Eddie Garcia: I'm still alive

Posted at 09/05/12 6:10 PM

'No fanfare for my passing,' says Eddie

MANILA, Philippines -- In his first appearance since his reported hospitalization, veteran actor Eddie Garcia denied rumors that he had recently survived a stroke, and even shared his "secrets" to a long life.

During ABS-CBN News' exclusive interview with the him, Eddie Garcia was told he looks
younger than his age. The 83-year-old actor responded, in jest: "I have a secret to tell you,
kung saan ako pinaglihi. Pinaglihi ako sa sanggol."

"Sumakit ang ulo ko, so I went to the hospital, nagpa-X-ray ako, tsaka complete physical check-up," Garcia told ABS-CBN News in an exclusive interview on Tuesday.

"'Kala ko, baka may tumutubong sungay," he added in jest. "'Yun pala, sabi sa 'kin, 'Ed, good news, halo ang tumutubo sa'yo."

In recent weeks, Garcia's visit to the Makati Medical Center triggered speculations about his health condition. His non-appearance at the premiere night of the independent film "Bwakaw" on August 30 further fueled concern for the veteran actor.

Garcia topbills "Bwakaw," an entry to the 2012 Cinemalaya Philippine Independent Film Festival, for which he won a best actor trophy. It is set for a commercial release today, September 5, under Star Cinema.

"Wala naman," Garcia said when asked to confirm if he had a stroke.

"I had a slight sleeping apnea. I had a complete physical check-up para malaman mo what's wrong eh. Ako kasi, 'pag malaman mo what's wrong, pwede mong magamot. Dahil kung matatakot kang pumunta sa doktor, how will you know," he added.

'No fanfare for me'

Although he is a celebrity, Garcia said he prefers not to have his death covered by the media.

"Ako kasi 'pag namatay ako, wala nang makakaalam eh. Gusto ko from death bed, diretso sa crematorium, tapos may kaibigan akong piloto, itatapon 'yung ashes ko sa dagat, sa Manila bay," he said.

"That's it. No obituaries. It's not a joke," Garcia added, when prodded to follow up with a punchline. 

"I already paid for my cremation. Ayoko ng fanfare eh. Total ganon lang 'yan, after your death pagkakaguluhan ka. After a year, wala na, so what's the use," he said.

Those who won't know of his passing would be spared of feeling hurt, Garcia explained.

"I don't think it's necessary. Nahihirapan yung pumupunta sa burol mo, 'di ba? Ngayon, kung 'di nila alam, they will feel less hurt," he said.

Healthy living

In spite of having planned for his passing, Garcia is still a picture of a healthy 83-year-old. Subscribing to the oft-used adage, he said his secret to healthy living lies in having and doing anything in moderation.

"Nasa lifestyle mo siguro, everything in moderation," said Garcia, who also pointed to his daily consumption of vitamins as part of his health regimen.

"[I still take vitamins] from A to Z, but individual," he said. "I don't take like one vitamin, andoon lahat na A to Z. 'Yung sa akin, isa-isa. Ang dami, isang platito, kaya after breakfast, (gulps)."

Six decades and counting

Having started his film career in 1949, Garcia is among the prized icons of the Philippine film industry. Sixty years since, he continues to be among the most sought-after actors in TV and film.

"I always regard this as a job. Do it well, and it will be the best recommendation for your next assignment. It's just a job. Nothing highfaluting about it," he said of his craft as an actor.

"Just like a carpenter -- a nice chair. Tatanungin mo, 'Ang ganda ng silya. Sinong gumawa niyan?' Ganun lang. That's my philosphopy in life -- do it well no matter how small," he added.

His most recent film, the Jun Robles Lana-helmed film "Bwakaw," will be screened at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival under the Contemporary World Cinema category.

It will also take part at the New York Film Festival under the Main Slate category in October.

"Nung unang binigay sa 'kin 'yung script. Nung binasa ko -- 'This is the film I want to make.' No second thoughts. May humor kasi. It's a very well-blended film," Garcia said.

"Tsaka maganda ang pagkasulat. Saludo ako kay Jun Lana," added Garcia, who also expressed regret that he will not be able to attend the Toronto screening of the film due to prior commitments.

Still very much a visible presence on television and in films, Garcia said he has no plans of slowing down.

Asked if retirement is anywhere on the horizon, he said: "No. What would I do when I retire? I'll just get bored. I'll just be in the industry as long as it needs me."