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Entertainment

The Tiongco Brothers will never be forgotten

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo - The Philippine Star
The Tiongco Brothers will never be forgotten
Jun, Emil and Arthur back in the ’70s performing abroad.
STAR / File

In the early ‘50s till ‘70s, they were already dubbed as legendary performers who were giving pride and honor to our country.

They were the first Filipino entertainers to perform at the colossal $100-million Sydney Opera in Australia; first Filipino group to perform at ARAMCO, the biggest oil company in Saudi Arabia; and the only foreign entertainers who won the hearts of the Australian people for giving free shows for the benefit of one of their worthy projects.

Their harmonious blending of voices has captivated all their audiences here and abroad. They were even called the Filipino version of that popular American group, The Four Aces, because of the unforgettable similarity of their style of singing that it’s almost impossible to distinguish one from the other.

This nostalgic piece is contributed by election lawyer Romy Macalintal, who has a treasure chest file on perhaps all celebrities both local and foreign. As he continues...

The brothers as guests of election lawyer Romy Macalintal in his radio program on Nov. 11, 2010.

The only difference, of course, is very obvious. It takes four members for the Four Aces to sing; but our very own The Tiongco Brothers needed only three members to sing what the Four Aces were crooning.

These are but few of the many accolades and praises received by this famous group, The Tiongco Brothers, composed of Fernando Jr., Emil and Arthur. They were labelled as the singing pride of then municipality, now a bustling city, Sta. Rosa City of Laguna. Their popularity dated back to the ‘50s until the ‘70s, although according to Emil, “we were officially retired in 2018.”

But unbeknownst to many, they were not only retired but have recently ended their singing career which has lasted for more than half a century. Emil was so apologetic to me when he told me only two weeks ago that Fernando or “Jun” Tiongco passed away last April 11 due to heart failure at the age of 85.

The Tiongco Brothers — Emil, Jun and Arthur — in the ’60s.

“Pasensya ka na Atty. Mac, akala ko na-send ko ang aking message last April 11, ‘yon pala ‘message sending failed.’ Na-senior moment na ako,” Emil said in jest although I felt the loneliness in his voice.

Call it a coincidence, but only last March 11, I was in constant text with Jun asking for some old files and photos of the Tiongco Brothers for an article I wanted to write to justify my long standing position that this group justly deserves an international achievement award or any appropriate recognition by our government for what they have achieved in the field of entertainment.

This May 9, 2014 photo shows Romy with (from left) Jun, Emil and Arthur at the lobby of the Sofi tel Hotel.

I still remember in the early ‘60s when, due to lack of a TV set in our house, I would run and climb the fence of our neighbor in Quezon City just to have a glimpse of the performance of the Tiongco Brothers in the noontime show, Student Canteen, where they were practically regular performers.

I never thought that one day I would meet them personally. This time as the election lawyer of Emil Tiongco when he ran for member of Laguna Sangguniang Panlalawigan in the 1995 election. They even guested and sang in my former radio show, The Law of the Heart is Love, on DWBR.  They also performed in a special dinner-show which I organized for senior citizens at the Sofitel Hotel in May 2014.

Flyer advertising The Tiongco Brothers’ after-dinner show in the ’70s.

While Sta. Rosa City was once only a simple and quiet town, the remarkable success and achievements of the Tiongco Brothers in the world of entertainment have contributed immensely to its becoming a bustling city to be christened now as the “Lion City of the South.”

For, indeed, there has never been a group of Filipino singers as adored as the fabulous Tiongco Brothers since then and until now.

Yes, Jun Tiongco, is gone. But surely, Emil at 83 years old and Arthur, now 78, will still be around to travel with their loyal and adoring fans down memory lane reminiscing in their minds those harmonious and blending voices of the once revered and duly admired group, The Tiongco Brothers — which, at this moment, may already be gone...but for sure, will never be forgotten.

(E-mail reactions at rickylophilstar@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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