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Sunday, June 08, 2008

Rudy Fernandez: farewell to you!

OUR beloved Rudy Fernandez has gone home to his Maker at 6:15 this morning, June 7, 2008.”

We got this text message from colleague, (film director) Arman Reyes, early yesterday morning and we really felt very, very sad. In recent weeks when news about Pareng Rudy sounded not too favorable, we hated to believe them. Just like the rest of his friends, visible or not, we hoped against hope that he’d survive the ordeal.

But everything was in God’s hands.

He finally succumbed to periampullary cancer (an enlargement of the ducts from the liver and pancreas). He was 55.

We all know how his fight against the Big C went on. It was all over the papers. Right after his last birthday celebration on March 3, he made a last-ditched effort to see his doctor in the US. The doctor advised him to come home.

After three months, his battle was over.

His remains are now in Heritage Park and Crematory at The Fort in Taguig.


WE lost a friend. Not just a friend, but someone personal. As a struggling entertainment writer then, we saw his climb as an action star. Our friendship started when we interviewed him at the house of his Ate Merle (Fernandez, a former actress) in Banawe, Quezon City. Then, he would drag us to watch his shoots, especially if it would be in far-flung areas, like in Nueva Ecija, or some place we’d enjoy like Baguio. (That experiences gave us first-hand insights on how to make films, especially of the action genre. We were to direct action films years later, and how we wished we did one with Rudy in the lead.).

We used to hang out at his house in Little Baguio (San Juan) then, and years later, in his first house in White Plains.

We were the first entertainment writer he allowed to see the house he was building for him and kumareng Lorna (Tolentino) also in White Plains. We got a scoop (for Orig Magazine which we used to edit) with the exclusive pictures we took of the house while still undergoing construction.

Of course, we were also a witness to their wedding at Villa Escudero in Tiaong, Quezon.

As soon as his name became bigger, endeavors other than acting consumed his time. He got involved in business, urged by his good foresight. It was no surprise as he was a Commerce student in UST when he started to do teeny-booper roles for Sampaguita Pictures.

He was also groomed as the next FPJ, a film industry leader, which eventually led to his political career. This phase of his life, though, paved the way for him to have such good friends like Senators Bong Revilla, Jr. and Jinggoy Estrada, among others.

During those times, we’d hardly see each other but on rare occasions that we did, he’d show his for-old-times-sake warmth brand of friendship.

We spoke no second words when we invited him to be one of the sponsors, along with (Regal Entertainment producer) Mother Lily Monteverde and (Hair Asia publisher) Evelyn Alvaran-Cruz, for our son, Erwin and wife, Michelle’s wedding in September 2004. To think that it was held in Antipolo, he was one of the earliest sponsors to come.

Pareng Rudy was such a jolly fellow. He loved to play jokes on people, all in the name of fun and contrary to his screen persona, he loved to laugh a lot. In vernacular, he was a “lalaking bungisngis.”

We had such fun moments that when we looked back hours after the news about his death came, we had managed to laugh, trying to conceal what we really felt inside.




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