He was a skinny young boy when he saw dead bodies for the first time. No, it wasn’t in any movie, and neither was it inside a coffin. The bodies were on the road—blood, bones, body parts scattered on the pavement. It was a screenshot from a nightmare. The road was painted in red.
He kept his eyes open, staring at the violent sight before him. He started running away, putting distance between him and the aftermath.
For two days, he couldn’t sleep. “Di ako nakatulog pagkatapos kong makita yung aksidente na yun. Hina-haunt ako nung mga images. Di ko makalimutan,” he shares.
The end of those people’s lives became the start of this man’s personal realization: life is short. From then on, he has been attracted to the macabre beauty of blood and gore.
This is Charles Albert Alabado, Mackoy as he is fondly called. He is a special effects makeup artist. This is his story.
“Frustrated comic artist ako. Mahilig talaga ako mag-drawing. Pero na-realize ko na, ay mas maganda pala na nakikita mo live yung mga naiisip mo, kaya nagustuhan ko ang prosthetics,” Mackoy shares.
He was 19 years old when he dropped out of school and moved to Manila to look for work. “Una kong trabaho, construction worker. Tinawagan ako ng kaibigan ko kung gusto ko pumunta sa Maynila, sabi ko ‘oo naman!’” Mackoy said.
In between construction duties, Mackoy still pursued his passion. When time permitted, he drew. With a pencil in hand and one behind his ear, he sketched lines and circles—a mythical creature, a woman, a scene. Blank pieces of paper became the medium for his masterpieces, thanks to his wild and dark imagination.
But still, something felt missing.
“Inaya ako ng schoolmate ko na magtrabaho para sa Mulawin, sa art department, para sa mga props. Sa isip-isip ko, sa wakas, makikita ko na mga gawa ko ng may buhay.”
The year was 2004, and GMA’s Mulawin was his first show. Those elaborate costumes: the wings, the weapons, the makeup—he was one of the men behind them.
“Self-taught lang ako. Pinapanood ko lang yung mga katrabaho ko na gumagawa,” he explains.
Mulawin was the start of his career in the world of special effects makeup and prosthetics.
He then went on to work in productions for films like Imortal, Kinatay, Enteng Kabisote, The Road, Corazon Ang Unang Aswang, Tiktik: The Aswang Chronicles, Kubot: The Aswang Chronicles 2, Ang Panday 2, Shake Rattle and Roll 13 and 14, Honor Thy Father, On The Job, and more. From Richard Somes to Erik Matti to Brilliante Mendoza—Mackoy has only worked with the best in the industry.
A little piece of trivia: the first body double he made was for Maria Isabelle Lopez in Dante Mendoza's Kinatay.
Despite collaborating with other creatives on numerous film sets, surrounded by cameras and celebrites, Mackoy is still shy and reserved. But as soon as he starts on his art—the makeup, the fake blood, the crazy prosthetics—he becomes confident, childlike, and proud.
“There are three types of prosthetic artists: lazy, passionate, and perfectionist. Ako yung nasa gitna,” he says, smiling.
To this day, he still remembers the story. The accident. The road. The corpses drenched in blood.
“Naging inspirasyon ko yun sa paggawa ng prosthetics. Kaya siguro mukhang totoo yung mga ginagawa ko. Inaalala ko lang yung nakita ko noon."
The end of those people’s lives became the start of this man’s personal realization: that even death can inspire one to make a living.