THRILLMAKER: The real pandemic story of Daryl Ong

Published February 21, 2021, 7:20 AM

by Joee Guilas

Daryl Ong

It’s almost been a year since the country was put on varying levels of quarantine classifications, each one saying basically the same thing: stay locked inside your homes lest catch the deadly virus.  While such restrictions enabled most of us to somehow keep ourselves safe from the potentially lethal illness brought about by the health scourge, these also led to the rise of an equally alarming concern that threatened another aspect of our state of health—one that attacked our mental fitness.  And it spared no one.  Including people we look up to, showbiz royalties and even top hitmakers.

One of those who admitted to have gone through a most challenging pandemic experience is RNB artist Daryl Ong, who I bumped into during the Lyka Celebrity Dinner at Resorts World Manila’s Casa Buenas recently: “Nung unang mga buwan naging struggle talaga.  Especially for us artists, we’re used to flying in and out of the country and sa iba’t ibang parts din ng Pilipinas.  Then all of a sudden, bawal na kaming magperform.  Mahirap siyang i-process.  Parang nawalan kami ng purpose.”

The abrupt halts in what used to be his full and hectic professional schedule as well as his longtime dream to build a house for his beloved mother became reasons enough for the OPM balladeer to fall into depression: “Ang dami kong plans na naudlot lahat.  Syempre ang dami kong work na nawala.   Nung mag-lockdown in March, we were supposed to have a concert nung March 20, na-postpone.  Until now, we’re not sure kung matutuloy pa yun,” he laments. 

“Naging moody ako eh.  Minsan ok ako, minsan parang hindi ako nakikipag-usap or I don’t feel like doing livestreaming.  Ayoko makipag-interact,” Ong adds.

Having to cope with all the challenges that the pandemic brought to both his personal and professional plans, he turned to a new, alternative platform that is seen by many as the way to go for entertainers under the so-called new normal.

“Buti na lang nagkaroon ng mga streaming platforms and then we found a way to reach out to our supporters and fans.   Eventually, nakapag-adjust din kami performing sa mga live-stream.  Wala namang ibang way na harapin itong crisis na ito, other than being resilient.  You need to be adaptable and versatile as an artist.  Kahit anong venue, kaya mong mag-perform,” he recalls.

The 33-year old Ong has recently signed with VIVA and is expected to soon collaborate with the studio’s roster of talents: “I’m looking forward na maka-collaborate yung mga new artists ng VIVA saka yung mga well-established ones like Sarah Geronimo.  Meron kaming pina-plano na online show with VIVA sa Youtube channel ko by April,” he reveals.

From the looks of it, with his renewed energy and drive, Daryl Ong fans truly have a lot to look forward to as far as his career is concerned.  In fact, they better brace themselves to see more of the artist, both literally and figuratively. 

“I decided to rebrand in a way.  Because of the pandemic, maraming naging health conscious.  Kailangan mag-exercise.  Naging way din sya sa akin para ma-motivate na mag-focus sa fitness.   So I’m rebranding na naka-focus sa fitness and music.  Tingin ko hindi na magiging hidden yung fitness, kailangan magpa-abs na tayo ng todo,” Ong teases.

That we got to see!