Philippine television, film and most especially theater lost another brilliant gem of a talent in the person of seasoned actor Ramon “Chinggoy” Alonso who passed on the evening of October 15, 2017 due to colon cancer. He was only 67.
Born on July 22, 1950, Sir Chinggoy, as he was fondly called by most of his colleagues in the showbiz industry and community had a lengthy and full career that spanned more than four decades back in the 1960’s. That is like more than half of his life was already dedicated to acting.
It was in Repertory Theater where Sir Chinggoy portrayed a lot of memorable lead roles in the likes of My Fair Lady, The Sound of Music, Man From La Mancha The Fantasticks, The King and I, Les Miserables, Camelot among many others in the list. REP Phils was established in 1967, the same year as that of PETA (Philippine Educational Theater Association). Both recently celebrated their 50th golden year.
Our West End and Broadway toast Ms Lea Salonga had a chance to share the stage with Sir Chinggoy when they did Repertory Philippines’ 1994 production of My Fair Lady.
Marco Polo: An Untold Love Story was one of his final stage works which was initially mounted in Manila during the 2014-2015 season which also enjoyed playdates in far away Paris.
In television, Sir Chinggoy began working for GMA Network in 1996 via the soap drama, Anna Karenina. This was followed by Pangako Sa 'Yo, his debut teleserye for ABS CBN in 2000. This was followed by many shows through the years. His final TV dramas were in 2016 for GMA's Hahamakin Ang Lahat starring opposite Eula Valdes and this year for the Kapamilya Network's Wildflower where he played a senatorial role.
Sir Chinggoy equally appeared a whole lot in motion pictures that started 1979 in Buhay Artista Ngayon shared-produced by RVQ Productions/Lion Dragon Films. Then came one film after the other in between his theater and TV guestings.
He starred in 2011 for GMA Film's My Valentine Girls and in 2012 for The Healing with Ms Vilma Santos in the lead. Sir Chinggoy's final movie for ABS CBN was Etiquette for Mistresses in 2015. These movies were considered as box office success!
He was one of those character actors that you will either love or hate depending on what character he gets to portray. A very effective and reliable actor's actor. I will miss seeing you on the big and small screen and on the performing stage, Sir Chinggoy...
Ms. Eula Valdes who first worked with Sir Chinggoy when she was just at a tender age of four, was one of those deeply saddened when she learned that his stage and TV father passed on.
Just like her, a lot of Sir Chinggoy's fellow actors have equally fond memories to share because he was such a lovable and endearing person. Very professional and generous in imparting tips and advices on how to last long in the tough world of showbizness.
Here were some of the initial "tributes" for Sir Chinggoy that poured out on Facebook:
Absolutely gutted to hear about the passing of Chinggoy Alonso. Spent thousands of hours onstage with him in scores of productions over the years . He played my father numerous times, brother, son, rival and endless other variations. I distinctly remember him being a playful dad to his young sons backstage between shows and thats always stayed with me. When I started my directing career he was kind enough to let me direct him and did so with with the same respect and grace reserved for more seasoned directors. I knew him as kind, warm, as quiet and reserved offstage as he could be towering and epic on. What an absolute master of his craft. My sincere condolences Ralion.
Rest in Peace, Tito Chinggoy Alonso. You were a true titan and an incomparable presence on the Philippine stage. It was always such an honor to work with you. Much love and condolences to Tita Veda, Ralion, Altair and Mako. (images from Rep's “Don't Dress for Dinner", Shangri-La Plaza, 1993).
I was a schoolgirl awestruck by your Henry Higgins. Honored to have shared the stage with you
RIP Chinggoy Alonso
It was always him that I would see when I was watching plays as a child.
So sad. A great loss we shared the stage thrice- The Merry Widow 1977- Staircase 1977-Marco Polo-2012. Rest In Peace dear friend.
Chinggoy was the fair-haired child of Tita Conching. He lit up the stage with his colorful performances. My sincere condolences to Veda and his children.
May our Lord envelop Chinggoy in His embrace!
What's great loss to Philippine Theater ! Will miss you Chinggoy.
Rest In Peace, Tito Chinggoy... Thank you for the fun on and off stage... we will miss you... Sincere condolences, Tita Veda, Ralion, Altair, and Mako.
The King & I.... At 4 years old, you inspired me to mimic, to project stories onto ourselves and others. Goodbye father dear, rest in peace.
Perhaps not known to all, he was also a poet and put up his own theater group, the Company of Players.
Married to dancer and choreographer (Tita) Veda Bañez Alonso, Sir Chinggoy's precious sons Ralion, Altair and Mako are all in the performing arts as well thanks to the great genes of their exceptional parents.
In the above photo, Sir Chinggoy shared one of his final Facebook posts on the celebration of his 66th birthday a year ago with a grateful caption:
"To those who thoughtfully sent warm greetings on my birthday, my deepest thanks!
Here's a good ol'English ale at a good ol' English pub from a good ol' pa-Englishman... CHEERS TO YOU ALL!!!" --- July 23, 2016
My sincerest condolences Mako... Heaven needed another outstanding poet, director and actor...♥♥♥