Friday, November 4, 2011
it was in 2006 when i received a forwarded email of the bench fashion show and sent it to random people. my friend and officemate A immediately sent me a message thanking me for the email. A was raving, "friend, super thank you. i love enchong dee!" and i was like, "sino???"
A explained to me that you were a model, a swimmer and a delegate in the seagames. "he's also a tv actor, friend," A informed me. i had to google your name to know who you were. and although i was on my first year as a writer in abs then, i didn't know you...
a year after, i would be writing my first script for you.
in 2007, my your song headwriter asked me to write a script for three young stars. "si empress, si dino imperial at si enchong dee, mga taga about ur luv sila," my headwriter explained.
joyce bernal -- the joyce bernal -- was the director. in my script, i made sure that empress would end up with you -- to make my friend A happy.
when the episode was aired, i watched it with my housemate claring. and instantly, we were all smitten with your adorable smile and boyish charm. my friend A was also texting me every now and then, swooning over you. and on that moment, i told myself, "magaling tong enchong dee na ito, may future to..."
true enough, even the network saw your potentials because a year after, they handpicked you to be part of kimerald's soap, "my girl."
and then our paths crossed again in 2008 when we developed your follow-up show with my girl casts, "your song presents my only hope."
i presented the show's story to you and the rest of the cast in august 2008. during our creative meetings, we all loved your character... we rooted for you, we cried with you, we fell in love with jhun.
in october 2008, while you were taping for moh, you, kim, regine angeles and david chua dropped by the birthday party of our boss. that was where i saw you upclose, and had my first picture with you...
our impressions about you... masayahin na tao si enchong dee, no? parang ang positive ng aura niya. smile lang siya ng smile. ang gaan-gaan ng personality.
in january 2009, the writers and i went to moh's last taping day, you were inside your room, studying. we were told you were graduating in college, and you had an exam so you were reading books in between takes. somebody mentioned you were graduating with honors. nakakabilib ka naman.
that time, you had no idea who i was. but i wanted to get a vtr greeting for my niece who i learned was so in love with you. so while you were studying for your exam, i knocked on your door and disturbed you. "puwede kitang kunan ng greeting, debut lang kasi ng pamangkin ko na fan na fan mo," i told you.
you were all smiles as you graciously greeted my niece. the vtr was so candid and you were so funny. slowly, i was beginning to like you more and more.
two months after, when we were asked to develop boystown for the giggerboys, we got to interview you and your group. we learned a lot about you -- a model student, an ideal son, a disciplined athlete, a talented artist.
you were the kind of person who was always following rules and obeying authorities. your parents. your teachers. your coach. your manager.
"sobrang good boy ako," you told us. "minsan, gusto ko na sumabog kaya lang, wala naman akong... maputukan." you candidly said, and that made everyone in the room burst into laughing.
and on that moment, as you revealed to us stories about how you felt the first time you were in asap, your insecurities, your experiences about girls, your studies, and your sport, you earned my admiration...
on that same year, we were writing katorse for erich, ejay and xian. in the series, ejay as gabby had a best friend named jojo. i didn't know jojo would play an essential part in the story so when the ad/promo guys asked me what jojo's real name was, i used my high school crush's surname.
and then our headwriter decided to make a jojo-nene subplot. we didn't know who would be playing jojo then. we just wrote his character.
looking back, i realized maybe it was really fate that brought our paths together...
you see, katorse was supposed to replace boystown. it was slated to air every sunday, after asap. but the management liked it so much they decided to make it an afternoon soap. you were still taping for boystown then, we didn't expect you to play the role of jojo...
when the management saw the pilot week, they put katorse in primetime block. and then you got the part of jojo.
that was the start of our "friendship."
a week before katorse aired on tv, i was in davao for kadayawan festival. imagine my delight when i learned the giggerboys would be there, too. i sent you a message on facebook, asking you if you were coming and if my niece could have a photo op with you. you gave me your cell phone number, and we met in davao.
katorse made us closer. whenever we'd visit the set, you would always find time to chat with us.
during that time, you were like my little brother, confiding in me personal stuff about your lovelife, sharing your kilig moments with this special person who brought smile to your face.
i saw you and her together in a party, you were so sweet and comfortable with each other, and i was actually hoping you'd end up with her.
(you and she didn't last, but hey, am happy for you right now -- alam mo iyan!)
i was in a creative meeting when you sent me a text message to say you just read the script and you liked the scenes that i wrote.
the enchanted kingdom scenes were my favorite scenes. i cried while writing those lines. and boy, was i elated, when you thanked me for those scenes, and told me you loved them. (until now, you still remember i wrote it and you claimed that those were your favorite scenes in katorse).
two years have passed. we never got to work again together. but whenever you'd see me, you'd say, "kailan tayo gagawa ng show ulit?"
when i was rushed to the hospital last january, you were there the first day. my friends told me you came from work and you got really worried and you immediately rushed to st lukes to visit me in the icu.
i learned that you even sent KTEXT messages to your fans, asking for prayers. i also learned that some of your fans also visited me while i was hospitalized, to think that i didn't even know them personally...
that was when i realized we weren't just workmates or colleagues. i was your "ate noreen" and your actions just confirmed how special our bond is.
you turn a year older tomorrow. from someone i didn't know in 2006, you have evolved to be one of the hottest leading men in the network. sobrang layo na ng narating mo. but you still haven't changed.
you're still that charming, boyish enchong, who could win us all over just by flashing that smile. you're still the matakaw and kuripot but endearing enchong we all love :)
i've said this before, will say this again, ikaw na ang pinakamabait na artistang nakilala ko... you're down to earth and compassionate, you're genuinely sweet, you're benevolent and very diligent.
some people are bringing you down, hounding you with malicious and nasty rumors but i do hope you won't let these affect you. you're a great actor with a very loving heart and you always rub us off your jolly disposition. i do hope you will remain to be that kind of person...
happy birthday, chong. i miss you so much. i hope we could work again, soon. i love you and always remember, your ate noreen will always be here for you.