Eric tells Zia: I'll always be your kuya
...praises Zsa Zsa for raising sisters
MANILA, Philippines – For the first time, the youngest daughter of the late film icon Dolphy, Zia, will celebrate her birthday without her father.
On the occasion of the grand concert tribute held on Wednesday celebrating the life and works of the country's comedy king, his son Eric Quizon assured his half-sister Zia of his unfailing presence in her life, even as their father had passed away.
"I just want to assure Zia that we're here for her, that we'll always be here for her and that she has a big brother in me," Eric told reporters on the sidelines of the "Dolphy Alay Tawa: A Musical Tribute to the King of Comedy" held at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
"Nandito lang ako, and I'll always be her kuya," added Eric, who is Dolphy's son with former actress Alice Smith.
Dolphy had 18 children from five relationships. From his 23-year relationship with actress-singer Zsa Zsa Padilla, the veteran actor had Zia, whose birthday is on September 23, and adopted daughter Nicole.
"It's the first time that my dad is not going to be there for Zia's birthday, syempre alam ko malulungkot siya," Eric said.
Even in his ailing state, Dolphy would not miss milestones in Zia's life. In September 2011, the youngest Quizon had her debut concert, where the film icon was seen in attendance, albeit in a wheelchair.
Thank you, Zsa Zsa
Eric expressed confidence in Zia's strength, which he attributed to her upbringing and Padilla's parenting.
"She's not my little sister anymore, she's tall, and she's so full of promise. I am just so proud of her kasi she's so strong, strong-willed, very smart and talagang iba ang disposisyon," Eric said.
"And I'm happy dahil alam ko the reason why maganda ang disposisyon niya sa buhay ay dahil kay Zsa Zsa," he added.
At the time when Dolphy was held in critical condition at the Makati Medical Center, Eric and Padilla said the comedy king somehow willed it that his families would be united.
It was also during this time when Eric said he has formed closer ties with his half-siblings.
"Nakita naman natin lahat ng girls ni Zsa Zsa, si Karylle, si Zia at si Nicole, they've all grown to such beautiful, intelligent [women who are] full of promise at matatalino, magagaling, mababait. Iba 'yung pagpapalaki ni Zsa Zsa sa kanila," Eric said on Wednesday.
Karylle is Padilla's daughter from a previous relationship.
"As a brother, I'm very proud of all three of them," Eric said.