From being a precocious noontime show contest winner to becoming one of the country’s top music artists, Ice Seguerra was destined to be star.
It didn’t matter that the former Aiza is now a transman, the domestic partner of Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP) chairperson Liza Diño and an advocate for mental health awareness and LGBTQ+ community rights.
Ice talked about his spiritual journey while fighting internal battles, during a guesting on TribuneNOW’s Spotlight with hosts Dinah Ventura and Jojo Silvestre.
Daily Tribune (DT): What do you really love best, is it singing, composing, acting or hosting?
Ice Seguerra (IS): Singing. It’s easier to express yourself when you sing. But there’s also another medium that I’m also enjoying right now and it’s directing. I started directing events. I have started my short film, too. I love it because it’s like a combination of everything that I want to do which is music, acting, production. It’s like putting everything together.
DT: When did you start your film?
IS: In 2016 before I became chair of the National Youth Commission, nag-take kaming mag-asawa ng Mowelfund filmmaking course. After that, talagang ’yon ang gusto naming mangyari. Ang plano niya was to write a script, then I will direct. But we wanted to serve the people kaya medyo naantala. But the directing started in 2017.
DT: Your gender transformation, would you like to share with us yung buong transition. What is the whole story?
IS: I haven’t fully transitioned yet. I see myself as a transman. I am a transman. But I haven’t done other transformations. May iba, they do testosterone shots and right now, wala ako doon, because that would definitely change my voice. As much as I identify myself as a transman, I’m a singer, too, so parang that part, I don’t want to touch. The top surgery, I definitely would want to do it. Hopefully next year. But yung testosterone, ayoko pa. Siguro yung mga tipong retired na ako tapos hindi ko na kailangang isipin kung saan kami kukuha ng pangkain or pambayad ng bills, then, yeah. But right now, it’s my family first. I have to make sure that I have my job and this is my job. Hindi lang siya job, eh. I love my voice.
DT: Tell us about your relationship with Liza. Bakit mo siya nagustuhan, paano kayo nag-meet, paano mo siya niligawan?
IS: Liza and I met when I was 16 years old and she was 18. We met sa isang taping. She was with someone else at that time but we kinda got together. At that time, ang tawag doon, MU, Mutual Understanding. Medyo lumalabas kami n’on. Mga 10 months din kaming nag-date. Pero I didn’t think she was ready for this kind of relationship. She was young then. We were both young. She knew herself to be straight at hindi niya pa ma-gets how was she gonna feel about it. Maybe she was confused din. So we went our separate ways. Pero we kept in touch. We would still see each other. There was a time na she was ready to be with me but I was with someone else. Wrong timing. I saw her pala sometime in 2007 and she was still with Amara’s dad. She was pregnant. And then I saw her with her partner… and I felt like… alam kong siya yung the one that got away ko eh.
Liza, she was the type of girl na she would really do things to make you feel special. Nung high school ako susunduin niya ako. Nagsu-school yan sa UP tapos ako sa OB Montessori in Greenhills, pero every day she would pick me up, tapos kakain kami sa McDo. Magsusulat ’yan ng tula para sa ‘kin. Tapos nung sinabi ko na mahilig ako sa stars, pinuno niya ng mga sticker na stars yung ceiling ko. Romantic ’yan.
So, when I got a tweet from her in 2013, like, “Hey, I’m in town. Let’s meet up.” I said yes. I was seeing someone else but for me, sige harmless naman. But I knew that I wanted to be with her. I broke off with the person I was with…
DT: You and Liza are both influential.Ano ang masasabi mo ngayon sa state ng ating LGBTQ+ community?
IS: We are still better than other countries. Even some of our Asean neighbors, mas okay pa rin tayo with how we treat our LGBTQ. But of course, we still need to do a lot of work because right now, our legislators, some of them, don’t really see us as people who have rights.
Ang pinaka-issue ko, because now I have a family, I think it’s important that my family is recognized by the state. It’s sad that even business partners have more rights than people like us. Ang hirap non. Paano kung magkasakit ako, who will decide for me? Buti na lang, kahit papaano, maganda yung relationship ng families namin, but what about the others na they’ve been together for so long and then namatay yung isa, hindi yung partner yung makakatanggap ng bahay na pinag-ipunan nila. Suddenly, the partner is homeless.
I hope iyon ang makita ng mga tao. We are just asking for civil rights na mabuhay ng may dignidad. Until there is a law na will protect us, like you see it on TV na kahit papaano may representation, until there are laws, we can never be sure.
DT: What are you currently busy with?
IS: I am promoting my new single, “Walang Hanggang Paalam.” Katatapos lang nung Sine Sandaan, The Next 100 ni Liza which I helped her with. I directed the event. I wish I could have more work now. The hard part about our industry is we’re the first to close and we’re the last to open. It’s just sad, kasi talagang the bills are piling up.
DT: Are you keeping a positive attitude?
IS: It’s more of wala naman kasing binibigay na hindi kaya. And during the pandemic, I have been studying Buddhism. I’m really more at peace now compared to before. I am more chill now and I have a supportive wife. Siya lang may work eh.
DT: What’s your message to people who are going through this situation now? It’s different for everybody.
IS: Before I started my Buddhism journey, I had depression and anxiety. To those who are feeling bad especially yung talagang nagkakaroon na ng depression, don’t be afraid. Whatever it is that you are feeling — that depression or that sense of hopelessness — I truly believe that there is hope. And sometimes the symptoms that you feel, that we feel, I mean I feel that as well, that’s why I drink my meds all the time.
If you feel symptoms, yung parang mabilis yung puso niyo, parang laging takot, parang feeling niyo hindi kayo makakain or you will throw up, you just feel scared. Kung pinapawisan kayo, nahihirapan kayo huminga, I think you are having anxiety attack or a panic attack. When that happens, take deep breaths, hinga lang nang malalim. Slow breaths.
Ako, when I first went to my doctor, what she told me, sobrang tumatak sa’kin, “Our brain is like any other organ, it gets sick.” And if it gets sick, it has symptoms… You just have to be aware that yes, you’re going through something and that’s okay.
Now what you do, call us up, kami sa volunteer group, we have psychological first aid. You can drop us an email and we have volunteers who can help you. Maybe assess what you’re going through. And if you feel that you need more help, don’t be afraid to seek professional help. Huwag kayong matakot. It’s something that we all go through.