Last June 13, Philippine showbiz lost an institution...or better said, an icon who was a guiding light for countless people who loved him. Douglas Cordovez Quijano, fondly called Tito Dougs, succumbed to a heart attack in his home at Countryville Subdivision, Barangay Ayute, Lucban, Quezon Province. He was 64.
Today, June 20, his remains will be cremated and placed in an urn, which will then be placed in different containers and shared among his talents. But a major portion of it will be taken to Lucban.
"Napakiusapan namin yung family na mabigyan ang bawat isa sa amin ng ash ni Douglas," says Richard Gomez in an interview with Ricky Lo in Startalk today at the Heritage Park.
Whether his ashes remain in one urn or be scattered to earth, wind, and friends, Tito Dougs continues live in our hearts for many reasons: his valuable contributions to Philippine showbiz, his professionalism as a talent manager, writer, film producer, and other accomplishments; above all, for his all-embracing spirit as a person.
Over the past week, we have mourned his death and celebrated his life at the same time. Once again, PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) traces his legacy as culled from interviews, tributes during his wake, and previous writings about Tito Dougs.
HIS BROTHERS' KEEPER. Douglas was the eldest of six children. His brother Allan Quijano remembers his kuya as very responsible and caring. "He is not very strict, hindi rin very lenient, always in the middle. He will give you advice whenever you make a mistake. Pero kung the third time...ay, iba na yun. Pero he is a very good brother."
Allan recalls when Kuya Douglas took care of the family as breadwinner.
"He made sure na okey kami. Literally, sabi nga, he is his brothers' keeper. He provided for us. Para sa school. He made sure nakapag-aral kami. Very caring." And he never asked for anything in return.
Douglas also showed his caring ways to his niece and nephews.
"Gusto niya yung inaalagaan niya yung nieces and nephews nya. Siya naglalaba ng clothes nila, siya nagpaplantsa. Kumbaga loving 'tita' nga, e. Very caring."
THE STAR MAKER. Tito Dougs discovered talents and managed them to became superstars, legends and icons. His first talent, Tirso Cruz III, was the matinee-idol-half of the most successful love team in local showbiz history—Guy and Pip. Tirso and Superstar Nora Aunor as Guy drove fans to a frenzy in the early '70s.
Later that same decade, Douglas managed the careers of acting heavyweights Chanda Romero and Charito Solis.
In the '80s, he discovered William Martinez, Aga Muhlach, Nadia Montenegro, Janice de Belen and Richard Gomez, and handled their careers.
Under Tito Dougs's wing in the next decade came other talents like Joey Marquez, John Estrada, Anjo Yllana, Gelli de Belen, Jomari Yllana, Eric Fructuoso, Mark Anthony Fernandez, Jao Mapa, Wendell Ramos, Antonio Aquitania, Jeremy Marquez and Jay Aquitania.
He even managed the showbiz careers of his talents' loved ones, like Lucy Torres-Gomez and her daughter with Goma, Juliana. Tito Dougs also helped the careers of a new generation, like Rainier Castillo and Andrew Schimmer.
But he was more than a manager to all these stars. He was their friend, mentor, father, mother and best buddy all rolled into one.
"He was my first real friend in showbiz and he eventually became my best friend because palagi ko siyang kausap," says Lucy Torres-Gomez about Douglas. He was the only person she greeted every Father's Day and Mother's Day.
Nadia Montenegro looked up to Tito Dougs as her father and mentor. "Kasi in all my life decisions that I have to do, siya lahat din, e. Especially when I was 16, sabi niya, 'O, in love ka na. Ako na ang bahala makipag-usap kay Mother [Lily Monteverde]. Live your life and be happy.' Siya ang nag-decide for me. Pati yung... Lahat-lahat, even yung for my kids. Everything, siya lahat. Kumbaga, when he says yes, I know it's all right."
Joey Marquez felt that Douglas was really a part of himself. "He is the one who's just there 'pag may problema ako. At this point, parang natanggalan ako ng braso, paa, kumpiyansa...I really don't know how to get it back...."
Incidentally, it was in 1994, after the Manila Filmfest scam, that the veteran talent manager co-founded the Philippine Artist Managers, Inc. (PAMI).
THE SHOWBIZ WRITER. Douglas started journalism to earn a livelihood as early as high school, writing for Betty Go Belmonte's Daily Star newspaper in early '60s. His brother Allan Quijano remembers, "Tanda ko, high school pa lang, breadwinner na siya."
"Seventy pesos lang yata ang suweldo niya no'n," recalls Ces from one of his conversations with Douglas.
He wrote showbiz items then and was the one who convinced young police-beat writer Lolit Solis to try showbiz news. "He had been my friend since 1968. He was the one who convinced me to shift to entertainment journalism," remembers Lolit.
As a showbiz columnist, he was always the one magazine editors ran to whenever they needed special articles about showbiz. Over his long years of writing for showbiz, Douglas became an authority on anything related to Philippine showbiz.
"Siya ang nilalapitan namin noon kapag may special articles, like kung paano mag-discover ng talents, mag-manage...'saka from time to time, nagko-contribute talaga," recollects Ces, who first met Tito Dougs in 1979. "Copy editor pa ako noon ng Jingle Extra Hot. Ang pinakasikat pa niyang talent noon, si William Martinez. Hot na hot."
As a writer for film, he wrote the story and scripts for the teeny-bopper-action movie Pinoy Crazy Boys (1974, featuring his talent Tirso with other teen idols Jay Ilagan, Edgar Mortiz, and Walter Navarro), sexy film Isang Gabi Tatlong Babae (1975), and the comedy Zoom, Zoom, Superman (1973).
"MISTER AMITY". Going way back to their "small-time" days as writers, Lolit Solis remembers how amiable Douglas was.
"Si Douglas, si Mr. Amity; ako naman si Ms. Amityville!," quipped the controversial talent manager about herself, referring to the scary movie. "Sabi nga ni Douglas, 'Kaya lang naman ako mukhang mabait kasi salbahe si Lolit!'"
Their friendship lasted four decades. "Since 1968...He was there when I got married, when I gave birth and when my parents died. My first trip abroad was because of him," she remembers of Tito Dougs.
Being a true friend, Douglas was not afraid to criticize a friend for some wrongdoing or give dispassionate advice. Actress Gelli de Belen remembers, "If you want sound advice, if you want [to know] the real deal, if you want to learn about things without embellishment, siya ang kakausapin mo. He won't tell you 'Ang galing-galing mo' [but he'll tell you] 'pag may decision [to make], the pros and cons and lets you decide."
TV STINT AS HOST. Being a credible showbiz columnist and powerful talent manager, Tito Dougs was the man to get to make a TV show work successfully.
ABS-CBN's top-rating showbiz talk show in the '80s Rumors, Facts and Humor was first hosted by the trio of Douglas, Lolit and veteran showbiz columnist Alfie Lorenzo (who also became a talent manager). Douglas and Lolit later relinquished their hosting positions to Dougs's talent Chanda Romero and sexy actress Janice Jurado.
Douglas also became one of the council members of the very popular reality talent search show StarStruck, where he met and started to co-manage (with GMA-7) Rainier Castillo.
MOVIE PRODUCER. Douglas ventured into movie production in the '70s. He was responsible for the screening of Philippine movie hits, Lipad Darna Lipad (1973, under his Sine Pilipino banner), Araw-araw, Gabi-gabi (1975, under Lyra Productions), Bagets 1 and 2 (1984, as line producer for Viva Films), and many more.
He worked also as project coordinator for movies like Facundo Alitaftaf (1978), Temptation Island (1980), Scorpio Nights (1985), Tagos ng Dugo (1987), and Iisa Pa Lamang (1992).
He set up Sine Pilipino, MAQ Productions and helped in setting up Regal Films with Lily Monteverde.
BUSINESS SAVVY. When a company wanted to launch a business, product, or program that had something to do with show business, Douglas Quijano was the man to reach.
Douglas helped a great deal in the success of Lily Monteverde's Regal Films in the early '80s. Applying the same formula that made the Guy and Pip love team successful, he made use of the movie studio's love teams to turn Regal movies into box-office hits. His expertise in drumming up publicity for the contract stars and movies of Mother Lily's company guaranteed huge returns.
When ABS-CBN was returned to the Lopez Group of Companies after the 1986 EDSA Revolution, then ABS-CBN president Freddie Garcia got Douglas and Regal Entertainment to help them beef up the station's programming.
Current ABS-CBN president Charo Santos-Concio still remembers Douglas's role in getting Mother Lily to sign a partnership with ABS-CBN.
"Sa mga hindi po nakakaalam, malaking bahagi po si Tito Dougs sa tagumpay ng ABS-CBN. ABS-CBN was re-launched as Star Network noong 1987 [after it was closed down during Martial Law]. He was instrumental in the partnering of ABS-CBN and Regal. And the key person to convince Mother Lily to have a partnership with ABS-CBN is Tito Dougs."
Ms. Charo then was a Regal employee. She was with Mother Lily and Tito Dougs every night, talking with Mr. Garcia and company about the possibility of a partnership with ABS-CBN. She says Mother Lily had this habit of always changing her mind, so Douglas gave Mr. Garcia a tip on how to make the deal push through.
"Tutukan mo na lang ng camera, dalhin mo na ang kontrata. Tutukan mo at hindi na makakaurong 'yan," Ms. Charo recalls Tito Dougs's advice.
Mr. Garcia did what he was told, and that started the Star Network, when all the stars in Regal Films had programs in ABS-CBN. At hindi namin makakalimutan ang labing-dalawang taon, to be exact, long years of partnership. At utang na loob po namin ito, kasama ko ngayon rito ang mga Kapamilya, and we will always remember the very kind, very generous person."
THE ORACLE. Douglas Quijano and Jo-Ann Maglipon, now YES! magazine and PEP Editor-in-Chief, first met during the mid-'80s when she was doing an interview with Mother Lily.
Ms. Jo-Ann will forever be grateful to Douglas Quijano for helping her establish two of Summit Media's most successful products. She was already a top journalist long before YES! was conceived, having written stories and columns on everything from Philippine politics to showbiz celebs. And she had a sense of the challenges that lay ahead.
"Nung unang binuo ang YES!, he did not need us, we needed him. Kasi magsisimula ako ng isang entertainment magazine, ibang laro yan, e—ibang mga players, ibang mga rules.
"So, I needed guidance because I needed not to make too many mistakes, so, that the movement forward of the magazine ay maging tuluy-tuloy. Kasi pag masyado kang maraming natatapakang land mines—may kinausap ka na mali, meron kang nasabi na mali, kumonekta ka sa isa na kaaway ng isa—pag ginawa mo 'yon, e di lalong naantala yung pag-usad ng magazine. I was thinking of all those things, and I didn't know anybody who would help me na walang hihingin na kapalit."
There was no contract, no formal title for Tito Dougs, to start with. The veteran talent manager just kept guiding her in YES!.
"Kasi hindi ko naman naisip kaagad na editorial consultant siya, e. Nung tumulong na siya nang tumulong, doon naisip na ibigay yung title, which he never asked for: Editorial Consultant of YES!."
Tito Dougs always found the right words to motivate a friend.
"There was a time during the first two years of YES!, that I was feeling down and depressed because ang hirap makakuha ng shoots para sa YES!," recalls Ms. Jo-Ann.
Seeing how determined Ms. Jo-Ann was in spite of rejection by different talent managers for her photo shoots, Douglas gave her encouraging words that now sound prophetic: "Douglas would come up to me and say, 'Don't worry, Jo-Ann. Now, you're the one that needs them, you're the one that calls them. The time will come when they will need you and they will come and want to be featured in YES!."
Given Ms. Jo-Ann's hard drive to always come out with quality photos and stories about the entertainment world and with Tito Dougs' guidance, YES! became the dominant brand among the local entertainment magazines. Its reputation rubbed off on PEP's launching years later. Tito Dougs was also named editorial consultant for PEP.
Although Tito Dougs hardly knew how to use a computer and probably never logged on to www.pep.ph,
"He would say, 'O, Jo-Ann, okey na pala ang PEP natin ngayon, ha. Basta may issue, sasabihin nung napagtanungan ko, o, nasa PEP. Nasa PEP na!'
"Sasabihin ko naman, 'E, kasi hindi mo binubuksan 'yang computer mo.' Pero consultant siya sa PEP," narrated Ms. Jo-Ann.
PASSING IT FORWARD. Not everyone knows how Tito Dougs returned all the material blessings he received by helping other people, especially those in his adopted hometown Lucban.
After meeting for the first time in 1979, Douglas and Ces Evangelista bonded instantly. "Marami pala kaming things in common. Marami kaming pinagkakasunduan...arts, music, movies, halos lahat. Hanggang sa lagi na kaming nag-iinuman at laging nag-a-out-of-town or out-of-the country."
Ces was also one of the people Tito Dougs inspired and encouraged to try other fields. Like Douglas, Ces tried handling talents when he managed the careers of Melissa Mendez, Richard Quan, John Apacible, Alma Concepcion and Francine Prieto. He also ventured into film directing after consulting with Douglas. The two were best buddies.
"Sumasama-sama lang kasi ako kapag niyayaya niya ako sa mga gimikan. Hindi ko alam noon na best friend niya na pala ako. 'Pag pinapakilala na niya ako sa ibang tao, ang sinasabi niya, 'Si Ces, best friend ko.' Siyempre, honored ako na best friend pala ako ni Douglas Quijano," says Ces.
That's why, during the last months of Douglas, it was Ces who saw all the good things he was doing as a semi-retired talent manager.
"Last year, lagi kaming pumupunta na sa Quezon, sa Lucban. Si Jerry Olea (fellow showbiz writer and editor) kasi taga-Quezon, siya yung nagyayaya sa amin doon. After niya makita ang Quezon, na-in love na siya doon. Bumili na siya ng bahay."
In Lucban, Douglas saw the people's warmth in their simple, happy lifestyle. He was embraced by the community and he gave back by helping financially in town activities and events. He even sponsored the schooling of deserving children. Douglas became a devotee of the nuns at the Our Lady of Carmel Monastery in Gumaca, Quezon.
"Tumutulong siya talaga, in any way he can, hangga't kaya niya, sa mga taong nangangailangan. Wala naman siyang hinihinging kapalit. Kaya nga marami siyang naging kaibigan doon. Gusto lang niya talagang tumulong," recalled Ces of Douglas's generosity.
Tito Dougs as an employer also provided for the education of his driver Francis's kids.
"Twenty years na akong driver ni Tito Dougs. Sa tagal namin magkasama, wala siyang ibang hiningi sa akin, kundi maging laging on time lang. Ako pa nga yung nanghihingi. Minsan, hindi ko na rin kailangan pang manghingi, siya na mismo ang nagbibigay. Para nga siyang tatay, e. Yung mga anak ko, siya ang nagpapaaral nung mga iyon," reveals Francis.
"Ngayong wala na si Tito Dougs, talagang mahirap para sa amin."
Francis's words reverberate in Philippine showbiz. How hard to lose a great man. And yet, may his legacy continue to be a beacon.