Last Friday, June 13, Lorna Tolentino arranged for Holy Massin their home in White Plains, Quezon City for the late Rudy Fernandez. Thesimple, intimate mass was attended by family friends.
After the mass and when almost everyonehad gone home, StarTalk's Butch Franciscoquietly sat down with the two Fernandez brothers, Ralph and Renz, to talk abouteverything—the family's present plans, the final responsibilities given to themby their dad, and the future they would have to face without him.
"From Heritage [Memorial Park], diretso na kayo dito [sabahay]," Butch began, "Ano ang pakiramdam ninyo pagpasok ninyo dito sa bahay?"
"May feeling of relief din," Ralph said. "Nakakapagod din.Pero noong umakyat kami, maraming flashback. Parang bawat isang bagay, e, maymemories na ini-elicit sa isip."
"One room lang tinulugan ninyo?" Butch followed.
"Oo, one room. The master's bedroom," confirmed Rafael."Doon kami natulog, tabi-tabi."
Butch asked, "Si Mama [Lorna Tolentino], kumusta naman?"
"I think she woke up night, e. Ikinuwento na lang kasi Ididn't wake up. But I think she cried. She slept in papa's place sa kama,"Ralph said.
In the succeeding nights, what did they do to manage nowthat their father's gone?
The deep-thinking Renz answered, "Step by step. Kailangantalaga naming kayanin sa ganitong sitwasyon. So, kakayanin namin."
APPARITIONS. Butchinformed the brothers that one of their dad's friends, Jinggoy Estrada, relateda story about feeling Rudy's "presence" in the form of an apparition. Didthe brothers also experience feeling their dad's presence?
"Hindi ako sure kung nagpaparamdam siya in a superstitiousway na parang multo," Renz said. "Pero lagi siya nagpaparamdam sa puso ko andmemories."
Ralph added, "I think mayroon apparitions. Pero wala lang saimmediate family. I think si Ate Dina at si Jessica, at si May nakakita ngapparitions dito sa sala."
"Pero naka-barong daw," Renz said casually. "So,hindi naniniwala si Mama na si Papa yun. Baka daw ibang spirit yun. Kasinaka-barong. E, hindi naman naka-barong si Papa."
Then Renz suddenly quipped, "Pero sabi ko, baka namannagpalit si Papa."
PRESENT PLANS. Isit true that the family is planning to move to another house?
"May parang binabalak yata si Mama," Renz answeredthoughfully. "Dahil nalulungkot siya, e. Lalo na dito sa bahay. Lahat daw ngbagay na nakikita niya, parang naiisip niya si Papa."
"Nasa kanya ‘yan," Rafael concluded. "Kung saan masaya siMama, doon kami masaya."
PROPER GUIDANCE. Duringthe necrological service, Lorna jokingly said that Rudy was guiding their two sonsthe way he used to treat them when he was still alive. Butch reminded thebrothers, "Di ba sabi ng mama ninyo, ‘pag matigas ang ulo ninyo, kung puwedepakibatukan ang ulo niyo? How did you take that?"
After laughing, Renz said, "Okay lang. Actually, kungbabatukan pa ako ni Papa ngayon as an apparition, baka matuwa pa ako. Ma-honorako at magpapasalamat pa ako na ‘Papa, salamat na hanggaang ngayon ginagabayanmo ako.'"
"Siguro lahat naman tayo kailangan ng guidance," Ralphadded. "So, yun lang naman ang ibig sabihin nun. Metaphorical language namanyung batok. Pero kung kahit na physical batok, matutuwa nga din ako."
"Hindi naman kami perpekto," Renz quipped."Kailangan talaga namin ng batok minsan."
PLANS FOR THE FUTURE.During their dad's last days, Ralph, who recently graduated from afilmmaking course, put his skills to good use by documenting everything thathappened at home.
"Parang si Mama binigyan ako ng instruction on what to do.Lahat kami nanghihinayang dahil ang comic moments hindi nahuli, the last twodays lang na-film. Minsan pinapahawak ko kay Renz yung camera, paminsannaka-tripod. Nakaiwan lang siya diyan for two hours. Mahabang-mahaba. Kung sinopapasok, sino lalabas. Papalitan ko lang yung tape."
Does he plan to edit the tape?
"I don't plan to cut it," Rafael revealed. "That's it.Eleven hours of footage, I think, twelve. Siguro papanoorin namin siya...someday."
So it means Ralph himself hasn't watched the tape?
"Hindi," he promptly replied.
The film documentary made by the brothers was just a littleof what happy memories they had at home when Rudy was still around.
"Favorite ko yung nagba-boxing ako," Renz related. "Si Papa,kasabay kami lagi, e. Minsan nagpu-pusoy kami. Nagtuturuan kami ng mgadiskarte, ganoon. Siguro yung iba, maa-apply mo sa buhay. Madami, e. Minsanyung magkukuwentuhan lang. Minsan maglalakad lang magkasama. Parang, okay nayun, e. Walang measurement kung anong fondest, e. Lahat for me, fond na, e."
Ralph, however, had one specific favorite memory of his dad.
"Yung pag nagiging matalinghaga ni Papa," Ralph said. "'Pagmay isang sinabi siya na parang nag-apply sa maraming bagay. Kahit pusoypinag-uusapan niya, alam mong may iba pa siyang pinag-uusapan beyond it."
FATHER'S DAY PLANS. On Father's Day, how would the brothers celebrate it without their father?
"I will celebrate ko siguro with my memories with Papa,"Renz said. "Wala na si Papa physically, pero magdadasal ako nang magdadasal forhim. As in iaalay ko yung araw na iyon for him."
"I think magkakaroon din kami ng misa sa Heritage," Ralphsaid. "Kasi nine days, e. Sakto nga, e. Nilibing siya sa Araw ng Kalayaan [June12], ‘tapos last day ng nine-day mass, e, Father's Day [June 14]. Pansin mo,maraming synchronicities, mga coincidence. Yung biglang umulan pagkatapos nglibing. Pagpaparamdam din ‘yon in another sense."
SHOWBIZ. Joiningshowbiz is one option the brothers may consider taking, in front or behind thecamera.
"Mayroon na akong concrete projects na natapos," Ralph said."Pero gusto ko, practice lang nang practice. Ganoon, gawa lang nang gawa."
Renz, on his part, prefers the acting side of showbiz. Hesaid, "Nakagawa na ako ng isang short film with kuya, ‘tapos isang movie with Papa na extra lang ako. Pero sa ngayon, ang plano ko talaga, e, mag-aral. Kungmay oportunidad at kung gusto ng Diyos, at kung maganda yung ibinigay na roleat kung naniniwala ako sa role na ito, bakit hindi?"
"Depende din ba sa leading lady?" Butch quickly asked.
"Oo..." Renz began, but when Ralph snickered, he quickly said,"Bonus lang yun. Pero gusto ko din yung maganda ang ibig sabihin [ng film],magandang sinasabi...ayoko yung wala lang."
TO ALL WHO BELIEVED. TheFernandez brothers expressed their profoundest thanks to the friends andsupporters of their father.