I photographed Dolphy a few times. This photo was from 2001. Eric Quizon, a neighbor of mine and a good friend, asked if I could do the poster for the movie he was directing. I shot the cast. My studio was in my house—my living room area was my studio. They asked Dolphy to do many things—jump, tiptoe.
After I photographed Dolphy I asked him if he had the energy to do a personal shot that I wanted. I asked if I could shoot a portrait of him. I wanted him to project the classic theater masks—the comedy and tragedy faces. He was obliging. He was game about it. We tried a few shots.
It was very difficult, I was asking for the moon. We got down to that image where his lips were smiling but the eyes were sad. This was the image. I think we did eight shots and this was seventh shot. It took about 15, 20 seconds.
This is one of my favorite photos that I took of a show biz personality. It was quite an experience. I also spent time with him in his house once. We talked about his trophies and I photographed him with 16 or 17 of his 18 children.
Dolphy was very accommodating. Ask him a question, start a conversation with him and he will sit down and talk to you.
Dolphy is a different guy. He’s something else. Napaka-charismatic niya eh. He has no bad bone. That’s how he touched me. Wig Tysmans, photographer
Kanina lang, masaya kaming nagseselebra ng aming pagkakapanalo sa 1st Sineng Pambansa National Film Competition kasama si Epy Quizon sa may Wingman sa The Collective. Masaya pa si Epy na nagkukuwento ng anecdotes tungkol sa kanyang ama lalo na nung una itong pinasok sa ospital. Tawa kami nang tawa dahil, ayon sa kanya, nahihirapan man ang pakiramdam ng kanyang ama habang nasa ospital sila ay nakukuha pa rin nitong magpatawa sa lahat.
Pero nung biglang mga kinahapunan, nag-iba na ang timpla ng mukha ni Epy nang may matanggap siyang balita sa text mula sa mga kapatid niya. Huminga siya ng malalim at nagsabing humihingi lamang siya ng lakas ng loob mula sa amin at sa mga mug ng beer na nasa harapan namin.
Sabi ko kay Epy ipakita niya sa Daddy niya ang trophy na napanalunan niya. Ayon sa kanya, hindi na daw niya ’yun makikita. Umihi lang ako sandali at bigla na siyang nawala. Nakaramdam na ako ng masamang pangitain. Natulog lang ako at paggising ko ng ala-una ng madaling-araw ay nakita ko ang isang balita na ayaw na ayaw kong mabasa. Pumanaw na pala ang Hari ng Komedya. Ang bigat ng pakiramdam. Parang nawala lahat ng tuwa at saya na dala lamang ng pagkakapanalo namin. Natanggal ang tama ng serbesa. Bigla akong napaluhod at nagdasal at biglang naluha. Paalam, Mang Dolphy. Maraming salamat sa paghubog mo sa akin sa larangan ng pelikula noong hayskul ako at nanonood ng black and white na pelikula ng LVN at “Sampaguita” sa Channel 9 at pagpapatawa sa “John En Marsha.” Bahagi ka na ng buhay ko kung bakit ako gumagawa ngayon ng pelikula. Maraming salamat sa mga leksyon at aralin na itinuro mo sa amin tungkol sa tamang tiyempo ng komedya. Ikararangal ko sana na mapanood mo ang ginawa naming obra. Di bale, sa premiere night ng “Ang Mga Kidnaper Ni Ronnie Lazaro” sa Aug. 4 sa UP Film Center, irereserba kita ng isang silya. Iisipin ko na lang na nandoon ka at humahagalpak sa tawa. Salamat, Idol. Salamat, Pidol. Mula kay Pidoy.
Sigfreid Barros-Sanchez, filmmaker
I had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to celebrate my birthday and his birthday in Hong Kong in his favorite restaurants. Eric Quizon was so kind enough to let us—me and Direk Andoy Ranay and Director Ruel Bayani—to join their family to eat and celebrate.
I remember him ordering lots of delicious food and before eating he handed me a gift, saying something like, “Pasensiya ka na, hinulaan lang namin ang size mo.”
While eating, he had funny stories to share about the people who have worked for him through the years. After a while, there was a single slice of food left on a plate in the center, so nagkahiyaan na! And he said, “Pag nagbrownout, siguradong mag-uunahan tayo diyan!” (We’d surely try to beat each other to that, in a brownout.) I laughed like I was watching him on TV! He was a man so generous about everything. That’s how I will remember him.
Last year, I was part of his birthday special on TV5. I presented his leading ladies. Nagbatian na naman kami ng “Happy birthday.” Last birthday na pala niya yun. This year, sa birthday niya, I’ll make sure to offer a Mass. Eugene Domingo, actress
King of Comedy
Kaarawan ko nang mamaalam si Dolphy.
Hindi nyo alam ito pero meron akong unproduced script para kay Dolphy. Kinumisyon ito nina Tony Gloria at Sharon Cuneta. Ang titulo “King of Comedy.” Hindi natuloy ang project pero nabasa ni Dolphy ang script. Isang araw, pinatawag ako ni Dolphy para makausap. Nagustuhan niya ang aking panulat at kung pwede raw kami mag meeting baka sakaling may maisulat akong bago para sa kanya. Nagkita kami sa paborito niyang Hizon’s sa Malate. Pinatikim niya ako ng sikat na grilled ensaymada. Nakakatuwa si Dolphy sa personal. Ang dami niyang kuwento! Lalo na tungkol sa industriya at Pilipinas ng nakaraan. Ako naman hindi makapaniwala na si Dolphy itong kaumpukan ko. Pauwi na kami nang um-order siya ng isang buong apple pie. Pasalubong daw niya kay Zsa Zsa. Kinilig ako. Pinabaunan din niya ako ng pang gasolina. Tumanggi ako. Sabi niya: Huwag kang tatanggi. Magagalit ang Tito Dolphy.
Maraming salamat, Dolphy, sa pagpapasaya mo sa aming pamilya nang maraming beses tuwing palabas ang “John en Marsha.” Maraming salamat sa paghubog mo ng sense of humor ko nung bata pa ako. Maraming salamat, KING OF COMEDY! Chris Martinez, screenwriter/producer/director
My father Caesar had the great chance of working with Dolphy during “John en Marsha” as a writer but my connection with Mang Dolphy did not end there. Years later Dolphy used the name “Kevin Cosme” in another popular sitcom “Home Along Da Riles” so I practically grew up being teased by classmates and playmates to the point to make me want another surname! I was like, of all the possible surnames, why does it have to be ours? Haha!
But of course I was young then. At this point, I see this weird connection as an integral part of my childhood. Kevin Cosme was my childhood, and the sitcom’s nostalgic theme song and his laughter plays in my head as if it was just yesterday. Niccolo Cosme, photographer
Salamat po sa pagkakataon na makilala ko kayo at makasama kahit saglit. Salamat rin po sa inspirasyon at isa po kayo sa dahilan kung bakit narito ako sa ganitong trabaho. Kahit man lang katiting ng kagalingan, kabaitan at kahusayan ninyo ay mamana ko po sana. Paalam na po sa inyo Mang Rodolfo.
Tuesday Vargas, actress/singer/host
When I was a kid, my mother would take me and my brothers to LVN studios. We would spend time hanging out there. I’m not sure why, I think she was hoping one of my brothers would get a break in show business.
None of us grew up to be a movie star but our time at LVN wasn’t a waste. Our family albums are now filled with our photos with the stars of the older days. One of my favorites is this shot of me and Dolphy. I still remember meeting him—it was a quick hi and he was very nice. I’m glad I have this photo to always remind me of the Comedy King. Jill Lejano, photographer
Everyone has his/her Dolphy story. Mine was when my parents took me to watch my first Dolphy movie. I was barely in prep school in the late ’70s and there was this man, dressed in a funky outfit, dancing on the big screen. I learned to love Dolphy at that moment.
When I started appreciating TV, the series “John en Marsha” became a family ritual we would watch every week. It was must-see-TV back when must-see-TV wasn’t even a thing yet. We couldn’t have dinner until the last scene—the classic “Kaya ikaw, John, magsumikap ka!” from Dona Delilah—was done. I’d like to believe that Dolphy was Pinoy TV’s answer to Bill Cosby.
Everyone I know is grieving the King of Comedy’s passing. But my 14-year-old son told me that he has never seen anything Dolphy has done. He isn’t exposed to Philippine cinema and TV as much as I was at that age and I realize that my son has no Dolphy story to tell. And that’s not right.
So right after dinner, we watched a few clips of “John en Marsha” on YouTube. As expected, my teenager laughed while watching. I left his room that night while he sorted through other Dolphy videos. But we’re not done. I’m hoping to find a copy of that first Dolphy movie I saw (“Facudo Alitaftaf”) so that he can watch that, too.
Thank you for all the laughs, Mang Dolphy! Your comedy shall live on! Mindy, mom and TV blogger
Dolphy is definitely a hero to a Pinoy cinephile like myself. A highly accomplished artist, the Comedy King had a filmography that ran from A to Z. This graphic artwork, ABCDolphy, is my tribute to his unparalleled contribution to Philippine cinema. It highlights his most memorable roles and, of course, my personal favorites.
It also wishes to unleash your inner Dolphy fanatic by making you guess the characters and/or movie titles in the Dolphabet. Eisen Bernard V. Bernardo, http://pinoycriterion.tumblr.com
My parents, Nene Villamor and Charina Alonzo, call him Ninong Dolphy. How I wish I had more memories of him that I could share but I have only one photo with him, taken at Hizon’s Café where he would usually meet my dad.
Even if my moments with him were limited, my parents have shared with me their unforgettable stories with Ninong Dolphy. My dad met him in Wonderland Productions where they both worked.
“I remember when we invited him to be our ninong, we waited for him in the place where he would be taping “John En Marsha.” Most of the cast members were also waiting and so excited to greet him because he had been awarded King of Philippine Movies at that time. When he arrived, he immediately approached us and we told him about the wedding and he said yes right away. His manager even told him that they would be in Hong Kong on that date but he said that they would attend the wedding and would just go back to Hong Kong after our big day,” said my Dad.
Mom said, “Our friends and even relatives doubted that Ninong Dolphy would attend our wedding. They were saying he would just ask a proxy. To their surprise, Ninong Dolphy arrived in church even ahead of us.”
My parents also recalled how Ninong Dolphy tried to warn my dad, in a teasing manner, that my mom had already backed out of the wedding. He said that my mom was already late, but truth was, he just arrived early.
I can feel my parents’ sadness when they got the news. They checked TFC (The Filipino Channel in the US) every day just to keep them posted. When I asked them to share more memories of Ninong Dolphy, they became really emotional. My brother and I got affected, too. Lots of fun memories about Ninong Dolphy are in my parents’ hearts and they can talk about those for days and days. We laughed at most of those stories yet we couldn’t help but cry realizing he’s gone now.
Even if I haven’t spent much time with Ninong Dolphy, I know he was a good and loving person. I thank him for the love and genuine friendship he has shown our family.
My dad said, “I never heard him say anything bad against anyone. Even if there were people who said a lot of bad things about him, he kept his silence. He was always soft-spoken and humble. A real gentleman and very generous to many. I can’t hold my tears when I remember him, he’s a real friend I will always treasure. May he rest in peace with our Lord, Jesus Christ. I miss you, Ninong Dolphy.” Joice Villamor
The magic of Dolphy
I was at another wake when I heard of Dolphy’s passing.
Just a couple of hours earlier, on the way to the funeral home, we heard radio reports that he was doing better. “That’s good,” I even said.
I cared, I sincerely did, even though I never got the chance to meet Dolphy, even though my closest connection to him was that I once dated a guy who looked like Vandolph.
But that was part of Dolphy’s magic—you didn’t need to be related to him, you didn’t even need to meet him for him to touch your life.
As a child of the ’80s, I spent many nights with Dolphy and the rest of his TV family, watching “John en Marsha.” The show was my introduction to mother-in-law jokes and I’m pretty sure it helped jumpstart my love for Maricel Soriano.
For years, Dolphy became an unofficial part of our household, like he did in countless other Filipino households.
My dates with Dolphy continued in the ’90s as my brother and I watched “Home Along Da Riles” religiously. I loved the Kevin Cosme-Aling Ason angle. I thought Dolphy and Nova Villa were adorable. We thought the show was hilarious.
But it wasn’t just the comedy. We had a deeper reason for loving “Home Along Da Riles.” The house we grew up in was right across some railroad tracks. We may not have been along “da riles,” but we were very near it.
The show’s running gag where their house shakes every time the train passes? That was reality for us. And when the trains pass by while we were on the phone, they made such a racket that the person on the other end of the line would inevitably chuckle and say, “Home along da riles.” Yes, kulang na lang si Dolphy.
It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that show business wouldn’t be complete without him. He will be missed, not just by his family and colleagues but by the millions of people he moved to laughter with his special brand of comedy.
I’m sad but I will do exactly what he said. I will press play and wait until Dolphy brings a smile back to my face, like he did a million times before. Pam Pastor