A musical wake for Eugene | Entertainment, News,

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Somebody posted a request on social media for everyone to dedicate a song for Eugene Villaluz. It’s a fitting send-off for an artist who lived with music in his heart all his 70 years.

Eugene succumbed to Stage 4 prostate cancer at 4:30 p.m. last Saturday, June 10, at the St. Luke’s Global City where he had been confined since early April complaining of a nagging pain that started in his ankle and then went up to his knees and finally to his spinal column. Eugene is fondly remembered for being a member of the ’70s New Minstrels whose other members would occasionally re-group for special shows (Valentine, etc.) even long after the band broke up. Other members: Jacqui Magno, Ding Mercado, Ray-an Fuentes, Pat Castillo and Louie Reyes who is scheduled to arrive early this morning from California where she is based.

Eugene’s ashes (he was cremated) are at Chapels 2 and 3 of Heritage Park in Taguig City, which has been turned into a mini-concert venue as Eugene’s artist friends dedicated songs to him (Eugene must be happy with the musical tribute). Those who performed Monday night were Jacqui and Dulce (she was the first to spread the sad news about Eugene’s passing). Last night, among those scheduled to perform were Powerdance, Mint Riffs Choir, Ding, Pat and Jacqui (again), and The CompanY of which Moy Ortiz, Eugene’s nephew (Eugene was the youngest brother of Moy’s mom), is a founding member.

Asked what he fondly remembered his Uncle Eugene for, Moy (who is the punong-abala in entertaining sympathizers) told Funfare, “As a five-year-old child sitting at the stairs of our house on Scout Delgado, Quezon City, I would watch the Minstrels having rehearsals, using our piano. One time, they were learning Burt Bacharach’s South American Getaway and that lit up a spark in me. They planted the seed in me for my life-long love for vocal harmony.”

Among the songs associated with Eugene are Gulong ng Palad (theme song for the popular ’70s tele-drama of the same title) and, among other duets with Louie, Nothing I Want More. “It was devastating,” Louie was quoted as saying when she learned about Eugene’s demise.

Louie will probably sing that song when she goes to Heritage tonight…minus Eugene.

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“Hearing all the tributes to him,” added Moy, “my take-away lesson is to always be patient and grounded. I am not always consistent with these two virtues. Tito Eugene was always both of these.”

Regal Matriarch Mother Lily Monteverde receiving her award as Ina ng Pelikulang Pilipino from FDCP (Film Development Council of the Philippines) head Liza Diño-Seguerra. She will receive her second award from the first Eddys of the SPEED, the editors’ group, on July 9 at the Kia Theater. —Photo from Roldan Castro’s Facebook

An Eddy for Mother Lily

Although she deserves the honor more than anybody else, Regal Matriarch Mother Lily Monteverde has been conveniently “overlooked” by award-giving bodies that have been giving “lifetime achievement” awards left and right all these years. Perhaps one of Mother Lily’s treasured awards was the Dr. Jose Rizal Achievement Award given to her by the Filipino-Chinese Community a few years ago, along with world-famous artist Kenneth Cobonpue (whose clients include Brad Pitt who bought a Cobonpue designer bed) and, blush, your Funfarer.

That’s why I’m happy that the first Eddys of SPEED (an association of entertainment editors headed by Isah Red of Standard) is recognizing Mother Lily with a Mother of Local Film Industry/Movie Producer of the Year award, after all it has been Regal that continued to prop up the industry through its ups and downs, one of the so-called pillars of the industry together with Star Cinema and Viva Films. Remove Regal from the equation and the industry will limp on crutches.

It’s Mother Lily’s second award this year, close on the heels of the Ina ng Pelikulang Pilipino Award from the FDCP (Film Development Council of the Philippines head by Liza Diño-Esguerra).

The Eddys will be held at the Kia Theater on July 9, aired by Viva Live on ABS-CBN.

(E-mail reactions at entphilstar@yahoo.com. For more updates, photos and videos, visit www.philstar.com/funfare or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)



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