DIMAS, California -- The Philippines’ “queen of comedy” Ai Ai delas Alas held a private Mass at a friend’s home here for Comedy King Dolphy, who passed away on Tuesday night.
“Si Tito Dolphy, of course, alam natin ay isang icon. Nagbigay siya sa atin ng katatawanan, nagbigay sa atin ng laughter, binuhos sa atin kanyang buong pagkatao through art and lahat tayo nalulungkot sa pagpanaw ni Tito Dolphy,” delas Alas said.
Though the two never teamed up for a movie, delas Alas had guested many times on Dolphy’s ABS-CBN sitcom “Home Along Da Riles" and the two remained close friends.
She last saw the veteran actor three weeks ago when she visited him at the Makati Medical Center before leaving for a vacation in the United States.
“Hindi na siya pwede magsalita but, I think, feeling ko nag-respond naman siya ng sinabi ko, ‘Tito Dolphy, nandito po ako. Si Ai Ai po ito. I love you po.’ Ganon, nag-respond siya kahit paano,” delas Alas recalled.
The Mass was hosted and attended by about 40 friends of delas Alas and Dolphy. Many of them had met Dolphy in person and thought it would be a firing tribute to join the “queen” in honoring the late king.
“I'm one of his fans during Manila days until now because I never miss his films and his TV programs,” said Trini Foliente, who helped organized the Mass.
Dr. Rey Landero, a friend of the veteran comedian, said, “For more than half a century, we have known each other. We are very, very good friends. I'll miss him, my family will miss him.”
During the homily, delas Alas sat quietly praying for Dolphy as the priest told those who attended to remember the good times Dolphy shared with his kababayans.
Delas Alas recalled meeting Dolphy at Baclaran Church prior to the showing of the first “Tanging Ina” movie.
‘Binigay niya ‘yung blessing sa akin bilang ‘King of Comedy.’ Sana raw maging blockbuster ‘yung launching film ko sa Star Cinema. Napakalaking utang na loob ko sa kanya na binigyan niya ako ng lakas ng loob at wine-welcome niya ako sa mundo ng comedy,” delas Alas recalled.
“Bilang respeto and bilang Hari na Komedya, gusto ko naman magkaroon ng Mass for him kasi since hindi naman ako makakaabot sa libing niya,” she added.
With Dolphy's funeral taking place in the Philippines on Sunday, another mass hosted by Landero will be held later this week at the home of Dolphy's sister-in-law.
Though Dolphy's friends, family and fans are saddened by his death, many believe the best way to commemorate the King of Comedy is by smiling and remembering the laughter, happiness, and lessons of humility he brought to Filipinos throughout the years.