MANILA, JULY 18, 2012 (PHILSTAR) FUNFARE UPDATE By Ricardo F. Lo - Zsa Zsa Padilla at the tribute given to Dolphy by ABS-CBN Wednesday night at the theater named after him.

I can’t remember when you weren’t there

When I didn’t care for anyone but you.

I swear we’ve been through everything there is

Can’t imagine anything we’ve missed,

Can’t imagine anything the two of us can’t do.

Through the years, you’ve never let me down;

You turned my life around, the sweetest things

I’ve found, I’ve found with you.

Through the years I’ve never been afraid,

I’ve loved the life we’ve made

And I’m so glad I’ve stayed, right here with you

Through the years

I can’t remember what I used to do

Who I trusted, who I listened to before

I swear you taught me everything I know

Can’t imagine needing someone so

But through the years it seems to me

I need you more and more

Through the years, through all the good and bad

I know how much we had,

I’ve always been so glad to be with you.

Through the years, it’s better every day,

You’ve kissed my tears away

As long as it’s okay, I’ll stay with you

Through the years.

Through the years, when everything went wrong

Together we were strong, I know that I belong

Right here with you.

Through the years, I never had a doubt,

We’d always work things out

I’ve learned what life’s about

By loving you through the years

Through the years, you’ve never let me down

You’ve turned my life around,

The sweetest days I’ve found

I’ve found with you.

Through the years, it’s better every day

You’ve kissed my tears away

As long as it’s okay, I’ll stay with you

[PHOTO -Through the years... — Through the Years by Kenny Rogers: Among those who paid Dolphy tribute were (from left) Gabby Lopez, Charo Santos-Concio, Eric Quizon and Marichu Vera Perez-Maceda]

Try calling my celfone and the ring tone will move you to tears. It’s an excerpt from the Kenny Rogers song sung by Zsa Zsa Padilla during her acceptance/thank-you speech at the conclusion of the memorable tribute to her dear departed beloved Dolphy by ABS-CBN Wednesday night at the theater named after the Comedy King.

Like the thousands glued to the telecast, I choked and shed quiet tears when I saw Zsa Zsa, especially when she reached the line “through the years I’ve never been afraid”and she briefly smiled through tears and then, finally giving way to more tears, she ended her speech by repeating what the man she loved unconditionally for 23 years told her before he breathed his last at the ICU of the Makati Medical Center where he fought for his life for one month against a recurring pneumonia due to COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease). He whispered to her, “I love you!” and Zsa Zsa said that that was the same thing she whispered to him.

During the tribute, Zsa Zsa revealed everything that everybody had been waiting to hear — you know, what happened during those dark days when Dolphy, who would have turned 84 on July 25, retained his sense of humor despite the pain those tubes attached to his body were giving him.

[PHOTO -Among those who sang for Dolphy were Piolo Pascual (left) and Gary Valenciano]

“Dolphy united us during that month,” said Zsa Zsa, noting that it was possible for them to be one big happy family even if the children (all 18 of them, some came home from abroad) have different mothers (five of them). “Dolphy didn’t want to see me crying so I pretended to be happy when I was with him. People might have suspected that I was going crazy kasi wala akong ginawa kung hindi kulitin siya every day, ‘Lovey, Lovey!’ Kinikilig siya kapag ginaganoon ko. I called my Mom and asked her, ‘Mom, hindi kaya feeling ni Dolphy na hindi ako nalulungkot para sa kanya?’ To cheer him up, I would say, ‘Lovey ko!’ and if he responded, we felt better. If he didn’t, medyo ninerbyos na kami ng kaunti.”

As she thanked the doctors and nurses at the Makati Med, those who prayed and are praying for him and for the family, and those who helped monetarily and otherwise, Zsa Zsa vainly tried to suppress tears, saying how strong their love for each other was.

She thanked ABS-CBN for the beautiful service, making special mention of Kapitan Geny Lopez for giving Dolphy the breaks, and also TV5 big boss Manny V. Pangilinan for signing up Dolphy when he left ABS-CBN and renewing his contract, giving him his talent fee even when he was too weak to continue taping. (MVP personally visited Dolphy at the hospital and reportedly shouldered most, if not all, of the bills.) Dolphy’s son Eric, the spokesperson of the family, thanked the same people when his turn to talk came.

Addressing Dolphy who looked like he’s in a sweet slumber inside a gold coffin at the stage of the Dolphy Theater turned into a beautiful garden with flowers prepared by Gaita Fores, Zsa Zsa said, “Dolphy, many people love you, hindi lang ako at mga anak mo, mga kapatid mo at mga apo mo na nandidito, but everybody. You are so lucky. Ang suwerte-suwerte mo talaga!,”adding, “Dolphy went to heaven with joy in his heart because you were with them” during his final days.

Then, he thanked Dolphy’s children, naming them one by one — Manny, Sally, Junior, Edgar, Rollie, Mariquit, Carlos, Geraldine, Edwin, Ronnie, Eric (“For being so organized”), Madonna, Jeffrey, Rommel, Vandolph, Zia and Nicole (son Freddie is deceased) — “for being a source of inspiration to Dolphy,” and her daughter Karylle (by ex-husband Dr. Modesto Tatlonghari) “for your acceptance and your forgiveness.” And she thanked Dolphy, too, “for being proud of me and for teaching me how to be strong.”

Tributes continue to pour in.

• From Sen. Manny Villar (photo, one of those who stood by Dolphy through thick and thin): My family and I condole with the Quizon Family on the death of our one and only Comedy King, Dolphy. Although he was bedridden for a long time, his death still came as a shock especially since there were reports that he was improving and many people were praying for his early recovery.

I was one of those who saw how Dolphy started to gain strength when I visited him at the hospital where he expressed his desire to go home. It was the prayer of the Filipino people that helped extend, no matter how briefly, his life. It was the same prayer that united Filipinos in different parts of the world.

We will never forget Dolphy. His talent and compassion for those who have less in life will always make a Filipino proud.

Ang pagdakila at pagtangi ng ating mga kababayan kay Dolphy ngayon at maging noong siya ay nabubuhay pa ay higit pa sa karangalan na nakuha ng isang National Artist.

My family will forever be indebted to Dolphy for his friendship and for bringing laughter to our lives. He will always be our idol.

• From Sen. Loren Legarda (photo): His passing ended a great era not only in the entertainment industry but in the country. He will be missed. But even if he’s gone, Dolphy will forever live in our hearts, he will always stay with us and in generations to come through the hundreds of unforgettable movies he starred in. He left knowing that everybody loves him. It was a great honor to appear in Markova with Dolphy 12 years ago. It was a joy to work with him. So kind and a real gentleman.

Last night, it was the turn of TV5, led by MVP, to give a tribute to Dolphy whose remains lie at The Heritage Park in Taguig City until Sunday, July 15, when he is laid to his final rest. One of those who gave a eulogy was Regal Matriarch Mother Lily Monteverde (photo) who called Dolphy King of Love.

Excerpts from Mother Lily’s tribute:

His heart was overflowing with love for everyone, for his work, for his co-workers, for his friends, for his family, for his 18 children, and for his beloved Zsa Zsa.

The Dolphy that I love was not just a National Artist. He was a Genuine Artist.

Although I am a movie producer, he treated me like a friend. A family friend.

Every time I asked about his talent fee, his answer would remain the same: Bahala na.

Hindi siya materyoso. Money was not important to him.

I am forever grateful to Mang Dolphy for the trust and gift of friendship.

We made several movies together: Darna Kuno, Daddy’s Little Darlings and Once Upon a Time.

Pag nagagalit ako sa set, pinapatawa niya ako. He never ran out of one-liners.

He would joke around, so that I would forget the problems on the set.

The Dolphy that I respect was a true friend as well.

She ended her tribute by saying, “Thank you, Dolphy, for teaching me the meaning of kindness and love.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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