Ate Luds: My Idol

- John Lapus () - September 20, 2003 - 12:00am
I have always been fond of the art of impersonation. I remember the days when I joined gay beauty contests. Folks from different barangays in Manila were totally entertained with my mean rendition of Sheryl Cruz.

A lot of people think Sheryl is the very first artist I impersonated. What they don’t know is that it was actually my impersonation of the "Queen of Intrigues," Inday Badiday, that started my career as John Lapus.

I was totally glued on TV everytime Inday a.k.a. Ate Luds’ show was on air. Who could ever forget her husky vocal inflection whenever she delivered such immortal lines as "Saranghameda, Bo," "Promise!", "Careful, Careful!" or "Kilala mo ba kung sino ako?"

The ratings of the See-True episode where Kris Aquino first appeared became the highest ever in Philippine television history. From then on, I was hooked, whether it was See-True, Eye to Eye or today’s Heart to Heart with Inday. I’m a fan, and a proud one at that!

Ate Luds inspired me to enter showbiz. My very first TV appearance as a major cast on a TV show was in the early ’90s, on ABS-CBN’s Abangan ang Susunod na Kabanata. I impersonated Ate Luds on that show.

If not for my idol – Ate Luds – I wouldn’t have tried my luck in show business. If I didn’t watch her on TV all those years, I wouldn’t be able to master her manner of speaking and her actions. I wouldn’t get noticed by ABS-CBN and ultimately I wouldn’t be John Lapus.

Last Aug. 23, I was at the Teatro Tomasino office in my alma mater, UST. I’m one of the professional consultants of Teatro Tomasino and we were then having our weekly update meetings. As always, I was screaming at the kids because of some organizational concerns within the company.

Then I got a text message from a friend, Eagle Riggs, who happens to be a Teatro Tomasino honorary member like myself. I thought his message was about Teatro matters. But I was totally wrong.

His message was: Please pray for Inday Badiday who suffered a stroke. She is conscious but disoriented. She is confined at the ICU of St. Luke’s Hospital. No visitors are allowed. Will keep you posted. Let us all offer prayers for her recovery.

I was stunned and couldn’t help but cry. The kids were so shocked because I don’t normally cry in public, especially in front of them. For five minutes, I was silent. I offered a silent prayer for my idol. It is now, more than ever, when there’s nothing else in the world I am asking for than her complete recovery.

It’s not yet the right time for the showbiz industry and the Philippines to lose the one and only "Queen of Intrigues." That is why I vow to pray and pray each day for her complete recovery. Promise!<

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