MANILA, Philippines - Like his acting cycle, veteran actor Ernie Garcia’s spirituality has gone full circle.
Baptized as a Roman Catholic and having studied in Christian schools, Garcia at one time turned to George Sison’s Temple of Prayer, Peace and Prosperity where he shared a vision of so-called magical mysteries of the universe with Sison himself, actors Dina Bonnevie, Juan Rodrigo, Marissa Delgado, Romano Vasquez, awarded production designer Edel Templonuevo, and the late Tita Muñoz.
“I didn’t leave George’s fellowship but had to try another spiritual activity not entirely different from the beliefs of his Temple,” clarified Garcia.
For the past ten months or so, Garcia has been joining Filipino Buddhists in incantations at a temple somewhere near Timog Avenue in Quezon City.
As a matter of fact, Garcia just came from the said temple before our interview and was heading back again there after our appointment.
“There are many benefits derived from Buddhism,” the actor admitted.
“Ang daming nagagawa ngayon sa career ko aside from painting and selling my art pieces,” testified the former sexy actor.
He reiterated, though, that his Buddhism is totally different from the more popular one which calls for meditation.
“Here, we chant. We do chanting to cast away bad spirits or bring in good ones,” he qualified.
Garcia invested in an entertainment export promotion business a few years ago. When the government banned the practice of bringing Filipino talents to Japan, business activity slowed down and he lost all his possessions.
“I was devastated. I lost millions and I didn’t know where to start all over again until a friend of mine introduced me to Buddhism. Since that time it has been working for my benefits,” he said.
Recently, he was attacked by an unknown force. Garcia recalled, “I was asleep and suddenly I woke up in the middle of the night. I couldn’t move my body, my hands and my arms. I was conscious, though. Nakapikit ako pero I was aware of what’s happening around. I was like gripping the railings of my bed. Suddenly, I just chanted and after a while, I could move my whole body again.”
He had a show with singer Dessa some six months ago in Singapore when a household member called informing him of a fire razing their subdivision in Antipolo City. “Sabi ko sa sarili, 'Wala na. Masusunog na bahay namin.' But I chanted just the same. When I came home after a few hours, I was relieved [to find out] my house was spared from the raze. It was just one house away,” Garcia recounted.
He recently staged a musical concert last August 28 at Mukahari on Leon Guinto Street in Singalong, Manila.
“Not everyone knows I sing. But I started in showbiz as a singer and [it was only] later [when I began] my acting career. But with chanting, the voice I have to muster has been very fluid and I think it will last me a lifetime,” he quipped.
He performed at the concert with young singer Champagne Morales, the only daughter of veteran actress Dinah Dominguez, and the Wow Band. Garcia sang pop, jazz, and danceable tunes.