âIt had been three days of the most touching eulogies and several anecdotes that have never been shared in public before. Those three days kept the public glued to their TV sets, radios, and mobile phones, to get a final glimpse of the great man called Dolphy.
If one could, there was a collective Pinoy urge to personally reach out to give his or her final homage to the one and only Mang Dolphy. A lot of people didâsome travelling all the way from Mindanao and Visayasâto view the manâs remains.
Joi Barrios Leblanc, a multi-awarded poet and author now living in Boston, USA, said she learned of Mang Dolphyâs passing away on a Filipino cable channel and remembered crying very hard. Her American husband asked her if she knew the man personally. No, Joi replied, heâs a famous actor in the Philippines.
A Philippine literature teacher at the University of California (UC), Berkeley, Joiâs political and feminist poems are often read in literary gatherings and in street rallies back in her motherland. In 2010, she came out with her third collection of poems entitled, Bulaklak sa Tubig: Mga Tula ng Pag-ibig at Himagsik.
In an e-mail interview, Joi shares: âNood ako nang nood ng mga balita kay Dolphy at iyon ngang naunang tribute sa kanya. Diyos ko, iyak ako nang iyak. Sabi ni Pierre, kilala mo ba ang namatay? sabi ko, ay hindi, artista iyon. Next day, watch uli ako. Cry uli ako. Ay, baliw na yata ako.â (âI kept watching and watching the news about Dolphy and the first tributes about him. My God, I kept crying and crying. My husband Pierre asked if I knew who died and I replied, no, heâs an actor. But the next day, I watched again and kept crying. I think Iâve gone insane.â)
In her sadness, she wrote a poem that she dedicated to Mang Dolphy. Itâs the very poem read on the last day of the wake by the late actorâs son Dolphy Jr. (Rodolfo Quizon Jr.), who is now a church minister.
The poem has since gone viral, shared by manyâthrough social media sites Facebook and Twitterâperhaps especially by who continue to be at a loss for words at the passing away of several generationsâ inspiring Comedy King.
Joi just wanted to reach out and offer her poem to the Quizon family. She connected with Bibeth Orteza, who wrote the late actorâs biography Hindi Ko Ito Narating Mag-Isa. âSabi ko, favor naman Bibeth, gusto ko lang magkaroon ng kopya ang pamilya ni Mang Dolphy. Si Bibeth kasi, talagang nakikiusap ako riyan na basahin ang tula ko kapag may rally. Sabi ko, kahit hindi naman basahin publicly, feeling ko lang ay dapat may kopya lang ang pamilya.â
(âI told Bibeth, âCan you do me a favor? I just want the family to have a copy of my poem.â It doesnât have to be read publicly. I just felt that the family should have a copy of the poem.â)
The poet was surprised when friends informed her that Dolphy Jr. read her poem. Joi said she feels very honored that the family gave importance to what she wrote.
She relates that Dolphy has achieved a lot of things not only excellence in his craft but also because of what he has shown in the many roles he has played, âUna, sinseridad, kaya nga tayo natatawa kapag nagkokomedi siya at naiiyak naman kapag nagdadrama siya kasi nararamdaman natin ang sinseridad niya. â (âFirst is sincerity. This is why we laugh when he does comedy and cry when he does drama because we can feel his sincerity.â)
âIkalawa, do not take yourself too seriously. Matuto naman tayong pagtawanan ang sarili. Okay lang, hindi iyan dapat makabawas sa ating pagkatao.â (âSecond, do not take yourself too seriously. Letâs learn to laugh at ourselves. It doesnât make us lesser beings.â)
âIkatlo, unawain natin kung bakit pinagtatawanan ng mahirap ang mayaman. For example John vs. Donya Delilahâkasi nilalait nga siya (si John) na hindi nagsusumikap kahit talaga namang nagsusumikap ang mga mahihirap na manggagawa at magsasaka. Dahil dito, ang tao nag-iidentify kay John, kasi iniisip siguro nila, kami rin nilalait ng mas nakaka-angat pero gaya ni John, dapat naming igiit na may dangal din kami.â
(âThird, letâs understand why the poor laugh at the rich [for example, John vs. Donya Delilahâbecause she puts John down and accuses him of not striving hard even if the workers and farmers do strive very hard. Because of this, people can identify with John because theyâre also thinking that they too are being put down by the more privileged ones. But like John, they also have to assert their dignity.â
âIpinapakita ng kamatayan niya at nang maraming mga tagahanga na nakiramay na para sa kanila, na-articulate ni Dolphy ang nasa loob nilaâsila si John, sila si Kevin, sila si Pacifica.â
(âWith his death, his many fans who have come out and showed their sympathy have shown that Dolphy truly articulated what was inside them all alongâthat they are John, Kevin, and Pacifica.â)
Joi confesses months have passed by since she last wrote a poemâuntil the Comedy King, activist and former beauty queen Maita Gomez, and Ka Arman Arbarillo (the former BAYAN Secretary General of the Southern Tagalog chapter) all passed away just days apart from each other. She has dedicated one poem for each of them.
âSamakatuwid, ako ay makatang napapasulat kapag may patay,â she surmises. (âPerhaps Iâm a poet who writes when there is death.â) She adds that she wants to follow the tradition left behind by Leona Florentino, a 19th century Ilocano poet who wrote poems during occasionsâweddings, birthdays, christenings, and deaths.
Joi was a founder and active member of a street theater group called Peryante (formerly UP Tropang Bodabil) in the 1980s.
Here is the poem read by Dolphy Jr and posted by Joi on her Facebook page on Saturday, July 14, 2012 at 10:13am:
Tula Para kay Mang Dolphy mula sa isang tagahanga
by Joi Barrios
(Para kay Mang Dolphy, tula ng pasasalamat mula sa isang tagahanga)
ni Joi Barrios
Ang bodabilista ay mananayaw.
Kailangang maliksi ang paa
At mahusay ang tenga,
Sakaling habang tumitipak-tipak,
magpalit ng kumpas
Ang bodabilista ay mang-aawit.
Sa kaila-ilailiman, sa pinakaloob
Para sa himig na papalaot
tungo sa puso
ng bawat manonood.
Ang bodabilista ay komedyante.
Minsan kailangang gawing katawa-tawa,
Maging ang sarili,
Upang magbiyaya ng ngiti,
Minsan, kailangan katuwaan
ang donyaÂ at mayaman,
Upang maghatid ng halakhak
Sa mahirap na nilalait na hindi nagsusumikap.
Kayaât huwag, huwag ipagtaka,
Na kayo, Mang Dolphy, dating bodabilista
Na naging hari ng komedya,
Ay nagturo sa aming lahat,
ng pagsayaw sa kabila ng papalit-palit
ng pag-awit nang taos-puso para sa bawat kapwa,
ng pagpapakumbaba ng sarili,
sabay ng paggiit nang paulit-ulit,
na may dangal siÂ John, si Kevin, si Pacifica,
may dangal, lahat tayong maralita.
Salamat, Mang Dolphy, salamat.