Douglas Cordovez Quijano was laid to rest yesterday, June 20.
His body was cremated at around 4:00 p.m. A few hours later, a portion of his ashes was brought to Lucban, Quezon; the rest was placed in mini-keepsake urns and distributed among his wards and closest friends. "Para each one of us has a piece of Tito Dougs," said Lucy Torres-Gomez.
As early as 9:30 a.m., some of his talents were already at the Heritage Memorial Park in Taguig City.
Joey Marquez, who was talking to his sons Jeremy and Yeoj when PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) arrived, said, "Hindi na kami natulog. Nagbihis lang. Sina John at Joms, maliligo lang daw, pero I'm sure, iidlip ang mga yun. Ako, hindi na, kapag nakatulog ka, magsisisi ka lang, paggising mo."
Meanwhile, the ladies—Nadia Montenegro, Janice de Belen, Gelli de Belen—busied themselves with the last-minute preparations. They all came with their respective kids. Ariel Rivera, the better half of the younger SiS host, was also there.
Richard Gomez showed up at 10:40 a.m. with Lucy, Juliana, and his in-laws, Don Manuel and Julie.
They were all dressed in white. They looked tired and had no sleep, but they put in the last reserve of their energy for their manager- mentor-friend. Like brothers and sisters, they exchanged small talk but their eyes were sad.
The mass, which began at 11:24 a.m., was very organized and solemn. The mood turned poignant the moment the guests were asked by the officiating priest to come near the casket of Tito Dougs for the last time. The entire chapel wept.
EULOGIES. It was Janice, whom Douglas called "anti-social," who first delivered her testimony. She initially looked very composed, but she eventually gave in to her emotions when she started recalling how her manager "helped her have a job and get back on her feet" at the time she was at her lowest.
"I will never forget the day you took me under you wings kahit na sinabi mong ayaw mo na sana ng babaeng alaga dahil maraming issue. Pero after me, pati se Gelli inalagaan mo. It's been 22 years. You were a part of my happy times, and saw me through the bad times."
The "bad times" would refer to her painful separation from one of Douglas's talents, John Estrada. "My family will be forever grateful to you," she said in tears.
Movie producer Lily Monteverde tearfully related how Douglas played a very important role during the birth of Regal Films. "Kay Douglas, walang missed calls...I can't imagine Regal without him," she said about her dear friend.
Nadia Montenegro, who met her manager when she was 11, shared how Tito Douglas taught all his talents to be supportive of each other. "One for all, all for one," was what he instilled in all of them.
She added, "Tito Dougs, I'm sorry for the times pinasakit ko ang ulo mo. Actually, lahat kami...I am sorry for the times you told me to keep my mouth shut (but obviously, I didn't), but at the end of the day, ikaw pa rin ang nagkaproblema sa mga statements ko. I am sorry for missing all those out-of-town trips that you constantly invited me, but [I] was too busy to go with you. I'm sorry for disappointing you when I chose my heart over my career..."
Nadia was on her way to stardom when she met former Caloocan mayor Boy Asistio, who became the dad of her children. Her manager only asked her two questions: "Mahal mo ba siya?" and "Masaya ka ba?" She said yes. Tito Dougs had to cancel several deals, one of them was a movie project with the late Rudy Fernandez, but he never ceased supporting the former Regal baby in all her endeavors.
John Estrada started his speech narrating how he met Douglas through Richard Gomez in Bulacan. "May fiesta doon...Nung kumakain na kami, meron pong nakatitig sa akin 'tapos kumukuyakoy. 'Tapos tinitignan ko siya...hindi na ako nakatiis, bumulong ako kay Richard, 'Richard, ba't ang samang tumingin ng bodyguard mo?' Sabi niya, 'Tanga. Hindi bodyguard 'yan. Bading 'yan. Manager ko 'yan.'"
Weeks after that, the person he mistook as a bodyguard asked him which career he wanted to pursue. His answer was: "Model po." Tito Dougs's reply was: "Walang pera diyan. Mag-artista ka na lang." And he became part of the comedy sitcom Palibahasa Lalake.
The Kapamilya star provided the comic relief, but he started crying earnestly when he mentioned how Tito Douglas helped him become the person that he is now.
"Alam niyo po ba, kaibigan, tatanggalin po ako sa Palibhasa Lalake. Nung tatanggalin po ako, sinabi niya sa akin, sinabi niya sa ABS-CBN, 'Tanggalin niyo si John, tanggalin niyo na kaming lahat,'" he paused and wept for more than three minutes. Then he continued, "I'm so proud and I always tell him, 'Noong araw ako gustong tanggalin ng ABS-CBN, ngayon, ako na lang ang nasa ABS-CBN.'" Again, the crowd roared with laughter.
Richard, the most prized talent of Tito Dougs, did some reminiscing. Here are some of the trivia and anecdotes he related: (1) The term "bagets," which was used as the title of that famous teen flick in the '80s, came from the person who started his career as a writer. (2) Inday Bote, where Richard played leading man to Maricel Soriano, was first offered to Gabby Concepcion. (3) One fateful day in 1985, Tito Dougs put a check worth twenty-five thousand pesos (from Regal Films) in the Richard's wallet, which only had twenty pesos. For five minutes, Goma had the people laughing.
But the mood turned melancholic the minute he began expressing how much he will miss his manager, who watched him grow from a curious and mischievous boy to a responsible and loving dad.
He resumed, "I will miss touching the pot-belly of Dougs. Gustung-gusto kong hinahawakan ang tiyan niyan, e. I'll miss hugging him. I'll miss kissing him..."
The only two people who didn't break into tears while delivering their eulogies were Wendell Ramos and Joey Marquez. The former just read his brief message, while the latter opted to have his speech in English. The usually-funny Joey was very serious when he admitted spending so much time crying inside his room. "Every tear that drops leaves a scar in my heart," he said.
In summary, we can describe the last few hours with Tito Dougs as tearful and meaningful. But we'll never be able to give the entire picture of how the well-loved man lived his life. The eulogies won't be enough. This article wouldn't suffice. Even the round of applause and standing ovation accorded to him just before his casket was transferred to the crematorium would prove to be little gestures, compared with the impact he had on the people who got the chance to know him.
Tito Dougs, goodbye and thank you!