to subscribe to Lolo Smart’s vlog. And that was how the online world discovered this senior Mr. Fix It. 

Lolo Smart repairs common household and electrical appliances. Name it, he’s most likely gotten his hands on it—the guy has been a repairman for 40 years now. So far, in his vlogs, he’s shared how to fix a microwave oven, a transistor radio, a flat iron, Christmas lights, a Korean electric griller, even RC cars and trucks. But his most watched video so far, now with 90K views, is about fixing an electric fan whose blades have started to turn slow.

Lolo Smart, who is Lolo Rodel on Facebook (he refuses to reveal his full name), only started shooting videos when the pandemic began in March 2020. But it was only October last year that he decided to create a YouTube Channel to be the repository for his videos. He’s also into photography, a hobby he’s had since childhood.

Madami akong napapanood sa YouTube kasi nasa bahay lang kaming mga seniors, nakakulong kami. Ayaw na din ng mga anak kong mag-open ako ng repair shop kasi nga may pandemic. So I thought why not start my own YouTube channel. Marunong ako ng video, photography. Subukan ko nga,” he recalls to ANCX.

His wife Marina suggested the name Lolo Smart because, well, her husband does everything—aside from fixing broken stuff, he puts video concepts together, sets up the gadgets and lights, shoots, edits and uploads. “One-man show. Inaral nya lang lahat on his own,” she says proudly.

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Lolo Smart’s early vlogs weren’t electronic repair tutorials. His first upload feature the family’s trip to Baguio, followed by a video on mobile photography and one on building a condiment rack. Later on, he started showing DIY how-tos on repairing toy trucks, electric fans, flat iron, and other electronic appliances.

Which was when he realized the bigger purpose of his channel. He could help more people—out of school youths and those who lost jobs because of the pandemic—by sharing his knowledge. “Ang aking adhikain ay mai-share ko ang aking alam for 40 years in repair sa ibang taong nangangailangan. Karatula lang ang katapat, kikita ka na,” he says.

But even those who simply wish to bring their appliances back to good working condition have benefited from the Lolo Smart videos. “Yung isang subscriber, bumili lang ng P50 na piyesa, nanghiram ng glue gun sa kapitbahay, nagawa ang electric fan niya. Itatapon na sana nila,” says Marina.

Lolo Smart used to teach vocational courses at TESDA in Marilao, Bulacan, which probably explains why he’s so good at breaking down the nitty gritty of fixing things. But the reason why some people are drawn to tune in is the guy’s kind, fatherly demeanor. “May mga comments na nakakaiyak. They want to make Lolo Smart their lolo also. Siya daw ay father to the fatherless. May nagsabi pang, ‘Pwede po ba paampon na lang ako, kasi wala na akong lolo?’” shares Marina, who’s taking charge of reading and answering the comments. Sometimes they read it together and laugh at the funny bits. Example: “Lo, yung nasirang tiwala kaya pa kayang ayusin? Char lang!”

Marina says the channel has helped them cope with the anxieties brought about by the pandemic. It gives her husband joy and fulfillment knowing he’s able to help others. “Nakikita kong love nya ang ginagawa nya,” offers the supportive wife.

For Lolo Smart, the channel is there so he can share his God-given skills to those who might need it, especially in these challenging times. But he also wishes to inspire and encourage others, he says, especially the elderly, to keep learning new things that give them joy.