Orestes Ojeda: Finding his right place through art

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Orestes Ojeda, local showbiz's former premier sexy-serious actor, diverted his attention from movies to selling art pieces. Since then, he never looked back.


It is rare to find anactor who combines sensuality with substance in the depth and intensity of hisperformances. One fine example is Orestes Ojeda.

Orestes-Luis Pagalilauanin real life-was only 20-years-old when he was persuaded by the late director andgood family friend Joey Gosengfiao to join show business. He was formallyintroduced as a supporting actor in Ariel Oreta's Zoom Zoom Superman in 1974.

"I just tried it. Saakin naman, parang laro-laro lang kasi nag-aaral pa ko no'n, and I was a basketballvarsity player kaya I was more focused towards that goal," fondly recalledOrestes in a casual interview over snack with Philippine Entertainment Portal(PEP).

As it turned out, Orestesgravitated towards the camera, rather than going professional on the hard court.Showbiz became a full-time career for the Philippine School of BusinessAdministration alumnus.

More films followed inthe ‘70s and ‘80s after his debut: Pop-eyeAtbp., Isang Gabi, Tatlong Lalaki; Ang Boyfriend Kong Baduy, May Isang Tsuperng Taxi, Dingding Lang ang Pagitan, and Ishmael Bernal's 1980 classic Manila by Night, among many others.

He was known then as asexy-yet-serious actor and the fact that he possessed both the physique andsensitivity seldom found in other actors during the time paid reaped greatdividends for his career.

Aside from working withsome of the best film directors, Orestes also had the chance to brandish hisacting chops together with Amalia Fuentes, Celia Rodriguez, Gina Pareno,Barbara Perez, Helen Gamboa, Ma. Isabel Lopez, and Lorna Tolentino.

But perhaps Orestes'sbiggest break happened in 1985 when he was cast alongside Anna Marie Gutierrezand Daniel Fernando for Peque Gallaga's masterpiece, Scorpio Nights.

CHANGING FIELDS. Unlike other actors, Orestes waswise enough to know that fame, as well as the job itself, is fleeting.

Since the ‘80s, he wasalready a great fan of the other arts-most notably, painting-and that simpleadulation of the medium eventually blossomed into a full-time hobby.

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"Mahilig lang talagaakong tumingin-tingin and nag-i-enjoy akong bumili and mag-collect ng mga artpieces," Orestes said.

Orestes's passion forpainting made him an ardent student of its various forms and types—andinterestingly—even its authenticity. His knowledge ultimately equipped him tomake a living out of it, not as a painter, but as a businessman throughauctions and trade. Consequently, this passion diverted his attention away fromthe silhouette world, and he chose instead to appear only sporadically onscreen.

He clarified though hedidn't change route in a conscious effort for material gain.

"Hindi naman...Hindiko naman talaga inisip na I'll be making something out of it. Talagangnagkataon lang na napunta ako sa ganun which is very rewarding naman." he explained.

He soon hooked up withfellow art connoisseurs and opened Art Xchange gallery at Glorietta mall in Makati City.Last December, he opened another art gallery, this time the family-owned ArtVerité located in Serendra, FortBonifacio, Taguig.

TRANQUILEXISTENCE.At present, the premier sexy actor of the ‘80s is living a serene andcomfortable life away from showbiz's helter-skelter, which perfectly suitsOrestes' quiet and reserved nature.

"I love being anactor but I'm not the type who [would] really go out and chat with the press orthe reporters, kaya hindi din ako kilala nung iba. Tahimik kasi ako, and Idon't usually engage sa mga showbiz functions. Not that I have anything againstit, wala lang talaga sa nature ko."

But, for all the changesin his life, would he still be much open to possible offers from producers?

"Kung meron and oknaman, why not?" Orestes simply answered with a smile.

The last movie heappeared in was Aubrey Miles's horror flick Sanibin 2003. Prior to that, he was also seen in Vilma Santos's Dekada '70 and Regal Entertainment's Mano Po 2.

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One good thing about hissituation now is that he can afford to slow down, relax, and enjoy the fruitsof his labor, while still keeping his options unwrapped.

"I don't want tostress my life too much, to the point na hindi mo na nakikita and nai-enjoymost the things that truly matter," Orestes, who also dabbles inmeditation and sports, reasoned.

"It's nice to striveto have a comfortable life, but for me, hindi naman dapat ‘yon ang magingfocus. You still have to make sure na balance lang lahat. Sa dulo, wala dinnaman lahat ng materyal na bagay."


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