Have you ever heard of the man who brings lifeless puppets to life? He does not just playfully stroke them with his magical hands that drive them into a swaying or bouncing motion; he also gives voices to them, as if they are real creatures that have come up on stage with him.
Wan Lu, the Filipino ventriloquist, has made a name in the Philippines through his outstanding talent in making his puppets talk like real people in front of his audiences. He started rising to fame when he performed in TV5’s Talentadong Pinoy, a Philippine talent show, where he received the Hall of Fame award season 1, in year 2009.
Explaining his talent, ventriloquism is under the art of puppetry, Wan Lu started.
Ventriloquism, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is the production of the voice in such a way that the sound seems to come from a source other than the vocal organs of the speaker. It may not be that well-known in the country, but Wan Lu did not hesitate introducing it.
“I’ve always felt that ventriloquism is something unique that I can offer to everyone,” he said. “Now, even the regular Pinoy knows the word ventriloquist,” he added.
He recalled a taho vendor in their neighborhood says while pointing to Wan Lu’s residence, “Oh, yan yung bahay ni Wan Lu, ung ventriloquist.”
Clad in a formal black suit, everyone must have been thinking that Wan Lu started as a rich man who learned his tricks because of the many opportunities money can give people. But did not. In fact, he used to take up dentistry but was forced to stop when his father died.
“If I had the chance, I would finish my studies.”
Financially inept, he ventured to his magic and puppetry. He performed live in different stages and did event hosting. His collection of puppets grew from the income he received.
Though he is already a public figure known for his one-of-a-kind craft, he never forgets the value of education. “Education is so important. Hanggang kaya ko pa magtrabaho, mag-aral na kayo,” he quotes telling his children.
Wan Lu is also known to be a man of compassion. He volunteers to perform in places where he can be of help. He performed in Tacloban after being hit by the typhoon Yolanda. He taught not just the children but also the teachers on how they could make use of puppetry. He also taught both children and teachers how to create puppets of their own.
Entertaining and popular as he seems to be, his puppets have also won the applause of his audiences, both inside and outside the country.
Nicolo, one of his favorite puppets having the character of a six-year-old kid, is his companion in cracking this teasing joke to each other:
Wan Lu: Nicolo, kung wala ako, hindi ka magsasalita.
Nicolo: Alam mo, Tito Wan Lu, kung wala ako, magsasalita ka mag-isa.
Wan Lu: Kung wala ako, wala kang masusuot.
Nicolo: Kung wala ako, wala kang makakain.
Wan Lu: Nicolo, kung wala ako, wala kang buhay.
Nicolo: Kung wala ako, wala kang hanapbuhay.
His mission for the day seems to have been fulfilled as he sees the smiles and hears the laughter among the crowd that have gathered to be amused by him.