Dolphy through the years

Rogelio Constantino Medina (The Philippine Star) - May 7, 2012 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - I vividly remember the day I visited the house of 83-year-old Rodolfo Vera Quizon Sr., popularly known as Dolphy in the screen world, or then known as Golay, in Parañaque City’s marina village.

At once, I saw Dolphy Jr. and Vandolph, the latter I was going to interview then. And Dolphy was very supportive.

I used to see Dolphy who regularly went Wednesday dawn at the Mother of Perpetual Help Redemptorist Church in Baclaran. His day would not be complete without communicating with God. 

He told me that he prays the rosary every day. “Maski na may mangyari sa iyong masama man o mabuti ay nakapagpaalam ka na sa Kanya (Even if there is something that happens to you bad or good, at least you are prepared to leave this Earth to face God),” Dolphy seriously said to me.

He added, “Noong araw, inabot ko ang orasyon, o iyong tinatawag sa Ingles na (In the early years, I was able to experience the) Angelus time. Pag tunog ng mga kampana ng simbahan tuwing alas sais ng gabi noon, tumitigil ang lahat, pati na ang mga sasakyan, bilang pagbibigay galang sa Diyos. Kahit na hindi nila dinadasal nang buo iyong (When the church’s bell rang at 6 p.m., everybody, including the vehicles, stopped for a while in silence to give respect to God. Even though they were not reciting completely the) Angelus at least tumitigil sila (they stopped any activity) as a sign of respect. Mapalad ako at inabot ko ang panahong iyon (I am fortunate that I was able to experience it during that time in our history).”

Having experienced so much in life in our country, Dolphy is really in a position to compare the past with the present.

“Noong araw bihira ang may baril. Noong araw nagmamagandang-gabi ang mga pulis at gayundin ang mga tao sa isa’t isa. Ngayon, babarilin mo na ang mga pulis at ang mga pulis ay mamamaril din (Then, very few had guns. Then, the policemen politely greeted good evening to passers-by and the passers-by courteously greeted them, too. Now, you will shoot the police and the police will shoot back at them),” he further said.

Later, we laughed together as he continued his trademark jokes.

The author (center) with Dolphy and Van-dolph then

He said, “Iniisip ko nga kung bakit ako lumaki ng ganito. Isa akong mahiyain. Kundi mo ako kakausapin, hindi ako kikibo. Nasa sulok lang ako (Little did I know that I would become a big star. I was shy then. If you didn’t talk to me, I wouldn’t say anything. I was just in a corner). I had inferiority complex and I was sickly then.”

Dolphy first worked with Fernando Poe Jr.’s father, Fernando Poe Sr., during the Japanese Occupation.

When the American Liberation of the Philippines from the Japanese came, Dolphy worked with Bayani Casimiro as a young vaudeville dancer and singer.

Later on, he became a comedian, taking the name of Golay. His colleagues were Pablo Virtusio, Balot, Tugo, Pugo, Lupito, Bentot and Panchito Alba — all already passed away.

Actor Pancho Magalona spotted him and recommended him to Sampaguita Pictures where he had his first movie break. The rest is history.

It is interesting to note that Dolphy and Bayani were the first Japayukis.

“Even during the Liberation, Bayani Casimiro and I used to go to Japan,” said Dolphy.

As a member of the vaudeville, he had performed in Hong Kong, Australia, Canada and USA.

Dolphy popularized gay roles in those Pacifica Falaypay movies.

On television, he created the lovable character of John Puruntong in the long-running sitcom John & Marsha on RPN9.

His Kevin Cosme on ABS-CBN’s Home Along Da Riles and Pidol on TV5’s Pidol’s Wonderland also became a household name.

In 1974, he won the Best Actor award in the Metro Manila Film Festival. In 1977, he was declared FAMAS Best Actor. In 1992, he received the Film Academy of the Philippines’ Lifetime Achievement Award.

In November 2010, President Benigno Aquino III conferred the Grand Collar of the Order of the Golden Heart to Dolphy. It is the highest award given to a private citizen by the President of the Philippines for his contributions to the entertainment industry and for his charitable and philanthropic works. 

I recall well what Dolphy told me that he would really want to finish his studies. He got only as far as second year high school at Torres High School in Tondo, Manila because World War II broke out.

He also shared that he sold bibingka and puto bumbong to support himself.

“Palagay ko ang may kagustuhan talaga na maging matagumpay ako ay ang Diyos. Ang mahalaga ay di ka nagbabago. Iyong magandang ugali mo noong mababa ka pa at maliit, dapat manatili iyon sa iyo gaano ka man kataas ngayon. Saka dapat ay hanggang kaya mong gampanan ang pagtulong ay gawin mo (Perhaps, it’s God’s will that I would be successful in my career. What is more important is that you never change. Your nice attitude when you were low and small should remain in you no matter how high you have reached. And if you can help then do the best you can),” he humbly said.

Finally, the King of Comedy maintains that it is not easy to be a comedian: “‘Pag gumawa ka ng drama, maski di maiyak ang tao, drama pa rin iyon. Pero ang comedy, ’pag nagpatawa ka at hindi natawa ang tao, hindi na  comedy iyon (If you do drama, even if the audience did not cry, it’s still a drama. But if you do comedy, and your audience did not laugh, then it is no longer a comedy).”

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