Home » Columns » Faces and Places » Dolphy



Angelyn Tugado-MarzanBy Angelyn Tugado-Marzan

“Wala na si Pidol!” “Tepok na si Kevin Cosme!” “Dedbol na si John Puruntong!” “Yari na si Facifica Falayfay!” Last July 10, 2012, all these meant “Patay na si Dolphy!” Yes, Rodolfo “Dolphy” Vera Quizon, the undisputed King of Comedy in Philippine entertainment, died at age 83. He left behind said unforgettable characters he portrayed on television and the movies plus more than six decades of witty antics only the Filipino soul could appreciate and find joy in.

Filipino Americans were shocked  and deeply saddened at the news of Dolphy’s passing. “Nakakaiyak, wala na si Dolphy!” Said Danni Gonzalez. “I remember his movie, “Ang Tatay Kong Nanay,” which I watched in college with my childhood sweetheart and now wife, Lynn. We’re lucky we were able to buy volumes of his successful television show, “John En Marsha.”

“I never thought he would die!” said Nancy Ceniza of the Philippine Nurses Association of Metropolitan D.C., Inc. “People like him should not die so young! Age 83 is not old; 100 plus is old! His death is a great loss, especially for the Philippine movie industry. We love him but if it’s God’s will, we cannot do anything.”

“Laughter will now resonate in Heaven!” some reacted, referring to Dolphy joining Filipino comedians who passed away before him, including Panchito, his sidekick with a large nose; Babalu, his other sidekick with a long chin; Cachupoy with his trademark hair that was always parted in the middle; Bert “Tawa” Marcelo with his infectious high-pitched laughter; Chiquito; Pugo and Togo; Tugak and Pugak; skinny Palito; Ading Fernando, Apeng Daldal, Bayani Casimiro; Bentot, or comediennes Nida Blanca, Chichay, the eternal Lola with the scratchy voice; Dely Atay-Atayan, the haughty domineering mother-in-law who had one scathing advice: “Magsumikap ka!”

“He was the Bob Hope of the Philippines!” mused Carl Abella of Alpha Travel as he referred to the English-born American comedian who, like Dolphy, was extremely popular in radio, television and movies.  Bob Hope appeared in vaudeville, a theatrical genre of variety entertainment in the US during the early 20th<D> century.  Dolphy appeared in “bodabil,” the stage shows prevalent in the Philippines during World War II and influenced by the American vaudeville composed of song/dance numbers, slapstick comedy routines, magic acts and chorus girls. Before becoming famous, both worked at various odd jobs: Bob Hope, doing dance and comedy acts on streets, etc and Dolphy, shining shoes, sorting bottles by size, attaching buttons at a pants factory, and driving calesas.

Both Bob Hope and Dolphy’s careers spanned six decades of giving the best medicine laughter  to their countrymen even through the dark periods of their respective countries. “I grew up with Dolphy just as Americans grew up with Bob Hope,” recalled Filipino American Raul Mercado, manager at the imposing L’Enfant Plaza Hotel in the US capital. “I can relate to his movies: he’s always the underdog but he turns out victorious at the end,” said Elmer R. Daluz, realtor of Fairfax Realty

Others see Dolphy’s comedic acts as scenes of everyday life, soothing the pains of the downtrodden and the miseries of the poor. “Growing up, we never missed “John En Marsha” on tv. His humor, though for the masses, was classy,” said sisters Angelli and Agnes Fabella. “I cried when I heard about his death!” said Noemi Dabu.  “Talagang matatawa ka kasi nangyayari sa buhay ang mga sinasabi niya!” quipped dental technician Willie Fernandez of Virginia.

“Pag may problema ka, panoorin mo siya!” advised Art and Annie Asistores. “His funny antics will make you forget your problems,” beamed Mylene M. Lopez. Cho Ortega of Lumpia, Pansit, atbp Filipino Restaurant found Dolphy’s punch lines to be so funny that “you just get to laugh out your tiredness.” Said Dr. Archimedes and Roring Jao, “He made us laugh through the years.” “Pagpinapanood mo si Dolphy, nakakalimot ka ng kahirapan,” enthused Presy Guevara.

“Dolphy was a good clown. I enjoyed his humor!” Gloria Maria Federigan smilingly said. “He was very humble,” said Jeannette Abella as she recalled watching religiously “Home Along Da Riles.” “Mabait at matulungin talaga si Dolphy, very respectable and approachable,” recalled the Comedy King’s fellow Filipino actor Ruel Vernal as he mused encounters with Dolphy in Manila while savoring last July 23, 2012 the sights and sounds of the Asian Festival, including the Philippine Village at the George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Dolphy’s humility was witnessed first hand by Emelina Garcia Camp who, together with Waret Binebile Chastain, are pondering on how the construction of the grotto of Ina Poon Bato (one of the numerous titles of the Blessed Virgin Mary)will be a reality  in Vienna, Virginia. Camp recalled how Dolphy, famous as he was, would unassumingly drop by her alma mater, the Philippine Women’s University (PWU) on an official visit with then PWU President Helena Z. Benitez.

Mama Connie Valera who lived and worked as a swimming instructor at the posh Manila Hotel for seven years recalled Dolphy’s quiet demeanor as he would drop by some evenings at the hotel’s pool area to visit her students who were actors and actresses and quietly regale them, including her, with funny stories as they sipped coffee by the poolside tables.

“I learned about Dolphy’s generous spirit from his son, Rolly Quizon who was my classmate at the University of Sto. Tomas (UST) High School,” recalled  UST Alumni Association in America President Greg Abella who’s busy with preparations for the upcoming Bingo Nite and Karaoke Extravaganza on August 25th<D> at the National Philippine Cultural Foundation, Inc. (NPCF) building in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

“I met Dolphy when I was an anesthesiologist at the Manila Doctors’ Hospital. He was so amiable, handsome, and very funny as he visited his actress-friend!” recalled Dr. Ellen Carag as she reminded me of the movie, “Botleya” (starring Boots Anson Roa) to be shown at the Hermitage Senior Living Place in Alexandria, this August. “As a Christian, I forgive him for fathering 17 children, without the sanctity of marriage. After all, he did take care of all of his children.”

“Dolphy lived a good full life of fun and happiness. His being a funnyman will not be forgotten,” reflected  Filipino American Amy Pascual Quinto of the Washington Post. Indeed, with or without the prestigious Philippine National Artist award, it is, as Philippine Vice President Jejomar Binay said, “only fitting that we remember Dolphy for the happiness he brought to our lives.” Thank you, Mr. Dolphy! May you rest in peace.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.