Aris needs a helping hand

STAR BYTES - Butch Francisco -

Before it became de rigueur for young male celebrities to have rippled muscles and six or even eight packs on the abs, Aris Bautista was already into bodybuilding.

The brother of award-winning actress Perla Bautista, Aris also had his share of the limelight when he joined showbiz in 1969 via the pre-martial law ABS-CBN program Code Name: Apollo that starred the late Charlie Davao. Shortly after this program folded up, ABS-CBN Channel 4 (the other TV network the Lopez family operated in the early ‘70s aside from Channel 2) made him the sidekick of Ramon Zamora (he also passed away a few years ago) in the action-comedy show Mission: Patok, which also featured June Keithley and Baby O’Brien. Aired early Monday nights, Mission: Patok was a hit among young viewers. Unfortunately, it had to be taken off the air when ABS-CBN was closed down by the Marcos administration upon the declaration of martial law in 1972.

While waiting for acting assignments on TV (it was a bad time to be on television during the months and years after martial law since there were very few stations allowed to operate by the Marcos government), Aris tried his hand at directing shows.

Off-cam work wasn’t alien territory to him. In between acting jobs, he served either as floor director or associate producer to other shows in the old ABS-CBN: Obra Maestra, the weekly drama anthology of the late Charito Solis and Amalia, another drama program that featured different stories every Monday evening and starred Amalia Fuentes. Both shows were on Channel 2.

For Channel 4, he also worked behind the camera in the Saturday late night drama, Salaghati, which presented local adaptations from classic plays or movies and cast various actors. Among its more memorable presentations were the adaptations of A Streetcar Named Desire (with Rosa Rosal, Marita Zobel and Vic Jose playing the key roles) and Wait Until Dark — with Maritess Revilla essaying the Audrey Hepburn part.

When Channel 13 reopened in 1973, he also worked behind the camera of Dahong Ginto, another drama anthology and among its best episodes was the adaptation of Amador Daguio’s The Wedding Dance with Marilou Diaz (later to become Mrs. Manolo Abaya), fresh from her win as one of Manila’s Five Most Outstanding Coeds (Marilou was a student from Assumption Convent and one of her co-winners was Maryknoll College’s Menchu Genato, who later became Mrs. Joaquin Henson).

Aris’ more concrete works, however, were his directorial stints in Student Canteen and Discorama. While doing Student Canteen, he also managed to star in Ang Mga Alagad ni Kalantiaw, a then afternoon show on Channel 7, along with Rez Cortez and Robert Lee.

A karate expert (he was adjudged best fighter in the 4th Asian Karate Championship in Japan in 1967), he was able to use such skills in Kalantiaw, which had a strong following among kids growing up in the mid-‘80s. In 1986, he was voted Karate Player of the Year by the Philippine Sportswriters Association.

Aris also did a string of movies with some of local cinema’s biggest action stars: Fernando Poe Jr., former President Joseph Estrada, Rudy Fernandez, Tony Ferrer, Bernard Bonnin, Roberto Gonzales, Eddie Fernandez and even Richard Gomez — in the few action flicks Goma did.

Now 66, Aris — sadly — had not exactly been in the best of health since 2000 when he had a stroke. In 2002, he also suffered from cerebral aneurism for which he had to undergo surgery and was comatose for 11 days. He is now partially paralyzed and has difficulty moving around.

Since he has to spend for medication — and for his daily sustenance — friends are organizing a fund raising golf tournament for him to be held this coming Nov. 9 at the Philippine Navy Golf Club in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.

Maybe other friends and colleagues can extend a helping hand to this industry member who once lent his time and talent to showbiz during healthier days.












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