The King of Philippine Movies Fernando Poe Jr. might be gone for 15 years now, but his memory and legacy continue to live not only in the hearts and minds of his family and other loved ones, but of those who looked up to him as their inspiration.
As we commemorate his 15th death anniversary this December 14, let’s get to know who he is as one of the Filipino nation’s ultimate cinematic idols. This is based on the stories shared by the people close to him, those who had the opportunity to work alongside him, and those whose lives he was able to touch due to his works on-and-off-cam, during their respective appearances on the talk shows of ABS-CBN.
As a humble superior
He might be already an icon and one of the biggest stars of his time, but FPJ had remained humble, which made him immensely adored by his colleagues, superstars and extras alike.
In fact, veteran stuntman Nash Espinosa, who was able to work with him in some of his films, disclosed during Magandang Buhay’s tribute to Da King for his 80th birthday last August that he actually considered him as a “father figure” due to his sincere thoughtfulness towards him and his fellow stuntmen.
According to him, the late legendary actor actually never failed to check on them and make sure that they’re comfortable at all times on the set. Besides, he also despised it whenever the food served to them and the stars were not similar since he wanted everyone to be treated equally.
FPJ’s former co-actor and close friend Rez Cortez seconded this by revealing that the main reason why his heart is close to stuntmen is that he used to be one of them.
“At alam mo kung bakit ganyan si FPJ? Kasi dati rin siyang stuntman. So ‘yong mga fight scenes niya, siya ang naggagawa ng choreography. ‘Yong movements, sa kanya ‘yon. Kaya mahal na mahal niya ang mga stuntman dahil alam niya do’n siya nanggaling. At wala na siyang fight instructor, siya na mismo ang gumagawa ng fight scenes,” he proudly related.
As a generous mentor
Apart from his humility, sincerity, and kindness, another deed of his good friend that Rez would never, ever forget was his generosity in relaying the knowledge and skills he gained as a filmmaker through the years.
As we all know, FPJ wasn’t only a top-caliber actor for he’s also a screenwriter and director who wrote and helmed some of the movies he starred in as well. But instead of using his screenname, he opted for Ronwaldo Reyes as his pseudonym.
The veteran action star revealed that it was actually FPJ who stood as his personal mentor as he decided to venture in filmmaking.
“Maraming word of wisdom na iniiwanan si FPJ sa’min, lalong-lalo na sa industry kasi nga maco-consider ko siya na visionary. At naging malapit na ako sa kanya. Siya nga nagturo sa’kin na mag-direk. In one of his movies, kinuha niya akong assistant director at talagang pinagtiyagaan niya akong turuan kung paano’ng pagdi-direk,” Rez conveyed.
As an inspiring idol
Even though they’re never going to be given a chance to work with him anymore, popular rappers Shernan, Smugglaz, and Bassilyo were still all delighted and proud to be part of the long-running adaptation of one of his most significant works – FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano. This is his masterpiece that definitely mirrors the lives of the Filipinos and showcases the values of FPJ both as an actor and as an individual.
Thus, during their guesting in Tonight With Boy Abunda last August wherein they paid homage to him for his 80th birth anniversary, the trio enthusiastically imparted the lessons they have learned while working on the show.
For Shernan, it would be respect towards other people.
Smugglaz imparted a lengthier retort by adding, “At saka po ‘yong mga magagandang kultura ng Pilipino na siguro sa katagalan, sa paglipas ng panahon ngayon, lalo na’t nawawala na. Kumbaga naipapakita pa rin do’n sa Ang Probinsyano, katulad ng mga lumang laro, bukod do’n sa paggalang sa nakakatanda kahit sa simpleng ‘mano po’ lang.”
On the other hand, Bassilyo emphasized equality, “Para sa akin ‘yong pagkakapantay-pantay [o] equality. Napaka-importante sa’kin ‘yan, sa lipunan natin.”
Aside from that, they also expressed their and the Filipino people’s admiration to the one and only Da King through their respective short yet meaningful rap pieces.
Well, these are simply just a few testaments onto why many of us look up to FPJ as a hero. In the previous interviews of his family and friends, we found out that he automatically divided the compensation he received from his every project to the poor families and other causes that he discreetly supported when he was still alive.
Besides, weren’t the huge throngs of his fans flocking at various cinemas whenever a new film of his would be released, as well as the great mass of people who joined his family during his burial rites and funeral procession in December 2004, enough proofs of how Pinoys deeply love him?
We may never forget FPJ as long as we live. Long live, Da King!