14 years since death, FPJ lives on hearts of families and fans
MANILA, Philippines — Even after 14 years, the spirit of the late Fernando Poe Jr. (FPJ) remains alive in the hearts of his family and his fans as they commemorate the anniversary of the ‘Da King’s death.
Family and fans gathered at FPJ’s tomb at the Manila North Cemetery to pay their respects and celebrate his life.
Among the crowd is a fan who impersonated FPJ down to his famous sideburns and denim jacket.
Roberto Garcia, also known as “Bobby Henson,” is a fan and and FPJ impersonator. He said he has been impersonating ‘Da King’ since he was in high school.
The 70-year-old impersonator said he would go home after watching one of FPJ’s films the movie house and would act out FPJ’s lines and actions, like how he punches, how he reaches for his gun, and how he delivers his lines.
“Noong high school po ako ginagaya ko na po siya, paunti-unti,” Garcia told INQUIRER.net in an interview.
“Sabi ng nanay ko ‘dyan kita pinaglihi kay Fernando Poe’ kaya kapag umuuwi ako sa bahay umaarte rin ako pagkapanood ko ng sine. Suntok, pati bunot ng baril. Acting. Lahat po pati dialog, kaya ko po,” he added.
Garcia said since FPJ’s death, he would annually visit the late actor’s tomb in costume to show his respect and love for his idol.
As a fan, Garcia’s favorite FPJ movies are “Bandido ng Sapang Bato,” “Kapag Puno na ang Salop,” and “Hindi ka na Sisikatan ng Araw.”
He shared that he was one of the “extras” in some of FPJ’s movies, including the film “Bandido ng Sapang Bato.”
Garcia also shared that he was once offered P400,000 by one of the movie producers of the movie “Butas ng Karayom” in which FPJ is the lead actor.
The movie producer asked Garcia if he could “double” for FPJ so that they could finish the movie earlier.
Garcia said he refused the offer, which earned him the good spirits of FPJ.
“Naghanap ng producer ng do-‘double’, ako ‘yung kinukuha. Hindi ko magagawa po, malaki respeto ko kay manager (FPJ) kahit na ano pang malaking bayad, hindi ko po magagawa. Hindi ko tinanggap,” he shared.
“Kaya noong nagkita kami ni manager, natutuwa po siya sa akin. Nag-usap po kami,” he added.
Also seen in the crowd were 68-year-old Eulogio Magtibay and his 65-year-old wife Mamita, who came all the way from Quezon province to pay their respects for their beloved actor.
They said they have been supporters of FPJ since they were young and have watched all of his movies.
They also supported ‘Da King’ when he ran for the presidency in the 2004 national elections.
“Lahat ng movies ni FPJ sinuportahan namin. ‘Yung mag-ano (tumakbo) siya ng presidente, nandoon din kami para sa kanya,” Mamita Eulogio said.
The couple said their favorite FPJ movies were “Panday” “Ang Probinsyano” and “Perlas ng Silanganan.”
They said they arrived with their children a day before FPJ’s death anniversary and slept in their van overnight.
After the Mass offered for FPJ’s death anniversary, the late actor’s daughter and wife, Senator Grace Poe and veteran actress Susan Roces gave away Christmas gift packs to 200 families in the cemetery.
The packs contained toys for the children and items for noche buena for the families.
This practice is part of the Poe family’s annual holiday tradition to continue what his father had started.
“Alam nyo naman ang diwa ng pasko, ang gusto ng aking tatay ay mabigyan ng kaligayahan lalong lalo na ang ating mga kababayang mahihirap at ang mga bata,” Senator Poe said in his speech, thanking his father’s supporters for attending the ceremony.
Roces said that Filipinos should make the memory of FPJ as an inspiration because all he wanted was for the betterment of the public.
“Naririto tayo para ipagdiwang ang kanyang death anniversary. Ipagpapatuloy natin kung ano man ang nasimulan niya para sa nakararami. Let’s think positive and let’s make him our source of inspiration,” Roces told reporters in an interview.
FPJ, or Ronald Allan Poe was known for iconic films including the “Panday” series which made him a legend in the local film industry.
He was also posthumously proclaimed a National Artist for Film in 2006 under Proclamation No. 1069 under President Benigno Aquino’s administration. His proclamation as a national artist was confirmed when then President Aquino signed Proclamation No. 435 in 2012.
“The King of Philippine Cinema” died in Dec. 14, 2004. /muf
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