News of Douglas Quijano's death last June 13 stunned everyone in local showbiz. Talents, managers, and writers, gathered to share with one another memories of Tito Doug's charisma that touched them all.
Yesterday, June 14, Showbiz Central interviewed some close friends of Douglas, who shared their experiences with the late talent manager.
THE EARLY YEARS. Born on July 24, 1944, Douglas Cordovez Quijano was the eldest of six children. In the late 1960s, he became a columnist and writer. Joining him during his writer years at the Daily Star was none other than fellow talent manager Lolit Solis, who shared an anecdote.
"Maganda pagkauwian na, e, tatanungin ni Douglas, 'Magkano pera mo?' 'Twenty pesos. Ikaw Dougs?' 'Twenty rin! Huwag na tayo sumakay ng jeep. Bumili na lang tayo ng banana-q 'tsaka Sarsapsarilla,'" Lolit narrated.
Sarsapsarilla was a popular soda pop then. Carrying their food, Lolit and Douglas walked from Port area to Legarda. "Ganun kalayo!" laughed Lolit.
In terms of personality, Lolit admitted that Douglas indeed was the nicer person. "Si Douglas si Mr. Amity, ako naman si Ms. Amityville! Sabi nga ni Douglas, 'Kaya lang naman ako mukhang mabait kasi salbahe si Lolit!'"
As a manager, Douglas first handled Tirso Cruz III, who was handled by Tirso's uncle Joey Cruz, who in turn was the first manager of Tirso's love team, Superstar Nora Aunor. After that, Douglas helped Mother Lily Monteverde establish what is now Regal Films.
Douglas also set up the production outfit Sine Filipino amd handled the reigns as producer for MAQ Productions. He also served as a consultant for YES! magazine and PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal). He is also a founding member of the Philippine Artist Managers Inc. (PAMI).
Douglas took on much responsibility over the years, although he established himself best as a talent manager. For that he became a showbiz icon. Aside from the big stars he made famous, he also made time for the stars of teeny-bopper groups like the Guwapings to shine.
TRIBUTES. Among Tito Doug's wards was Anjo Yllana, who recalled, "Sa aming mga talents niya, e, strict siya. Halos lahat kami sa tingin ko professional, kasi number one sa kanya 'yan, e. Pag trabaho, trabaho. Hindi lang yung on time. Pag nasa trabaho ka, ayusin mo ang trabaho mo. Hindi puwedeng pabandying-bandying ka. Hindi puwedeng late ka."
Another of Douglas's talents was William Martinez who shared, "I was doing Manila by Night and I walked out kasi may kissing scene with Bernardo Bernardo. I went to Douglas's house and sabi ko, 'Dougs, ayoko.' Sabi niya, 'Gusto mo mag-artista? Bumalik ka.' I realized na oo nga pala. I went back to the set and I kissed Bernardo Bernardo because Douglas told me, 'Kung gusto mo mag-artista dapat nasa puso mo.' That's how Douglas is."
For Nadia Montenegro, Douglas was a father since she could tell him everything that happened in her life. "Kapag siya ang nagsasabi, alam kong tama," she said.
Aside from his talents, Douglas also earned the respect of his peers and writers, including YES! magazine and PEP editor-in-chief Jo-Ann Maglipon, who described Douglas as "completely thoughtful."
Ms. Maglipon related, "One time we were in, I think Palawan, and we heard news that Boracay was burning. My daughter during that time was in Boracay. Pero si Dougs, hindi ko alam na noong nalaman niya na nasusunog ang Boracay at nandoon ang anak ko na si Pat [Patricia], ang ginawa pala, e, kung sinu-sino ang tinawagan at sinu-sino ang pinagbilinan na alam niyang nasa Boracay at ipinagbilin ang anak ko."
GELLI & MARK. Showbiz Central was able to get hold of Gelli de Belen and Douglas's brother Mark Quijano,who were at the talent manager's wake yesterday, June 14. SC host John "Sweet" Lapus asked them to share some of their experiences with Douglas.
First to talk was Gelli: "Si Tito Dougs, very fair and objective. He is the type of manager or person or mentor na 'pag tinanong namin na, 'Tito Dougs, ito kasi nangyayari, e.' Sasabihin niya, 'O, pinasukan mo 'yan. E, di face mo ang consequence...gawin mo ang dapat.'"
Gelli added that she asked Douglas's advice on all aspects of her life, including her married life. "I remember the time na nagkaproblema kami ni Ariel [Rivera, Gelli's husband]," she related. "Pero the very day he found out, from day one hanggang umayos ako, hindi niya ako tinantanan. Araw-araw, kung hindi siya sa telepono, e, kasama ko siya at dinadala niya ako sa mga meeting niya kahit hindi naman ako kasali..."
In terms of Tito Dougs being strict, Gelli revealed that her manager really wasn't really strict. "He just tells you what reality is, e," said Gelli. "Parang 'pag late ka, puwes baka ayaw mo na magkatrabaho. Arte ka? Puwes, hindi ka na kukunin next time... He would not impose. Sasabihin niya sa iyo na, 'Pag ginawa mo 'yan, 'yan ang mangyayari sa iyo.'"
In her own way, Gelli said she would miss Douglas. Tearfully she said, "Mami-miss ko lang siya... Wala akong mapagsusumbungan... Wala nang bibili sa garage sale, mga damit ni Ariel..."
Douglas's younger brother Mark had only this to say of his kuya's character: "There is no fitting word to describe him: He is the best."
Douglas was able to influence his younger brother in making movies, though Mark admitted that he was no longer following that dream. But he cherishes the teachings that Douglas taught him before: You have to be true.
"Maging totoo ka lang," smiled Mark.
He described his older brother. "He is vert strict to the point that you have to prove it to yourself. Kumbaga, ayaw niya ang spoon-feeding. So, you have to prove yourself first before he would give his advice."
Mark announced that two of his siblings are now preparing to come home and should arrive by Wednesday—one would be coming from the U.S. and the other, from Canada.
The youngest of the Quijano siblings had already passed on. "Puno't dulo," Mark quietly mused. "Ang natira sa gitna."
JOHN AND JOEY. John Estrada, who is also one of Douglas's talents, arrived minutes after SC's interview with Gelli and Mark. Before leaving the premises, he shared a couple of stories regarding his beloved manager.
"Marami. He's not just a manager to us, he is a father and teacher to us. Nineteen-eighty-nine noong nasa fashion show kami ni Richard Gomez. Magkasama kami. Model ako noon at akala ko nga noon na bouncer siya ni Goma, ayun pala manager. Tapos, tinititigan niya ako, so sinabi ko na, 'Galit 'ata sa akin ito, a.' Tapos sabi niya na kung gusto ko maging artista."
John became part of Palibhasa Lalake, thanks to Douglas's question. A grateful John said that Douglas's teachings served as a reminder that people should be professional and that they, as artists, should love what they are doing. "Ayaw din niya na yumayabang kami," the actor added.
In the Showbiz Central studio, host Pia Guanio was able to patch in a phone line to Joey Marquez, John's Palibhasa Lalake co-star and said to be Douglas's favorite talent.
Joey felt confused and blank since he received word of his manager and friend's death. He admitted, "Lahat siguro ng negative nasa akin na ngayon..."
When prompted by Pia to relate, Joey said, "Last Saturday, I was bringing my children to Batangas. On the way, Richard called. Sabi niya na namatay si Dougs. Akala ko naman nagbibiro. So, to double check it, tumawag ako kay Marilen [Nuñez] and they confirmed it. Tumawag ako sa Lucban... from then on... hindi nag-sink in sa akin, e. But napapansin ko na naliligaw ako sa dinadaanan ko. Pati areas na pinupuntahan ko, hindi ko alam kasi hati isip ko, e... When I confirmed it, from that day hanggang ngayon, parang nahihilo ako na nalilito... parang ganoon."
Did he know that Douglas was already suffering from health problems?
"Well, I know that he is diabetic and I know that sometimes, may problems siya sa stomach. He is the kind of person na 'pag may sakit, ayaw magpa-doctor, e. I keep on reminding him then na marami siyang responsibilities sa amin. So, tawa lang siya nang tawa. Last Thursday [June 11] kausap ko nga siya. Tinawagan niya ako and I think he was on the way to a commitment, tapos ni-remind niya ako about the GMA-7 anniversary."
At this point, Douglas told him to wear black since he wanted Joey to look japorms. "For the very first time," exclaimed Joey, "hindi siya nagsasabi sa akin ng kulay [to wear], e. Noong Friday [June 12], tumatawag ako sa kanya, pero hindi na siya sumasagot...."
Joey's voice trailed off as Pia waited for Joey to continue. But Joey seemed to be at a loss for words.
When Joey found his voice again: "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 how to get it back...."