Setting the record straight in time for his 80th birthday, Comedy King Dolphy reveals the details and inside stories of his romantic involvement with a number of women. “Hindi ko pine-presume na magugustuhan ako palagi. Iniisip ko nga kung ano’ng mayro’n ako at malapit sa akin ang babae,” Dolphy told actress-writer Bibeth Orteza.
“Ang mga talagang minahal ko, mabibilang sa daliri ng kamay. Huwag na nating bilangin ang naka-fling, at masisira ang abacus ng Intsik.”
Those words officially introduced Chapter 12 of Comedy King Dolphy’s authorized biography titled Dolphy: Hindi Ko Ito Narating Mag-isa. The said chapter might as well be the most intriguing part of the entire tell-all as it touches the ace comedian’s renowned yet still obscure romantic liaisons.
Aside from his storied career as an actor, Dolphy—who had just turned 80 last July 25—is also legendary for being a certified ladies’ man; this despite his lanky frame and not-so-stunning Chinese-Filipino features.
“Hindi ko pine-presume na magugustuhan ako palagi,” Dolphy confided to author Bibeth Orteza, who sat down with the iconic comedian for five months documenting his life’s journey, “Iniisip ko nga kung ano’ng mayro’n ako at malapit sa akin ang babae.”
The early chapters revealed the name Aida Javier as Dolphy’s first love. He also confessed how he fell deeply in love with a Kapampangan named Engracita Dominguez during his juvenile years. It was a serious romance which unfortunately ended in 1963 due to certain circumstances. Engracita, or Grace, died in 2007. Dolphy visited her at the hospital and even volunteered to shoulder her bills.
“ANG TYPE KO, MESTISAHIN.” Aptly titled “To All the Girls I’ve Loved Before,” the section found the Comedy King at his most revealing as far as addressing his puzzling love affairs, which consequently produced 18 children all in all.
Dolphy shared his penchant for mestiza girls. “Hahagod ka no’n. Titingnan mo ang mga kamay, kung malinis; kung nakayapak, titingnan mo ang kuko. Wala akong foot fetish, pero kung may karumihan ang kuko, kita mo agad kung balahura. Maganda nga, pero balahura, bakit pa?”
But like everyone else caught in a flirting game, physical features take a backseat once initial attraction was established. “Siyempre, pagkatapos no’ng physical na paghanga, inaalaala mo muna iyong ugali, dahil ‘yon ang nagiging importante sa lahat.”
He also shared in the book his courting style, which as his track record with women would suggest, never failed to deliver the best results.
Charismatic, thoughtful, oozing with humor, and naturally kind—short-lived affairs were abundant in Dolphy’s life as a youngster. Although he told stories of his various brief involvements, which consists of homegrown to foreign women, these were mentioned only in passing since most of the relationships failed to progress seriously.
Dolphy was generous enough though in recalling the times he shared with some of the women who figured prominently in his life: Vangie Evangeline Tagulao, Pilar Pilapil, Lotis Key, and Alma Moreno.
Pilar and Lotis agreed to forward their testimonies to give an insight on the man they once loved.
Pilar Pilapil wrote: “Dolphy’s funny onscreen, but in person, he’s very quiet. A gentleman. Thoughtful. Attentive. Without knowing it, at that time I had a need for a father image. He was loving, and so very focused on taking care of me. I was like a little girl, so happy.”
Lotis Key, on the other hand, theorized that being exact opposites perhaps triggered the attraction. “I think we were attracted to how very different we were from one another. We traveled together, made movies together and had a lot of crazy, laughing times,” she said.
The Comedy King’s life with Alma can be described as erratic. While being complete opposites sparked, and for a time sustained, his affair with Lotis, it was the total opposite with Alma.
Dolphy shared in detail how Alma’s outgoing nature went against his desire for tranquility and doomed their relationship.
“Ang nahirapan ako, do’n sa lifestyle niya,” he wistfully looked back. “Hindi ko type ang palaging may tao sa bahay, mula umaga hanggang madaling-araw. Ibig kong sabihin, ok ang magkabisita, ang dalawin ka ng mga kaibigan mong reporter, pero naging araw-araw na ‘yon, at hindi lang dito sa Manila.”
ZSA ZSA SPEAKS. Of all the testimonies included in the book, it was current partner Zsa Zsa Padilla who gave a lengthy account of her life and times with the well-respected comedian.
Zsa Zsa perfectly captured in vivid details the traits that made Dolphy irresistible with women. “It started with the usual gift food items from Hizon’s; the special attention,” she recalled. The two worked together in the movies Mga Anak Ni Facifica Falayfay and Black Magic.
“And then we’d go to the set and notice we were wearing the same color clothes, like we were in sync, and he’d make a big deal out of it. Tingin lang din siya ng tingin, gano’n. I didn’t get kilig at once. But it was perfect timing. He was the only man na nangungulit sa akin during that period. And charming, too. Who wouldn’t fall in love with a Dolphy?”
It is common knowledge that Dolphy gravitated towards Zsa Zsa’s orbit while he was still publicly committed to Alma. When Dolphy and Alma’s relationship finally caved in, Dolphy and Zsa Zsa could no longer keep their bond a secret. The public, prodded even more by the media and the Catholic Church, condemned the couple for their alleged immoral union.
Zsa Zsa wrote the difficult times they shared together during the trying period which soon ended after Dolphy made a successful comeback via ABS-CBN’s primetime comedy sitcom, Home Along Da Riles in 1992.
HONEST AND UPFRONT. According to Bibeth Orteza, Dolphy made it clear right from the start that he won’t drag the names of most of the women he got involved with; particularly those who are leading private lives.
“Nananahimik naman na daw mostly kaya ayaw na niyang banggitin,” admitted Bibeth to PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) in a phone interview yesterday afternoon, July 28.
Like a true gentleman, Dolphy—out of respect and owing to his sincere intentions—refused to divulge the names of those whom he helped financially.
But Dolphy, shared Bibeth, was very honest throughout their conversations which would often start at mid-afternoon and last until midnight. “He’s not guarded at all,” she enthused. “Nagkukuwento lang siya and he’s very candid and relaxed while talking about his past.”
It also wasn’t hard for Bibeth to convince Pilar, Lotis, and Zsa Zsa to share their points of view, which was very crucial in painting a more balanced portrait of Dolphy. In the case of Lotis, who is now based in the U.S., communication and information were exchanged through e-mail. As expected, all of them asked to see first the edited draft of their self-written piece to assess whether they missed out on something.
The feisty author, of course, would love to have Alma’s participation in the project. “I wouldn’t say I was disappointed,” said Bibeth. “I mean, it would have been nice if she wrote a testimonial like the others. But I understand and respect her decision to decline.”
The image of being a “babaero” in Filipino culture—much as it is still being revered by those still rooted in the so-called macho mentality—is being frowned at by modern thinkers. For Dolphy, the image of being a ladies’ man is a double-edged sword he constantly struggled with throughout his lifetime.
“I’ve always seen the gentle side of him…very compassionate,” said Bibeth whose first encounter with the Comedy King took place in 1987. “I’m not saying that I’m condoning his shortcomings but he’s naturally a kind-hearted man.”
Even Dolphy, according to Bibeth, was not proud of his past conquests. “Hindi niya ipinagmamalaki,” she yelped. “Actually he’s very sincere and consistent in saying na humihingi siya ng tawad kung may mga nasaktan man siya. Lagi niyang sinasabi na kung may nasaktan man siya, hindi niya talaga sinasadya.”
Hindi Ko Ito Narating Mag-isa consists of 229 pages, complete with never before seen photos of the Comedy King together with friends, colleagues, and family.
Philippine Entertainment Portal