Romy Mallari- True love made me a better man

perlaand romy perla

Romy Mallari was the other half in the most durable reel and real life love team in showbiz history — the Romy-Perla (Adea) tandem.

It was a period, when the long-held domination of the mestizos de Sangley in showbiz was fading. During the mid-60s, showbiz fans were ready to embrace Filipino-looking idols like Nora Aunor and Eddie Peregrina. In fact, her “Together Again” and his “Two Lovely Flowers” were considered the national theme songs.

“Noon, pakantakanta lang ako sa mga lamay sa patay,” said Romy. “My neighbor brought me to Pablo Gomez’ “Habre Telon” on DZXL.” His contemporaries in the program were Victor Wood and Romy San Jose.

In one of the episodes, Tony Santos Sr., who was a guest, took note of his nice singing and gave him the break to appear on his TV shows: “Oras ng Ligaya”, Pancho Magalona’s “Magandang Tanghali”and Jean Lopez — Romano Castelvi’s “Hapi-Hapi.”

However, it was the Sunday variety, “D’Sensations” that cemented Romy’s claim to fame. The show also ushered the birth of the Romy-Perla love team. “We were next to the Nora-Tirso and Vilma-Edgar tandems,” he said.

“It was Kuya Ike (Lozada) who invited me to appear on “Musical Giants” under JBC Productions, my first movie” Romy added. His other films are: The Nora Aunor starrer “Magandang Gabi Sa Inyong Lahat (1976), “Karugtong ang Kahapon” (1975) and a cacophony of teen flicks during the early 70s like “Love Letters,” “D Sensations” (1970), etc. “In all the Edgar-Vilma movies, kami ang second lead. I worked mainly for JBC Productions, Tagalog Ilang-ilang Productions and Mirick Films.”

Romy was equally successful on teevee. After appearing in many variety shows, he was introduced in the action circuit via the TV series, “Mr. Jacket.” The concept was a precursor of Jackie Chan’s “The Tuxedo.” “Kapag sinabing ‘Mr. Jacket,’ lalabas na ako. Tagapagligtas kunyari,” he said.

Romy was naturally nimble. In fact, he excelled in dancing and well, fencing. This skill was used to the fore in the Chiquito comedy “Prinsipe Abante.” But when the interest in musicals was waning, Romy tried action films. As such, he was cast in a co-starring role with Chinese Superstar Meng Fei in “Bloody Hero” (1977).

The film, shot in Cebu was released internationally. It was a mammoth hit. Romy said, “Halos doon ko nakuha ang pinagpagawa ng dalawang bahay ko, one for me and one for my parents.”

“It was then when I went to her house. Of course, I no longer reeked of smoke and alcohol. Amoy-Brute na ako. But even at her home, I couldn’t express myself because her mom was always around. Puro ganon na lang. It was then when I planned to kidnap her,” revealed Romy.

As a disciplinary action, ABS-CBN banned him for a year. “My directors pleaded on my behalf,” said Romy. “Kasi may mga shows ako. Eventually, the prohibition was reduced to six months. The fans didn’t know that. Pinalabas na lang nila na napilay ako.” Showbiz was a friendlier place back then.

In 1973, Romy and Perla got married. The ideal union was jarred in 1977 by a car accident that almost killed Romy. His wife, Perla was practically unscathed because he shielded her with his body “Nabali ang balikat ko,” Romy said. “One hospital even refused to admit me. When I survived it, I really felt the presence of God. Mula noon, nag-serve na ako sa kanya. I am now a lay minister in Mary, the Queen Parish in Quezon City.”

Romy’s last movies were “Hula Mo, Huli Ko” and “Diskarte” in 2002. He also did “Valiente,” a hit afternoon TV series that paired him with Jean Saburit. In 2004, the couple appeared on ABS-CBN’s “Maid in Heaven.”

For a time, Romy served as barangay captain of Barangay Kaligayahan, Quezon City. Aside from doing business, he is also a consultant in the Quezon City ‘s Veem office. He and Perla have been married for thirty-three years. They have six children and four apos. The happy couple now lives in Zabarte, Novaliches.

(For comments, send e mail to gypsybaldovino@yahoo.com

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