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Photos courtesy of Marlo Mortel and Ornstal

Life is full of surprises. For singer-actor-host Marlo Mortel, his biggest blessings came from things he least expected.

Photo from Instagram (@marlomortelmusic)

Surprise, showbiz!

Marlo , whose real name is Jhann Marlowe Pamintuan, was a graduating business student when he entered showbiz. 

He met his ex-girlfriend at the audition lines of X Factor Philippines where they both auditioned, but he was only able to reach the boot camp of the reality contest. 

READ: EXCLUSIVE: Marlo Mortel, ibinahagi ang pinagdaanan sa showbiz

His ex-girlfriend, however, became a way for him to get into the industry.

Photo from Instagram (@marlomortelmusic)

“Naswertihan lang kasi may girlfriend ako noon na nag-audition, nag-eextra sa Apoy Sa Dagat tapos sinundo ko lang siya sa ABS. Ngayon, nung sinundo ko siya sa ABS, nakita ako nung mga coordinator. Sabi nila mag-audition din ako as 'seaman', pero as extra lang,” he explains. 

He did not get the 'seaman' role, which led him to audition as actor Jerome Ponce’s classmate in the hit 2012 comedy-drama series Be Careful With My Heart.

Photo from Pinterest (Scarlet Ray)

Like most newbies in showbiz, he started as a talent, uncertain of how long his character would last. 

Shortly after his few minor stints on the TV series, Marlo’s bosses saw potential in him that he never knew he had in the first place. “Hanggang sa binibigyan na nila ako ng script, andun na ‘yung pangalan ko,” he proudly recalls.

Photo from Instagram (@marlomortelmusic)

There was a time Marlo was caught casually sitting beside another young actress, Janella Salvador, who was then a new face in showbiz. “One time, nagkatabi kami ni Janella. Parang may chemistry daw, so ginawaan na ng story from there.” 

Many viewers saw their charm as a love team, until they were dubbed as MarNella

Photo from Instagram (@marlomortelmusic) 

READ: EXCLUSIVE: Marlo Mortel says his heart broken when Marnella tandem split up

Since then, Marlo Mortel has made a name for himself in showbiz. He acknowledges the fact that if he had not met his ex-girlfriend, he would not be known in Be Careful With My Heart.  

Marlo left college completely even though he was just a few months away from graduation. He shares that he prioritized his career to help his family: “Kailangan very responsible ka pag dating sa work, so parang madami din ako agad mga naging heavy responsibilities nung nag-artista na ako. Ako na nag-take over kasi … ‘di na ako nag-school, tinuloy-tuloy ko nalang.”

As an only child, his family needed him the most when his mother had cancer. “Nagkaroon ng cancer ang mommy ko, so dun lahat napunta lahat ng budget ko, which is hindi ko naman pinagsisisihan, kasi naging all-out naman ako pagdating sa family,” Marlo narrates. 

He believes that during these times in showbiz was when he matured the most. 

Photo from Instagram (@marlomortelmusic)

READ: Marlo Mortel nanatiling matatag sa pagpanaw ng ina

READ: Marlo Mortel on celebrating Christmas without his mom this year: ‘It’s going to be tough’

It started with three bracelets

Another unexpected event in Marlo’s life turned into one of his most treasured ones, when he put up a small bracelet business called Ornstal in 2015. 

The name was derived from 'oriental stones and crystals'. 

“Alam mo sobrang unexpected siya kasi ‘di naman talaga siya dapat seryoso. Parang 2015, diyan pumasok lahat eh,” Marlo reveals. The charm bracelet  per se was all the idea of a friend who was a Fine Arts student. Marlo found it interesting, so he invested in its capital and later on marketed the product to his friends. 

With only three bracelets on hand, his business catapulted to become one of the longest-standing online charm bracelet businesses in the country. 

 Photo from Instagram (@marlomortelmusic)

“Ang nangyari, nag-guest ako sa Kris TV, tapos ang ganap ko talaga doon is kakanta, so ayun na, tapos na, kumanta na, so closing statement na. Sabi ko, follow niyo ‘yung shop ko sa IG, meron akong bagong libangan,” he happily remembers. 

Fate has been really good to Marlo as he did not expect to appear on the show again, but for a different reason this time. 

“Sabi niya [Kris Aquino], ‘Sakto ang next episode namin is bazaar,’ tapos ‘yung mga set-up is andun lang sa studio, so ninenerbyos ako kasi hindi ko pa naman siya linya. Hindi ko naman talaga gamay. Sabi niya ‘Mag-stay ka, se-set-up ka namin ng table. Ilagay mo dun yung bracelet mo’. Sabi ko ‘Okay, sige po’”.

  Photo from Instagram (@marlomortelmusic)

 His stall caught the comedienne Pokwang’s attention. “Sabi ko, ‘Pokwang, ito ‘yung black… para sa fertility', eh ‘yung bracelet na ‘yun sa ganun. Oh diba, nagka-baby siya,” Marlo proudly shares. 

Marlo did not only gain many customers for Ornstal, he also became a regular co-host on the TV show after spending five days appearing on its bazaar segment.

Although he was unprepared for the growing number of orders, Marlo was able to produce the bracelets with the help of his friend. Now, Ornstal has expanded with two more people working under him.

Photo from Instagram (@ornstal)

Being a celebrity helps Marlo a lot in marketing his products. “Noon parang laging suot ni Daniel Padilla,” he says. “Sa buong pelikula niya ng Barcelona, suot niya yung bracelet, as in sa buong pelikula.”

 Photo from Instagram (@ornstal)

Many customers love Ornstal bracelets for its versatility. They can be worn either on a casual day or in a formal event. These bracelets are also unisex, so it is a good idea for a gift. Most importantly, Ornstal bracelets carry meanings, so it really fits if you are a sentimental person. 

“’Yung iba pinapa-cleanse nila bago suutin, then ‘yung iba naman naniniwala na dapat sa left hand lang siya mas powerful, and then ‘yung iba may maximum na bracelet lang na dapat isuot sa hand niya or sa wrist niya,” he explains. 

Photo from Instagram (@ornstal)

If Marlo were being all traditional, he thinks the best bracelet that suits him is the Black Onyx which he says is mainly for protection from danger. When asked what is the best bracelet for someone who has love problems, Marlo suggests the Red Coral or the Rose Quartz. Both of them symbolize love and passion.  

Photo from Instagram (@marlomortelmusic)

When his mother’s cancer returned in 2017, Marlo customized an Ornstal bracelet in honor of his mother. It was called the Beat Cancer bracelet composed of Amethyst and Rose Quartz crystals.  “Lahat ng proceeds no’n, binigay ko sa pagpapagamot, niya then ‘yun ‘yung inaalay ko sa kaniya kasi it’s for love, for healing, and favorite color din niya 'yung pink and violet.”

Photo from Instagram (@ornstal) 

Sadly, Marlo’s mother died in August 2018.

The Umagang Kay Ganda host is also aware of the rising number of COVID-19 cases in the Philippines, so he offers the White Howlite to the country. It is worn for good health and also serves as an anti-stress bracelet.

 Photo from Instagram (@ornstal) 

 Top five Ornstal bracelets 

If you are wondering what kind of Ornstal bracelet best suits you, Marlo enumerates his top five choices: 

1. Black Onyx – “Kasi ‘yun ‘yung pinaka bagay sa lahat, and it's very classy … meron siyang gold-filled ball saka spacer, so pwede kahit formal wear. Elegant pa rin siya paired mo sa watch. Maganda siya. For protection siya.”

 Photo from Instagram (@ornstal)  

2. Tiger’s Eye – “Syempre gusto lahat ng tao, good for money [and] for business.”

  Photo from Instagram (@ornstal)  

3. White Howlite – “‘Yung iba naman gusto ng anti-stress [and] good health. Pwede i-pair kahit saan.”

  Photo from Instagram (@ornstal)  

4. Red Coral – “Good for girls siya pero may mga lalaki din nagsusuot. Sila Ronnie Alonte, ‘yan suot nila ‘yan. Ayun ‘yung pinaka-expensive, then it's for love and passion.”  

Photo from Instagram (@ornstal)  

5. Black Onyx with Ornstal logo – “’Yung mismong logo ng Ornstal may pendant kami, na gano’n na kasama. It’s very classic din and may Black Onyx siya pero style tatlo ‘yung gold niya.”

 Photo from Instagram (@ornstal)  

Ornstal in the making

According to Marlo, Ornstal has very durable strings compared to its competitors. Its packaging is also environment-friendly with recycled boxes placed inside a cloth bag. He also shares how his bracelets are made.

Photo from Instagram (@ornstal)

Step 1: Customers give their wrist measurement and preferred stones or combination.

 

Step 2: The worker will insert the high-quality string into the stones. The number of stones depends on the wrist measurement provided.

Step 3: The ends of the string will be tied together tightly enough to hold the stones. 

Step 4: The bracelet is now ready for packaging. It will be placed in a box made of recycled materials. 

It is a very plain and simple procedure, but it creates a classy and stylish accessory. 

Marlo is very happy with his bracelet business. In fact, he added another one which is a clothing business called Pappy Panda. “Technically, fabric siya na super soft, Vietnamese. So talaga nagpunta akong Vietnam to buy the perfect fabric.” Both of his businesses are regularly in popular bazaars. 

 Photo from Instagram (@pappypandaph)

With all the unexpected blessings Marlo received, he is filled with nothing but genuine happiness. “Happy ako kasi hindi naman ako nawawalan ng work. Hindi lang ako sobrang flexible sa teleserye pero very regular ‘yung work sa Umagang Kay Ganda, sa singing, so I’m very happy,” the singer-actor-host turned entrepreneur says.

Photo from Instagram (@marlomortelmusic)