Tado Jimenez poses with the Manila sunset in the background in this photo taken last January 31. Photo from the comedian's Instagram page
Comedian was scheduled to shoot 'MMK' in Baguio
MANILA - Comedian Arvin Jimenez, more popularly known as Tado, was planning to write about his Mt. Province trip in his book titled "40 Mountains," before he died in a bus crash that claimed the lives of 13 others.
Speaking with ABS-CBN Baguio, Trina dela Cruz, a friend of Jimenez who survived the accident, said their group was composed of 17 tattoo artists and mountaineers.
They had planned to hike in Apayao and Kalinga, where they were also supposed to meet a traditional tattoo artist named Wag-od.
But they weren't able to reach their destination, as their bus, bound for Bontoc, plunged into a 500-meter deep ravine in Sitio Pagpag, Barangay Tabulin at around 7:20 a.m. on Friday.
At around 10:00 a.m. Saturday, family members and friends of Jimenez from Rock-Ed Philippines, a volunteer group advocating alternative education, arrived in Bontoc to arrange the transportation of the comedian's remains to Manila.
Jimenez was supposed to stay in the province until February 14, which was scheduled to be the last of three days filming for an episode of "Maalaala Mo Kaya," according to his manager Ogie Diaz.
"'Yung last time na nag-usap kami ni Tado, ito 'yung may inquiry ang 'MMK' sa kanya na ang nakakaloka, ang role niya na na-excite siya, ay kundoktor ng bus," Diaz told ABS-CBN News' Jasmin Romero on Saturday.
"Ang shoot ng 'MMK' sa Baguio, February 12, 13, 14. Sabi ko, 'Okay ba sa iyo 'yan?' Sabi niya, 'Oo, kahit wala nang uwian, e.'"
Diaz, who decided to take Jimenez under his wing after seeing him on "Strangebrew" in 2001, said a trip to places like the Mt. Province was typical of the comedian, referring to him as an "explorer."
"He loves nature. Si Tado kasi, wala siyang kotse. Kung may kotse siya, ang ginagamit niya sa taping, bisikleta. Nag-bibisikleta lang siya. Pag may naiiwan siya, babalikan lang niya ulit sa Marikina, bisikleta ulit," he said.
That the first people who rushed to the Bontoc crash scene were members of a charitable group was not a surprise to Diaz, who recalled Jimenez to have always been ready with a helping hand.
"Noong bagyong 'Yolanda,' nangalap mismo siya ng mga goods," Diaz said. "Pinaghihingi niya 'yon. Nakakuha na siya ng trak. Ang problema nalang niya, krudo... Gano'n siya. Kahit walang-wala na siya, 'yung huli niyang pera, pag alam niyang nangangailangan, ibibigay niya. O gagawa siya ng paraang para lang kahit paano, meron siyang nai-contribute sa tao."
Jimenez was particularly passionate about nationalistic causes, Diaz recalled, saying the comedian had been planning to come up with a tribute to hero Andres Bonifacio on his 150th birth anniversary.
The comedian also co-founded the group Dakila with other artists, with the goal of promoting the heroism of everyday people.
"Ang mga adhikain ni Tado, para sa bayan. Sobrang proud siya na Pilipino siya, at sobrang ipinagmamalaki niya 'yung mga tourist spots dito sa Pilipinas," Diaz said. "[Ang maganda alaala ko sa kanya iyong] pagiging patrioritic niya, 'yung pagiging Pilipino niya."
Jimenez, who is survived by his wife and children, has already made a mark in the industry despite a relatively short stay, Diaz said. The talent manager cited Jimenez's unique personality, saying his style of humor mixed with patriotism will never be replicated.
"Wala nang papalit sa trono ni Tado, bilang siya ang nag-iisa. 'Yung mga ka-weird-ohan ni Tado na tinanggap, niyakap ng mga tagahanga niya, isang malaking bagay 'yon."