The legend lives
ESSENCE - Ligaya Rabago - Visaya (The Freeman) - June 22, 2019 - 12:00am

The entire Philippine cinema is shocked over what happened to Mr. Eddie Garcia during their taping for his GMA teleserye "Rosang Agimat." Mr. Garcia fell into a coma last June 8 after suffering from neck and cervical fracture. His death came just days after he was awarded the Gawad Urian for best actor for his role as a delusional military officer who tortures students in the 2018 Cinemalaya movie "ML." As accidents happen anytime and anywhere, we really don’t know where it will take us.

He passed away at 90, and many of us would probably believe he could have rested already. But a true artist would not rest on his laurels but still continue to do what makes him happy—and inspire others.

Considered an icon of Philippine film, Eddie began his showbiz profession in the motion picture "Siete Infantes de Lara" in 1949, while he directed his first film, "Karugtong ng Kahapon" in 1961. Deserving a great and extraordinary legacy in a showbiz profession that spread over about seven decades, he had more than 600 movies to his name as an actor and film director.

Besides trying villain roles, Garcia was additionally known for his comedy-action movies punctuated with his amusing lines. This demonstrates he was known never to be particular with the roles offered to him. From a priest to a rebel, from a closeted individual to an uproarious, cross-dressing gay, Garcia depicted each part proudly. Versatile and enduring, hero and anti-hero, comedy, drama, and even action, Garcia attacked minor or major roles with equivalent enthusiasm.

Acting was his calling. Known for his flexibility onscreen, Garcia never got worn out. Being on the set empowered him. Neither did he have misgivings about charging. To him, as long as his name was spelled correctly, that was the only thing that mattered.

Mindful that he couldn't stay away from death, Garcia had since a long time ago arranged for his demise. He never needed to be seen inside the coffin. From his deathbed, he needed to be cremated right away. No eulogy, no wake. His ashes would be spread on the sea. That, as well, was told early on to a pilot pal.

To him, “No matter the role, or how small it is, you have to give it your best.” Fulfillment in his chosen craft came not from critical acclaim, but primarily in the film’s commercial success. If a movie does well in the box office, it might mean another job, another project. “Sometimes, you get an award on the side as a bonus for a job well done. That’s it.

“In everything we do, we have do it well, so well that it warrants others to give us another shot, so true in the world of performance that we are only as good as in our last show. We perform as if it is our last.

“We have to perform at a consistently higher level than others, a mark of a true professional. Professionalism has nothing to do with getting paid for our services.”

Mr. Garcia is an epitome of professionalism in the highest degree of artistic commitment. He is indeed a legendary icon.

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