TRIBUTE TO INDAY BADIDAY, A.K.A. ATE LUDS

Manila, September 29, 2003  (STAR) By Ricky Lo  - The intriguing world of Inday Badiday.

(Editor’s Note: Like most women, Lourdes Jimenez Carvajal, fondly known as Ate Luds and/or Inday Badiday, was secretive about her age, a "secret" she will carry to her grave. That’s why when she died at 6 p.m. last Friday, Sept. 26 at the ICU of St. Luke’s Medical Center where she lay in coma for more than a month due to multiple organ failure brought about by two strokes, everybody was guessing how old she was – but nobody would tell. Inday was the lady, tagged as Queen of Intrigues, who revolutionized TV talk shows, always saying that "the original is the best." She was noted for such other lines as "I’ll be back, promise!", "Careful, careful!" and "Saranghameda, Bo!" which was addressed to her beloved Gene "Bo" Palomo. Inday’s remains lie at the Santuario de San Antonio in Forbes Park, Makati City. She’ll be buried on Friday, Oct. 3. As a tribute to Inday, I’m reprinting an article I wrote for her in 1985 for Weekend, the Sunday magazine of the Daily Express. The same article is included in my first book, Star-Studded.)

Oh Lord, help me this day to keep my big mouth shut.

Inday Badiday (a.k.a. Ate Luds) doesn’t remember now who gave her the tableau containing that little prayer ("Ewan ko kung kaaway ko o kaibigan ko") but that’s beside the point. The tableau stands on her headboard and it’s the first thing Inday sees when she wakes up every morning. Sa totoo lang, Inday has been trying, during the past many years, to observe that prayer — to no avail.

"Para akong si Mother Lily," says Inday, "pag hindi ko binuksan ang bibig ko, magugutom ako, hindi ako kikita. Aray ko!"

Besides talking, there’s another thing that Inday does non-stop and that’s smoking.

She has been a chain smoker as far back as she can remember and even if she isn’t puffing, she’s forever holding a lighted cigarette between her fingers and that lighted cigarette is sometimes the gauge of the degree of tension she’s in.

"Nilalaro-laro ko lang kung minsan," laughs Inday in her perpetually hoarse voice (also her trademark). "Pini-finger-finger ko. Aray ko."

But even if she doesn’t feel the same, doesn’t feel herself without a cigarette, lighted or not, Inday never lets herself be caught by the cameras with "it". On the TV screen, even if she’s dishing out showbiz menu lapped up with gusto by movie fans from up here to down there, Inday is the epitome of a gracious lady, well-dressed, well-combed and well-behaved (well, sometimes!), accentuating every tsismis and every scoop with the warning that has also become her trademark, "Careful, careful!"

Mondays to Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 12 noon, Inday dishes out showbiz tidbits and big-sister pieces of advice on her radio (DWWA) program Inday ng Buhay Ko which she always ends with a warning: "Bye for now. Mag-ingat ka sa mga taong hindi mo kilala; mas lalo kang mag-ingat sa mga taong kilala mo na."

Thursday evenings, 7:30 to 8:30 on Channel 13, Inday presides over her controversial talk-show, See-True, which has been at the top of the ratings chart during the past six months. The forerunners of See-True were Nothing But the Truth, which folded up after three years following a court case involving Amalia Fuentes and Bobby Vasquez (Amalia eventually won the case) and Would You Believe?, which lasted for one year and six months. All in all, Inday has been in the midst of what many people (especially the A-B crowd) call "a messy show" for almost 10 years now. (See-True folded up in 1987 and was replaced a year later by Eye-to-Eye which Inday hosts on Channel 7, Monday through Friday.)

"No regrets," says Inday who shrugs off criticisms that See-True is the sum total of all the markets in Metro Manila put together (Quinta, Arranque, Divisoria, Nepa-Q Mart, etc.) because the guests (most of them anyway), stars and scribes alike, almost always sound and act like fishwives and pier hands.

The Queen of Intrigues herself offers an explanation why See-True appeals to the audiences from Bangkusay to Forbes Park and to people in all social levels in other parts of the country where the show is telecast.

"Kasi siguro ayaw ng tao ’yung pagdating sa bahay from the office ay tinuturuan pa sila. Bakit nagkli-klik ang John en Marsha (a highly successful TV sitcom, now off the air, starring Dolphy and Nida Blanca)? Because the people identify themselves with Dolphy and Nida and Rolly and Maricel. Parang escape, you know.

"Siguro nakukuha ko ang kiliti ng tao dahil kinu-combine ko ’yung mga stars na matalino at ’yung hindi, ’yung mga may laman ang utak at ’yung wala. See-True is an arena for a free exchange of ideas. Diyan hinihimay-himay ang mga showbiz issues and controversies, kaya nga ang catchline ng show ay ‘Kung may gusot, may lusot.’ In the show, everybody is free to do his/her thing, kanya-kanyang drama sa buhay. Kung gusto nila magpa-smart-aleck, okey lang. Kung gusto nilang mag-e-e-English, kahit mali-mali, okey rin lang. Bahala sila kung ano ang gusto nilang gawin.

"See-True, I dare say, shows the real face of show business, presenting the stars as they are, walang pretensions at pagkukunwari. Masaya, di ba?"

AS SOON AS THE RUSH IS OVER, I’M GOING TO HAVE A NERVOUS BREAKDOWN.

— Sign on the wall of Inday’s cramped Broadcast City office.

"So far," says Inday, "knocking on wood, sa awa ng Diyos, hindi pa naman nangyayari ang ganoon. Pero kamuntik-muntikan na."

See-True has got Inday entangled in a lot of gusots out of which she thought she could never make lusot.

Remember when Amalia Fuentes stormed the show (then called Nothing But the Truth) when Bobby Vasquez (that night’s guest star) called her a liar?

Remember when Lorna Tolentino almost collapsed in anger when she was brought, without her knowing it, face-to-face with a man who claimed to be her real father?

Remember when Sharon Cuneta and Gabby Concepcion came to the show in high spirits and left it with their faces crumpled in big frowns?

Remember when Nora Aunor, displeased by a news report which she deemed favored Vilma Santos at her expense, asked her secretary to get back (that same evening!) a P5,000 check she had gifted Inday with a week earlier during the blessing of Inday’s house in Meycauayan, Bulacan?

"That episode on Amalia and Bobby happened when they were in the middle of a word war. Bobby came to the show with his eyes all red dahil nakainom na yata, naka-shades pa mandin. He started attacking Amalia. Bigla siyang sumugod! It was a good thing katatapos pa lang ng show nang dumating siya sa studio. Imagine what a mess it would have been kung nag-abutan sila ni Bobby!"

The next day, Amalia filed a slander case against Bobby, with Inday as her star witness. The show went off the air immediately after that.

"The Lorna Tolentino case was something else. I thought all along that Lorna would be happy to see her real father for the first time in years. Iba ang nangyari. That day, sinundo pa namin sa Laguna ‘yung Tatay ni Lorna. I was pressed for time. Derecho na nga ako sa show at hindi na ako nakapagpa-make-up kay Boots Babushka. It was supposed to be a surprise for Lorna and the televiewers. Imagine how dramatic it would have been kung nagyakap silang mag-ama!

"But that‘s not what happened. When the man entered from one end of the room, biglang umexit si Lorna sa kabilang end na parang wala sa sarili. I was left puzzled. Nakagawa ba ako ng kabutihan o kasamaan?"

The morning after, Inday read in the papers that Lorna was hinimatay when she reached home the previous night and that Lorna was filing charges against her. Inday filed counter-charges and after a few hearings, a third person convinced Lorna and Inday to settle things out of court.

"The Sharon-Gabby incident happened before the showing of the movie Sa Hirap At Ginhawa. Viva asked me to make pakulo for the movie and I thought that it would be nice to reshow film clips of Gabby and Sharon’s past appearances in See-True, ending with their wedding. The message we wanted to convey was that, pagkatapos ng lahat, silang dalawa rin ang nagkatuluyan. So after introducing Sharon and Gabby, roll bigla ang 12-minute film clip, showing Gabby with Janice de Belen, then showing Sharon with Rowell Santiago, then showing Sharon admitting she was pregnant and finally showing her and Gabby on their wedding day.

"Aba, when I got back to Sharon and Gabby, nakasimangot na ‘yung dalawa! Nagtaka ako. I guessed na napikon si Gabby doon sa ipinakitang nagtutula sila ni Janice, reiterating their ‘undying‘ love for each other. Besides, the crowd at the studio was partisan. When the film clips of Gabby and Janice were being shown, palakpakan ang maka-Gabby/Janice. When the film clips of Sharon and Rowell were shown, palakpakan naman ang maka-Sharon/Rowell. But everything was cleared by Viva so I don’t feel guilty. I was just doing my job. Viva had the final say because they were paying for the airtime."

The "Bawian Incident" involving Nora Aunor, whom Inday helped a lot especially during the Nora-Tirso (Cruz III) Period, happened in 1978 during the Metro Manila Film Festival. Inday got a report on the entries’ box-office standings from Rolfie Velasco, secretary of the MMFF Committee.

"I read the report in my show matter-of-factly. I said, ‘No. 1 ang Rubia Servios (starring Vilma Santos) at No. 2 lang ang Atsay (starring Nora).’ After my show, aba, here came Nora’s secretary at ipinababawi daw ni Guy ‘yung P5,000 check na ibinigay sa akin sa blessing ng aking bahay! I was more disappointed than shocked. I was humiliated, too. Even my family was affected. Sabi nila ‘Ayan, tinulungan mo, pagkatapos ‘yan pa ang igaganti sa ‘yo!’ I returned the check, of course. That was the only money I ever received in my whole career, at binawi pa."

A moment of joy from a vanished yesterday but suspended forever in memory. This will always be that. You are today the sum total of all those moments and of all the memories.

- birthday note to Inday from her Ate Letty

The sisters are poles apart. While Letty (Jimenez-Magsanoc, Editor-in-Chief of The Philippine Daily Inquirer) is concerned with the state of the nation, Inday is concerned with, among other "issues," the state of Sharon’s pregnancy; while Letty keeps track of the number of people who attended yesterday’s big rally at Liwasang Bonifacio, Inday counts the legions of fans who flocked to the Regal Babies’ Day at the LVN Studio the other day; while Letty expounds on such political matters as "national reconciliation," Inday weights the pros and cons of a Vilma-Edu reconciliation.

But of the nine (six girls, Letty being the eldest and Inday the fourth, and three boys) of the late Philippine Ambassador (to Korea) Col. Nicanor Jimenez and his late wife Maria Clara (Vega), she and Letty are closest to each other. "Perhaps," says Inday, "because we are the only two left here and all the rest are in the States."

They are a closely knit family. Even now that the Ambassador‘s wife is gone (she died two years ago), the clan still holds regular reunions. On August 6 last year when Inday celebrated her birthday, Letty gave her a surprise party at the Club Filipino. It was, indeed, a big surprise for Inday who thought it was going to be nothing more memorable than a dinner for two, with her and her Dad.

What Letty did was organize a panel, See-True style, with family members taking turns in roasting Inday and/or praising her to high heavens. Other panelists were Inday’s colleagues when she was just starting in showbiz.

"When I came in," Inday recalls, "aba, madilim ang room. Pagkatapos, biglang bumukas ang ilaw and there they were, nakahilerang parang sa See-True! Mangiyak-iyak ako. For once, I was speechless!"

Then, the Ambassador delivered a short speech, to this effect: "Lourdes (that‘s Inday‘s first name) did it all by herself. She is responsible for everything. She did it all her way."

Inday’s tears finally fell.

"Cheap ko, ano!"

The truth is that, away from the glare of TV klieg lights, Inday is a sentimental person who loves to collect passages from poems, photographs, meaningful phrases or simply memories, especially beautiful memories.

The birthday note Letty sent Inday is part of posterity, sharing a twin-frame with an old photograph showing her and Letty as little girls with their Mom and Dad.

Even the falling of a leaf has a reason.

Visit the house of any of the Jimenez children and you will see an emblem of a leaf prominently displayed on the wall. The leaf is a reminder of what their mother used to tell them when, as children, they would wonder why something had happened this way or that, or why some of their wishes hadn’t come true. "Even the falling of a leaf has a reason," the old woman would console the children.

"So," says Inday, "there must be a reason why things happened to me the way they did."

Her marriage, for instance.

"Ernie (Carvajal) and I were teenagers when we got married. It had been an off-and-on marriage. We’d break up and then we’d kiss and make up again. We were then living next to my parents’ house in Pasig kaya dinig na dinig ng Mommy at Daddy kapag nag-aaway kami. Maya-maya, babawiin ako ng Mommy, pagkatapos pupuntahan ako sa bahay ni Ernie to apologize. Balikan uli kami. When we transferred to Meycauayan, Bulacan, talagang dumating ang biggest test sa marriage namin. He (a sales representative) was always out in the field; I was always out of the house. The children (Dolly Ann, 20, a linguistics senior at UP, and Ricky Boy, 17, a psychology sophomore at Letran) practically lived with their Lolo and Lola. Dolly Ann is the first Jimenez grandchild. We tried, in vain. Talagang we were not meant for each other. So we parted ways. Now we are very good friends."

Inday, Dolly Ann, Ricky Boy and TV movie director (See-True, among other shows) Gene Palomo, the new man in Inday’s life, are now living in a new house (said to be worth more than P3.5-M) in Xavierville, Quezon City. The house was blessed last January 26, coinciding with the Ambassador’s birthday. "New home," says Inday, "new roots, new memories."

It took some time before Inday’s family, particularly Dolly Ann and Ricky Boy, warmed up to Gene who himself has long been separated from his wife.

Dolly Ann and Inday treat each other as friends.

"Dolly Ann is used to showbiz. Noong nasa Maryknoll pa siya, dito siya sa booth ko nag-iistambay during her vacant periods, kaya alam na alam niya ang kalakaran sa showbiz. Otherwise, do you think maiintindihan niya ang buhay ko? Ricky Boy is different. Hindi siya showbiz.

Inday’s constant reminder to her children is this: "Don’t come to me crying!"

That is also what the Ambassador would often tell his children: "Don’t ever come to me crying."

"Military man kasi ‘yon, e."

Inday hasn’t run back to Daddy crying ever since.

"Alam mo," she admits, "people can accuse me of not having been a good wife. Pero walang makapagsasabing hindi ako naging mabuting ina."

And that, would you believe, is the truth and nothing but. – Weekend magazine, March 10, 1985


Reported by: Sol Jose Vanzi

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