MANILA — Screen icon Eddie Garcia had long planned how his final curtain call would unfold — at least seven years, in fact, prior to his passing on Thursday.
Garcia, who died age 90, had said in a 2012 interview that he knew precisely the details of his funeral. At the time, he had already paid for his own cremation, he said.
“Ako kasi, ‘pag namatay ako, wala nang makakaalam, e,” Garcia had told ABS-CBN News’ Mario Dumaual, reacting to speculation at the time about the state of his health. The screen veteran was 83 then.
“Gusto ko from death bed, diretso sa crematorium. Pagkatapos, may kaibigan akong piloto, kukunin ‘yung ashes ko, ikakalat sa dagat sa Manila Bay. That’s it,” he explained.
If it were up to Garcia, there would be “no obituaries” dedicated to him. “Para pagkahinanap mo ako for an interview. ‘One year kong hindi nagkita.’ Patay na!” he said, laughing.
“It’s not a joke,” Garcia insisted. “I already paid for my cremation.”
The events leading up to his passing, however, had gone against Garcia’s wish for a silent exit. CCTV footage of an on-set accident that fractured his neck, and which led to his coma, circulated online. Medical bulletins updating supporters and showbiz colleagues about his critical condition were also regularly released.
“Ayoko ng fanfare, e,” Garcia said in the 2012 interview. “Tutal, gano’n lang ‘yan when you’re dead, nagkakagulo. After a year, kakalimutan ka na. So what’s the use? I don’t think it’s necessary. Nahihirapan pa ‘yung mga pupunta sa burol mo, ‘di ba?”
The “fanfare,” as Garcia termed it then, could not be helped on Thursday afternoon as mourning swept Philippine showbiz, which he had been part of for 70 years.
Up until his final days, Garcia had been a visible figure on television and films — a fulfillment of his own declaration seven years prior that he would never retire.
“I’ll just be in the industry as long as it needs me. Siguro, kung hindi na ako kailangan, sayonara!”