Six months after the passing of Comedy King Dolphy, her longtime partner, Zsa Zsa Padilla, is still in mourning.
“It really takes a while—it’s a long process,” she said. “That’s the way it is.”
When loneliness creeps in—usually after a grueling day at work—Zsa Zsa finds solace in her late partner’s clothes. She would take Dolphy’s favorite black shirt and wrap its sleeves around her body.
“Lovey ko! I don’t cry. It’s as if Dolphy and I are hugging [each other]!” Zsa Zsa told a few select reporters during a recent visit to the set of her coming ABS-CBN action-fantasy series “Juan de la Cruz.”
On the day of the interview, Zsa Zsa turned up in a red checkered, long-sleeved shirt that she had given Dolphy. “He loved wearing this with short pants,” she pointed out, fussing with the shirt that was a skosh too big on her.
Every so often, the singer-actress said, she would sit in a corner or by the window at home and have her “coffee moments” with Dolphy. “I tell him about my fears. I ask him for help and guidance in raising the kids. I tell him about work.”
More than anything, Zsa Zsa misses the times when she would come home from work to find Dolphy waiting for her. “I was drama-tweeting just recently,” she said. “I posted, ‘To come home to you would have been (sic) the best part of any day. I miss you.’”
She continued: “We were together for 23 years. Whatever condition he was in, I always knew he would be there. When you lose that, it’s hard.”
Despite the longing she was apparently feeling, Zsa Zsa tried to make the conversation light-hearted and fun. Asked about Valentine’s Day, she said, laughing: “I miss preparing the gifts every year. But yes, malaki na natitipid ko sa birthday niya at Christmas (I already saved a lot on his birthday and Christmas)!”
She added: “I’m celebrating Valentine’s Day with Kris Aquino. We’re going to the beach.”
Meanwhile, five months after undergoing laparoscopy to take out a tumor in her kidney (which turned out to be benign), Zsa Zsa is getting back to the grind.
Prior to “Juan,” the singer-actress’ last television series was “Budoy,” which ended in March last year.
“I was nervous on my first day of taping ‘Juan.’ I was scared and worried that I might get too tired and wouldn’t recover. But so far, everything’s going great,” she said. “I’ve started a workout regimen to improve my stamina.”
She has been doing Pilates, Zsa Zsa said, and eating fruits and lots of fresh food to get back into shape. “Being healthy takes a lot of discipline. I plan to go back to the gym in February,” she said.
In “Juan,” Zsa Zsa is one of the lead villains. She plays Laura, a shape-shifter, who alternates between taking the form of a human and a vampire-like, man-eating aswang. “I’m doing some action scenes here,” she said.
The biggest challenge for her, however, is not what goes on in front of the camera, but the preparations for the shoot. “Our special make-up takes one-and-half to two hours to apply. You have to be really patient,” she said.
Zsa Zsa recalled: “Sometimes, we’re already in full makeup, but the shoot will be packed up because it wouldn’t stop raining or we didn’t have enough time. That happened about three times already.”
But if there’s anything good about all that waiting on set, she said it’s the bonding among the cast whose members include Coco Martin, Erich Gonzales, Ahron Villaflor and Albert Martinez.
“We share music with one another. We talk about it and sing. We talk about movies,” she related. “So in a way, we get to improve our social skills.”
Zsa Zsa said she was grateful to be doing a daily soap. “It helps me take my mind off all the sad things,” she said. “Being home alone can be quite lonely.”