Salamat, Tito Dolphy
MANILA, Philippines (4th UPDATE) - Dolphy returned to his old home television network ABS-CBN on Wednesday, with his family, friends, and former colleagues in the media and entertainment industry welcoming him with open arms.
ABS-CBN Corp. chief executive officer and chairman Eugenio Lopez III , whose father was a close friend of the late actor, delivered a moving eulogy for Dolphy in a tribute held at the theater named after the king of Philippine comedy.
Lopez described him as an "extraordinary person who became a symbol for the ordinary Filipino."
"Mang Dolphy was more than just a comedian. He exemplified in many ways the best in the Filipino - his humble demeanor, his generosity and compassion for others, his ability to roll with the punches and evolve through the years," he said.
'Through the years'
Dolphy's long-time partner, Zsa Zsa Padilla, and his children and grandchildren attended a necrological service held for the late king of Philippine comedy, who died Tuesday night because of multiple organ failure due to pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Padilla said she found out it was possible for them to be one family when Dolphy was at the hospital.
"Posible naman pala na kahit ang mga anak ni Dolphy galing sa iba't ibang nanay, pwede naman palang magkaisa," she said.
"Hindi naging madali pero he was worth it," she said, describing their relationship.
"Thank you for being so proud of me, for giving me my two girls, for being so thoughtful," Padilla said.
She thanked people who showered Dolphy with love.
"Napakarami po ng pinagkakautangan namin ng pasasalamat," she said. "Maraming salamat ABS-CBN for taking care of Dolphy's legacy, for preserving his body of work."
She also told Dolphy's children that their father "went to heaven with a joy in his heart because you were with him in his last days on earth."
She then sang "Through The Years" a capella for Dolphy.
"Kagaya ng huli mong binulong sa akin bago ka mamaalam, lovey ko, I love you," she said, and broke down in tears.
'Uwi na siya, pagod na'
One of his sons, television director and actor Eric Quizon, said they knew that their father had little time to live after his health worsened.
"We consider it a miracle that we had an 'extension.' We wanted that moment to be with him," he said, describing his father's death.
"Uwi na daw siya. Pagod na siya," said Vandolph Quizon, another son of the late comedian.
Eric Quizon also said his father kept on saying, "uwi na ako, uwi na ako."
"His wish was granted today. We brought him home to Marina and we him brought home here to his family, his Kapamilya, and now he is home with his creator," he said.
He said his father's ordeal brought their family closer.
"My dad wanted us to be together, to be united. It was a trying time but it's like a bonus time with our father," he said.
Top executives of the television network and celebrities attended the requiem mass held for Dolphy
Actress Maricel Soriano, who played the role of Dolphy's daughter on "John en Marsha," broke into tears as she went near the coffin of the veteran comedian.
A humble king
ABS-CBN president and chief operating officer Charo Santos-Concio said Dolphy was part of her youth.
"Si Dolphy ay naging bahagi ng kabataan ko. Pinilahan ko ang mga pelikula niya," she said.
She described him as a "king who had his feet on the ground."
"Si Dolphy hindi nagtatawag ng atensyon sa sarili, walang bahid ng star complex. Ang haring nakita ko, nakatungtong sa lupa," she said.
"Itinuro mo sa amin na kayang tawanan ang problema, na malalampasan ang lahat basta't may sipag," she added.
Santos-Concio said that while Dolphy played the roles of poor men who lived in humble homes, "Permanente ang bahay mo sa puso naming lahat."
"Maraming maraming salamat Dolphy sa saya at ngiti na ibinigay mo sa amin," she said.
A standing ovation was then given to Dolphy at the theater named after him.
Fr. Tito Caluag, who presided over the mass, praised Dolphy's many values that stayed through the years despite his status as one of the icons of the Philippine movie and television industry.
"The ending of an era is not the ending of a journey. When endings come, beginnings will be upon us," he said. "The end of an era is an important transition. It is a time to remember the graces, the blessings, the spirit of that era."
"Mang Dolphy stands among the icons of that era," Fr. Caluag said.
During the mass, Nova Villa, the actor's on-screen partner for 15 years on TV sitcome "Home Along da Riles," shared anecdotes on how it was to work with the late comedian.
She described working alongside Dolphy and bringing laughter to millions of Filipino homes nationwide as a privilege.
"Mahilig siyang makipagkwentuhan sa mga sunog-baga (bit-part actors at Home Along da Riles). Gusto niya lagi ng kakuwentuhan," she said.
"Maraming tawag kay Tito Dolphs pero pag binanggit niyo yung pangalan niya, mayroon kayong mararamdaman -- respeto," Villa said.
"I will not say goodbye to Tito Dolphs. Goodbye is painful. I will say 'Happy trip!'" she added.
Others who worked alongside Dolphy also delivered moving tributes to the late comedian.
They include film producer Marichu Vera-Perez of Sampaguita Pictures and Victor de Guzman, former director of "Home Along Da Riles" and son of veteran comedian Teroy de Guzman.
"He was, he is, and he will always will be the Filipino people's artist," Vera-Perez said.
Thousands of fans pay respects
Outside the Kapamilya network's compound in Quezon City, thousands of his fans started gathering early to view the entertainment icon for the last time.
The Dolphy Theater was opened for public viewing on the late actor's remains from 9 p.m. Wednesday to 3 a.m. Thursday.
His remains were then brought back to the Heritage Memorial Park early Thursday morning after brief rites attended by his family and friends, as well as executives of ABS-CBN.
Public viewing of his remains at the Heritage Memorial Park will be from Thursday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.