Perhaps unknown to many, Ronnie Alonte has already lost his way, something that is part of the process of growing up, come to think about it. But while others would rather write it off to circumstance, he stares it down and takes command, turning it into an advantage he can spring forward from.
Ronnie Alonte knows he is famous, but not in a totally caught up, pretentious, and if we are being completely unhinged here, offensive kind of way. Unlike a self-effacing contemporary with a false sense of humility, he doesn’t wince at the mere mention of the word. In fact, he will be the very first one to duck at the very second it tumbles out, evading it as if it were a bullet with a mission to pierce through his cooler than cool, nonchalant vibe.
It is a matter of fact, something that he has racked up in the awning of his celebrity career, but he isn’t letting it get to him anymore, the very same way it did not too long ago, forcing him to recalibrate the very person that he was and has become. “Hindi ko siya totally naramdaman, pero oo naman, hindi ko nagustuhan kung sino ako naging kasi sobrang gago eh,” he says, volunteering to lead us into the time he lost his way so to speak. “Honestly, nagagalit ako kapag ganun, sinasabihan akong sikat or ganyan, kasi ayoko na ganun lang ang tingin sa akin. Unang-una sa lahat, hindi ko ine-expect na mangyayari ‘to lahat. Parang sa akin, ‘pag sinabihan ako na: ‘artista ka na, sikat ka na, hindi ka na nakakapunta sa ganito…’ Sabi ko, hindi. Kasi ‘yun ‘yung tipong nakakapaglaki ng ulo ng artista, kapag dinamdam ‘yan. ‘Pag inaasar ako ng mga kaibigan ko na, ‘Si Ronnie iba na ‘yan, nagagalit ako kasi gusto ko tao pa rin ang turing sa ‘kin, walang artista.”
The honesty catches us off guard, and with nary a hint of shame, he goes on without so much prodding. Here we have a young man, barely into the thick of his adult life, and yet exhibiting a self-awareness well beyond his years. “Nangyari na sa akin na lumaki na ‘yung ulo ko. First year ko sa showbiz, may solo concert ako sa Kia Theatre, two blockbuster na movies sa MMFF…Kinain ako, as in. Sabi ng mga kaibigan ko sa akin, ‘Bro, ‘wag sasama loob mo, pero parang hindi na yata ikaw ‘yung nakakasama namin dati. Ganyan ba talaga pag-artista?’
This isn’t a new conversation, especially in the realm of show business. We’ve heard it all before: A neophyte replete of pomp and circumstance gets a shot at the elusive crack of fame, settles into a comfortable sense of thriving, and despite all fair warning and best efforts, succumbs to perils of the industry. Now, not everyone falls for this inescapable quagmire, but once a line has been crossed it can prove to be difficult to break free from, which Ronnie Alonte found out the hard way. “Naisip ko, oo nga ‘no? Tinry ko talaga ibalik kung sino talaga ako sa loob ko, kasi hindi mo naman mapapansin ‘yun sa sarili mo. Meron talagang sasampal sa’yo ng katotohanan at magpapa-realize sa’yo sa paligid mo,” he offers. At the very least, this happened very early on, so he wasn’t as deeply entrenched in the fame so to speak. Conversely, getting out of it wasn’t easy, but it was something that he still had control over. He could still do something about it—and he very well did.
“Si Ronnie kasi, kahit saan pwede mo siyang dalhin, sa mababang lugar, sa mataas na lugar, kahit saan makikisama, nagpapakain ako sa mga mahihirap at sa may sakit. ‘Yun ako eh, kailangan ko lagi tumulong, hindi suplado, hindi tumatakbo sa tao,” he muses. “‘Yung sinasabi nila na si Ronnie, mayabang, suplado, hindi namamansin, hindi naman talaga totoo. Ako, hangga’t maari, gusto ko lahat napagbibigyan. Hindi mo nga lang alam kung paano lahat mapagbibigyan, pero kung kaya naman, bakit hindi? Sabihan na nila ako sa kung ano, pero ‘wag lang ‘yung nagbago na ako. Hindi pa nga ako kinikilala, nahusgahan na ako agad,” he explains. “‘Di ko na lang pinapansin, kasi ‘pag nakilala mo naman ako, feeling ko magbabago naman ang tingin nila sa akin, ‘yun lang.”
There is no circumventing this, he knows he tripped and messed up. But unlike others who would rather write it off to circumstance or just let things pass and chalk it to just how things are with a non-committal shrug, Ronnie Alonte took ownership, and turned things around before things got out of hand. It doesn’t weigh on him as much, as he looks at it as a learning curve, a necessary lesson he needed to realize. Everyone goes through it; he just stared it down and turned it to an advantage he could spring forward from.
Trust In The Process
With a little over four years of tenure in the industry, Ronnie Alonte no longer sees himself as a newbie, a relatively tenured stay he takes to heart, especially when it comes to wide-eyed up-and-comers. “Sinasabi ko sa kanila, hindi niyo kailangan sumabay sa porma, sa kilos, kasi hindi kayo kakagatin ng tao sa ganun lang. Kelangan magpakilala kayo kung sino ka muna, dun din ako nanggaling eh. Ako, nag-start ako na mga kalahating taon ako sa showbiz, fake ‘yung sapatos ko na pinangsasayaw ko, ‘yung mga damit ko mga luma na, pero kasi dun ko napakita na para lang ako sila, normal lang na tao,” he recalls. “Kailangan talaga siya, lalo na ngayon. Nung una, siyempre hindi, kasi baguhan ka, wala pa akong alam. Pero siyempre, natutunan ko din sa industriya na alagaan ‘yung sarili ko, lalo na sa hygiene. Hindi ako maselan sa buhok, sa katawan, sa suot, kung ano lang talaga, pero kahit tamad ako, I make sure na I keep my face clean and nagpapabango ako. Importante din kasi ang impression na iniiwan sa mga tao eh.”
This amount of self-care is perhaps the reason why out of the many victories he has charted in his career thus far, he counts his being part of Blackwater a blessing he only once dreamed of making a reality. “Ang sarap sa pakiramdam na ‘yung dati mong nakikita sa mall na Blackwater, ‘yung tinitingnan mo lang dati, binibili mo para sa sarili mo, magiging bahagi ka na nito. ‘Yun ‘yung maganda doon, hindi mo kailangan mag-expect, pero ibibigay sa’yo ni Lord ‘yung dapat for you,” he says, beaming. “Nakakatawa kasi parang pwede na ako magbenta ng Blackwater. ‘Yung mga tropa ko, pinsan ko, mga teammates ko, tuwang-tuwa sila ‘pag nakakapag-bigay ako ng Blackwater. Tapos ginagamit talaga nila, hinahanap talaga nila sa akin, at may mga favorites sila. Ngayon pa meron na silang bagong BB Cream at Facial Wash na magiging part na ng routine ko na pwede ko na din i-share sa mga kaibigan ko, na eto, mas makakatulong sa itsura nila na pinapakita sa ibang tao. Hindi ako expert, pero sa proseso, natututo na din ako.”
If there’s anything to be learned about growing up in the business, whatever that corner of the world may be, is that things are a process, which consequently take time. No one starts out as an expert or the greatest. In fact, those stars easily fizzle and fade out over time, and those that persist are those with the good sense to really go through the motions and learn the ins and outs, minding every swerve and curve, no matter the ruling speed.
This is perhaps why despite going through what he has, and once the presumptions have moved well past the surface level, there remains a winsome quality to Ronnie Alonte. His honesty, his sliver of vulnerability makes him real, and in effect, aspirational for his adoring public. He may want to slick off the tricks and trails that come with the package of fame, but he knows he has a responsibility, which he intends to make good on, now more than ever.
“Masaya kasi hindi naman ako nabigo, kumbaga lahat ng mga pangarap ko natupad, unti-unti ko siyang nabubuo,” he muses. “Pangarap ko kasi dati nung una, sabi ko sa sarili ko, makapag-aral lang ako talaga, kukuha ako dito ng tuition. ‘Yung ineexpect ko na ganon, dinagdagan pa ni God. ‘Yung pangarap ko na matulungan pamilya ko, natulungan ko; magka-bahay ‘yung kapatid ko sa ibang bansa, nabili ko; may bahay ako dito na matatapos na; tapos ‘yung dream car ko, nabili ko na. Pero hindi pa dapat nagtatapos, dapat tuloy-tuloy na. Ang gusto ko magkaroon naman ng negosyo—pang-future talaga.”
Make no mistake about it, he is extremely grateful for the opportunities that have been thrown his way. With every possibility, he turns into a tangible triumph that the high doesn’t go to any waste. But he wants something more, which years down the road might not involve the cacophony that is show business. “Kung tutuusin, gusto ko ‘tong trabaho ko, pero hindi ko siya nakikita na ‘yung tipong may pamilya na ako, ayoko mag-artista na. Gusto ko sa pag-a-artista dito ko iipunin ‘yung future ko, dito gagawin ‘yung mga pangarap ko. ‘Pag nagawa ko ‘yun, lalayo na ako, magsa-sariling buhay na ako. ‘Yung magiging pamilya ko, magiging anak ko, ayoko na madamay sa buhay showbiz kasi alam ko kung gaano ito kahirap,” he details. “Madalas nga kapag mag isa lang ako, nagmumuni ako. Minsan masaya ako, minsan hindi. ‘Pag nasa bahay ako, mapapaisip ka talaga: Bakit ba ako nandito? Siguro kaya ako nandito kasi ayaw ako mahirapan ni Lord. Napaka-swerte namin sa trabaho namin, sa nagagawa namin. Masaya kasi nakikilala ka ng mga tao, minsan malungkot kasi hindi ka pwedeng kumilos ng gaya ng dati. Hindi siya perfect, pero kelangan aware ka talaga.”
As somber as it sounds, it reveals an earnest side to the young man. Here he is, at the brink of so many more great things, on top of already enviable milestones, but he knows what he wants for himself, and in a world of fleeting permanence, he is focusing on building stability, longevity well beyond the horizon of his career today. It is admirable, especially in an age where everyone wants to be seen and heard, that all he wants is to relegate to the still, the quiet of a life still unknown to him.
“Feeling ko tumanda na ako sa industriya,” he says laughing. It sounds something the world exasperates day in and out, but it is true. There is some dog years effect to it, with the years multiplying exponentially. While it is a statement laced in self-deprecating humor, it fully realizes what Ronnie Alonte has become: a wise young man who is the captain of his own ship, steering it full throttle to a future that is all him.