It is well-known that Fernando Poe, Jr, became popular like his father actor Fernando Poe, Sr. who was a native of San Carlos City in Pangasinan. Unfortunately his father died of hydrophobia caused by the saliva of a puppy that licked a healing wound in his foot.
At that time, Ronald Allan Poe, the second and eldest brother of the six siblings of Bessie Kelly and Fernando Poe, Sr. took upon himself the task to support their family. The eldest is Elizabeth who became the wife of Bob Soler. The third was Andy Poe who was the real Fernando Poe, Jr. Andy appeared with FPJ in the movie Mas Matimbang Ang Dugo. Andy married Mina Aragon from the Salvador clan. The fourth is Genevieve, nicknamed Jenny, who became the wife of another Salvador, Jojo, popularly known as Lou Salvador, Jr. The fifth is Frederick, who also appeared once in the movie of his brother FPJ, and the sixth is Evangeline.
Moving from their mansion and transferring to a rented house, Ronnie dropped from his high school classes at the University of the East. He appeared as extra in the movies to earn a living. In the movie Simaron of Everlasting Pictures, Ronnie played a stuntman to double for Lilia Dizon. Also in the action film Babaeng Mandarambong, Ronnie earned his keep as a stuntman.
Mario Barri gave Ronnie a break to take lead in Anak Ni Palaris, co-starring with Rosita Noble. It was a sequel to Palaris, a successful movie of Fernando Poe, Sr. Then Larry Santiago took a fancy on Ronnie. His outfit Larry Santiago Productions made Lo Waist Gang into a movie. The cast includes Zaldy Zshornack, Butch Bautista (father of Herbert), Berting Labra, Boy Sta. Romana, Boy Francisco, Paquito Toledo, Mario Antonio among others. The success of Lo Waist Gang resulted in a sequel to include Jesus Ramos, a former Mr. Philippines, to play the part of Og, the local Tarzan and Teresita Mendez for the leading lady.
After the series of Lo Waist Gang, Ronnie was given a solo-starrer in Tough Guy opposite Lani Oteyza. Then he signed a contract with Premiere Productions to do the movie Kamay Ni Cain with Zaldy Zshornack. Far East Productions starred him in Markado with Fred Panopio as his sidekick who sang the theme song.
Sandata At Pangako followed suit, with Charito Solis as Ronnie’s leading lady for LVN pictures. After the last of the Lo Waist Gang series, Ronnie put up his own film company, the FPJ Productions. Ang Mananandata, a cowboy film, was its first offering where Ronnie co-starred with Nova Villa.
Ronnie had made several movies casting a beauty queen or known celebrity. In Fando, Robert Jaworski was introduced. Marilou Destreza, a Mutya Ng Pilipinas, was introduced in Santuario which was shot in the church of Magdalena, Laguna. Another beauty queen for Ronnie’s leading lady was Dang Cecilio.
Ronnie’s movies gave rise to some child actors like Jay Ilagan. Ang Leon at Ang Daga featured Niño Muhlach. Tutubing Kalabaw, Tutubing Karayom had Matet De Leon. In the Panday series, there was Bentot, Jr. and Dranreb.
Susan Roces was Ronnie’s leading lady in Ang Daigdig Ko’y Ikaw and Perlas Ng Silangan. Both movies were blockbusters.
Fernando Poe, Jr. played hero not only in the films but also in real life. Together with bosom friend Joseph Estrada, they broke the stranglehold of the Big Four. It was rumored that the Big Four, composed of gangsters from rich families, were victimizing movie stars through extortion.
An old time standard in movie productions, crew members have to fend for their own food. Ronnie broke this discriminatory tradition and implemented an equal opportunity system among the cast and crew. Caterers are now serving food to everyone in the set.
Ronnie’s heroism had spread far and wide, touching the lives of people thru his kindness and generosity. Proof was the outpouring of emotions and the presence of countless people from all walks of life in his wake. One can conclude that Da King of the Philippine movies will remain Da King even after his lifetime.