The favorite pastime of a man in his twilight years is the game called reminiscing. Especially if one’s life had been colorful like Tintoy’s career in the movies, the anecdotes and tales could be countless but interesting to hear.
Enrique Arcega in real life, Tintoy got known to be the sidekick of Chiquito whom he calls Tito. “Magkaibigan talaga kami ni Tito at mag-kumpare pa. Alam mo naman, champion makisama yun kaya kung saan ako puwedeng isingit, ayun, lagi akong sabit sa mga pelikula niya.”
But he notes that he also had a movie with Dolphy in 1996. “Dolpong Scarface. A la James Bond yun. Agent one-two-three siya.” Other comedians featured were Tugak and Menggay. Dolphy’s leading lady was Sylvia Gumabao. Tintoy played minor support.
Tintoy had actually wanted to be in action movies. “Maganda kasi ang action. Parang nung bata ka, di ba gusto mo yung barilan? Yung may buntalan? Exciting kasi. Kaya nga sumikat si Ronnie (FPJ) dahil sa action, di ba? Saka nung araw mas matindi ang action kesa sa comedy.”
However, Tintoy had learned to love his trade. “Andyan ka na eh di pag-igihan na lang. Mas mahirap kasi ang magpatawa dahil nakakahiya pag walang natawa, di ba? Pero masaya rin ang buhay pag comedy ang ginagawa mo.” Tintoy wrote some gags and invented slapstick acts that he thought was funny enough. But with his collection, the problem now was the execution of the act.
One time he was in a shoot (he had forgotten the movie title but presumably it was Mang Kepweng in 1979), Tintoy had the opportunity to display his brilliancy. “Namatay kaya malungkot ang eksena. Umiiyak kami ni Tito. Eh yung hawak ko, ginawa kong torotot. Simple lang, isinubo ko at tinugtog ko lang yung hawak ko.” And the crowd sure loved his unscripted act.
But Tintoy’s ad lib did not sit well with Direk Felicing Constantino who immediately issued a stern reprimand right after the take, “Si Chiquito ang ibinebenta ko dito ha? Tandaan mo, si Chiquito ang bida. Wag mong sasapawan. O, take two tayo!” Embarrassed and humiliated, Tintoy stayed in a corner when not in front of the camera.
As a form of restitution, Constantino beckoned Tintoy during lunch. “Dito ka, Bata, dito ka sa tabi ko.” The director grabbed a plate and personally offered the food to Tintoy. And when everyone was busy eating, Constantino whispered to Tintoy, “Sa susunod pag may maganda kang ideya, sabihin mo muna sa akin kasi ako ang director.”
That lesson was a bitter pill to swallow but Tintoy had eventually accepted his fate of playing support. “Maayos naman ang kita saka sikat na rin kahit paano,” he stretches his facial skin into a semblance of a smile. “Ganyan siguro ang buhay, pag hindi ukol ay hindi talaga bubukol.”
“Ang maganda lang nung araw, kayang gumawa ng pelikula na maraming artista.” With the budget constraint presently hounding production companies, casting of stars is a big headache. That may be a factor for the proliferation of indie movies which can shoot with a meager budget since they focus on the story and not on the casting.
“Gaya nung Pitong Atsay. Ang saya nun, ang sarap panoorin.” Shown in 1962, as the title of the movie implies, it starred 7 female comedians: Patsy, Dely Atay-Atayan, Chichay, Aruray, Elizabeth Ramsey, Menggay and Metring David. Lending support were Caridad Sanchez and Tintoy.
“Isa pang matindi yung The Pogi Dozen. Riot yun sa saya.” Dated 1967, the movie had Chiquito in the lead with major support by Pugak and Tugak, Toto, Pabo, Ponga, Joseph Polk, Don Pepot, Manok, Apeng Daldal, Ben Mercado and Tintoy.
Tintoy with director Neil “Buboy” Tan
“Kung puwede sanang ulitin yung ganun. Kaso kokonti na ang mga comedian ngayon. Si Long, si Bayani, halos wala na rin yung iba,” laments Tintoy as if saying that the present crop of comedians pale in comparison with the classical comedians of yore. And as previously stated, casting is a budgetary limitation.
“Iba kasi ang pelikula pag maraming artista. Lalo nga pag comedy, sa mukha pa lang nila bawi ka na,” Tintoy laughs before continuing. “Lalo pag maganda ang script, ay, naku, sasakit talaga ang tyan mo. Eh sa shooting pa nga lang ang gulo-gulo na eh di lalo na pag napanood mo sa sinehan.”
Another such movie was Pitong Zapata in 1965. It has comedians Bentot, Teroy De Guzman, Cachupoy, Pabo, Babalu, Vic Pacia and Tintoy plus Prospero Luna and Menggay. Bentot was the star in Tang-ta-rang-tang radio series and Menggay, aside from Elizabeth Ramsey, was the favorite of directors to symbolize the opposite of beauty.
Before veering to another topic, he suddenly remembers a 1971 movie with a collection of comedians. “Me isa pa, yung Gangster Daw Kami,” is a spoof of American gangsters. Marissa Delgado played Ma Parker, Max Alvarado was Pogi Boy Floyd, Tugak was Machine Gun Keni, Pugak was Juan Dillinger, Teroy De Guzman was Buni, Aruray was Clayd, Pabo was Al Tapon, Fred Panopio was Legs Diamond and Tintoy played Baboy Face Nelson.
Talking of others in his trade, Tintoy has all praises for the beautiful faces. “Si Boots Anson kasi mestisang-mestisa at talagang maganda. Ang ganda ng tindig tapos ang husay magsalita. Bagay na bagay nga siya kay Ronnie (FPJ).” Boots Anson-Roa was paired with FPJ in the 1970 action blockbuster Santiago after her debut in the classical Wanted: Perfect Mother.
“Si Nida naman eh foreigner ang ama kaya ang puti at ang kinis. Hirap pa nga sa camera yan noong una kasi mahiyain pero,” he pauses for a chuckle, “kumapal na rin ang mukha nang masanay. Oy, kumare ko yan.” Tintoy looks around before continuing with a softer voice this time. “Ang talagang ano nyan ay si Bert Leroy. Anak ni Luz, yung sa radio?” Luz Madcastro was a radio talent and her son Bert Leroy, Jr. (a.k.a. Jojo) was a member of Stars 66 of Sampaguita.
“Sanggang-dikit kami ni Jojo. Pag kailangan ko ng damit, sa kanya ako pumupunta.” The former matinee idol was generous with his unused wardrobe. “Gustong-gusto yan ni Nida. Ang kaso lang, ayaw ni Luz kay Nida kasi gusto nya dalaga syempre.” At that time, Nida had already a daughter (Kaye Torres).
“Pinauwi ni Luz sa Amerika si Jojo. American citizen kasi yun. Sinundan ni Nida sa Amerika pero hindi nakita. At dun niya nakilala si Rod Strunk. Pogi si Rod noong bata at ang galing kumanta.” Further on Rod Strunk, Tintoy doesn’t believe the accusations. “Imposibleng siya ang nagpapatay. Hindi naman sila kasal ni Nida, ano ang makukuha niya? Isa pa, talagang mahal niya si Nida. Sabi ko nga, pogi si Rod noong bata at kay Nida na yun tumanda.”
Another actress with a pretty face was Rosa Rosal. “Ang ganda rin ni Rosa Rosal at sexy pa. Nililigawan niyan si Rosa Rosal. Si Tony Santos, mayabang yan sa babae. Eto na si Rosa Rosal. Isang beses sa shooting, umiihi si Tony Santos. Biglang pinakialam ni Rosa Rosal. Binosohan!” Tintoy cannot control his laughter. “Tapos sabi ni Rosa Rosal, ‘Akala ko naman kung gaano kalaki yang ipinagmamalaki mo.’ Hiyang-hiya si Tony Santos.”
Fortunately for Tintoy, he was able to fulfill his dream of directing a movie. “Kahit paano, may isa.” In 1981, he directed Tacio, culled from his own story in collaboration with Agripino Baque, the creator of the comic strip character. With Chiquito in the lead, the support were Tintoy himself, Yoyoy Villame, Pugak, Panchito, Ramon Zamora, Matimtiman Cruz and character actors Max Alvarado and Martin Marfil.
Asked of his last project, Tintoy beams before letting out a big sigh. “Ang huli kong ginawa? Kapitan Kidlat. Si Mikey ang bida run, Mikey Arroyo. Kaso lang hindi naipalabas. Itanong mo na lang sa producer kung bakit.”
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