Comedian and talent manager Ogie Diaz has taken a break off his dual work to fulfill a long-cherished dream of writing a book.
Albeit untitled, Ogie told Vignettes that the “128-page must-read book” bears his mantra in life, “Every gising is a blessing.”
“Yun na rin ang subtitle dahil yan naman ang pinauso kong motto. The Lord wakes us up to a new morning because we all have our mission in life.”
Tracing his roots to the crowded street of Loreto in Manila, it was where he figured out a way to help his family rise above their daily hand-to-mouth existence. Helping his parents to make both ends meet, Ogie—who only completed high school—would vend cigarettes on foot (called “takatak” in street jargon) and banana-cue from a bilao.
Broken down into significant chapters, his book is rich in colorful, vividly written anecdotes about his painstaking struggles as well as his memorable encounters with different types of people, celebrities included. “Siyempre, hindi naman sobrang madrama, there’s always a witty ending to every story which actually took place and not a figment of my imagination. Pero ang pinaka-favorite chapter ko is about my mom and my raising my own family despite being gay.”
What inspired him to pen his own book?
“First of all, noon ko pa ilusyon sumulat ng libro. Kasi, nung araw, panakaw lang akong nagbabasa sa National Bookstore, Alemar’s, Merriam Webster at Corona Bookstore. Yung Goodwill Bookstore lang ang hindi ko napuntahan, dahil first attempt ko pa lang buklatin ang libro ay sinita na ako ng guwardiya, kaya sa iba na lang ako nakikibuklat,” Ogie, in his usual funny stance, jested.
His many years in active showbiz column writing—later on replaced by more lucrative careers in acting and talent management—have essentially prepared him to pursue his goal. “Sabi ko, why not? Marunong naman akong magsulat at magkuwento. Yung pagiging bangka ko sa mga kuwentuhan, ba’t hindi ko isalin sa libro? Saka ang daming naaaliw sa mga ipinu-post ko sa Facebook, kaya sila rin naman ang nagtulak to write a book.”
Admittedly, bringing the book to fruition didn’t come as a piece of cake. “Sa totoo lang, the hardest part, eh, kung paano aayusin yung mga istorya ko. Sinimulan ko ito noon pang 2011 at ngayong 2017 lang matutupad, six years in the making! At least, bago man lang ako rayumahin, nagawa ko na ang ilusyon ko to publish my own book. Thanks to Pio Mallari for the cover design and illustrations, and Maita Martinez for helping me fix all the necessary publishing requirements.”
Underneath writing a book though lies an advocacy which Ogie has seriously taken upon himself and continues to support all these years.
“Nag-iisip kasi ako ng puwedeng pagkunan namin ng funds for breast cancer patients and survivors ng Philippine Foundation for Breast Care, Inc.,” revealed Ogie who sits in the board of trustees and has been an active member for eight years now.
“Ang nakakalungkot, the number of patients is increasing in great numbers but we’re not getting as many donors. So, when you buy this book (priced at P199), nakatulong ka na rin sa mga pasyente.”
With a target release by the end of July, Ogie simply wants his readers to enjoy his book, “I want them smiling kasi kahit yung mga photos dun, pag-iisipan pa namin if they’re worthy of space. Ayokong mandaya sa pages na puro pictures, baka magmukhang coloring book. I promise hindi ito boring. More than the wit and humor, may puso ang libro ko. For a cause.”