Rest in peace, sir Dolphy

By John Rene Pacia

I grew up on Ading Fernando’s “John en Marsha,” which I watched religiously every Friday night in the 1970s and ‘80s. Through the show, I discovered humor and laughter at a very young age. I remember the legendary line by Dona Delilah, “Kaya ikaw John mag-sumikap ka,” and Matutina’s screeching tone of a voice. They were symbolic of the comedic innuendos of the series.

Played by Dolphy and Nida Blanca, John and Marsha’s relationship as a slum-dwelling-but-big-hearted couple epitomizes “till death till us part” marital vow. They refuse money from Marsha’s millionaire mother so their children will learn to live modestly and within their means. Dolphy and the stellar cast members – which included Dely Atay-Atayan and Maricel Soriano — made it so realistic, depicting everyday life in a comedic way. He was a natural-born comic, it was his God-given gift and he shared it with everyone.

Of the hundreds of movies Dolphy made, I enjoyed “John en Marsha sa Amerika.” My favorite scenes were when he falls off the toilet as the plane is about to take off. I also remember him seeing an African American guy and referring to him as “Hey Snake Jones.”

“Home Sic Home” was great also. It depicts the real-life struggles of an old-fashioned, no-nonsense grandfather out to reunite with his Americanized son and his family. The theme is one of clash of cultures, but still very humorous. There was one scene where Panchito, Dolphy’s in-law, tells him that in America, “Kailangan mong mag-trabaho, di ka puwedeng maging palamunin,” as Dolphy listens and makes faces.

“Ibong Adarna” was probably my most-watched Dolphy movie of all time. I can still vividly picture the scene when both Panchito and Babalu turn into stones when they get dumped on by the fabled bird. Dolphy survives the scene and goes on to save the princess.

“Ang Tatay kong Nanay” with then-child star Nino Muhlach is another Dolphy classic. He plays both sides of parenthood which tests Dolphy’s versatility as an all-around actor. “Dolphy’s Angels” is also a memorable one for yours truly as it had similarities in his life. He is quite the Lothario with women — Yehlen Catral, Ana Marie Gutierrez and Carmi Martin – being all over him.

He loved lots of women, but always one at a time. There was Alma Moreno, Lotis Key, Zsa-Zsa Padilla, to name a few. He had 18 kids through his lifetime, and loved every one of them. He was Omeng Satanasya and Captain Barbel and Ompong but most especially he was a great dad.

Mr. Rodolfo Quizon put a huge smile on our faces. Millions of fans are in mourning right now for this great loss. Maraming salamat sa Maykapal at binigyan po ninyo kami ng isang Dolphy.

Rest in Peace, sir.

John Rene Pacia lives in California with his wife Sarah and their four children. He is a retired U.S. Navyman, having served the military for 20 years. He described himself as a “big movie buff” with a great sense of humor. In his words, “Kenkoy ako.” He is writing this essay because Dolphy’s death “greatly” affected him. Logo by Elton Lugay.


  1. Name * wrote:

    Well said, John Rene Pacia!

  2. M. Matthews wrote:

    I was in my late 20’s when I discovered the Filipino cinema. My favorite comic actor was Dolphy and action hero was Erap Estrada.

  3. We’re sad sa balita. san ka man naroroon mahal ka namin.

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