Alma Moreno, Lolit Solis, and Merle Fernandez speak endearingly of Daboy

by Elyas Isabelo Salanga
Jun 8, 2008
Rudy Fernandez’s former live-in partner Alma Moreno (inset, top) talks about the mischievous humor she will miss most about Rudy. His sister Merle Fernandez (inset, middle) feels depressed about losing her only brother and tells about Rudy’s childhood. Lolit Solis's (inset, bottom) heart goes out to Lorna, having seen how Rudy suffered in his last days.

As part of Startalk's live coverage on Rudy Fernandez's wake yesterday, June 7, the last interview of action superstar Rudy Fernandez was replayed. The footage was the show's May 17 episode, showing a phone patch with Lorna Tolentino and a cheerful but weak-voiced Rudy who laughed and joked with Butch Francisco and Lolit Solis.

LOLIT SOLIS. After watching the clip, Joey de Leon noticed that Lolit, who is also Rudy's manager, looked like she was in deep thought. What exactly was she thinking during that May 17 conversation?

"Di ba si Lorna, parang ang saya-saya?" Lolit explained. Then she added, "Si Lorna parang in denial... Di ba, parang nag-aagawan pa sila ng telepono ni Daboy? Parang akala mo sakit lang ni Daboy, e, lagnat, di ba? Parang...nalulungkot ako talaga kay Lorna.

"Kasi last night, nag-usap kami. Sabi niya, ‘Naku ‘Nay, mataas [blood] platelet ni Daboy. Talagang pagaling na siya.' Samantalang, noong nakita ko siya [Rudy], talagang parang paalis na siya. Parang yun na talaga hitsura niya. Kaya parang hindi ko maintindihan kung saan kinukuha ni Lorna yung lakas ng loob niya. Kung papaano niya natatangap lahat."

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Lolit revealed another thing about Lorna. She said, "Sabi nga ni Lorna sa akin, pagka daw umiiyak siya, pupunta daw siyang banyo. Ginagawa niya, iyak daw siya nang iyak sa banyo. Paglabas niya, winiwisikan niya ng tubig ang mga mata niya para hindi mapansin ni Daboy na umiyak siya."

After her short revelation on Lorna, Joey asked if Lolit would miss Rudy. Almost immediately, Lolit let out a loud "Oo!"

Then she added, "Biro mo Joey, ha, in pain na siya at sa ospital. Talagang in pain na, yung malungkot kami ni Mother Lily [Monteverde] at nakatingin kami sa kanya dahil parang umuungol siya. ‘Tapos narinig namin na sabi niya na, ‘Tawagin ninyo si Mark Herras...' so nagulat kami ni Mother. Akala namin, baka nagde-deliryo na. Maya-maya lumabas yung nurse, ‘tapos pagpasok, kasama yung attendant. Bata pa yung attendant, ‘tapos spike-spike yung buhok. ‘Tapos sabi agad ni Rudy, ‘Di ba, para siyang StarStruck?' Talagang kahit pa in pain siya, meron pa rin siyang sense of humor."

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When Rudy decided to get out of the hospital to come home, did Lolit feel that Rudy was ready to go?

"Parang alam na niya talaga," Lolit answered. "Parang ang gusto niya talaga, e, sa bahay niya mangyari...mapilit talaga si Daboy na umuwi. Nung pag-uwi niya, nag-thumbs up pa siya. Masaya talaga siya na nakauwi na siya."

When was the last time they had a one-on-one talk?

"Noong huling Miyekules na pumasok ako sa kuwarto niya sa White Plains, na-shock ako na ibang-iba na hitsura. ‘Tapos dapat bukas [June 8], pupunta dapat akong Macau. Sabi ko, dalaw muna kay Daboy para malaman niya. Pagpasok ko sa kuwarto, sabi ko na, ‘Hoy, Daboy, sa Linggo pupunta akong Macau, ha. Baka mamaya may mangyari, ha. Martes pa uwi ko...' Pero sa pagiging pilyo ni Daboy, ngayon niya yata ginusto [na pumanaw] para hindi ako makaalis. Ganyan ‘yan, e, meron talagang kapilyuhan ‘yan."

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ALMA MORENO. Rudy's former live-in partner Alma Moreno was among those who came early to the actor's wake. Startalk's Butch Francisco wasted no time in asking her about the fond memories she had of Rudy.

"Noong nagte-taping kami ng Daboy and Da Girl [sitcom in GMA-7]," Alma revealed. "'Tapos sa telepono, ‘pag kausap ko siya...ay! ‘Tapos noong may sakit ako, sabi niya sa akin na kukunin daw ako ni Lord. So ibig sabihin kasi, si Daboy, tuwing makikita ako, e, mang-aasar, mang-iinis. Pero masaya siyang kasama."

"So yun yung mami-miss mo?" asked Butch.

"Oo, yung pang-aasar!" laughed Alma.

Butch then wandered to a past issue where Lolit reportedly got angry at Alma for not visiting Rudy.

"Nasaktan nga ako doon, e," Alma said. "Sabi ko, ‘Nanay, dumalaw na ho ako.' Sabi niya, ‘Kailan? Kailan?' So, sinabi ko sa kanya, ‘tapos sinabi ko na hindi ko naman kailangan ipagsabi na dumalaw ka. ‘Tapos importante na ipinagdadasal ko si Daboy. Nag-o-offer pa rin ako ng mass for Daboy. Kumbaga, hindi ko naman kailangan ipagsabi iyon.

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"Pero si Mark [Anthony Fernandez, Rudy and Alma's son], lagi kong tinatanong na ‘Kumusta na si Daboy?' Kasi hangga't maaari, gusto ko na makita si Daboy na si Daboy. Yung masayahin. So, nung dumalaw ako sa hospital, hindi na ako nagpahalata. Nagulat ako na iba na hitsura ni Daboy kaya hindi ko alam kung magsasalita ako.

"Pero saludo ako kay Lorna. Kasi si Lorna yung nagpapatawa, nagpapasaya kay Daboy. Sabi pa ni Daboy, ‘Tingnan mo si ‘Ness, o, iiyak na, iiyak na!' Sabi niyang ganun. Nang-iinis pa rin. Sabi ko nga, ‘Hindi, a! Bakit kita iiyakan?' Ganoon, yung nagbibiruan," Alma narrated.

Since Daboy always joked around, were there any serious talks between her and Rudy?

"Hindi, puro pabiro sa amin," the actress-politician said. "Nagbibiruan kami tungkol sa laptop niya, etc. Puro jokes. Kumbaga kami ni LT, puro kuwentuhan. Pero ‘tapos nun, tinanong ko siya ng seryoso. Sabi ko, ‘Kumusta ka na?' Sabi niya na hindi daw siya nakatulog kasi masakit. ‘Tapos sabi niya, ‘Ness, masakit talaga. Pagod na ako.' Yun na. ‘Tapos hindi na ako nagsalita kasi kailangan hindi ka magpapahalata, pero gusto ko na umiyak pero pinipigil ko."

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Butch admitted that of all people next to Lorna, he was worried about Mark. As Mark's mom, did he ever pour out his feelings to Alma?

"Sa totoo lang, noong nabubuhay pa si Daboy, kausap ko si Manay Lolit, binibilin ko talaga si Mark na tulungan ako na iprepara si Mark. Kaya ngayon, yun ang takot ko kaya kinakausap ko. Dahil nung kausap ko sa phone si Mark, pinipigil niya yung iyak niya. Hindi siya makapaniwala na wala na ang papa niya. So, sabi ko nga sa kanya na iiyak niya ‘yan. ‘Tapos, alam ko na itinatago niya. Kahit ngayon, sinamahan ko siya sa kabaong ng papa niya...pinipigil niya, e."

Since she and Rudy didn't have a serious talk before he passed away, what would she have said if they had spoken?

"Actually, bago pumunta ng States si Daboy at si Lorna para magpagamot, matagal kaming nagkausap tungkol kay Mark. Natutuwa na siya kay Mark, sa career ni Mark. Mas matipid daw siya at mas makunat na daw. Yung mga ganun! Kaya tawa kami nang tawa. Kaya sabi ko nga na sana tuloy-tuloy. Pero kagabi, nung medyo nanghihina na si Daboy, nag-usap na sila. Hindi ko alam kung ano pinag-usapan nila ni Mark."

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What support is Alma ready to give to Lorna?

"Basta sabi ko kay LT, unang tawag ko kay Mark kanina na kumusta na si Lorna at alalayan niya si Tita Lorna niya. Nandito lang ako kay LT na nakasuporta para sa kanya," Alma said.

MERLE FERNANDEZ. Butch also interviewed Rudy's elder sister Merle Fernandez, a popular actress in the ‘70s.

Butch asked Merle if it was true that the Fernandez siblings were eight in all: three boys and five girls. Merle confirmed this, adding that two boys died at an early age, so Rudy was the only boy left in the company of five sisters.

"Siya nga ang aming pride, and joy, and jewel," Merle said. Then her voice cracking, she added, "'tapos kinuha pa..."

Quickly changing the topic, Butch asked about the 13-year age gap between Merle and Rudy, and if he had a nickname before.

"Ang tawag namin sa kanya, Opo Ino," Merle cheerfully said. "It stands for Rodolfo [Rudolph] Valentino, kasi doon siya ipinaglihi ng nanay namin. Actually, matagal nang patay si Rudolph Valentino, pero naglagay ng pictures nanay namin. Siguro, gusto ng nanay ko na paglihian ng maganda kaya pinili niya pictures ni Rudolph. Kaya yun ang tawag namin sa kanya."

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Valentino was a popular and very handsome Italian actor in the '20s whose sudden death caused mass hysteria.

No wonder Rudy's a looker, Butch said.

"Sa tingin ko, mas guwapo pa siya kaysa kay Rudolph Valentino," Merle quickly pointed out.

As a kid, was Rudy already pilyo?

"Maliit pa si Rudy, super-bait na," Merle happily recalled. "Super-bait at si Rudy ay mahiyaing tao at hindi mo aakalain na siya ay magiging artista. In fact, ako ang nagsabi na mag-artista siya. Noong fifteen years old siya, blooming siya. Pero noong araw, payatot ‘yan. ‘Tapos tukso namin noon sa kanya na ‘Rudy, ang laki ng ilong mo, para kang Unidentified Flying Object!' Tapos ‘pag tiningnan mo lang siya, masyado siyang meek. ‘Pag tiningnan mo siya nang matagal, iiyak na siya."

During Rudy's final days, did she and Rudy spend time together?

"Ah, oo," Merle said. "Of course. Magmula noong nagkasakit siya, parating every Thursday...nasa Thursday group kami, kaming magkakapatid. Pero ako, parating present. Kasi si Rudy, kami ang mag-best friend, e. Although lahat ng kapatid niya mahal niya, of course."

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Merle expressed bereavement over her brother's death. "Si Rudy na lang mundo ko, nawala pa."

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Rudy Fernandez’s former live-in partner Alma Moreno (inset, top) talks about the mischievous humor she will miss most about Rudy. His sister Merle Fernandez (inset, middle) feels depressed about losing her only brother and tells about Rudy’s childhood. Lolit Solis's (inset, bottom) heart goes out to Lorna, having seen how Rudy suffered in his last days.
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