Marlon and the 10 angelsBy Malou Guanzon-Apalisok
Cebu Daily News
Wednesday last week I went to the funeral home in Imus to offer my condolences to the family of radio drama talent and producer Angeles Diez, who died midday in Nov. 13 or some six hours before Marlon Bellita of dyAB passed away.
The demise of two broadcast entertainers, especially that of Marlon, had netizens posting their sympathies on social networking sites and one comment that I liked most said Marlon crossed the great divide on the wings of 10 angels (angeles diez).
Marlon is getting well-deserved praises and sympathy but it is also fitting to reflect on the journey of the senior radioman whose contributions to the broadcast industry are no less significant.
Angeles, fondly called “Father” by local entertainers died at the ripe old age of 79 due to respiratory complications. He thrived in the production of soap operas and live shows and whether he was acting, writing scripts or directing soaps and live stage plays, he had a vitality that passionate performers possess.
I used to work as production chief for Station dyKC in the ’80s and back then the station produced at least 12 dramas, which translated to six hours of soap operas in daily programming. Jet, as I used to call him, was not only adept at multi-tasking. He was also a diligent worker who was never tardy or absent.
People who don’t usually listen to radio soap operas will perhaps remember the City Savings Bank TV commercial in the 1980s, wherein Angeles took on the role of an atypical tuba (coconut wine) gatherer in the 30-seconder.
The advertisement was meant to change a mindset and encourage the “little ones,” or the poor in society to practice thrift and not be ashamed to bring small sums to the bank. The point that banking is not just for the upper crust and the middle class, but also for the pa gamay-gamay (pretending to be small, subliminally, don’t be fooled by their status, they have cash) was conceptualized, produced and directed by my late husband, Boy Apalisok.
The location shoot was done in front of the RPN-9 compound in Maguikay, Mandaue City, near a sari-sari store. In the ad, Angeles was clad in a sando and while buying stuff in the store, he turned to the camera, flashed a killer smile and said, “Pa tuba-tuba lang ni bai, apan City Savings Bank kini.”
The camera then zoomed in and out to the bank’s office building in downtown Cebu City, and Boy’s rich and solid voice delivered the clincher, “Pa gamay-gamay lang ni bai.”
Actually, I didn’t know the TV commercial is still fresh in the minds of some people until dyLA news anchor and Cebu Daily News correspondent Jhunnex Napallacan pointed this out in the social networking site.
I guess Jhunnex was not aware with the magnitude of Angeles’ output in the drama department but the TV ad was embedded in his mind. In that sense, I’m moved to say this commercial immortalized the radioman’s professional career and he’d be smiling now because compiling his drama anthology looks like an impossible task.
From the mid-’60s well up to recent times, he devoted his life to the production of soap operas and that translated to jobs among fellow entertainers, not to mention ads and revenues for the station. It’s worth mentioning that Jet mentored others including his wife, the late Gorgonia “Goying” and their daughter, Teresa in the field of acting, writing and directing, thus turning the production set into some school of the arts. Many radio talents are grateful for his guidance.
In later years, Jet acted on TV through soap operas produced by CCTN Channel 47. Performing was really in his blood because up to his last days, he would tell his children that he had to be up for a shooting assignment.
The praises and sympathy heaped on Marlon by admirers throughout Visayas and Mindanao have brought consolation to his family and friends and for that I can only say Bellita was a just man.
I heard it once said that justice is being the best you can be, whether as street sweeper, shopkeeper, domestic helper, civil servant, writer or entertainer. Marlon dished out entertainment and public service without fail every 4 p.m. Monday to Saturday and now his fans are saying their afternoons will never be the same again.
Cebu’s cultural arts, on the other hand, remains alive and well, thanks to the lifetime contributions of drama talents like Angeles Diez who also served others through their native talent.
Jet ended his journey while the broadcast industry continues to grapple with advances in technology. The challenge for those he left behind in his extended family in broadcast entertainment is to go out of their comfort zone and adapt to new media forms.
There is inspiration to be derived from the lives of Marlon and Angeles who managed to find their niche in the dog eat dog world of media entertainment. Their secret, perhaps, lies in their having recognized their talents, offered it with the best intentions and persevered until the end.
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