Hello po. Welcome ulit to Labandera Chronicles.
Writing about Nida Blanca about two weeks ago brought me back to the past.
Like I remembered Rosa Aguirre, among others.
Known as the balae of Pugo in most of Virgilio “Beer” Flores’s radio sitcoms that also crossed into television, I got to interview her for Ariel Ureta’s The Morning Show, sometime in 1976.
She and husband Miguel Anzures had already been through so much. In 1948, their son, actor Narding Anzures, was jailed for the slaying of Lilian Velez, a famous crime-of-passion story that made newspaper headlines. He died the following year in jail, of tuberculosis.
Suddenly childless, the couple remained deeply in love and soldiered through pain together.
If her father was as strict as she said he was, how did they get married? She smiled, as if pleased by my question.
“Nakaupo ako sa pasimano ng bintana. May hawak akong mansanas. Sadya kong binitiwan, at nagpaalam akong kukunin ko lamang. Ang mga damit ko, nakahanda na, itinago ko sa halamanan. Nasa ibaba na ang Papa Miguel mo, naghihintay. Diretso na kaming nagtanan.”
Mama Rosa died first, in 1981, from colon cancer. A famous actor, at one time Mama Rosa’s leading man in a post-war movie, dropped by the wake to condole with Papa Miguel, already on a wheelchair. The old man was grumpy, refusing to meet guests in the eye. The actor impatiently went: “Puwede ba, kalamayin mo’ng loob mo?”
Without missing a beat, Papa Miguel spat: “E, punyemas ka, sa dami ng babae mo, natural madali sa iyo’ng hindi magluksa. Nag-iisa lang iyang sa akin, at wala nang iba!”
I was there chatting with Papa Miguel’s nephew, Raymund Punzalan, a former grade schoolmate. Raymund chortled; I couldn’t believe what I’d just heard, said in the presence of the actor’s present wife. Whoa!
As the first secretary of the Katipunan ng Mga Artista sa Pelikulang Pilipino (before “at Telebisyon” was appended to the organization’s name), I was privileged to be with a group that included Vic Silayan, chairman of the board; Eddie Garcia, Dindo Fernando, Jaime de la Rosa, Tommy Abuel, and Robert Arevalo, president.
Our meetings were at the Abril-Mayo, an eatery-cum-bar on Timog, owned and operated by Raffy and May (nee Villarica, formerly of LVN) Sazon, the maternal grandparents of Robin Padilla’s wife Mariel Rodriguez, where the chicharon bulaklak was great, the beer always ice-cold, and the shared anecdotes even greater.
The late Dindo Fernando played Col. Leo Alicante on Flordeluna, on RPN-9. One evening from early pack-up at work, he went out with some friends and got stopped by the Metrocom on his way home. About to be arrested for violating curfew, the cops saw his costume hanging in the back of his car, thought it to be real, in their nervousness didn’t recognize him as an actor, just continuously saluted him, “Sir, sir, sorry sir!” And insisted on bringing him safely to his house, in Marikina.
This, from Robert Arevalo: “Isang gabi, lumabas din ako. Nakipag-inuman. Nagmadali ako, malapit na’ng curfew, e. Nahuli ako, sa may Shaw Boulevard. Nakipagtalo ako. ‘Hindi mo ba ako kilala?’ Hindi raw, sabi no’ng Metrocom. Sige, sama na ako sa iyo,” Robert concluded his story with his trademark guffaw.
Eddie Garcia was usually quiet, just chuckling, rarely throwing in his own bits of story: “I don’t kiss and tell.”
Vic Silayan had a great speaking voice, always modulated.
Jaime de la Rosa, my co-host in my second morning show, In Touch, was known mostly as Jimmy to the industry and Tommy to family and friends, as his real name was Tomas. He couldn’t figure out how I found out; I didn’t have the heart to tell him it was Angel Esmeralda, Robert’s uncle and Jay Ilagan’s father, who told me.
Oh, I have stories to tell from days of yore. Just tell me if you want more.