Willie on Tado: A true friend, a simple principled man; No song just yet for Mang Gerry
FUNFARE - Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) - February 11, 2014 - 12:00am

Curtain-raisers:

• Those close to a beautiful young actress understand why she is hardly swayed by actors queuing up to woo her. The truth is that she hasn’t gotten over her first love…a quite, good-looking and talented actor who is currently out of circulation. She lost “it” (at 17) to the actor whom she took good care of during his troubled moments, cleaning his body with warm towel when he was dead drunk. The problem was that the network didn’t approve of their relationship (although their respective families were giving them the thumbs-up) and that pissed off the actor who is very sensitive, forcing them to meet on the sly. They share not just a deep love but also initials.

•This story was relayed to Funfare by a colleague who happened to sit near an actor (gender under suspicion) during a controversial presscon (no clue when and where it happened). The leading lady was irritated by a question from another reporter who reacted as if angry (she was not). The actor commented, “Nakakaloka, nagalit ‘yung reporter!” Buking!

*  *  *

In life, Arvin “Tado” Jimenez was all but forgotten, getting only occasional work. But after meeting an untimely death in that bus accident on his way to the Mountain Province with his friends, Tado is swamped with praises. Yes, that’s the irony of showbiz. Isn’t it sad that he’s appreciated now that he’s gone?

“Mahal ko si Tado,” Willie Revillame told Funfare. “He’s a true friend; simpleng tao, simpleng kaibigan pero ma-prinsipyo. Magaling magpatawa. Malalim siya. He would invite me to his house. Sabi niya, ‘Share tayo ng sardinas, masaya na ako.’ Ganyan siya ka-simple.”

Willie and Tado’s friendship dates back to the days of Wowowee (Willie’s show on ABS-CBN) in which Tado was a regular guest. 

“He has a lot of memorable one-liners,” added Willie, such as:

• Hindi baling tamad, hindi naman pagod.

• Mabuti pang magnakaw, huwag lang mamakla.

• Pumulot ka ng basura at ilagay mo sa basurahan; isang kabayanihan na ‘yan.

“Nakakagising ng isip,” said Willie. “He was very witty.”

Willie promised Tado that if and when he had a new show, Tado would be first on the list as his co-host.

When Willie learned about the accident, he instructed his trusted man, Jay Montelibano, to take care of everything — bring Tado’s body from the Mountain Province for the wake at the Paket Santiago Funeral Homes (on V. Gomez, San Roque in Marikina, from Sunday night to tomorrow when Tado’s remains are cremated and at the Marikina Loyola Memorial Park). Willie is shouldering all the expenses.

Tado is survived by his wife, Leonora S. Jimenez, and their four children. Asked if it’s true that he gave Tado’s widow P100,000 as abuloy, Willie was mum. A Funfare source also said that in his own quiet way, Willie had Vhong Navarro transferred to a bigger room at the St. Luke’s Medical Center where Vhong was confined for more than two weeks and gave Vhong P1M. Willie also refused to discuss it.

Said the Funfare source, “Willie has never forgotten what Vhong did during his Wowowee days, Vhong politely turned down an offer to host the show during Willie’s absence. Respeto ‘yon ni Vhong kay Willie.”

By the way, if you happen to be nearby, check out the dazzling 2014 Aventador Lamborghini on display at Wil Tower Mall (right across from ABS-CBN Studio). It’s Willie’s new acquisition that cost, hold your breath, P45M (the P20M tax duly paid).

That should negate rumors that Willie is “poor already” and selling some of his properties.

*  *  *

Contrary to her promise not to cry until after her concert Voices Of Love (with Martin Nievera at the MOA on Feb. 14), Regine Velasquez did cry (but controlled) during the wake for her father, Gerardo “Mang Gerry” Velasquez, and his burial.

“But not bonggang-bongga,” said Regine during a phone interview with Funfare yesterday. “As I said, I didn’t want to lose my voice (like she did in November last year during her concert also at MOA), otherwise magagalit si Mang Gerry.”

Unlike in that November concert where she dedicated Leader Of The Band to Mang Gerry (it was his favorite song), Regine said she won’t be singing a song for Mang Gerry at her Voices Of Love concert because, “Ayokong maiyak at masira ang boses ko. I will miss him. He never missed any of my concerts kasi, eh.”

Regine was only six years old when Mang Gerry started honing her.

“You know what was the first song that Mang Gerry taught me? Buhat. He would make me sing it over and over again. We were then staying in Hinundayan, Leyte, where my mother came from. Throughout my training and until he got sick (of emphysema; Mang Gerry was a chain smoker), he stayed beside and behind me,” although being quiet and soft-spoken, Mang Gerry opted to be on the sidelines; that was how self-effacing he was, well-loved for simply being the wind beneath Regine’s wings.

The eldest of five children, Regine never regretted not finishing her studies but thankful that she was able to send her siblings through college.

Asked what the best lesson Mang Gerry had taught her, Regine said, “Love for music.”

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. You may also send your questions to askrickylo@gmail.com. For more updates, photos and videos visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on www.twitter/therealrickylo.)

AS I FUNFARE GERRY MANG MOUNTAIN PROVINCE TADO VHONG VOICES OF LOVE WILLIE
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