[PHOTO -Eddie Garcia stars in Bwakaw, an entry in the 2012 Cinemalaya.]

MANILA, JULY 21, 2012 (PHILSTAR) FUNFARE UPDATE By Ricardo F. Lo - Years back, Eddie Garcia played a screaming faggot in Paru-Parong Buking (with George Estregan and Eddie Rodriguez, both deceased) which you, if you’re insomniac, can catch in later-night TV re-run. Recalled Ricky Davao (as Eddie’s lover), “Tito Eddie was very playful. When the director shouted ‘Action!’ during our bed scene, he slipped his hand into my private part and pressed it.”

In Bwakaw, an entry in the 2012 Cinemalaya, Eddie again plays a gay character but this time quiet, reserved and gentle, reminiscent of Colin Firth’s gay in A Single Man and that of Christopher Plummer in Beginners who won a Best Supporting Oscar for it.

“I love the role,” Eddie told Funfare Update in a one-on-one. “Pag titingnan mo, lalaki siya; hindi siya mukhang bading. It’s as good as the pasaway old patient I played in ICU No. 7 in Cinemalaya 2005, and in the two other indies I did not for Cinemalaya, Ika-10 and 100 Years.”

All four indies were directed by the new breed of directors. Himself an A-list director, Eddie toes the line, so to speak, and gives input only when very necessary, take it or leave it, no hard feelings.

“If I feel that a scene may be done better,” said Eddie, “ibinubulong ko na lang sa direktor ko. It’s up to him to follow it or not. I don’t impose.”

The gay Eddie plays in Bwakaw is an old unmarried man in his twilight year, living by his lonesome with only his pet dog as companion and preparing for his final farewell by buying his own casket, sorting out his personal effects in boxes tagged with names of receivers.

[PHOTO -Armida ‘Tita Midz’ Siguion-Reyna as co-star]

Starring with Eddie is Armida “Tita Midz” Siguion-Reyna as Eddie’s girlfriend in their younger years, also unmarried and now confined in a home for aged afflicted with Alzheimer’s Disease.

“My character told Armida’s character that I was gay so hindi natuloy ang romansa namin,” added Eddie. “I would visit her at the home for the aged until one day, she came back to her senses and asked me to stop visiting her. It’s a very moving story.”

Now into his golden years, Eddie said that he took the role to heart, immersing himself in it.

For the record, according to Eddie, he’s only into his 80s, contrary to popular belief that he’s in his 90s.

“Actually, I turned only 83 last May,” he clarified. “I am 10 months younger than Dolphy with whom I started at Sampaguita Pictures back in the late ’50s.”

The mistake was committed by the late Ike Lozada during an interview years ago.

“I think he misheard me and added 10 years to my age but I never bothered to correct it. My birthday is May 2, 1929. Every time people asked how old I was, I would say, ‘Di ba nabasa n’yo na how old I am.’ One time, Ramon (Revilla, another Sampaguita contemporary) and I were making a movie and he told me, ‘Eddie Boy, bakit hindi mo kinorek ito? Nadagdagan ng 10 years ang edad mo. E, ako, alam nila na mas matanda ako sa’yo ng two years, kaya tumatanda tuloy ako.’ I think I was 55 at that time, so kung ilalagay ko sa 65, eh di magiging 67 siya.”

Having done every role in the book (a soldier, a rebel, a priest, a playboy, bida or kontrabida), does Eddie have any dream role, one he hasn’t played?

“None. I just wait for what offer comes along.”

I told Eddie that besides being gentlemen (hmmm, ladies’ men), he and Dolphy have a lot in common. Dolphy said that he didn’t need Viagra (“Zsa Zsa is my Viagra,” he said in jest), what about Eddie?

He laughed. “Okay pa si Manoy!”

Still taking almost 20 vitamins and sticking to a strict diet and sleeping routine (at least eight hours every night), Eddie said that he continues to practice “everything in moderation.” Including having sex? “Well,” he laughed again, “yes. I eat only when I’m hungry and I do ‘it’ only when I feel like it…in moderation.”

Like Dolphy, too, Eddie has campaigned for his showbiz friends (like FPJ) venturing into politics but he himself has been turning down invitations to run (perhaps in his native Irosin, Sorsogon?).

“I believe in Dolphy’s advice,” said Eddie.

You know: Madali ang tumakbo. Eh, paano kung manalo?

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[PHOTO- HOT TV hosts (from left) Roderick Paulate, Regine Velasquez, Raymond Gutierrez and Jennylyn Mercado. — Photo by VER PAULINO ]

The GMA Sunday show Showbiz Central is good only until next Sunday, July 29. It will be replaced by HOT TV (Hindi Ordinaryong Tsismis) starting on Aug. 5, with Raymond Gutierrez and Jennylyn Mercado retained as hosts, and Pia Guanio and John Lapuz replaced by Regine Velasquez and Roderick Paulate.

With HOT TV, GMA hopes to revolutionize the Sunday viewing habit of Filipinos by bringing a fresh perspective on today’s hottest stories and controversies.

Under the direction of Rico Gutierrez, the program will feature a diverse mix of discussions of the latest trends and issues as well as segments highlighting extraordinary personalities and human interest stories every Sunday afternoon.

After her absence for more than a year from work, Regine, who is a self-confessed “tsismosa,” dabbles in hosting her very first magazine talk show in GMA. She feels very excited on her latest TV endeavor most especially on working with Raymond, Jennylyn and Roderick, “This is something new for me and I’m really looking forward to the new concept and segments of HOT TV Excited ako na marinig ang iba’t ibang opinyon naming apat.”

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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