MANILA -- Actor Nonong de Andres was a staple in horror and comedy films during the '80s and '90s playing dead, earning him the moniker "Bangkay."
The native of Masbate, who started out as a layout artist for RVQ Productions, had his share of fame, playing this role in several films with major stars, including the Comedy King himself, Dolphy.
In fact, de Andres' first film, "Kisame Street," starred by Dolphy, Panchito and Nida Blanca.
As an "ekstra" in those decades, de Andres recalled earning around P300 per shoot. Sometimes, producers won't even pay him.
"Pagmasama-sama pa e di ka pa mababayaran. Magbibigay ng tseke pero talbog," de Andres shared on "Rated K."
This was why he decided not to have a family and finally leave showbiz.
"Parang natatakot ako sa mga nangyayari sa mga kasamahan ko. Nakkiita ko, noong mga wala nang pera, nagbebenta na ng dugo. Natakot ako," he said.
When projects started to wane, de Andres found himself in the town of Plaridel in Quezon, where he was asked by a friend to take care of his son, which the actor treated like his own.
"Meron siyang anak na Grade 4. Ngayon, dumating nung dumating 'yung petisyon, niya wala siyang mapag-iwanang iba. E ako lang ang pinagkakatiwalaan niya. Hanggang mag-college 'yun, pagkatapos ng college, pumunta na rin sa Amerika," he said.
At that time, the actor was not expecting a comeback as an "ekstra," let alone become a part of the cast of a primetime TV series. But fate had different plans for him.
After several years of hiatus from showbiz, de Andres is back, not as "Bangkay," but as Manong Bangki in the Kapamilya primetime hit series "Forevermore."
"Kung kailan nga tumanda e," he joked. "Masayang-masaya ako. Di ko akalaing darating ang suwerte na ito."
De Andres said shooting with the cast of "Forevermore" in the fictionalSitio La Presa in Benguet, he found a family.
"Forevermore" stars Enrique Gil and Liza Soberano even shared their admiration for the veteran actor, who finally got his big break at the age of 67.
"Super happy ako para kay Tito Bangki. Love niya ang craft niya. Kahit may sakit siya, andito siya sa taping and he enjoys everything, so deserve talaga niya [ang success]," Sobreno said.
"Sabi niya, 'parang alam ko sa 30 years ko sa business sa showbiz, ngayon lang ako nabigyan ng importance.' Ako parang, seryoso, 30 years tapos ngayon lang? E ang galing-galing niya e!" Gil added.
Aside from his work, de Andres is also taking care of the kids of another friend in Quezon province.
"Because my dad is at work and Manong Nonong brings us to school and helps me in my projects and we love Nonong," the kid, Mark Tumagay, said of his famous guardian.
Looking back, he told host Korina Sanchez that his favorite "bangkay'" film was "Huwag Mong Buhayin ang Bangkay."
"Talagang natakot sa 'kin ang mga tao doon. Isipin mo nga e, kapag bumaba ako sa isang kalsada, 'yung naglalarong mga bata, mawawala lahat 'yun. Pati matatanda rin, pati taxi driver, di ako pinaparahan pag wala akong kasama," he said.
These days, though, even the children who visit the "Forevermore" set are likely to take selfies with the hard-working actor.