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‘Magkaibigan’ pays tribute to Daboy

By Remy M. Umerez
Philippine Daily Inquirer
First Posted 23:22:00 12/19/2008

Filed Under: Cinema, Entertainment (general), 2007 Metro Manila Film Festival

MANILA, Philippines?Millennium Films? official entry to the Metro Manila Film Festival, ?Magkaibigan,? is topbilled by Christopher de Leon, Dawn Zulueta, Maricel Laxa and Jinggoy Estrada, and directed by Jose Javier Reyes.

The inspiration of ?Magkaibigan? is the late Rudy ?Daboy? Fernandez, Jinggoy?s best friend. Estrada is producing the film as a tribute to the well-loved star. The film?s blurb is apt: ?Sa buhay, may mga bagay na hindi nakakalimutan...hindi napapalitan.? (There are things in life that can?t be forgotten or replaced.)

The film tells a bittersweet story?it?s both heartbreaking and heartwarming. It shows how best friends and their families cope with tragedy. Jinggoy recalls asking Daboy while he was confined in the hospital if he could produce a movie on friendship, and the late action star readily agreed. His wife, Lorna Tolentino, also said yes.

Reyes clarifies that the movie is not based on the life story of Daboy. He states: ?It?s a tribute to friendship and to life, even if it deals with death.? Jinggoy notes that Boyet is perfect for the Rudy Fernandez-inspired role. Boyet and Daboy were good friends. Tirso Cruz III and Bobby Andrews also portray special roles.


The stars of ?Magkaibigan? were asked to share some anecdotes about Rudy and what their definition of friendship was. Jinggoy?s reply: ?I could write a book about my 20 years of friendship with Daboy. Loyalty was the basis of our bond. He was with me through thick and thin. I was at his bedside until he passed away, and I saw how he embraced the Lord.?

In the movie, friendship is tested when Atoy (Christopher de Leon) is diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. De Leon was initially reluctant to accept the part. He recalls: ?When I read the script, I was really moved. I witnessed Daboy?s struggle after the operation, and I thought it would be painful for me to reenact it. On the other hand, I didn?t have the heart to say no to Lorna and direk Joey, who chose me for the role. My father was also a victim of cancer. Rudy was the type who would give his life for a friend.?


Laxa, who makes a screen comeback after five years, plays the wife of Jinggoy. She states: ?A friend is someone who?s always there for me. He feels happy when I?m happy?and vice-versa. Daboy wasn?t just a good actor, he was also a great friend!?

Zulueta was Daboy?s leading lady in ?The Eddie Fernandez Story.? She also remembers him with fondness: ?He was a real gentleman. At the time, he was drawn to photography and always took pictures on the set. One time, I woke up and saw him taking photos of me. I begged off because I had no makeup on. He said I had nothing to worry about, because I looked good even without makeup. I asked him not to show the photos to anyone. You know what he did? He sent me all the photos and their negatives. Up to now, I still have them. That?s what?s most important about friendship?trust!?

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