When I started writing for the FAP website, I didn’t have the inkling that I would be meeting celebrities, the minor ones at least.
In person, I find them natural, amiable and sometimes even timid. But when you engage them in a tete-a-tete, they would talk freely to show their human side.
Tintoy was the first comedian I interviewed during the FAP Voters viewing at the UP Film Center sometime in 2007. Born Enrique Arcega, Tintoy loved to talk about Chiquito. Any topic I mention and Chiquito’s name would crop up.
Tintoy with the author in Matabungkay for the Director’s workshop
“Alam mo naman, dakilang alalay ako ni Tito,” Tintoy admitted with candor. And his face saddened upon recalling of Chiquito’s passing away due to liver cancer.
When I told Tintoy that I would be writing an article about him, he pointed to my camera and requested a photo-op. But he had to first take off his eyeglasses, “Para magmukhang bata naman tayo, Pare.”
A year after the article came out, Tintoy dropped by the FAP office and greeted me with a beaming face. “Pare, ang galing mo talaga. Nabasa ko yung article mo pero bakit walang picture?”
I checked the FAP website and Tintoy was correct. The photo was inadvertently omitted when we did a backup and restore of the website’s database. And for reparation, I uploaded two photos of Tintoy.
After showing the corrected version, I asked Tintoy how he found it. “Yung pamangkin ko marunong ng internet. Ginamitan daw niya ng goggle. Parang microscope ba yun?” I shook my head and refused to explain about Google, the search engine.
Mar Lopez, the leader of the Big 3 Sullivans, was very appreciative of the interview. He said that interviews give him a feeling of importance. “Mas enjoy pa nga pag may picture, ano?” Mar said while pointing to my camera.
Mar Lopez in yellow shirt with Pablo Vergara in the foreground
Mar gamely sang excerpts of his old songs and was proud to say that he had almost circled the earth because of his music. Before we parted, he reminded me to give him a copy of the magazine called Fat Wetside. Huh, that’s supposed to be FAP website.
Berting Labra had many stories to tell. And he talked like he was talking to everyone so I grabbed the opportunity and took down notes. Before he left the office, I took a few shots of him with my camera.
Berting Labra with Leo Martinez at the FAP office
When I reviewed my notes, I noticed that most of his stories were tales of the darkside. So I tried to focus on the positive like the generosity of FPJ (Fernando Poe, Jr.) and did not quote him, “Naku, napakakuripot nyang si Erap.”
I didn’t know that Mang Berting was already sick and that in a few months he would pass away. That’s when I realized that he could be called a true friend because he stayed with Eddie Fernandez up to the extent of being jailed.
Dinky Doo, Jr. is a fellow with a genuine smiling face. One time in an event, he was standing beside me with his camera. Both of us were taking photographs of Ronnie Ricketts in a photo op.
Dinky and the author during the MMFF launch at Greenhills in February 2010
When I noticed that Dinky’s shot was skewed and the subject’s head was cut off, I pointed it out to him. So he clicked his camera again then said to me with a grin, “Pasmado kasi ang kamay ko eh.”
A bit later, Dinky requested me to take his photo with some celebrities. I obliged. But I was surprised because his camera was so light and even the slight movement of clicking it made the camera move.
When I handed back to camera to Dinky, after taking another shot, I said, “Hindi naman pala pasmado ang kamay mo, Dinky.” To that, he was dumbfounded because I didn’t explain that it took me a second shot to get the right picture.
Seeing Richie D’ Horsie in the premises, I requested for a short interview. He willingly posed for photos while relating the story of his recent life, that he was out of jail with the help of Vic Sotto.
Richie D’ Horsie being interviewed
A page boy came but Richie refused to be interrupted. After several paragraphs of his bio, I asked the page boy who answered, “Yung taxi ni Boss Richie, kanina pa naghihintay.”
With a request to have a mini-docu of Redford White, I proceeded to Maligaya Park. Upon entering the church that Redford had built, I noticed that my digital camera wasn’t cooperating. The lens cover wouldn’t move.
Woodrow Serafin, the best friend of Redford, entertained me. He also checked my camera and confirmed that it was not working. To my disgust, I said, “May misteryo ba dito? O baka ayaw lang ni Redford na makunan ng picture ito?”
I continued interviewing people including Jeruie Cermeño, Redford’s only daughter. For recording, I had the videocam although I still preferred using my digital camera for posing shots.
After two weeks, I finally accepted that my camera needed professional help. By chance, I passed by a Canon store, was magnetized by the new digital camera model so that I bought it before proceeding to the service center.
Maybe you can guess that my camera was working when I handed it to the technician. Truly, I felt that Redford had played a trick on me.
Redford and wife Elena celebrating a White Christmas
My first encounter with a comedian was in April 2004 when I met Leo Martinez. But that’s another story, a long one I guess.
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