MVP: Most Valuable Pidol
As seen by another MVP–Manny V. Pangilinan, big boss of TV5, Dolphy’s home stationBy Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
With more than a tinge of pride, Manny V. Pangilinan, chair of TV5, readily admitted that he’s a big fan of Comedy King Dolphy.
In an exclusive interview with the Inquirer, Pangilinan, or MVP as he is known in the business scene, recalled that he first met Dolphy at a party for his telecommunications company Smart “many years ago” (when the comedian was Smart’s celebrity endorser).
“I was star-struck,” Pangilinan admitted. “But Dolphy has a way of making everyone feel comfortable. He’s very human.”
Bobby Barreiro, TV5 executive vice president and chief operating officer, recounted working with the Comedy King for a TV special. “Between takes, he shared stories from his past. By the end, he was laughing so hard, he was on the verge of tears.”
Ray Espinosa, the Kapatid channel’s president and chief executive officer, related that he first met Dolphy when the network began a series of dinner meetings that eventually led to the screen legend’s transfer from ABS-CBN to TV5 two years ago.
“He was the life of the party every time we met,” said Perci Intalan, TV5’s head of Entertainment.
“He was always his spirited self, and still strong, at the time,” Pangilinan said.
With Espinosa, Barreiro and Intalan, Pangilinan visited the Comedy King at the intensive care unit of Makati Medical Center (MMC) on Saturday. During the Inquirer interview held later at the Makati Med coffee shop, Pangilinan said he remained hopeful that Dolphy would overcome this latest health crisis. “He has a strong will to live. He’s got a stout heart which is vital in trying times like this,” said Pangilinan.
The ailing comedian had just finished his second dialysis at the time of the visit. “He was drifting in and out of consciousness,” Pangilinan said, “but he was trying his best to keep his eyes open and listen to us. I promised to take him to Hong Kong when he’s better. He loves Hong Kong; he worked there as an entertainer in the 1950s.”
Hours after the network boss left, Dolphy underwent tracheostomy.
Pangilinan, who’s also the chair of MMC, said he would leave no stone unturned “to make Mang Dolphy’s hospital stay as comfortable as possible.”
Intalan related that Dolphy was the first major star to make the big leap to TV5 under this management. Asked why they signed him up, Pangilinan quipped: “Among our countrymen, young or old, here or abroad … who doesn’t know Mang Dolphy?”
Barreiro agreed: “We all grew up watching his TV shows and movies.”
Espinosa volunteered that his father loved watching Dolphy’s 1960s musical-variety show “Buhay Artista.” “Everyone in the family was required to watch it as well.”
Pangilinan’s favorite Dolphy film, for the record, is “Facifica Falayfay.” Espinosa picked “Falayfay” as well.
For Intalan, the top two are “Hong Kong Holiday” and “Ang Tatay Kong Nanay.”
Barreiro said he watched Dolphy’s black-and-white movies aired on TV in the afternoons. “I loved ‘John en Marsha sa Amerika.’”
Needless to say, Pangilinan was awed by Dolphy’s performance in Albert Martinez’s “Rosario,” which was produced by the network’s movie arm for the Metro Manila Film Festival two years ago. Pangilinan said the film is special for him because the beloved comic played his grandfather in it.
“He portrayed my Lolo Hesus. My grandfather watched the movie and was thrilled. Like Dolphy, my grandfather is medyo mestizo,” said Pangilinan.
Movie-watching is another passion that Pangilinan and Dolphy share, apart from their love of Hong Kong. Pangilinan said he would usually catch late-night screenings of movies in Hong Kong, where his company Metro Pacific is based.
Dolphy used to be a regular in the Rockwell cinemas, noted Intalan. “He loved watching movies before he fell ill. I remember that we talked about Tim Burton’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception.’”
Pangilinan believes that Dolphy richly deserves to be declared as a National Artist. “Hands down,” he asserted. “And his current condition has nothing to do with it. He deserves the honor because of his talent, his history and his contributions to the entertainment industry.”
Pangilinan hailed Dolphy as a true Filipino original. “His impact on national life is extensive and historic. His contribution to comedy is distinctive and unique.”
Barreiro agreed: More than a national artist, “Dolphy is a national treasure.”
The network is completely supporting Mang Pidol in the toughest battle of his life, Pangilinan said. “We have to balance the family’s need for privacy and meeting Mang Dolphy’s own needs as a patient at the same time,” noted the big boss.
Espinosa reiterated that, contrary to reports, the network is continuing to run Dolphy’s current show, “Pidol’s Wonderland.”
Dolphy stopped taping for the show in September 2011, when his health took a turn for the worse. Still, the program was not taken off the air, said Espinosa. Just like the man’s legacy of laughter and love, he added, “the show can go on forever.”
“He has lived a full life … a colorful life,” Pangilinan asserted. “But I know he has no regrets.”
Recent Stories:Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.