Eve of Dolphy’s burial was night of comedyBy Bayani San Diego Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
On the last night of the wake of comedy king Dolphy, the Quizon family decided to ask various comedians to provide comic relief, said talent manager Noel Ferrer, a friend of the family.
“His children wanted to continue Tito Dolphy’s legacy of fun and laughter and end it in a light mood because the last three days have been crying sessions,” Ferrer said.
Bibeth Orteza, who hosted “comedy night,” said it was the idea of the family spokesperson, Dolphy’s son Eric Quizon. “They wanted to laugh. And even as they were laughing, they still shed tears,” she said.
In her speech on Thursday, the second night of the wake, singer-actress Sharon Cuneta said Dolphy would have been put off by all the drama. “All he wanted in life was to make people happy,” she said between sobs.
As a grand sendoff on Saturday night, younger comedians, described by Orteza as “all disciples of Dolphy,” joined in the revelry and the “roast” in honor of the comedy king.
Pokwang, Cesar Cosme, Isko Salvador (aka Brod Pete) and Arnell Ignacio took turns at the podium.
Son Dolphy Jr. (Rodolfo Quizon Jr.), now a church minister, read a poem written by US-based poet Joi Barrios while some politicians reminisced on their light moments with the comedian.
Vice President Jejomar Binay spoke of his connection to Dolphy. His late daughter-in-law and wife of Makati Mayor Junjun Binay, Kennely Ann “Ken-Ken” Lacia-Binay, had played the granddaughter of Dolphy on the TV sitcom “John en Marsha” as a child.
Dolphy’s son Epy Quizon thanked the Vice President for helping the family transfer his father’s remains from Makati Medical Center to Heritage Park after his death on July 10. They were able to keep the move private, Epy said.
Manila Mayor Alfredo Lim and San Juan Representative JV Ejercito spoke at the wake, too.
Lim recounted that Dolphy used to “treat” him whenever they dined out and later gave him a pet dog, a Great Dane that’s always barking. “Maybe that was why Dolphy gave the dog to me.”
Ejercito represented his father, former President Joseph Estrada, who was at the wake the night before.
The politicians were clearly upstaged by the comedians—particularly by Cosme and Salvador, who raised the loudest laughter and applause.
Cosme said he coined the name Kevin Cosme and eventually became Dolphy’s alter ego on the sitcom “Home Along Da Riles” in the 1990s. Cosme claimed the show’s writers never asked permission to use his name. He then playfully demanded back royalties from the abuloy or wake’s donation box.
Cosme recalled that Dolphy, after the death of action king Fernando Poe Jr. in 2004, told him in jest: “I feel like I’m the one who suffered a loss because I inherited all the people who depended on FPJ for financial help.”
He hailed Dolphy for playing gay characters in various hit movies. “Because of you, gays increased in number in this country. That’s why ABS-CBN has become successful.”
Salvador joked that even if Dolphy failed to win the national artist award, he could very well have been declared the National Book Store Artist because his biography, “Hindi Ko Ito Narating Mag-Isa (I Didn’t Get Here On My Own)” by Orteza, is now a best seller.
Salvador left everyone in stitches when he aimed his jokes at the Quizon children.
He joked that Vandolph was adopted and that his real father was Dolphy’s late comic partner, Panchito. He revealed another family secret: Epy is a “special child.”
“They didn’t want to tell you, Epy, but perhaps you can feel it.”
Another “skeleton” in the closet was exposed. Salvador claimed he was Dolphy’s 19th child and his mother was comedienne Matutina, who played the shrill maid on “John en Marsha.”
Salvador explained that he cracked that joke to make the comedy king rise from his gold-plated coffin, “in protest.”
Salvador said that the entire industry was united by the passing of Dolphy. “Present tonight are Kapuso (GMA 7), Kapatid (TV5) and Kapamilya (ABS-CBN) stars.”
He proposed a new name for the stars of the three top networks: Kalamay—a play on the words lamay (wake) and kalamay (a native delicacy).
“Like the kalamay, we might come in different colors, but we should stick together,” he said.
No one spared
The comedians didn’t spare anyone—not even Vice President Binay, who often became the target for his dark skin.
Quipped Salvador: “The Vice President used to be fair-skinned. But he was too thrifty. Instead of using sun-block, he put on tire black.”
At least twice, the Vice President was unintentionally referred to as Vice Mayor Binay by the comedians.
Another show-stopper was Dolphy’s 101-year-old-aunt Natividad Vera-Cauto, who, in the middle of the program, was introduced by Orteza as the owner of the horse used in the calesa (horse-drawn carriage) that Dolphy drove as a young man.
Now wheelchair-bound, Cauto told the Philippine Daily Inquirer that she was the only surviving aunt of Dolphy, whose late mother, Salud, was her sister. “We were eight siblings in the family,” she said.
Cauto was always present in special gatherings in Dolphy’s life—such as during his 80th birthday party in 2008 and the conferment on him of the Grand Collar of the Order of the Golden Heart at Malacañang in 2010.
Prayers for family
When he was still alive, Dolphy would always stand up to greet his Tita Naty. “Kasi baka magtampo (she might feel slighted if I don’t greet her),” Dolphy once told the Inquirer.
Before the comedy night, a Mass was celebrated by Fr. Tito Caluag. Singers Bo Cerrudo, The CompanY, Jamie Rivera, Sarah Geronimo, Kuh Ledesma, Gary Valenciano, Vina Morales and Randy Santiago sang at the service.
Before the Mass, actress and Batangas Governor Vilma Santos and husband Senator Ralph Recto paid their respects. “The family, especially Zsa Zsa Padilla (Dolphy’s longtime partner), needs our prayers. It will be harder after the wake and funeral, when all the mourners are gone,” Santos told the Inquirer.
As late as 11:30 p.m., the public viewing was still ongoing because of the long line of mourners. The public viewing was supposed to end at 6 p.m. on Saturday but there were too many people who wanted to say goodbye to the late comedian.
Among the mourners were gays wearing wigs and gowns, in a tribute to Dolphy’s role in the movie “Markova: Comfort Gay.” They also came to represent a home for senior gays.
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