Friday, July 13, 2012

Long live the King!

                                WITH A SMILE ON HIS FACE.  This is how
                                I would like to remember Dolphy. (Inquirer photo 
                                taken from here)

Philippine Comedy will never be the same again.

This is a reverberating fact each time we are reminded that the King of Comedy, Rodolfo Vera Quizon, or popularly known as Dolphy, finally took a bow on the evening of July 10, 2012, after approximately a month of fighting Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).  He succumbed to the complications of high-risk pneumonia which eventually led to the failure of most of his organs to function, including his kidneys.

His family did everything to hold on to him and his Filipino fans were glad that the family did all that they could.  I myself am.  

I am not part of the medical team that attended to him but when a physician encounters a certain disease at a certain stage, most of the time, he or she already has an idea of the prognosis of the case.  Prognosis means the assessment of the future of the course and outcome of a patient’s disease, based on the knowledge of the course of the disease in other patients, together with the general health, age, and sex of the current patient.  The course of the disease could lead to a lot of endpoints such as cure, stability of the disease which means it is not cured but is not also causing harm to the patient, and lastly, and the most dreaded endpoint, is death.  

Death would inevitably ensue and that holds true for all of us (nobody gets out of this life alive, anyway), but for the disease-stricken (and the badly struck, at that) it appears to come sooner and the only thing the medical team can do, along with the patient’s family, is exhaust all means to, first and most importantly, cure the patient if there is an available cure.  Second, if no cure is available, is to delay the complications of the disease which most of the time become the cause of death.  If complications are already apparent, the next step is to control the effects of these complications, so that at least death can be delayed.  In the end, it all boils down to buying time – more time for the family to be with the loved one and more time to prepare oneself for the impending loss.

 Mang Dolphy’s or Tito Dolphy’s family were able to buy time and his Filipino fans who prayed for him, were glad that the family was able to.  I myself am.

Who doesn’t want to hold on to someone most of us could relate to?  Who does not want to hold on to someone we look up to for so many reasons, one of them is his heroic rise from poverty?  Who doesn’t want to hold on to someone who made us laugh until our tummies hurt?  Definitely, not Dolphy’s family.  Definitely, not the Filipino people.  Definitely, not me.     

I am still part of the generation that witnessed how John en Marsha made waves of popularity on Philippine television.  (Yes, I’m that old.)  Until today, I could still picture the scenes, in full black and white. (Colored television was not yet popular then.) 

I personally loved John Porontong and his composed and witty manner of dealing with his filthy rich mother-in-law, Donya Delilah, who would always say her famous line directed at John – “Kaya ikaw, John, magsumikaaaap kaaaa!!!” (So you John, should strive even harder!)  Now I realized she was not only directing that to her son-in-law, but to most of us Filipinos as well, who should strive harder to make our ways of living better.  If we think out of the box, it would also mean, to give our best in whatever we do.  

I could not remember all quips I saw in that series (there were scenes when out of surprise, he accidently threw up on someone’s face while he was gargling his mouth – nobody can pull that off the way Dolphy does) but I am pretty sure, sure as you are reading this, that I laughed my heart out then.  Tito Dolphy delivered his lines with grace, they were like arrows of laughter aimed at you as the unwitting target.  I believe he can make the most serious person in this planet break out into laughter.  When he delivers his lines, he does it with so much ease.  It’s as if he didn’t really mean to but he just does it over and over and over again, he made people laugh.  His was a true talent, polished and made better by time and experience.  He was born with it and so he made people laugh without so much effort. 

John en Marsha the TV series spun off a lot of movie versions, and I am proud that I was able to watch one of those John en Marsha movies, right in the moviehouse. Betamax, VHS, and DVD were not yet popular then.  (Yes, I am that old.)  It was a family thing - my father, my mother, and I went to the movies to see John en Marsha.  Oh, ‘twas a great joy for the kid that was me!

Fast forward to 1995, I was almost out of high school when Tito Dolphy made a successful comeback on television with Home Along the Riles.  Of course, I did not miss the premiere episode.  He was Kevin Cosme, a single dad to his four kids who were portrayed by Smokey Manaloto, Gio Alvarez, Claudine Barretto, and his true-to-life son, Vandolph, his youngest son both in and out of the series.  In the first episode I could remember he woke up first and then woke his children up himself.  I could still picture how cute and chubby Vandolph was back then.  (That doesn’t mean though that he does not look good these days.)

Who could ever forget how Ason (Nova Villa), the twin sister of Kevin’s late wife, could not desperately hide her admiration for her brother-in-law.  I loved that the series also incorporated life’s lessons for its viewers.  Kevin would be scolding his kids one moment, then it would end in a bout of laughter, but the lesson remains.

I am not one of his daughters.  I am just an ordinary fan of his, but I urge everyone to just give all the credit he deserves.  Let’s just give it to him and nobody else.  He will always be our King of Comedy and nobody else could ever take that away from him.  He may not be perfect but who is, anyway?  (His longtime partner, ZsaZsa Padilla, said in her eulogy, that if Dolphy had a weakness, it was his generosity almost to a fault.)  He may have loved a lot of women, and fathered a total of 18 children, but he took care of them and provided for them very well.  It was not his fault that he had the greatest appeal of all, humor.

Dolphy gave Philippine Comedy its character.  He made us realize that amidst life’s atrocities, we Filipinos are still a fun-loving bunch.  Because of him, comedy was almost an escape from problems as much as a way to deal with problems.  He gave Philippine Comedy a face, and a heart.  

Rest in peace, Tito Dolphy.  We may have not known each other or met each other personally, but I, like most of your fans feel a certain connection with you.  I never thought I’d be this sad when I knew that you’ve passed away.  I grew up, with you making me laugh, and you have no idea how that gave a lot of color not only to my childhood but to most of your fans, young and old. You will be deeply missed.  We love you.  Thanks for all the smiles and the laughter. 

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