Big Ike’s first directorial job, Talisman, turned out to be an acid test for the still neophyte Armando Goyena but the same film made him an overnight superstar. Later, he was paired with mainstay Tessie Quintana and their tandem made several hit movies during that time, including the blockbuster Hawayana and Tiya Loleng, a comedy where Armando Goyena played the title role who was a chaperon of Tessie Quintana, his love interest. Bg Ike’s take home pay for editing was raised from P2,000 a month to a whooping P7,000 a month aside from the few directorial jobs he was assigned to. With more than enough money in his pocket, Ike Sr. admitted he had some have affairs then though none of the other women, although none of them ever met his first wife with whom he had 14 children. Their youngest child died at an early age because of meningitis. All the other 13 children are degree holders and are now married.
Ike Sr. said he was contented with how life treated him that he cannot ask for more. Some of his children have settled in foreign countries, six in Canada, two in Australia and another in the U.S.
Ike Jarlego being interviewed by the author
His eldest, Ike Jr., became a child actor at the LVN Studio and until his teenage years was co-starring with Manny de Leon, Nora Dee, Manding Claro, Luz Valdez, Robert Campos, Mila Ocampo, Marita Zobel, Jojo Salvador, Chona Sandoval, Guy Donato, and Nenita Vidal who were the more popular junior stars at the LVN stable then.
The senior stars were then spearheaded by Rogelio dela Rosa, Rosa del Rosario, Tony Santos, Rosa Rosal, Carmen Rosales, Carmencita Abad, Leroy Salvador, Armando Goyena, Mila del Sol, Fernando Poe Sr., Ely Ramos, Tessie Quintana, Erlinda Cortez, Ben Rubio, Ben Perez, Tony Arnaldo, Johnny Reyes, Exequiel Segovia, Angel Esmeralda, Nida Blanca, Nestor de Villa, Bernard Bonnin, Mario Montenegro, Delia Razon, Lilia Dizon, Gil de Leon, Jaime dela Rosa, Anita Linda, Johnny Monteiro, Nita Javier, Celia Flor and Mila del Sol.
His sons Ike Jr. and Loging are now directors in their own right. Some of his other children are now involved in filmmaking either as editor, writer or director.
Biog Ike went to Canada for the first time in 1991 to spend his vacation with some of his children settled there. His first wife died in 1995 and he took his second wife their five grown-up children. He jokingly or maybe seriously intimated that sex helps prolong his life.
Ike Sr. said he has lost count of his numerous grandchildren, but he tries to make sure that they all live comfortably and financially stable.
He was forced to live in retirement in 1986 at the insistence of his children. He explained that they assured him that they could provide all his needs. Kidding aside, I asked him if he can still perform effectively as editor and excitedly answered in the affirmative. He had second thoughts though because he believed his children will not allow him, considering his age and physical condition.
Asked for comment about the kind of movies produced at the present time, he humbly refused to say anything as he had no time to watch movies these though he assured me that he still makes contact with movie people who use to visit him at home in Canada or those he meets in some social gatherings where movie people are invariably invited, renewing acquaintances and reminiscing the good old days.
But he suddenly blurted out that “mas exciting at may kuwento ang films noon.” He added that there are more “mali” in editing now.
Commenting on the new breed of actors these days, Ike Sr. he said “artista” during his heydays were really good looking. Today, “maghubad lang, artista na!” “Noon, walang artistang naghuhubad, he revealed. Citing their professional attitude, Ike Sr. said some of the new actors are unprofessional and are often involved in public scandals, sadly lacking in self-discipline and prone to figure in unsavory “:tsismis”. He lamented the fact that some actors and actresses today report for work not ready with their dialogues since they spent their night in gigs, happenings and ‘pagpu-puyat’.
He expressed alarm about the proliferation of pirated videos that greatly effect the local film industry. Something must be done, he quipped. He is sad that productiondcompanies today have to risk more money to really come up with quality movies that still have no assurance of making it in the box-office. Half of the budget for a movie today was enough to finance two or three movies during his time.
With 19 trophies he received as recognition for his works, he said he is really satisfied with his life and career but regretted the fact that he could not even remember the titles of the movies he won those awards for.
But for me and most of my colleagues, Big Ike Sr. still casts a great shadow and reminds us of the golden ages of Philippine cinema. He will remain someone we can look up to with pride and admiration. Interviewing him was an unforgettable experience. I felt the same way when I interviewed veteran cinematographer Sergio Lobo, who is now over 80 years old.
Enrique R. Jarlego Sr., indefatigable film editor, is still raring and fit at 89. And he said he could still accept a good challenge at another editorial job.
But for the time being, he has that luxury of moving in and staying then moving out again from a son or daughter’s foreign residence though he has his own home with his present wife at #55 Bleeker Street, Toronto, Canada.
Ike Sr. never smoked but has been an occasional drinker all his life. He said he plans to visit the country every two years to visit his other children and some of his few remaining friends.I raise my cup to a great editor-director…great man of great talent and dedication! A toast!