MANILA, Philippines—Only close family members, friends and media representatives will be allowed to attend the private burial rites of comedy king Rodolfo “Dolphy” Quizon Sr. Sunday at 3 p.m., at Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig City.
“I hope his supporters will understand that we just want to spend our last moments with him in private,” Dolphy’s son Eric Quizon said, adding that the family has agreed to extend public viewing hours on Saturday, to accommodate more people who want to pay their last respects to the comedian. The chapel will be open to the public from
6 a.m. to 6 p.m., the actor-director said.
Quizon said the media will also be allowed to cover the ceremony. “We will set up viewing areas for the press. We don’t want cameramen hovering around us during the whole proceeding. We want the ceremony to be solemn,” he stressed.
All of Dolphy’s 18 children and his loved ones were told to wear white, his father’s favorite color, Quizon said.
Details about the burial rites and the wording on the niche were still being finalized. Quizon said a necrological service would be held at 10 a.m. on Sunday.
“We might include the ceremonial release of white balloons during the proceeding,” he said. “As much as possible, we want to keep everything a surprise.”
The comedian, who died on Tuesday, will be interred in a niche made of jetblack granite that measures 2.5 meters long and 1.5 meters tall, according to a TV report. Construction of the niche began last week at a cost of P380,000. The niche stands on a 39-sq m lot that reportedly costs P3 million.
Yesterday, a luncheon at Heritage Park was organized by the Professional Artists Management Inc., or Pami, while last night’s necrological service was hosted by Sampaguita Pictures, Dolphy’s mother studio in the 1950s, as well as by the cast of “John en Marsha,” the hit sitcom that ran for 17 years.
Nat’l Day of Remembrance
President Aquino on Thursday declared July 13 as a National Day of Remembrance in honor of Dolphy, an honor that, Quizon said, the President did not mention to the family when he paid them a visit Thursday night.
“We only found out about it from members of the media who interviewed us after he left,” he said.
Recalled Quizon of that visit: “After (President Aquino) extended his condolences, he told me, ‘It’s only you, Eric, that I know in your family.’ This is because his sister Kris is my friend. I sometimes join them during dinners,” he said.
The President also shook hands with his other siblings, Quizon said. “At one point he turned around and then I said, ‘President, mayroon pa po. Marami po kami. (There are more of us. We are quite numerous.)’ He said sorry, then proceeded to shake hands with the rest of the family members.”
Aquino also spoke with Dolphy’s longtime partner, singer Zsa Zsa Padilla, before asking to be excused, Quizon said. “I think it was then that he made the announcement,” he added.
Resthouse in Bulacan
In Balagtas, Bulacan province, the Philippine flag was raised at half-staff at the town hall on Friday to honor the late comedian. Bulacan officials on Thursday passed an ordinance that posthumously recognized Dolphy as the adopted son of Bulacan.
Sponsored by Vice Governor Daniel Fernando, also an actor, the ordinance recognized Dolphy’s contributions to show business and to society.
The clan of Dolphy’s mother, Salud, hails from Barangay Wawa, while one of his sons, Rodolfo Quizon Jr., lives in the comedy king’s resthouse in Sitio Barmat in that village. Dolphy also has relatives living in Malolos City and Pandi town.
Gov. Wilhelmino Sy-Alvarado, Fernando and the other officials handed the plaque of recognition to Dolphy’s children at Heritage Park on Thursday.
Dolphy was a recipient of the Gawad Dangal ng Lipi given by the province on Sept. 15, 1995.
The award is the highest recognition that the local government gives to a native of Bulacan. Among the recipients of this award are the late President Corazon Aquino and National Artist for Literature Virgilio Almario.
National Artist award
Apparently heeding public clamor, President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday said he favored the conferment of the National Artist award on Dolphy.
Dolphy’s son, actor Vandolph Quizon described it as a noble idea, but said it would have been better had the comedian received the award when he was still alive.
“This has been the subject of many news stories. It was even a trending topic on Twitter for many days, pero napulitika yata (but politics came in). They’re planning to give it to Papa now that he’s already gone.”
“We, his children, would gladly accept it, but it would have been so much better if it was given at a time when Papa was still around to personally accept it,” he pointed out.
According to Vandolph, Dolphy’s only son with actress Alma Moreno, he has yet to come to terms with his father’s passing. “We really thought Papa would be able to get over this illness. His doctors kept saying, ‘Your father is strong. He keeps fighting,’” he said. “His death hasn’t fully sunk in yet. My last moments with him at the ICU (intensive care unit) kept flashing in my mind. It was a unique experience to watch as his blood pressure dropped and his heartbeat slowed down. He fought until the end.”
More solid family
Added Vandolph: “I grew up very close to him. A big part of me is now gone. One good thing that resulted from this tragedy was that my siblings and I grew closer. We’re now more solid (as a family).”
Vandolph said that his mother, Moreno, who was Dolphy’s partner for eight years, was also having a hard time coping with the comedian’s death. “She just arrived from Mindanao. I’m worried that she would break down,” he said.
Sporting a tattoo of a praying Dolphy on his right forearm, Vandolph described his father as a religious man. “He would go to Baclaran church every Wednesday. His house in Parañaque has so many religious icons that it sometimes gives me goosebumps looking at them.”
TV5 chair Manny Pangilinan, in his eulogy, emphasized the importance to TV5 of Dolphy’s decision to join the network.
Pangilinan recounted: “Three years ago, we welcomed Mang Dolphy as a kapatid (brother). But the truth is quite the opposite—he welcomed us.”
TV5 vice president and creative and entertainment head Perci Intalan promised that TV5 would continue airing “Pidol’s Wonderland,” a show that originally featured Dolphy. “This is our commitment to him. I imagine Tito Dolphy saying, ‘the show must go on.’” With a report from Carmela Reyes-Estrope, Inquirer Central Luzon