Who is this artist who was able to draw oohs and aahs from the cream of the entertainment industry's crop?
He wowed even the Megastar herself -- Sharon Cuneta – to shout: "Ang galing-galing mo!"
Imagine he succeeded in amusing and amazing the equally amusing and amazing Rannie Raymundo who described the said writer:"Nothing short of brilliant."
The Outstanding Young Men award-winning speaker/author Bo Sanchez, after seeing him perform, was also quoted as saying: "The most entertaining puppet show I've ever watched."
After his gig, even the presidentiable – Sen. Manuel "Mar" Araneta Roxas II – was so impressed that he was ready to vote for him as the 15th president of the our shocked Republic.
No, he is not Jejomar Binay.
Jesusjosephmary, we are talking about Ronaldo Carcamo!
More popularly known as Ony, he is The Voice from the Belly.
A graduate of B.S. Electrical Engineering from Mapua Institute of Technology, he instead concentrated more on electrifying his readers -- as a sportswriter, columnist, cartoonist, scriptwriter,and advertising Creative Director.
Morever, his audiences -- as a full-time ventriloquist!
When we were looking for a direct translation of ventriloquism, while he was planning ahead for a series of shows, we found nothing.
Well, because we could trace its beginnings from 6th century B.C.
It could be our babaylan's medium in talking to the dead.
Asking Ony about his predecessor, he would rather recognize the contribution of Louis Brabant who was part of the court of the French King Francis the First.
During the time, they believed that “the spirits of the dead went to the stomachs of the prophets and continued to exist there.”
Especially, among those who can foretell the future by the spirits who were speaking from his or her belly.
That is why, "ventriloquist" literally means "belly speaker" in Latin.
Since soothsayers were able to perfect the art of belly speaking, they were believed to be fooling their listeners after claiming to have divine powers.
So, for the longest time, these voices from the belly were evil to the Christian church's ears.
Then came Fred Russell at the end of the 19th century.
A comedian with a dummy, Russell became known as the "father of modern ventriloquism" who would be followed by Edgar Bergen and his wooden dummy Charlie McCarthy in 1938, Buffalo Bob Smith and his cowboy dummy Howdy Doody hitting the boobtube during the 40s, and Shari Lewis and her hand puppet Lamb Chop topping the television ratings in the 1950s and 1960s.
On November 15, 1966, Ony Carcamo would be born in Sampaloc, Manila!
He was no “father of Philippine ventriloquism.”
In fact, in an interview, he gave credit to the son of Manuel Conde, “the father of Philippine independent films”: “My first vent inspiration was a local comedy icon named Jun Urbano. He's more commonly known here in the Philippines for his Mr. Shooli character. He was that character, not a puppet or figure. He's one of the very few vents here when I started learning the craft.”
“But the thing that really taught me vent,” he continued, “was the book Ventriloquism for Today by Paul Stadelmann. I believe it's still one of the best instructional vent books around. I was still in the advertising industry, a copywriter and Creative Director, when I started performing. When I turned pro, I left the corporate world and went full-time. Edgar Bergen and Paul Winchell were the two most influencial vents for me. I loved how they created their characters. I have so many vent friends around the world, thanks to the net! I especially love Uncle Bill DeMar, who's so inspiring and helpful. He taught me a lot of things, especially his Tape-Over-Mouth bit which is now my finale and highlight in almost all my shows.”
Ony began told us about his Other Self: “My main characters are all wood figures: Nonoy (a Hartz boy) and Mr. Parley (which I created). With these two figures I can do my full show. My other wood figure is Prof. Oke (a Hartz head-in-the-box). I have lots of Axtells puppets, too. I am happy that, in my little way, I have helped bring ventriloquism in public's attention, at least in our country. Though there were one or two local vents around when I started, I was the first to really put vent regularly in adult venues like comedy clubs, corporate events, etc.”
When asked about what makes him move on, he cited his citations: “I was lauded by the Philippine government -- through the National Commission for Culture and the Arts -- for my contribution in the local theater arts. I was the very first ventriloquist to be able to perform at the Cultural Center of the Philippines's Main Theater. I also won in the recent 2008 international Axtell Puppet Video Challenge, vent division.”
Ony, for your information, has his own book of poetry -- Ang Batang Nangarap Maging Isda (UP Press, 2006), a collection of poems written from 1985 to 2004.
During the 80s, we were together as part of the so-called Magnificent 7 – after surviving the Rio Alma Poetry Clinic -- who eventually became the founding members of the Linangan sa Imahen, Retorika, at Anyo (LIRA).
As if in line with Kumon Reading Program Month or with a two-week free trial of its Reading Program, Ony flexed another literary muscle when he launched -- with Lampara Books -- his Ang Mga Tsismis Sa Baryo Silid, a story for children that won a Palanca Award in 1995.
On March 27, 8 p.m., at the Philippine Educational Theater Association Theater in Quezon City, Ony will collaborate with Brod Pete and magician/comedian Jeff Tam in another first of its kind stageshow called AMAGIKOMEDINAYT.
It is a combo of magic, comedy, music, and, yes, ventriloquism!
Again, it is us to know and for you to find out why legendary ventriloquist Russ Lewis (of Russo and Brooklyn fame) has finally met his match in Ony: "Magic perfectly placed into a really great puppet character, acting, smooth, warm, natural, didn't need to understand the language to enjoy the humor, exquisite timing, and the obvious pleasure of the audience which in itself summed up the performance. Truly enchanting ventriloquial artistry."
I was sad until I saw a man without two arms, shaking his shoulder and jumping with joy when I asked why he is happy. He replied, “I am not happy, my butt is sooooooooooooo itchy and, for hours, I've been dying to scratch it.”
Don’t strive to be happy but strive to be good. Because being happy is not always being good. For being good will always lead to being happy.