Eighties matinee idol JC Bonnin mulls over return to showbiz, says he needs to lose weight first

Bagets star and 1980s teen heartthrob JC Bonnin recounts his best and worst times in showbiz: “The best time was when we were filming Bagets. Because it reflected the true story of our lives, where we were at, that’s speaking for myself... The worst time I guess would be when I was judged as being a snob and disrespected my father in public… people who don’t know you personally will form their own opinions


Sa pamamagitan ng Facebook ay nakapanayam ng PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) ang isa sa teen heartthrobs noong dekada ‘80s na si Juan Carlos Bonnin o mas kilala bilang si JC Bonnin.

Sa mga hindi na nakakakilala kay JC Bonnin, una siyang nakilala bilang si Monty sa 1978 drama series na Flordeluna kunsaan bida si Janice de Belen.

Pamangkin si JC ng ‘60s actor na si Bernard Bonnin na nagbida naman sa pelikulang Palos. Sumakabilang-buhay na ito noong 2009.

Pinsan ni JC ang mga anak ni Bernard na sina Charlene Gonzalez-Muhlach at Richard Bonnin.

Pinasok ni JC ang showbiz at lumabas siya sa mga pelikulang Manedyer si Kumander with the late Fernando Poe, Jr., Cross My Heart with Sharon Cuneta, Daddy Knows Best with the late Dolphy, at nagbida siya sa radio-drama-turned-movie na Zimatar.

Pero ang maituturing na breakthrough role ni JC ay sa box-office hit teen flick na Bagets noong 1984 kunsaan nakasama niya sina William Martinez, Raymond Lauchengco, Aga Muhlach, Yayo Aguila, Eula Valdez, Jobelle Salvador, at Herbert Bautista.

Nagkaroon din ito agad ng sequel na Bagets 2 at naisama sa cast sina Ramon Christopher at ang mga yumao nang sina Francis Magalona at Jon-Jon Hernandez.

Nagsunud-sunod nga ang mga pelikulang ginawa ni JC, kabilang na ang Ma’am May We Go Out? (with Tito, Vic & Joey), Ninja Kids, Haunted House at ang huling pelikulang ginawa niya na Kamagong (with Lito Lapid).

Sa telebisyon naman ay isa sa original member si JC ng That’s Entertainment. Nag-branch out din siya sa pag-host ng noontime show na PST: People Staying Tuned at sa musical-sitcom na Star Cafe.

TURNING HIS BACK ON SHOWBIZ. Tinalikuran ni JC ang kanyang promising career bilang actor, singer and TV host noong 1987.

Sa naging panayam ng PEP sa 46-year-old former matinee idol, ilan sa mga rason kung bakit niya tinalikuran ang showbiz ay dahil nalulong siya sa masamang bisyo, at tila may kulang sa kanyang buhay kahit isa na siyang sikat na artista.

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Nahanap daw niya ang mga sagot nang i-commit na niya ang kanyang sarili sa Panginoon.

“I decided to re-commit my life to following Christ.

“Although, I had a successful career... deep inside I felt I was lost and confused.

“I self-medicated, I did drugs and alcohol, and partied a lot to escape the loneliness I was feeling deep inside.

“It was when I was in a relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ that I felt more secure and had hope to live my life in a way that I didn’t need to worry or fear about the future.

“I went to Bible school where I learned more about God and how he relates to us and how I can build a relationship with Him,” kuwento pa ni JC.

BECOMING A PRIEST. Sa London, tuluyang nabago ang spiritual life ni JC. Naging pastor siya roon at nakilala siya bilang si Father Juan. Doon na rin niya nakilala ang kanyang naging asawa.

“The church I was involved in at that time was also on a journey—it was trying to find its own spiritual identity. [It] joined other churches that were on a similar path by re-discovering the ancient roots of Christianity before the great schism took place in the year 1054, wherein the Eastern (Orthodox) and Western (Catholic) churches split like a tree which brought forth many other branches such as the Protestant church in the 1500s through the great Reformation headed by Martin Luther.

“Although I went along this direction, I later realized I was manipulated by fear rather than motivated by love in choosing this path.

“I was ordained a priest as our church came under the apostolic succession of the Catholic Church.

“I served for 17 years and eventually left for personal reasons. I had changed my beliefs which I felt was crucial to my true identity as a Christian.

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“I am now an independent Pastor of a non-denominational community of grace believers in Jesus Christ.”

Naging malaking pagbabago para kay JC ang biglang pag-alis niya sa magulong mundo ng showbiz at ituloy ang kanyang desisyon na magsilbi sa kanilang simbahan.

LIFE AS A NON-CELEBRITY. Naranasan ni JC ang mamuhay nang simple at magtrabaho hindi bilang isang celebrity.

“It was a big change for me when I left showbiz and concentrated on serving our church.

“First, there was a lot of my pride [on my part] that became a real issue.

“For instance, when my money was running out, I was forced to ride the jeepney and I was truly humbled.

“I also did janitorial work at the church—cleaning toilets and running errands besides leading the worship service.

“It really changed my ways and I never regretted a single thing.”

Noong manirahan na siya sa London, iilan lang daw ang may alam na dati siyang artista.

Nagkuwento si JC ng isang insidente na may nakilala siyang isang fan habang nakasakay sila ng tren.

“One time, I was on the train heading home from Central London and I had gotten into a conversation with one passenger and we were discussing about the showbiz industry.

“He had mentioned that his all-time favorite actor was JC Bonnin and I carried on listening to him, thinking how humorous this experience was that he did not have any clue who I was. Later, when I disclosed my identity, the look on his face was just priceless!

“He looked liked one of those people on Candid Camera [isang kilalang TV show]!” natutuwang pag-alala niya.

Naka-base ngayon si JC sa South Orange County, California, USA kasama ang kanyang pamilya.

“I requested a transfer from London to the States as it has long been my desire to move out here.

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“I am a single parent now and I am with my children. Their names are Loren, Austin, Patrick, Isabella, Niko, Michaela, and Maggie.”

Alam daw ng mga anak ni JC na dati siyang matinee idol sa Pilipinas at napapanood daw nila ang mga lumang pelikula niya.

Artistahin din ang mga hitsura ng kanyang mga anak. Papayagan kaya niya ang mga ito kung sakaling subukan din nila ang showbiz?

“That is their decision and I will support whatever it is they would like to pursue.

“I am a good coach and guide for my kids when it comes to attitude towards work," aniya.

GOING BACK TO SHOWBIZ. Sa tanong kung nami-miss ba niya ang showbiz, sagot naman ni JC ay “sometimes.”

Kung may offer nga raw na umarte siya ulit, maaari niyang i-consider ito.

“I will certainly consider it.

“I had a conversation with Kuh Ledesma who was my former manager for a year. She asked if I wanted to come back and work in teleseryes.

“I said yes, but as busy as she is, I’ve not been able to reconnect with her again,” sabi pa ni JC.

Base sa mga photos na naka-post sa Facebook account ni JC, puwedeng-puwede pa siyang mag-artista ulit dahil hindi pa rin nagbabago ang hitsura at pangangatawan nito.

Para nga lang niyang kapatid ang kanyang pitong anak.

“Thank you. But I think I could lose more pounds and get more fit.

“I am health-conscious, so I watch what I eat, and I go on walks and do breathing exercises.”

HAPPY FOR FORMER CO-STARS. Natutuwa naman si JC sa mga narating ng kanyang co-stars sa mga nagawa niyang mga pelikula, lalo na sa pelikulang Bagets dahil nagawa ng mga ito ang mga dating pinapangarap nila.

“I’m really pleased to hear how all my colleagues have achieved their dreams and are successful in their respective fields.

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“I guess if I hadn’t left, I would still be active now like my co-actors.

“I am saddened by the loss of Francis and Jon. They were very special friends I have gotten to know while working together in films.

“I visited Raymond recently in California, the day after he did a show in L.A.

“That was really nice. We’ve all grown up and changed in many ways—physically and in our attitudes,” pag-alala pa ni JC.

Kung tutuusin ay masuwerte nga si JC dahil noong panahon na nagsisimula siya hanggang sa maagang pag-retire niya sa showbiz ay nakatrabaho niya ang mga malalaking artista.

Yun daw ang experience na hindi niya malilimutan kahit kailan.

Ani JC: “I definitely had God’s favor on me... I was elevated to a place that took years for many veteran actors to reach.

“God put me on the fast lane and propelled me forward."

BEST AND WORST TIMES IN SHOWBIZ. Pinag-throwback namin si JC sa kung ano ang best and worst times niya sa mundo ng showbiz.

“The best time was when we were filming Bagets.

The original cast of Bagets (1984): Left to right: JC Bonnin, William Martinez, Raymond Lauchengco, Aga Muhlach, and Herbert Bautista.

“Because it reflected the true story of our lives, where we were at, that’s speaking for myself.

“So it didn’t feel like work. And it was also the best time of my life as a teenager.

Bagets and Ninja Kids were two of the movies I enjoyed doing.

“The worst time I guess would be when I was judged as being a snob and disrespected my father in public.

“Often, reporters see us from the outside, but most people are not aware of the unique dynamic of the close and familiar relationship I had with my dad.”

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Ang ama ni JC na si Gabriel “Gabby” Bonnin ay sumakabilang-buhay na noong nakaaraang August.

“We loved each other dearly and affectionately. But he also knew how to push my buttons when I was not feeling emotionally strong and not able to give people the smile that usually came from my heart.

“So, there was one incident that my lack of response was interpreted as a lack of respect and it was totally blown out of proportion.

“But this is so true when you’re in the public eye, people who don’t know you personally will form their own opinions about you, thinking they got you figured out when they don’t really have a clue.”


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