New Year suggests new beginnings and hopes for better and prosperous year ahead. But the start of this year brought two depressing news to the showbiz world.
Of course, the saddest news in the morning of Jan. 8 was Kuya Germs’s death. I woke up early that day, as usual, switched the TV on and there in Unang Hirit was the news about his passing. The news had a dazing effect on me recalling he was on his way to recovery after that stroke almost a year ago. I even saw him several times in his midnight show Walang Tulugan, and he looked happy, also at a couple of press conferences at GMA Network where he would be asked to say a few words.
Later in the day, I would learn that he suffered a cardiac arrest early in the morning and then rushed to St. Luke’s Medical Center where he expired at exactly 3:20 a.m. waking an entire industry to a feeling of grief.
Those who don’t sleep early will no longer hear him holler “Walang Tulugan” on TV every Saturday late night till early Sunday morning.
Kuya Germs, as his friends and colleagues in show business called him, was German Moreno in real life. His story is one for the books, starting as a janitor and “telonero” (someone who raises and closes the curtains at the beginning and end of a show) at Clover Theater (where people watched live comedy skits and dances on stage) in Sta. Cruz Manila up to the time he was taken in by Dr. Jose Perez of Sampaguita Pictures as a comedic talent and later on as a talent and producer at GMA Network.
He is the “Master Showman,” to many people. At 82 years old, the master had bid everyone goodbye. But his memory remains in the stars that he made popular among them Sharon Cuneta, Dawn Zulueta, Billy Crawford, Lea Salonga, Lani Mercado, among many.
He also initiated the “Walk of Fame” in Eastwood, Quezon City, which is the local counterpart of the “Walk of Fame” in Hollywood, USA to recognize artists, broadcasters, singers and others who made significant contributions to the showbiz industry.
Now, can his nephew John Nite fill in his uncle shoes?
Sleep tight Gino
His surname is a Filipino variation of the Spanish gerund “durmiendo”, which in English means “sleeping” (from the verb “dormir”), but to his friends, like me, there is never a moment when we were together without us laughing at his anecdotes. He was a graphic storyteller and a passionate film critic.
But last week, Jan. 4, Gino suffered a massive stroke. He did not survive, surprising many of his friends, including myself, of his sudden departure.
Born on April 14, 1947, Justino Dormiendo was 69 when he left his family and friends.
Before he became a film critic, Gino was a grade school teacher at Ateneo De Manilao, after which he worked at San Miguel Corporation before deciding to go freelance and become a film critic founding along with other critics the Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino.
Up until his death, he was an art critic. He was also a quondam actor, his last appearance was as the late director Lino Brocka in Lav Diaz’s Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang Pilipino in 2004.
Gino’s remains was interred last Thursday at Loyola Memorial Park after a three-day vigil at a chapel in the park.