Ice Seguerra on child star life: Nothing traumatic, only fond memories

Nathalie Tomada - The Philippine Star
Ice Seguerra on child star life: Nothing traumatic, only fond memories
Singer-songwriter and director Ice Seguerra will celebrate his 35th year in the entertainment industry with a concert titled Becoming Ice on Oct. 15 at The Theatre at Solaire.

MANILA, Philippines — When Ice Seguerra celebrates his 35th year in showbiz with a concert titled Becoming Ice on Oct. 15 at The Theatre at Solaire, it will be an intimate yet encompassing look into the journey to his “authentic” self as a person, artist and member of the LGBTQ community.

“I was formerly known as Aiza Seguerra. Becoming Ice is also a journey, career-wise and personal life-wise. That’s what it’s all about. I want to show during the concert how I became who I am now,” Ice told The STAR during a recent interview.

Ice decided to do a concert, which he also directs and produces with wife, former Film Development Council of the Philippines head Liza Diño, after forgoing one on his 30th year because he was in government service at that time.

“On my 35th, napag-usapan namin ni Liza, that we should do something because if you look at the trajectory of my career, I started in the industry as a beauty queen (laughs), it’s true naman. Then I became a singer. And then now, it’s another journey for me as a director. I’m going around, balik ako sa dati, so it’s really something to celebrate,” he said.

“With my personal life, a lot also has happened as an LGBTQ person. Marami din akong naging milestones. So, that’s something to be celebrated.

“At the same time, with the pandemic and all, these milestones in your life should be celebrated. That’s what I’ve learned because you never know when’s the next chance you will get (to do) it.”

Becoming Ice boasts of a line-up of industry icons — Vic Sotto, Martin Nievera, Gary Valenciano, Regine Velasquez, Chito Miranda, the Tres Marias of Bayang Barrios, Cooky Chua and Lolita Carbon, and more — who all played an important role in Ice’s life through the years.

The repertoire will include hits plus carefully chosen songs with the intention of weaving his story. “This 35th has to be authentically me,” Ice said.

The concert will showcase archival footage from his beginnings at Eat Bulaga, the sitcom Okay Ka Fairy Ko, among others, because a big part of who Ice is now is his days as the country’s top child star.

Ice, who turned 39 last Sept. 17, has been having a blast bringing out old photos and articles from that period well-archived by his mom Caridad.

“Tawang-tawa ako (kasi) may ‘pagka atribida pala ako?” he mused. “I really, really enjoy watching my younger self, siguro kasi ang layo na, parang oh my God ganito pala ako nuon! I was looking at all the photos because we will be showing (them), natutuwa ako. I’ve seen the old writeups and interviews. May nakita akong (writeup) na may sinagot ako tungkol kay Matet. Sinagot ko siya na, ‘Hindi naman salbahe si Matet, mataray lang.’ Mga ganyang sagot, ‘di ba atribida?” he laughingly said, referring to former “rival” child star Matet de Leon.

Ice was first discovered for showbiz after winning Eat Bulaga’s Little Miss Philippines at three years old. Before that, the precocious Aiza Seguerra was already joining sagalas and regaling people in his old neighborhood in Dapitan, Manila with his antics.

His mom was then egged on by friends to let Aiza join the popular kiddie pageant of the noontime show. “Kasi ang ginagawa ko daw nung bata pa ako, wala namang yaya na pag-iiwanan, so dala-dala ako ni Mommy sa palengke, iiwanan niya ako sa stand ng ninang ko. Tapos pagbalik niya dun, ang dami ko na daw gulay, isda kasi nag-pe-perform ako dun. Yung mga namamalengke nagbibigay sa akin ng mga pa-isda (laughs)!

“It all started there. I was never shy when it came to performing as a kid. Even a hairbrush, I’d sing to it. Even in the office of my daddy, I’d sing. So ayun pinasali nila ako.”

He remembered when they went to the office of TAPE, Inc. which produces Eat Bulaga, they arrived too early at 8 a.m., and were told by the security guard to return after the end of the program. “But my mommy said, if we leave now, we will no longer come back.”

They were made to wait in a canteen and there, Ice put on a show again. Before he knew it, he scored an audition.

Photos show Ice Seguerra as a precocious child star, often accompanied by his Mommy Caridad ‘Caring’ Seguerra. He’s set to retrace his showbiz beginnings in his concert.
Photos from Ice’s Instagram account

He further recalled how supportive his parents — mom Caridad and his late dad Decoroso — became after the initial hesitation.

“One time, my mom had to sit on the stage as I was crying because of the 9 a.m. call time. We were just about to tape, eh pang Friday kami, ang sinimulan na taping ay pang Tuesday, so inip na inip na ako. Eh ako sobrang mommy’s girl nung bata, ‘di ko lang makita mommy ko, my god, iiyak na talaga ako.

“So, my mama would sit on the side while I was taping. During the grand finals, yung Mommy would stay in front so I could see her, while my daddy, siya nag-aayos sa buhok ko. Why my hair was like that — everyone thought I was curly — ang ginagawa ng mommy ko, kasi konti lang hair ko, I had thin hair, nilalagyan ng hairpin then beer so my hair would have ‘body’ (laughs), very old school.”

Ice won the contest with the cash prize of P5,000 and college plan (he got to use it for his studies at the University of Sto. Tomas), after which he plunged into the showbiz world and never looked back. As a bankable child star, he starred in at least 30 movies and TV shows.

Looking back, Ice only had good memories of this time in his life. He said it felt like a big playground with his workmates as playmates. He was also happy with the people he was surrounded with, from Eat Bulaga to Okay Ka Fairy Ko, who admonished him when necessary. “For me, that’s very important because when you grow up in this kind of industry, you will be surrounded by yes men… I feel like the values that they taught me, I still carry them with me,” he said.

Asked about the downsides of working so early in life, he said, “There are always disadvantages. Perhaps, lately ko lang na-realize yun. Habang tumatanda ako, dun ko nakikita na ang tingin ko sa bata minsan parang, magtrabaho ka na rin. May ambag ka na dapat sa bahay, at seven years old, minsan may ganun akong feeling. Then, I’ll suddenly remember, it’s not the norm, I’m the exception, you know what I mean?

“But sometimes, you really can’t help but feel that way. Never din kasi ako nagkaroon ng traumatizing experience. Every time I looked back, they were all fond memories for me. It was fun, at the same time, (I was) earning.”

Nevertheless, if he has any advice to parents of children who want to be artistas, he said, “I liked how my mom made sure I trained. I remember that time I had to train for dancing, singing, acting not too much, but singing and dancing really because my mommy believes that if you’re in this industry, you have to know it all.

“As child actors, we’re just cute for a few years, I mean, (literally) cute pa rin ako hanggang ngayon (laughs) but, you know, cuteness can only go so far. We have to show them that besides being cute, we have something else to offer, we have other talents to give.

“So, to the parents of the young artistas now, it’s very important to have your kids trained because this is work, this is a job, it’s not a hobby. When you enter (this field), you have to know you’re working with professional actors who value their time and their craft as well. Like ako, I don’t want to work with a child actor who doesn’t know how to give it back, parang ganun, dapat batuhan tayo.”

Ice also advised that parents must still act as parents even if their kids are earning and contributing to the family income. “Hindi porke’t kumikita anak niyo, they’re the boss. No. That’s the worst thing you could do when you treat them na parang sila yung nasusunod. They’re still your kids because sa mundo na ito, sobrang lahat ng tao pina-pamper siya, pinapalaki ulo niyan. It’s up to you parents to keep them grounded.

“I swear ‘di niyo magugustuhan ang mangyayari ‘pag hinayaan. Promise, I’ve seen a lot of sad stories na pumasok sa ulo nila yung kasikatan nila — (into) drugs, alcoholics — and we don’t want it to happen, right? This work, if you don’t tread carefully, can actually break you. It’s very important for parents to make sure the child has a strong foundation so that their child can last long in this industry.”

(Tickets to Becoming Ice: The 35th Anniversary Concert on Oct. 15, 8 p.m. at The Theatre at Solaire, under Fire And Ice Media And Productions, are available via Ticketworld.)


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