'Filipino Mr. Bean' brings joy to kids and a message of hope this Christmas

Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Dec 25 2019 10:35 PM

Mr. Bean impersonator Roger Ocampo. Anjo Bagaoisan, ABS-CBN News

MANILA—Roger Ocampo, 60, has the look from head to toe. Brown slacks, tweed jacket and a red tie. Plus the right comb of hair and the right facial expression. 

And he's got Teddy, that button-eyed bear who can never be separated from its owner. It even moves through a makeshift mechanism installed by Roger. 

Both look and toy combine into Roger's take on the British comedic legend, Mr. Bean. It's one he's been at for a decade. 

And while Bean's real-life actor Rowan Atkinson has not done any tours in the Philippines, Roger channels him to deliver laughs to Filipino kids, especially at Christmastime. 

But behind his performance is a message that goes beyond the season. 

'JUST IMITATE HIM' 

It all started, Roger said, when his workmates at the state-owned Philippine Amusements and Gaming Corporation (PAGCOR) noticed his resemblance to Mr. Bean. 

Millennials and older ones know Mr. Bean from his live action series, while younger generations are familiar with him through the animated Disney spin-off. 

"May nagbiro sa akin na nilagyan ako ng nunal. 'Gayahin mo na lang', kako. Pinag-aralan ko. Kasi kahit hindi pa ako Mr. Bean, talagang matulungin ako sa bata," he said. 

(Someone joked that all I needed was to place a 'mole' on my face. They told me to just imitate him, so I studied his work. And even before I became Mr. Bean, I was really helpful with children.)

Roger even has on standby the musical scoring of both Bean series—the choir-led "Ecce Homo" intro of the live action version—and the ragtime piano-inspired theme from the animation. They're played from a portable speaker he attaches to his belt during performances. 

A former seaman and taxi driver, he could have joined a TV look-alike contest and made money from his talent. 

Roger with Aeta children at an outreach in Angeles, Pampanga.  Roger Ocampo

Instead, as Mr. Bean, Roger has entertained sick, out-of-school and street children in hospitals and shelters in Metro Manila and elsewhere. 

Often, he is invited by private groups and even law enforcers to join community outreach activities, where he leads the giving of presents to children. 

This has even taken him to the mountains, such as when he performed for indigenous Aeta children in Pampanga province. 

He said he joins the gigs without asking for a talent fee. 

"I'm doing it for the glory of God. Ang ipinapakilala ko rito ay kagandahang-loob ng Diyos na nariyan siya para ibigay ang mga pangangailangan ng mga kabataang ito. Bigyan lang sila ng simpleng ngiti, sila ay anghel na sa mata ng Diyos."

(I'm introducing them to God's grace, which is there to give these children what they need. We make them smile, since they are angels in God's eyes.)

'THANK YOU, JESUS' 

Hours before the clock strikes 12 on Christmas eve, Roger and his family gather the children from their own neighborhood in General Trias, Cavite to give them gifts too. 

There are games and dances for around 80 kids who showed up. 

He said they had to do the activity at their subdivision's covered court since there wasn't enough space outside their house. 

While the children he performs to love his routine, Roger said his own two kids, a boy aged 17 and a girl aged 10, have grown to accept it as a part of their life. 

After the gifts are distributed, Roger calls the children together to say the words "Thank you, Jesus". 

"[I explain to the kids], those gifts right here [are] not from Mr. Bean, it's from God. So you have to thank Jesus, for Jesus is giving these gifts." 

Their small family saves what they can so they can buy the presents, he said. 

It can be a challenge, especially during the 3 years he lost his job at PAGCOR after he was charged with stealing money. But he won the case up to the Supreme Court, resulting in his reinstatement in 2018. 

He said, during that difficult time, they had to sell street food to make ends meet, but he said their needs were met. 

Roger remembers this when he continues to make youngsters smile. 

"God said, 'Hindi ko kayo bibigyan ng suliranin sa inyong balikat na hindi niyo kayang pasanin'. Ang Diyos ang nangako nito. 

"Lahat tayo dumadaan diyan sa suliranin sa buhay, but never forget God, because ang sabi ng Panginoon, 'Ask anything in Jesus's name and I will give you everything you need'.

"Huwag mawalan ng pag-asa na kayo'y tutulungan, kayo'y babangon muli. 'Yan ay mga pagsubok lamang." 

(God said, 'I will not give you trials more than you can handle'. God promised that. 

(We all go through problems in life, but we must not forget God, because he said, 'Ask anything in Jesus's name and I will give everything you need'.

(Do not lose hope that you will find help, that you will recover. Those are just trials.)

It's an everyday lesson that, he says, is not just for children, but more so for adults who need to be children at heart.