Eddie Garcia: ‘One of these days, I’ll follow Dolphy, and I have everything prepared’
At 83, Eddie Garcia is only 10 months younger than the late Comedy King Dolphy, but he remains a picture of strength and vitality. Nevertheless, he is candid about his mortality and ready for the inevitable.
“One of these days, siguro, susunod na rin ako sa kumpare ko,” he says matter-of-factly, referring to his Sampaguita Pictures colleague who passed away recently.
“And I have everything prepared. Sabi ko, sa pamilya ko, ang mangyayari, from death bed direct to crematory. Hindi ilalagay sa obituary ang paglisan ko. Ganoon lang ang gusto ko. Ayaw ko ng sinisilip ako sa kabaong ko. Eh, sabi ko sa kanila, kapag hindi nila ginawa ‘yun mumultuhin ko sila.”
Garcia’s candid discussion of death is only in keeping with the theme of his latest film, the Cinemalaya entry “Bwakaw”, a dramedy about growing old alone and waiting to die written and directed by Jun Lana.
In it the actor gives one of the best performances of his career as Rene, the grumpy old gay whose only companion is a dog named Bwakaw.
He realizes that projects as meaningful and fulfilling as this one can only come from the world of indies.
“My first indie film was ‘yung kay Rica Arevalo, in 2005, ‘yung ‘ICU Bed #7′. Dito rin sa Cinemalaya. And masaya in the sense na sinasabi na nga lagi na ito ang nagpapasigla ngayon sa naghihingalong industriya ng pelikula. Dito, hindi pinag-uusapan ang talent fee. You can do it for a song. Basta maganda ang project,” he says.
How was it like doing most of his scenes with Princess, the dog who played the title role?
“Never underestimate them. Man’s best friend, sabi nga. Bwakaw or Princess is a trained dog. Minsan, matalino pa ang aso kesa sa tao. At ang mga aso, usually may ibinabalik sa mga nag-aalaga sa kanila. In real life. Minsan ang mga tao, parang mga askal din.”
Is he still looking forward to roles that he has not done in his entire career?
“Hindi ko na iniisip kung meron pa ba akong hindi nagampanan o nagawa na. Para sa akin kasi, kung hindi matutuoy ang isang proyekto, I do not want to dwell on it. It’s just a waste of time. Sa nakita ko naman sa paggawa ng indie film, nae-educate natin, lalo na ang masa. I have been a director also. So, parang formula ‘yun, eh. Kung ano ang nagugustuhan ng mga tao, ibinibigay natin sa kanila. Kaya lang, kailangan, may variety.”
What would be the greatest legacy he would leave behind?
“Kung ano ‘yung nagawa ko. ‘Yung napatawa ko sila. I am 83, born on May 2, 1929. I have led a simple life. A happy life. If I am this strong up to now, that’s because kumakain lang ako ng food na hindi makakasama sa akin.”
A segue to his virile “Manoy” persona is unavoidable under the circumstances. Asked about his sex life, he gamely answers: “I do it if I feel like it. Hindi ko hinahaluan ang bagay na ito ng kung anu-ano lang. Kung gusto ni ‘Manoy’, aba eh ‘di gagawin natin. No, hindi ako gumagamit ng Viagra. Sabi ko nga, mas natural, mas maganda. Mapi-feel mo naman ‘yun.”
Some quarters have suggested that should Dolphy finally get the National Artist award, Eddie Garcia should be next in line.
“Kung dumating, well and good. If not, no problem,” he says. “Sa akin naman, sana na-enjoy ito ng kumpare ko noong buhay pa siya na nasa noon pa naipagkaloob sa kanya. Nung buhay pa siya. Now, ibigay man ‘yun sa kanya, hindi na niya alam. Kung karapat-dapat ang isang tao para sa nasabing award, ibigay nila nang buhay pa.”
Meanwhile, he continues to deliver excellent performances, such as his work in “Bwakaw”.
“Whether it’s a small or a major role I am doing, I always do my best. Pare-pareho ‘yan. So, I cannot say na dito ko lang ibinuhos o ibinigay ang lahat-lahat ko. Basta bawat project na dadaan sa akin, na gagawin ko, you will see me in my element, what is required of me in my character.”