Starweek Magazine

The Bobby and Ramon Show

- Michele T. Logarta -
Roberto "Bobby" de Ocampo lets out a hearty laugh. Our interview had gotten around to Bobby’s 1998 run for the Senate, where he sang, played the guitar (both of which he does better than average) and even danced on the campaign stage. Before that he was one of the trio of "de’s" considered presidentiable (the other two, de Venecia and de Villa, did run for president that year). But elective office was not to be for Bobby de Ocampo, hence the statement.

He is back in the private sector as president of the Asian Institute of Management–and has no immediate plans of re-joining government. Just last December he was offered the finance portfolio by the Arroyo government, but he declined.

"First of all, I didn’t think there was anything wrong with (Secretary of Finance Jose) Camacho and secondly, I had commitments to my present job at aim," he explains. "I’m in the academe now but I’m still in development work, the development of human resources. At the same time, I’m involved in various development work, regionally and worldwide." Specifically, de Ocampo is in the thick of a project in the Mekong River area in Indochina and that keeps him very busy. "I’ve been in government for such a long time, I thought I’d like to contribute to Philippine society from another perspective."

For the past week and a half and until the end of the month, Bobby is basking in his role as father of Ramon de Ocampo, actor in the play, The Romance of Magno Rubio, which played to sell-out crowds last week and is scheduled for more shows this week (from July 23 to 27) at the CCP’s black box theater Tanghalang Huseng Batute. (Tickets, if you can get any, are priced at P400.)

This is the first time Ramon is performing before a Manila audience. The play comes with a host of Obie (Off-Broadway) Awards, which it won last May, including awards for playwright Lonnie Carter, director Loy Arcenas, lyricist Ralph Peña and the cast of five actors, including Ramon. The play is presented by the award-winning Fil-Am theater group from New York, Ma-Yi Theater, and is part of the on-going Sangandaan Festival which examines and celebrates a century of Philippine-American relations. The play’s Philippine premiere, held last Wednesday, was sponsored by the US Embassy in Manila.

Ramon takes on two roles in the play: the voice of Clarabelle, the white American woman that the central character Magno Rubio falls in love with through a lonely hearts column in a magazine, and the character named Atoy. The play is set in California in the 1930s and is adapted from a story by Carlos Bulosan about a lonely, illiterate Filipino farm worker who toils in the fields all day and pays someone to write love letters to a woman he’s never met.

"It’s really very John Steinbeck," Ramon says. "This is the first time I’m performing here and I’m really excited because I have a lot of family here and this is a special and beautiful show."

Father and son de Ocampo are an odd but fun pair, as our photographer found out on a shoot at the Cultural Center the day after Ramon flew in from New York with his girlfriend Amy Danielson. We barely had time for the photo shoot and interview before Ramon was called to rehearsals for Magno Rubio.

Bobby moved his family–wife Carolina La’O and children Ramon and Anna Monica–to the US in 1978 when he joined the World bank as a Senior Loan Officer. Two other children–Jaime Ignacio and Regina Cristina–were added to the family there. In February 1987, Bobby came back to the Philippines to join the government of Cory Aquino.

"I was with the World Bank at the time, for about 10 years already until the Cory Administration persuaded me to come for what I thought would be a short period of time to help straighten out the economy," he explains; his wife and children though continued to live in Virginia. "Of course, one thing led to another and what was supposed to be a short stay became endless. But as fate would have it, many of the responsibilities I was given required my going back and forth between here and Washington DC and New York. So its not as if I

vuukle comment











  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with