What started out as a day of fun and relaxation ended in tragedy that claimed the life of Dennis Trillo's close friend and singer Gian Magdangal's road manager, Jollybee "JB" Borbajo, who drowned in Boracay last September 9 (click here for the whole story). Still visibly shaken by the accident, Dennis gave his personal account of what happened to Startalk and the pain he still feels over the horrible experience.
Startalk met with the actor and Maxine Eigenmann, who had witnessed the incident, when they arrived at the airport from Boracay on September 10.
Showing a prominent bruise and scratches all over his body, Dennis—who had the thousand-yard stare of someone still in shock—related that after work, he, JB and Maxine decided to enjoy the rest of the day by swimming.
"Nag-swimming kami kasi free day na namin," he began. "Sa dulo ng shore, mayroon isang parang malaking bato tapos mayroon hagdanan na semento, so sabi namin na parang maganda doon."
The big rock with stairs looked ideal as a jumping-off ledge and they decided to climb it, oblivious of the waves' unpredictable strength as these crashed against the rock.
Dennis continued, "Pumunta na kami doon, tapos noong nakapuwesto na kami para tumalon, yung kasama naming si JB, e tatalon pa lang, e may humampas na na alon sa kanya. Nalaglag ngayon siya sa tubig nang di oras."
When JB fell, Dennis jumped in after him. He noticed that JB had trouble breathing. "Lumangoy ako papunta sa kanya at hinatak ko siya papunta doon sa isang bato at nakakapit kami pansamantala," said Dennis. "Pero tinangay pa rin kami ng alon. So, noong pagtangay sa amin ng alon, e ako nakabalik sa bato pero si JB... tinangay na siya palayo. Hindi ko na siya mahabol kasi medyo malayo na talaga kaya humingi na kami ng tulong—nagtawag kami ng mga mangingisda sa amin."
The place was nearly isolated and it was quite difficult to search for help, Maxine said. "Hindi kami makahingi ng tulong kasi there was nobody there. Pero may dumating na dalawa."
The help that arrived proved too late as the locals who assisted could only find the lifeless body of JB.
"Inuna namin yung kasama niya sa laot nakalutang," the unnamed local related to Nelson Canlas of GMA News in Boracay. "Nakataob, e. Dinala sa dalampasigan."
Describing Dennis during that time, the man said, "Parang hilo na siya, e. Nakayakap sa dulo ng bato."
JB was rushed to the Don Ciriaco Theron Memorial Hospital but he was proclaimed dead on arrival. According to the official statement released by the Boracay Special Tourist Office, JB died of drowning.
In a Startalk interview segment, a saddened Gian Magdangal said, regarding Dennis' efforts to save JB, "He really tried his best. Ginawa niya lahat, e." With disbelief, he continued, "Wala na talaga si JB..."
Gian's wife Sheree added, "Before siya umalis, nagkita pa kami kasi hinatid niya mga stuff ni Gian sa bahay tapos nakapagsabi pa ako na, 'Jeybs, na-miss kita.' Parang... Yun na pala ang last time na makikita namin siya."
BACK HOME BUT NUMB ALL OVER. Despite having arrived from Boracay a few days ago, Maxine and Dennis are still said to be in shock over what happened, although Dennis said that he was just feeling dizzy over the medicines he received for his injuries. For her part, Maxine was sad but thankful that she and Dennis were blessed to be alive.
Acknowledging the people who tried to help, Dennis said on Startalk, "Maraming salamat sa tumulong. Salamat."