From enthralling us as an amazing singer-songwriter and making us laugh as a talented comedian, Ogie Alcasid recently touched our hearts in his appearance on Maalaala Mo Kaya as a struggling-turned-successful puppeteer-ventriloquist for its “Flyers” episode aired last Saturday, October 7.
Portraying master puppeteer-ventriloquist Carlo Magno, the singer-comedian narrated his journey as an aspiring and struggling professional artist through pursuing his passion in the field that’s been tremendously challenged by the changing times and the advent of modern technology, not to mention being belittled by his own father and all the obstacles he had to go through along the way.
The childhood dream
Those people born to poor families, especially those who are in the provinces, surely identified with the letter sender. Growing up to a not so well-off family, the young Carlo (JB Agustin) spent most of his childhood playing with his friends and watching his favorite puppet show, which he only got the chance to do by peering outside the window of their neighbor who had a television set. However, there were instances when their neighbor got crabby, thus, he came up with the idea of creating his own puppet, to which he was assisted by his endearing and supportive mom (Lollie Mara), who, at the same time, enkindled his penchant on puppetry and reminded him to always strive to be a blessing to other people.
Seeing her son's fervor towards puppetry, she enrolled him in the puppet ministry of their church, wherein Carlo served for a long time until he needed to work. Since it's been his passion, he aspired to turn it into his profession when he grew older, to which their pastor (Lui Villaruz) helped him by recommending him to premier puppeteer Danny Liwanag, the founder of Roppet's Puppet Troop.
While his mom had been really proud and supportive of this endeavour, his father (Ronnie Lazaro) highly opposed it, telling them that it's only child's play and that he should find a real and longtime job.
His father's rally for him to set aside his artistic endeavours got intense when he impregnated his girlfriend Cecil (Raine Salamante). Although it was a blessing for them, his mom couldn't help but be disappointed of them, thus, Carlo (John Manalo) promised to give his future family a good life and to be a better "haligi ng tahanan" than his own father.
Knowing that it's been his greatest dream to put up his own puppet company, Cecil (Vina Morales) supported her husband along the way. But the whole process had never been easy as their finances dwindled after Carlo (Ogie Alcasid) had to quit from his job then to promote their business full-time by distributing leaflets on the streets. Since Cecil's income then as an employee wasn't enough to suffice their needs, there were times when they had to eat at her parents' house.
That went on for months, thus, he decided to just work as factory worker and turn puppetry as his part-time job. But working there took a toll on his health and made him truly unhappy, so he resigned. It was again opposed by his father, who told him that being a full-time artist would not do him and his family any good, yet Carlo argued that as long as there are people like his mom and wife who keep on believing in him, he would continue pursuing his craft.
Not long after, his business began to take-off after being able to score gigs in various children's parties and events, as well as forging partnerships with different companies and institutions for their advertisements and activities. As his puppets continued to grow in number, their life also got better.
However, they found themselves in a miserable state again when Carlo got fooled by one of his clients after deciding not to continue the project anymore, to which he invested most of their savings. Adding fuel to the fire was being called as a "freelance artist lang," which totally irked him.
This brought him to the painful decisions of selling some of his puppets and of asking his daughter (Mikylla Ramirez) to put her college education on hold for a year. Aside from that, their harrowing situation also strained his relationship with his son (Brace Arquiza) and Cecil after he unintentionally hit the former in one of their fights.
Making matters worse was when they got expelled from their house after not being able to pay their rent for four months. But this event unexpectedly helped them mend their rift and marked the start of their new life.
Just when they were beginning to regain everything that they lost and Carlo already earned exposure through his TV appearances, event guestings, and involvement in various campaigns that aided him in further expanding his artistry, his family faced a heartbreaking loss -- the death of his beloved mother.
His number one fan might be already gone, but the inspiration, words of encouragement, unforgettable memories, and unconditional love she bestowed him fuelled Carlo to continue pursuing his passion while fulfilling his promise of giving his family a good life. At the same time, he also allowed himself to be a blessing to others by being a puppetry and ventriloquism instructor.
Carlo Magno's story surely inspired a lot of people out there, especially those who struggled or who have been struggling to fight for their dreams and their chosen paths that are being belittled by other people. Certainly, his journey is a great reminder that no matter how big or small our ambitions are, it is still possible for us to achieve them as long as we have the faith, courage, and determination, as well as the support of the people who unwaveringly love and support us.
Besides, the "Flyers" episode also serves as 'wake-up call' for companies and individuals out there to never underestimate the capabilities and value of the people they hire to work for them, such as artists. Just like what Ogie said in his character's argument with one of the clients, the outputs they produce are not only made up of passion, but of blood, sweat, tears, finances, knowledge, and efforts they exuded in order them to comply with their deals and projects. They don't only do art out of passion as it also serves as their bread and butter.