Eric Quizon speaks of showbiz burnout and love for craft

by Rachelle Siazon
May 19, 2019
Eric Quizon recalls the peak of his showbiz career: “There was a time I was doing shows for five networks!"
PHOTO/S: Noel Orsal

At the peak of Eric Quizon's showbiz career, TV network wars did not exist.

He came from an era of showbiz when stars rose to fame because they were big movie names rather than because they were TV mainstays. Afterall, TV was yet to become the dominant media platform.

The 52-year-old Eric was only 19 years old when he joined show business.

In an exclusive interview with PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal), Eric fondly recalls that some of his "batchmates" included Aga Muhlach, Richard Gutierrez, Tonton Gutierrez, and Jestoni Anarcon.

"Kasi when I started in this industry, we were movie stars then. We were part of Regal, Seiko, or Viva," says Eric, referring to the three biggest film companies at the time.

Some of his romantic-drama movies were Pahiram Ng Isang Umaga (1989), Hahamakin Lahat (1990), Langit Sa Piling Mo (1997), Pagdating Ng Panahon (1998), and Pusong Mamon (1998).

He was also known for his comic tandem with Redford White in movies like Si Lucio at si Miguel: Hihintayin kayo sa langit (1992), Buddy En Sol: Sine Ito (1992), and Buddy en Sol: Praybeyt Depektibs (1992).

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(In the left photo, Eric shows a photo of him and Pahiram Ng Umaga leading lady Vilma Santos. The right photo is a throwback from when he won Best Supporting Actor for the same movie at the Gawad Urian Awards in 1990. Eric says in his post that it was honor to be flanked by Vilma and Nora who tied for Best Actress.)

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"And then, of course, with the advent of TV, the popularity of TV, nangyari is nalipat lahat, e.

"We were just being borrowed from Regal. Then we do shows for GMA, ABS-CBN...

"And then, kumbaga, parang there's no exclusivity because we were just borrowed."

Eric remembers signing contracts for TV projects, but these contracts were not limited to just one network.

He experienced working with GMA-7, ABS-CBN, RPN 9, IBC 13, and Channel 4.

"There was a time I was doing shows for five networks!" Eric recalls. "I was doing Loveliness with ABS-CBN, then Loveliness was moved to Channel 13."

Loveliness was a variety show hosted by Alma Moreno, whose real name is Venesa Moreno Lacsamana.

Eric and Francis Magalona were also co-hosts of the blocktimer Loveliness, which originally aired in ABS-CBN from 1987 to 1988, before its transfer to IBC 13 from 1988 to 1990.

About his back-to-back TV shows in the '90s, Eric continues:

"Meron akong show sa ABS-CBN, yung Ready, Get Set, Go! It lasted for seven years. It is a noontime show on a Sunday. Imagine, that was seven years!

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"And then there was Buddy en Sol, it lasted for seven years as well. It was on Channel 9."

"Then I had Toink: Hulog Ng Langit, GMA, with Aiko Melendez. Dapat yun magtutuluy-tuloy yun, e. Kaya lang Aiko’s schedule was hindi na niya kaya, so she begged off.

"I even had a show for Channel 4. I was hosting this parang Sine Ginto. It was a show talking about classical movies."

Eric's world was a far cry from today, when the stars who make it big in showbiz are often those considered "homegrown" or have exclusive contracts with a major TV network.

"So, it was different then, e. Nung nagkaroon na ng network war, ayan na, ayaw na magpahiraman. Kinokontrata ka na talaga.

"During that time, I was only allowed to work with RPN 9, because nauna iyan, e. So ang trabaho ko was RPN 9 and ABS."

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MORE KAPUSO PROJECTS FOR ERIC QUIZON

Eventually, Eric Quizon found himself getting more TV projects from GMA-7, where he also worked on groundbreaking fantaseryes as a director.

"And then, sometimes, ganun naman yun when you get older, minsan di ka na nila..." he says about the flow of projects stopping at ABS-CBN.

"So, lumipat ako sa GMA. I was given a very warm welcome.

"And then, yung nilipatan ko na show nung pumasok ako, tumaas yung ratings. After that tuluy-tuloy na.”

Eric is talking about being cast in the 2001 Kapuso teleserye, Sana Ikaw Na Nga, starring Tanya Garcia and Dingdong Dantes.

"'Tapos naging interesting pa kasi yung character ko dun, naging asawa ko si Tanya. I saved her, pero I was gay. I was having an affair with Wendell Ramos."

It was a big deal on television because the show tackled gay affairs at a time when the LGBT— Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender—community was not as open and vocal as it is today.

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"And yung mga tao were waiting for mga eksena namin ni Wendell. Kasi we had a discussion, kasi nag-survey sila at the time."

As for his projects as a TV director, Eric is happy to say that most teleseryes he handled rated well and lasted from "nine months to a year."

"I did Narito Ang Puso Ko [2003 to 2004] with Jolina Magdangal, Marinara [2004] with Rufa Mae Quinto.

"And then I did Darna [2005] with Angel [Locsin]. And then sunud-sunod na ako with Angel—Majika [2006], and then Asian Treasure [2007]."

Eric adds, "And then I got burnt kasi tuluy-tuloy siya, e. Parang napagod ako."

ERIC ON SHOWBIZ BURNOUT

PEP.ph asks: Did he feel like quitting showbiz?

"Ay, no naman. But I got burnt so much that I moved to another country.

"Kasi yung Asian Treasure, it came to a point na alas tres ng hapon nagsyu-shoot pa kami kasi ipapalabas na siya, 'tapos diretso party. Grabe!"

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Eric goes on to say that he had other career options. After all, he had a working visa in the United States, and he was considered a resident of Hong Kong at the same time.

He chose to stay in Hong Kong and went into producing concerts and events.

"I was into live entertainment. I was producing concerts. Pero yung trabaho ko, I’ll just oversee everything," he says.

"I am a creative director there and a producer. But ang ginagawa ko, I have a company, and then I subcontract another company to do the thing for me.

"Basta check ko lang, pag nag-sound check... And then I also produced events. Panay ganun ginagawa ko."

Eric also used his time away from the limelight to publish Dolphy: Hindi Ko Ito Narating Mag-isa, a biography of his father, Comedy King Dolphy, written by Bibeth Orteza.

It was a tribute to Dolphy in time for his 80th birthday.

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"For me it was a milestone because I wanted to do that for my dad," says Eric, who is considered by movie insiders as the most accomplished of Dolphy's sons.

"And then, I was able to do a world tour for the book with my dad and my whole family.

"So we had a concert sa States, then we had a concert in Hong Kong—ang dami namin napuntahan."

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FOR THE LOVE OF HIS CRAFT

His showbiz hiatus lasted two years. Eric returned to acting and directing via the 2009 Metro Manila Film Fest entry Nobody, Nobody But Juan, top-billed by his father Dolphy.

Talking about the inevitable pull of showbiz, Eric remarks, "I got burnt out, but of course, I ended up wanting to do it again."

Eric has been in show business nearly 33 years, and he says candidly that this kind of staying power is harder for today's generation of stars who are "a dime a dozen."

"Of course, meron mga sumusulpot na mga iba. Pero yung batch namin talaga, konti lang kami, e. Hindi kami ganun kadami.

"Nangyayari kasi, nasasala mo kung sino lang talaga yung puwede.

"Kasi may mga iba naman, may talented, pero ayaw din nila magtuluy-tuloy sa showbiz. Meron din naman walang masyadong talent, pero talagang dedicated."

As a movie and TV director, has he worked with primadonna stars?

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"Marami, pero hindi na ako magni-name," Eric answers, smiling.

He adds, "Alam mo, minsan hindi rin naman puwedeng diva-diva, e.

"Pag director ka, puwede mo sila pagsabihan na, 'Stop na. Let's work na.' Pero, maayos. Hindi ko pinapagalitan."

Eric says that he was not the type of director who cusses when he's not satisified with work done on the set.

"Minsan napu-frustrate ka, madidinig mo na lang OB van gumagalaw. Makakadinig ka na lang ng 'Boog! Boog! Boog!" admits Eric, mimicking the sound of fists banging on a table.

He adds, "Ayoko kasi magmura. So minsan nilalabas ko na lang sa ano, hinahampas ko yung table ko, hanggang dun lang."

This 2019, Eric is part of the main cast of GMA-7's primetime series Sahaya, top-billed by Bianca Umali and Miguel Tanfelix.

He plays a greedy businessman out to grab the lands of sea-dwelling Badjaos in a fictional town in Mindanao.

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At the same time, he is slated to direct an upcoming Regal Entertainment movie starring Maricel Soriano.

(Seen here are two photos of Eric working as a director for the 2018 comedy film My 2 Mommies together with lead star Maricel Soriano and the 2018 Metro Manila Film Fest entry One Great Love top-billed by Kim Chiu.)

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Eric Quizon recalls the peak of his showbiz career: “There was a time I was doing shows for five networks!"
PHOTO/S: Noel Orsal
  • This article was created by . Edits have been made by the PEP.ph editors.
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