When President Ferdinand Marcos left the country for Hawaii, little was known of the former president’s life because the media was preoccupied with the new president. Indeed, the Cory era had replaced the Marcos regime.
As a long time president, it was a fact that Marcos had countless of friends all over the world. And thinking that he was in exile, the ousted president converted his residence into a sort of Hawaiian connection.
With Imelda’s passion for entertainment, it was a surprise to know that she had called on the Big 3 Sullivans to handle the chore of entertaining the presidential guests. Mar Lopez, the group’s leader, was proud to say, “Isinama kami ni Madam Imelda.”
Mar and his entourage stayed in Hawaii for 3 months. “Naging close nga kami ni Apo,” declares Mar and adds that Marcos had told him some little secrets. “Aba, siya mismo ang nagsabi,” Mar confides one little secret that Marcos has a son other than Bongbong.
“Dahil gala ka naman,” the president ribbed Mar, “siguraduhin mong malaman niyang kinukumusta ko siya kapag nagkita kayo.” The estranged son of Marcos, according to Mar, is in the Visayas.
But before he would be judged a Marcos crony, Mar hastily explains “Kilala rin ako ni Pnoy dahil naging entertainer din ako ng ama niya. Matagal kami sa Hacienda Luisita at kilalang-kilala ako ni Peping,” that’s Jose Cojuangco, Cory’s brother.
Mar Lopez with his musical buddy Pablo Vergara who is a known composer, musical and film director
With so many friends in politics, Mar is not keen on joining the campaign. “Ngayon ngang election eh hindi ko malaman kung sino ang tutulungan ko. Siguro dito na lang sa Quezon City para hindi ako masyadong mapagod.”
Before the closing the topic of politics, Mar remembers that he is being appointed by President Noynoy Aquino as the ambassador for senior citizens. “Yan naman ang itinutulak ko sa aking programa sa radio,” Mar says of his advocacy for the elderly.
Mar Lopez grew up with Ramon Zamora. They both entered entertainment – Ramon in tv and the movies while Mar in music. “ He was already making hits even before the founding of Vicor and Alpha Records.
In the course of his musical career, he sometimes crossed paths with his best friend Ramon. “Naging musical director ako,” Mar rattles off a couple of movie titles then segues “Ako ang naka-discover kay Nora Aunor.”
With another musical buddy Jun Garlan who still performs at the Pan Pacific hotel in Roxas Boulevard
Mar also got close with Fernando Poe, Jr, a.k.a. Da King, because he had been in several of FPJ’s movies. “Minsan musical director, minsan performer. Kami, yung Big Three Sullivans. Aba, marami kaming nalabasan na pelikula.”
With the big stars, it was Dolphy who was very close to Mar. “Yung Pidol’s Wonderland, nakakalungkot nga dahil iniba nila ang grupo,” Mar says with a sullen voice the TV5 need not change the concept even when Dolphy passed away.
“Yung mga kanta namin sa Pidol, every week iba-iba yun,” Mar says with pride. He needed to compose the song in a day or two and sometimes, when the notice is delayed, Mar has to finish the song on the day of the taping.
“Napakabait ni Dolphy,” Mar says with deep regret. “Kahit may sakit na siya at mahina na, pakiramdam ko ay nagpipilit siya sa TV para lang kumita ang mga tao. Eh ayan nga ang nangyari, nang mawala siya eh nawala na kaming lahat sa Pidol’s Wonderland.”
Music had been good to Mar Lopez. Aside from knowing stars and big names in politics, he had been to so many countries. But his favorite is the US. “Napakaganda ng Universal Studios. Andun si Kingkong, si The Hulk pati yung pating… yung Jaws nakita ko rin.”
A chance meeting with Vincent Dafalong whom Mar hadn’t seen for 16 years
Mar is inviting everyone to listen to his radio program in DWIZ 830 on the AM dial. “Tuwing Linggo ng umaga,” Mar emphasizes the time slot is now 7 am to 8 am (it was previously 6am to 7am).
When asked of his talent fee as radio commentator (also writer and researcher of his program), Mar declines but later confides that DWIZ president Rey Langit is a good friend so the talent fee is not an issue.
With singing still in his veins, Mar is coming out with an album before his 78th birthday. “May producer na, yung mga kanta na lang ang kulang pa.” It would be another Big 3 Sullivan album with bonus cuts.
“Isasama ko yung kanta namin ni Dolphy,” another version of Mar’s biggest hit May Pulis Sa Ilalim Ng Tulay with the title May Sakit Ang Tao Sa Ilalim Ng Kubo. That duet was recorded when Dolphy was already ill.
At the end of the casual conversation, some listeners reminded Mar to divulge the identity of Marcos’ first son. “Pumasok na rin siya sa pulitika at gumawa pa nga ng pelikula na kasama ako.” So that’s it.
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