Jul 25, 2007

Dolphy: 80 and going strong(er)!

Rodolfo Quizon — Dolphy to the world — is turning 80 today. Actually, he’s only 79 but, being part-Chinese (it’s obvious in his features, especially his eyes, isn’t it?), he follows the Chinese computation which includes the nine months you are in the womb. Which means you are one year old at birth.
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But Dolphy won’t be celebrating until Saturday, July 28 (which is the 66th birthday of his John En Shirley sitcom co-star Susan Roces and, I repeat, The STAR’s 21st anniversary), when his beloved Zsa Zsa Padilla hosts a Roaring ’20s party for him at the Villa Immaculada in Intramuros, Manila.

Together for 19 years,

the couple has weathered all kinds of storms and survived the worst kind of tsismis which is the recurrent one about their having parted ways and putting up appearances by living under one roof but sleeping on separate beds.

“Yes, it’s true,” confirmed Zsa Zsa when Funfare dropped by last Sunday at Tamayo’s Flower Shop and Catering Service & Restaurant, near the venue of the July 28 affair, where Zsa Zsa and Dolphy had a food-tasting. “Yes,” repeated Zsa Zsa with a wide smile, “we slept on separate beds when I came back from Melbourne two weeks ago because I had the flu and I didn’t want to infect him. Dolphy can’t sleep without having the aircon on and I was feeling cold, so I asked him to sleep in another room. But our separation didn’t last long because we missed each other. Now, we’re back to sleeping on the same bed.”

Don’t misinterpret Zsa Zsa’s trip to Melbourne as a ploy to evade the rumors.

“I went there to enroll Nicole at the university. She’s taking up an arts course.”

The couple could also only laugh at the rumor linking Zsa Zsa to Tito Sotto.

“I haven’t seen him for years,” exclaimed Zsa Zsa. “The last time I saw Tito was at the hospital where FPJ was confined. Are we bothered by rumors like that? No, we are not, not at this stage of our life.”

Asked why she chose the Roaring ’20s as motif, Zsa Zsa simply explained, “Because Dolphy was born on July 25, 1928.”

The 500-plus guests invited will partake of the following menu, the same one Zsa Zsa and Dolphy went out of their way to taste (“Ayaw namin mapahiya sa mga guests, ‘no,” said Zsa Zsa):

.Appetizer: Chicken Galantina, Fisherman’s Dream, Garlic Mushroom, and Lumpiang Shanghai;

.Soup: Crab & Corn Soup Chinese Style;

.Salad: Salad Bar, Poached Baby Prawns in Asian Vegetable Garden, and Peppered Beef Tenderloin;

.Main Entree: Stuffed Beef Tenderloin St. Sylvester on a port wine, Hawaiian Pork Spareribs, Sauteed Shrimps in hot chili sauce, Tri Color Pasta with Arabiata sauce, and Steamed Rice;

.Desserts: Fresh Fruits in Season, Mango Sago, and Leche Flan; and

.Drinks: Iced Tea, Softdrinks with Diet Coke, and Coffee & Tea.

Funfare put Dolphy on the “hot seat” before he and Zsa Zsa did the food-tasting.

What is the most painful thing that happened to you?

“Well, aside from the death of my parents, mas painful lalo ang death ng anak ko. There are so many painful moments but I’m thankful to God that I survived them.”

And what’s the most joyful thing that happened to you?

(Zsa Zsa butting in: Siyempre, noong kabataan niya at marami siyang chicks. Joyful ‘yon, di ba? At every time nagkakaroon siya ng anak.)

“Well, ‘yung pagsikat ko was very joyful ‘yon.”

What’s the biggest mistake that you have committed and how do you plan to correct it?

(Laughs) “‘Yung pag-aasawa ko ng marami. It shouldn’t have been. (Actually, despite his many relationships, Dolphy has never been married, but he and Zsa Zsa are hoping — against hope? — to march down the aisle in due time. — RFL) Dapat isa lang, di ba? I don’t know why it happened. But now I have only one.” (Stealing a glance at Zsa Zsa beside him) “May pruweba naman, di ba?”

If you could turn back the hands of time, what would you change in your life?

“None. My career is okay, everything is okay. I’m forever thankful for all the blessings He has given me. I can’t ask God for anything more. I’ve been in showbiz for 63 years; I started in 1944, during the Japanese time, and I’m still around. Napagdaanan ko na lahat — vaudeville, stage show, radio, television, movies...lahat! Kami ang unang Japayuki, Bayani (Casimiro) and I. We performed in Japan in 1951.”

Which of those periods was the most difficult?

“The Japanese time. We had to do shows even if there were bombings all around. We ate only twice a day, mostly camote by day and porridge at night.”

You haven’t changed. Despite your stature, you have your feet firmly planted on the ground. You have remained so humble and down-to-earth. (I must add that Dolphy and Zsa Zsa are among the very few superstars easy to interview; they don’t give the press the run-around. One call and everything is set. No wonder they are so loved and respected.)

“It has to be that way. I guess I am just lucky. I’ve been telling my children, ‘Maybe when God showered His blessings, mas marami akong nasahod kaysa ibang tao.’ I never let anything go to my head. That’s why I said that I wouldn’t change anything in my life.”

What’s the best thing that ever happened to you?

(Again glancing at Zsa Zsa). “She’s one of the best things that ever happened to me. When I met her, nag-slow down talaga ako. I’ve stopped going out. I’d rather stay home now.”

You joked before that Zsa Zsa is your Viagra.

“A, oo! Very effective!”

You’ve been invited to join politics but you always said no.

“They ‘ve been asking me, ‘Bakit di ka tumakbo?’ And I would tell them, ‘Ayoko ‘kako.’ They would say, ‘Bakit ayaw mo, eh, sigurado ka naman mananalo.’ And I would say, ‘’Yon nga ang ikinatatakot ko, baka manalo ako.’ Those were my exact words. I remember that you were the one I told that to several years ago during our interview in Anabel’s Restaurant.”

Do you believe in reincarnation?

“Yes, I do. If you are a Catholic, I think you should believe in reincarnation. Sarado Catholic ako so I believe.”

If ever, how do you want to be reincarnated?

“Sana ako rin. I’m happy with myself.”

What’s good with being Dolphy?

“Well, masaya. My work is fun; I enjoy what I’m doing. I’m happy making people laugh. If you make people happy, it gives you a nice feeling, di ba?”

If you were not the King of Comedy, what would you have been?

“Siguro, isang yagit. A street child. But you know, from way back, I really loved to travel. Maybe I would be abroad, working as an OFW. I wanted to travel by boat, ‘yung mga cruise, so maybe I would be an entertainer in a luxury liner.”

What is your greatest fear?

“Only one —- ‘yung magiging buhay ng maiiwan ko. I want my loved ones (18 children all in all) to have a good life.”

Any regrets?

“None. No regrets at all.”

Any birthday wish?

“Not for myself but for my loved ones — for them to have good health and, again, a good life...away from danger; malayo sa mga sakuna.”

How do you want to be remembered?

“I want people to remember me with a smile on their faces. Maski nasa kabilang buhay ka na, maganda ‘yung naaalaala ka ng tao na may ngiti sila sa mukha, instead of them crying. Pag sinabing Dolphy, mapapangiti sila.”
FUNFARE By Ricardo F. Lo
Philippine Star

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