Ralph and Renz Fernandez celebrate Fathers Day with prayers and fond memories

by Elyas Isabelo Salanga
Jun 15, 2008
"Maraming salamat sa pagsuporta kay Papa," Renz (right) said. Ralph (left) then added, "Yung utang na loob namin sa inyo ay susubukan namin ibalik sa mga kapwa namin. Subukan kong ipasa. Parang yung pagmamahal na nararamdaman ninyo kay Papa, ay maipasa pa sa iba."

Last Friday, June 13, Lorna Tolentino arranged for Holy Mass in their home in White Plains, Quezon City for the late Rudy Fernandez. The simple, intimate mass was attended by family friends.

After the mass and when almost everyone had gone home, StarTalk's Butch Francisco quietly sat down with the two Fernandez brothers, Ralph and Renz, to talk about everything—the family's present plans, the final responsibilities given to them by their dad, and the future they would have to face without him.

"From Heritage [Memorial Park], diretso na kayo dito [sa bahay]," 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, may memories 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?"

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"I think she woke up night, e. Ikinuwento na lang kasi I didn'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 now that their father's gone?

The deep-thinking Renz answered, "Step by step. Kailangan talaga naming kayanin sa ganitong sitwasyon. So, kakayanin namin."

APPARITIONS. Butch informed the brothers that one of their dad's friends, Jinggoy Estrada, related a story about feeling Rudy's "presence" in the form of an apparition. Did the brothers also experience feeling their dad's presence?

"Hindi ako sure kung nagpaparamdam siya in a superstitious way na parang multo," Renz said. "Pero lagi siya nagpaparamdam sa puso ko and memories."

Ralph added, "I think mayroon apparitions. Pero wala lang sa immediate family. I think si Ate Dina at si Jessica, at si May nakakita ng apparitions dito sa sala."

"Pero naka-barong daw," Renz said casually. "So, hindi naniniwala si Mama na si Papa yun. Baka daw ibang spirit yun. Kasi naka-barong. E, hindi naman naka-barong si Papa."

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Then Renz suddenly quipped, "Pero sabi ko, baka naman nagpalit si Papa."

PRESENT PLANS. Is it true that the family is planning to move to another house?

"May parang binabalak yata si Mama," Renz answered thoughfully. "Dahil nalulungkot siya, e. Lalo na dito sa bahay. Lahat daw ng bagay na nakikita niya, parang naiisip niya si Papa."

"Nasa kanya ‘yan," Rafael concluded. "Kung saan masaya si Mama, doon kami masaya."

PROPER GUIDANCE. During the necrological service, Lorna jokingly said that Rudy was guiding their two sons the way he used to treat them when he was still alive. Butch reminded the brothers, "Di ba sabi ng mama ninyo, ‘pag matigas ang ulo ninyo, kung puwede pakibatukan ang ulo niyo? How did you take that?"

After laughing, Renz said, "Okay lang. Actually, kung babatukan pa ako ni Papa ngayon as an apparition, baka matuwa pa ako. Ma-honor ako at magpapasalamat pa ako na ‘Papa, salamat na hanggaang ngayon ginagabayan mo ako.'"

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"Siguro lahat naman tayo kailangan ng guidance," Ralph added. "So, yun lang naman ang ibig sabihin nun. Metaphorical language naman yung 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 a filmmaking course, put his skills to good use by documenting everything that happened at home.

"Parang si Mama binigyan ako ng instruction on what to do. Lahat kami nanghihinayang dahil ang comic moments hindi nahuli, the last two days lang na-film. Minsan pinapahawak ko kay Renz yung camera, paminsan naka-tripod. Nakaiwan lang siya diyan for two hours. Mahabang-mahaba. Kung sino papasok, 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."

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So it means Ralph himself hasn't watched the tape?

"Hindi," he promptly replied.

The film documentary made by the brothers was just a little of 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 mga diskarte, ganoon. Siguro yung iba, maa-apply mo sa buhay. Madami, e. Minsan yung magkukuwentuhan lang. Minsan maglalakad lang magkasama. Parang, okay na yun, 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. "'Pag may isang sinabi siya na parang nag-apply sa maraming bagay. Kahit pusoy pinag-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?

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"I will celebrate ko siguro with my memories with Papa," Renz said. "Wala na si Papa physically, pero magdadasal ako nang magdadasal for him. As in iaalay ko yung araw na iyon for him."

"I think magkakaroon din kami ng misa sa Heritage," Ralph said. "Kasi nine days, e. Sakto nga, e. Nilibing siya sa Araw ng Kalayaan [June 12], ‘tapos last day ng nine-day mass, e, Father's Day [June 14]. Pansin mo, maraming synchronicities, mga coincidence. Yung biglang umulan pagkatapos ng libing. Pagpaparamdam din ‘yon in another sense."

SHOWBIZ. Joining showbiz is one option the brothers may consider taking, in front or behind the camera.

"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. He said, "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. Kung may oportunidad at kung gusto ng Diyos, at kung maganda yung ibinigay na role at kung naniniwala ako sa role na ito, bakit hindi?"

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"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. The Fernandez brothers expressed their profoundest thanks to the friends and supporters of their father.

"Maraming salamat sa pagsuporta kay Papa," Renz said. Ralph then added, "Yung utang na loob namin sa inyo ay susubukan namin ibalik sa mga kapwa namin. Subukan kong ipasa. Parang yung pagmamahal na nararamdaman ninyo kay Papa, ay maipasa pa sa iba."
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"Maraming salamat sa pagsuporta kay Papa," Renz (right) said. Ralph (left) then added, "Yung utang na loob namin sa inyo ay susubukan namin ibalik sa mga kapwa namin. Subukan kong ipasa. Parang yung pagmamahal na nararamdaman ninyo kay Papa, ay maipasa pa sa iba."
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