Radio’s Tita Swarding; 60
A day after the death of radio announcer Tita Swarding, his wife still couldn’t believe that her husband of 27 years was now gone.
Tita Swarding, or Romulo Espeña in real life, passed away on May 12, after a three-year battle with emphysema. He was 60.
“It’s like a scene in a movie or TV show,” his wife Beatriz told the Inquirer in a phone interview. “It happened so suddenly. Just last night, he was with us, laughing while feeding his apo.”
Tita Swarding is survived by his wife, five children and five grandchildren.
“Our third child Tyric died of drowning three years ago. He was devastated,” she said.
Although he assumed a flamboyant and fiery persona on his radio show, he was the total opposite at home. “He was quiet, but generous when friends asked for help.”
In spite of his gregariously gay image, she and their children understood and accepted him completely. “We had no problem with that. What was important to us was that he was a good man,” his wife said.
Behind the loud laughter was a man whose life story could rival sudsy soap operas.
True enough, his colorful life was featured in an episode of the ABS-CBN drama anthology “Maalaala Mo Kaya” 10 years ago with Vhong Navarro portraying him.
Beatriz and Tita Swarding met almost three decades ago. She was an avid listener of his radio show.
“He was in show biz for 43 years,” she recounted. “He started as a technician in Super Tunog Pinoy.”
She recounted that he stayed loyal to his current station, Manila Broadcasting Co., for over three decades.
Colleagues remembered him as hardworking and hard-hitting.
Recalled talent manager Dennis Adobas: “I knew him as a feisty radio commentator who called a spade a spade. He was also famous for his signature raucous laughter.”
He costarred with actor-stylist Fanny Serrano in Neal “Buboy” Tan’s indie film “Tarima” in 2010.
Serrano said: “I was touched when he said he was excited and nervous to act with me. I didn’t have the heart to tell him, I was the one who got tense because he talked rapidly.”
His wife said the funeral would push through today. “Our eldest son Ian Niño, who now works in Qatar, was able to get a leave from his job. He loved his father deeply and wanted to say goodbye.”
Funeral is at the Holy Cross Memorial Park in Novaliches, she said.
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