A letter writer is asking me the inevitable question that a magician will have to answer several times in his career.
Pwede po bang Tagalogin ko na lang ang tanong ko? Pilipino naman po kayo, di ba? Pano po kayo naging magician? (May I ask my question in Tagalog? Anyway, you are Filipino, aren’t you? How did you become a magician?”)
Here’s my answer:
Sure, you can ask your question in Tagalog. I’m Filipino. In fact, this blog is about the views of the elite group of Filipino magicians.
But please understand I have to translate your question and answer it in English for the benefit of our non-Filipino readers.
I hope I won’t bore you with the answer. Here’s how I started out in magic:
I started very early at age 9. I had an uncle who knew just two card tricks. One evening, he showed me the first one. It was a simple “choose a card and I’ll find it” trick. He asked me to think of a card and to name a favorite number. I settled on the Queen of Diamonds as my chosen card and nine as my favorite number.
He then took the entire deck under the table and, without looking at his hands, he dealt cards one at a time before me. The ninth card he dealt was the Queen of Diamonds.
I was stunned. I was even more stunned when he repeated the trick several times. My chosen card would always come out at the number I told him. I chose a different card and favorite number each time, but it didn’t matter. The chosen card was always at my favorite number.
I couldn’t figure out the trick. I tried several nights after school to reconstruct it. I could not come out with a solution. I was stumped.
I did the next best thing. I asked my uncle to teach me the trick.
At first, he refused. So I did what a normal nine-year-old would do in a similar situation. I followed him wherever he went around the house. I nagged him about the secret while he was eating, reading and trying to get a sleep. He gave up when I followed him to the toilet and threatened to watch him relieve himself if he would not teach me the trick.
And so that’s how I learned my first magic trick. At the next celebration of our barrio fiesta, we had a huge family get-together. Relatives from several provinces came to attend. We were in my grandpa’s ancestral house. My uncle gathered everyone and introduced my act to the family. He then coaxed me to perform my one and only magic trick.
It was my first public performance. I amazed my cousins. I entertained my parents and the grownups
After that experience, I was hooked to magic. I liked the applause, the positive audience reactions. Not long after, I also learned my uncle’s other card trick. Those two tricks sent me on a lifelong quest of learning magic. Until now, I’m still the same avid student of magic as my nine-year-old self of long ago, constantly learning tricks and the art of performing them.