COMEDIAN BABALU DEAD
Quezon City, Aug. 28, 1998 - Many of the country's top stars and entertainment writers are holding vigil in Sto. Domingo Church for one of the most loved comedians in Philippine show business, Babalu, who died early Thursday of cirrhosis of the liver. He was 57.
He died in his home in Oro Vista Royal subdivision in Antipolo City.
Pablito Sarmiento in real life, Babalu was warned of his health condition last March, but kept his health problems from his co-stars, particularly from Aga Muhlach and the others in the weekly TV shows OKIDOKIDOK and HOME ALONG DA RILES where he was a regular member of the cast.
Writer Nene Riego, a close friend of Babalu, said the actor asked his doctor to tell him the truth about his ailment. He was told he had six months to live.
He decided to seek further treatment in Michigan, USA. Doctors there had the same diagnosis and advised him to spend the rest of his life in the Philippines. Babalu came home last Aug. 14, emaciated.
Babalu was a bachelor. He never married, although he fathered a child, who's now a grown man, Aquarius Lindol Sarmiento. For several years and until his death, he was living with a long-time sweetheart, only known as Lalaine, who bore him a child, now about three years old.
The late Ading Fernando gave him his screen name when Babalu started appearing on his very first TV show, Buhay-Artista back in the '60s in the old ABS-CBN. He was then a student, who earned extra money lugging clothes for Panchito Alba, who was Dolphy's original sidekick. Years later, Babalu inherited the role from Panchito in TV shows like"Home Along da Riles."
His last few years as an actor had been fruitful. He co-starred in two weekly TV shows, OKIDOKIDOK and HOME ALONG DA RILES as lead roles in films kept him busy with other comedians.
Babalu's last two movies were TATAYNIC and TONG TATLONG TATAY KONG PAKITONG-KITONG both shown last May. Both were also great hits, serving as Babalu's farewell movies to lovers of homegrown Pinoy sense of humor.
Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi
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