Metro Safe & Sound 3: What Lockdown Life Has Taught Ogie Alcasid
"Our values have changed drastically for the better. I used to think we already have good values but no! I think God is telling us to really fix our values and to really take stock of what is important in your life," he says
As Metro Manila inches its way to 90 days of life under quarantine, Ogie Alcasid asks his kapwa Pinoys the million dollar question:
"Kapag tayo may trabaho ‘di ba, uwing-uwi lagi tayo?" he starts.
"But now, we had three months just spending a lot of time with the family, getting to know each other, bonding, doing everything in the house," he continues.
It's a similar story told by many Filipino families, who—likely for the first time in all their lives—are spending time together with no other agenda other than to talk with each other, share meals together, laugh together, find hope together, exist together, and yes, worry together, too. After all, these are worrisome times the world lives in and no family has been spared from the uncertainties that a post COVID-world holds.
And yet, Ogie isn't exactly complaining; more than anything, he feels gratefulness for experiencing all the things that life under lockdown has brought—the good, and the bad—while he's at home with family. He would have been singing to quite a different tune should he have been quarantined elsewhere away from his wife and fellow singer, Regine Velasquez-Alcasid, and everyone else nearest and dearest to him.
He's choosing to focus on the positive things because it's true, even with a pandemic in full force, there are blessings if we looked hard enough for them.
For Ogie, one blessing rises above all others: "The house, finally, has become a home again."
In fact, just a few days ago, the award-winning OPM legend shared yet another glimpse of life inside the Alcasid-Velasquez headquarters with no less than a couple of photos and a video of him taking a dip in their pool, playing around with two child-sized donut floaties.
It was silly sight, but nonetheless a welcome respite not just from the heat of summer's tail end, but also from the stresses of quarantine living. Let Ogie remind you to take things lightly from time to time to keep negativity at bay!
"S'yempre kaming dalawa, lagi lang kaming tawa nang tawa, but we do have very serious conversations and I think in this pandemic, this has been the most that we’ve had and it’s a blessing," Ogie reflects. As for the rest of his family, they're doing well, too.
Leila and Nate are doing what they can to also make it through, but despite their reassurances, Ogie as a father still makes sure he gives them his full attention and checks in on them from time to time.
"We give each other a lot of hugs and just try to keep everybody’s energy up by cheering each other," he says.
Regine celebrated her 50th birthday under quarantine last month, and they had a blast! It wasn't ideal, but this family just goes to show us all that when it comes to special days, who you're surrounded by means way more than where or how the occasion is held.
On most days, though, Ogie isn't just letting his child-like self out to play; his professional, domesticated, creative, and spiritual sides are each getting their even shares in the spotlight, giving a new meaning to work-life balance.
Taking the time to shift priorities and making the most of the time in his hands have been the best personal COVID-19 crisis antidote he's discovered; there's really not a lot of binge-watching, bumming around, or lying about in this house contrary to what Ogie's fans might be imagining. (Couch potatoes, beware!).
To replace the void left by the cancellations of live performances, guest appearances, and in-person recording sessions, Ogie has come up with a pretty impressive roster of activities including, but limited to, regularly singing online for fundraisers, hosting a Monday Facebook show called Mondays With Kuya O that allows him to engage with fans who have written him letters, and yes, keeping up with house chores, too, now that he has all the time to do so.
It truly would have been a charmed life, this life, if everything Ogie was up to these days were the same (minus the risk of catching a life-threatening disease, of course).
But aside from solid family time that make up Ogie's personalized antidote, its other two most potent ingredients are unsurprisingly his unwavering faith and his lifelong love of music.
"Our values have changed drastically for the better. I used to think we already have good values but no! I think God is telling us to really fix our values and to really take stock of what is important in your life. And of course, that’s family. Our faith and nothing is forever," he shares.
Ogie has even found a way to put his faith and music together to create a beautiful kaleidoscope of art inspired by the Divine, something he wouldn't have had time for had he not been mandated to stay home.
"I really have so much passion and love for writing songs. [I'm] trying to do better all the time... I haven’t stopped writing songs, but they’re more Christian, inspirational songs, which I will be releasing very soon," he shares.
It's not unusual for, well, unusual times to bring out fresh and undiscovered facets of artists like Ogie, and as he tries his hand at Christian songwriting, he gives his fans something to look forward to!
Enter Regine, who Ogie has described as both his number one fan and his biggest critic (a critic who doesn't really critique, he teases) to make sure that fans' expectations aren't just met, but exceeded.
"I know when she really likes the song and I ask her to sing it with me playing on the piano and I get a lot of feedback from her. I really trust her instincts and her taste in music and it’s always been like that. She really inspires me," he says about his wife who he also calls "the greatest Filipino singer who ever lived."
Think of their combined creative efforts as an ode to God—the source of Ogie and his family's strength and bright outlook in spite of everything.
"Positivity comes from not only thinking positive, because that can only do so much, but [also] knowing and acknowledging that there is someone else who is more powerful than us, who is in control. And that’s God. And during this pandemic, I think our faith’s gone stronger and I think that goes for everybody else," Ogie says.
Ogie manages to crack a smile, and the occasional joke, for the most part.
But just like the millions of Filipinos carrying all sorts of burdens on their shoulders, he stops to ponder about what tomorrow, next month, or even next year will be once in a while, genuinely wondering if things will ever be like what they used to be.
He misses tours, his parents (who he can't physically visit and hug, given their risky status as senior citizens), and life as he knew it, and what makes it a hundred times more difficult to bear is how he can only sigh deeply, knowing that he has no control over what comes next.
The ordinary person might buckle from anxiety with the thought of this, but Ogie is no ordinary person; he's one propped up by undiluted faith, surrounded by love, and propelled to move forward by the belief that all this serves a purpose—a person we could all learn from.
"I think during this time that we are going through something like this, the only thing that we can hold onto is hope. Yes, we can use our faith. But sometimes it’s hard, especially kapag medyo mabigat ang pinagdadaanan. Medyo mahirap minsan," Ogie admits.
"So let’s hold on to the hope, which will lead us to the faith and obviously which will lead us to Jesus Christ. A lot of stories in the bible say that people have been sheltered for many years and after that sheltering, something beautiful happened. And so during this sheltering, we will be better people," he ends.
Watch Ogie Alcasid's performance for Metro Safe & Sound 3: The Best of OPM 90s - 2000s below:
Catch other performances by The Company, South Border, Joey G, and Regine Velasquez-Alcasid on Metro.Style's YouTube channel.
Photos from @ogiealcasid