By Tante de Ramos
Through the many decades of Philippine cinema, a long parade of comedians had occupied center stage. They were the clowns who made us laugh and smile our troubles and ill feelings away. They had passed away to bring their own brands of comic genius to the wide blue yonder. The following ABC of twenty such Pinoy comedians is herein enumerated by our website trivia master, Tante de Ramos:
Panchito Alba – He was introduced in the film Barbaro. He became the partner of who is acknowlegd as the King of Philipiine comedy, Dolphy. Some of flicks that he made with Mr. Rodolfo Vera Quizon included Kandidatong Pulpol, Kalabog en Bosyo, Si Lucio at Si Miguel and El Pinoy Matador which was shot in Spain. Other films were Dobol Trobol and Operatang Sampay Bakod.
Babalu – Successful as a sidekick, he appeared in many films produced by Dolphy’s RVQ Productions Inc. He was memorable in his role as one of the three princes in the fairy tale Ibong Adarna with Dolphy and Panchito Alba as the two other princes. One of his later films include Home Along the Riles, the Movie.
Balot – He is always remembered for his stage career at the popular Manila Grand Opera House. He invariably played roles as the funny househelp opr boy.
Bentot – The quintessential man-boy of Philippine cinema, wearing short pants almost throughout his career, Bentot made his profession of being Pugo’s pasaway son. The movie Tang-Tarang-Tang is an example of his popular portrayal as Pugo’s spon and Rosa Aguirres apo. He starred in Nasaan Ka Irog? With soprano Letty Liboon, Mario Montenegro and Val Castelo under the direction of Joe Climaco. He was a support in the Nida Blanca-Pancho Magalona starrers Tayo’y Magsaya with co-stars Lita Gutierrez and Goy Donato, directed by F.H.. Constantino, and Navy Blues with Luz Valdez and Pugo.
Cachupoy – With Canuplin, he came close to doing a Charlie Chaplin. He was also a Manila Grand Opera House fixture. He co-starred with Redford White in some of his films, like Bonnie and Clyde and Soldyer. He topbilled Wrong Ranger and Ranger in the Wrong War.
Carding Castro – He was the Card in thew popular Reycard Duet who performed for years in Las Vegas. His partner was Rey Ramirz. The true-to-life story of the exceptional duet was made into a film, The Reycard Duet Story. After the death of his partner, Carding returned to the country and successfully resumed his movie career. Her appeared in a Star Cinema Productions film with Babalu and Redford White, titled Tan-San. Late in his career, he became a main-stay in Home Along Da Riles, the television show starring Dolphy, Nova Villa, Smokey Manaloto, Vandolph and Boy2 Quizon.
Bayani Casimiro – He was a stage director in 1953 at the Manila Grand Opera House where he was also a dancing partner of Dolphy. He appeared in Botika sa Baryo with Diomedes Maturan, Marita Zobel, Lopito and Patsy. In Turista, produced in the mid 50’s, he starred opposite Nestor de Villa, Nida Blanca, Bimbo Dahao who sing in Japan and Atsuko Kindaichi. Portions of the film were shot in Tokyo’s tourist spots. Both films were produced by LVN Pictures Inc.
Chiquito – A comedian who became a politician (as a Makati councilor), he appeared in the movie May Pasikat Ba sa Kano? with Fernando Poe, Jr. for Premiere Productions Inc. He appeared with the Lost Waist gang in Lutong Makaw. He was the title role of a film shot in the US, Arizona Kid, with Bernard Bonnin and Miss Venezuela Angela Perez Branger, the 1967 Miss Universe first runner-up. He became Mr. Wong in the series about a Chinese cowboy crime fighter.
Teroy de Guzman – The comedian with the raspy laughter, he appeared In Hong Kong Honeymoon with reel-and-real couple Zaldy Zshornack and Shirley Gorospe. In this film, he was in the main cast with Chiquito, Celia Rodriguez and Carol Varga. The film guest stars included Efren Reyes, Sr. and Virginia Montes, Carmencita Ferrer and the Sugar Baba Revue. Ramon Estella wrote and directed the film which was produced by People’s Pictures Inc.
Vicente Liwanag – This portly comedian appeared In the initial version of Pedro Penduko with Efren Reyes and Leila Morena. He also appeared in DI-13 with Jose Romulo (in the title role), Arsenia Francisco, Rosita Noble, Lopito and Ramon D’Salva, directed by Cesar Gallardo for Larry Santiago Productions.
Lopito – A popular host of the singing amaeur contest Tawag ng Tanghalan with Patsy, Lopito usually appeared as the side-kick of Efren Reyes, Sr. in most of the movies he made under Premier Productions Inc. He was also in the cast of DI-13. He also appeared in Botika sa Baryo with Diomedes Maturan, Marita Zobel and Patsy directed by Natoy Catindig and Detective Maturan again with Diomedes Maturan, together with Luz Valdez, Liza Moreno, Pugo and Patsy. Some of the scnesd were shot aboard the ship M.S. Cebu. As early as In 1939, he was already appearing in tandem Lopita (Millie Sparks in real life) who popularized the song Banana Girl in Sundowner’s Program over DZRH.
Horacio Morelos – One of the mainstay comedians of Sampaguita Pictures Inc., he appeared in Ang Tangi Kong Pag-ibig which starred Carmen Rosales and Rogelio dela Rosa, with Norma Velez and Luis Gonzales under the direction of Mar S. Tores.
Dencio Padilla – He became popular as the sidekick of Philippoine Movie King Fernando Poe Jr. He was always in the cast of films where Da King was the lead actor. But Dencio also appeared in the horror trilogy Gabi ng Lagim with Myrna Delgado, Cielito Legaspi, Amado Cortez and Vic Santiago, produced by Larry Santiago Productions Inc. Then he co-starred in Hong Kong Honeymoon with real life couple Zaldy Zshornack and Shirley Gorospe.
Pugak – His comedy tandem with Tugak became popular in the 60s. They were cast in Walong Biyahero sa Buwan which also starred Tony Ferrer., one of the more successful Filipino James Bonds. He died earlier than his partner Peck Pinon who became a successful painter and seller of Filipino paintings.
Pugo – Acknowledged as the ultimate Filipino comedian with the perfect timing, Pugo etcdhed in the mind of viewers his role as the cantankerous father in the TV series Sebya, Mahak Kita. A spinoff of the series, Tang-Tarang-Tang, was made into a movie with Rosa Aguirre and Bentot. But before this, he was part of the most successful comedy duo in Philippine cinema history with Togo. Even during the Japanese occupation, the comedy team was performing in stage, oftentimes watched by Japanese officers and soldiers. Pugo and Togo appeared in the Norma Blancaflor-Ely Ramos starrer Binibiro Lamang Kita, directed by Carlos Vendor Tolosa for Philippine Films. Pugo was in the cast of Detective Maturan which starred Diomedes Maturan, Luz Valdez, Liza Morena, Lopito, Patsy and Caridad Sanchez. He and Togo also appeared in Navy Blues with Pancho Magalona and Nida Blanca and Biglang Yaman, the first starring role of Rosa Rosal with Jaime dela Rosa which was produced by LVN Pictures.
Rene Requestas – He was at the height of his movie career when he died at an early age. In Starzan, he was the sidekick chee-tha-eh of Joey de Leon who appeared in the title role. In Elvis and James, he again appeared with Joey de Leon. He was the third prince (with Paquito Diaz and Joaquin Fajardo as the other two princes) Prinsipe Abante at ang Hiwaga ng Ibong Adarna, which also starred Monica Herrera. In the Pido Dida series, he starred opposite Kris Aquino in the Regal Films production.
Jose Cris Soto – A provincemate of Rogelio dela Rosa, he appeared in movies made during the decades of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s. He appeared in Tarhata, O! Salapi, Takipsilim, Seniorita, Sandatong Kanin, Doon Po Sa Amin and Sarumbanggi. Impossible Dream was his last movie where he was cast as the father of Nora Aunor. He teamed up with Patsy Pachochay in some pictures. He also appeared on stage, specifically at Clover and Manila Grand Opera House. In radio programs of the Manila Broadcasting Company, he was paired with Bayani Casimiro as Fat and Thin. Together with Dely Atay-atayan and Ike Lozada, they were billed as the Heavyweight Trio, A regular of the TV program Tayo’y Maghapi-hapi, he was com-emcee with Romano Castelvi and Jean Lopez.
Togo – Pugo’s partner in what has been mentioned as the most successful comedy duo in Philippine cinema history, Togo appeared in the film Pulo ng Engkanto with his sparring partner Pugo of course, and Lilian Velez. He appeared in Binibiro Lamang Kita with Norma Blancaflor and Ely Ramos as leads, amd Nanding Ansurez, Lilian Velez, Nati Rubi, Florentino Ballacer and Pugo. He also appeared in Japanese Straggler (with Pugo) and Biglang Yaman with Rosa Rosal, Jaime dela Rosa and Pugo.
Toto – He became popular when he appeared as a group with his sons, called Toto and her Children. The group appeared at the Manila Grand Opera House. He was also cast as a funnyman in some comedy films.
Pablo Virtouso – A guitar virtuoso, he also became popular as the sidekick of Fernando Poe, Jr. just like Dencio. He left viewers literally in stiches because of his fractured English.