Like millions of Filipinos, I watched the Pacquiao-de la Hoya bout yesterday. Congratulations to Pacquiao for a well-deserved utterly dazzling win. The adulation is truly well-deserved. What I would just like to note however was the very unfortunate death of actor Marky Cielo. I first knew of his death through my mother, who at that time, Sunday afternoon, got wind of it through Showbiz Central, a celebrity-gossip program aired shortly after the Pacquiao-de la Hoya match.
Though Cielo is certainly no Rico Yan, I was somehow surprised to know that Cielo was not that popular, as in popular popular. Here in the office, only a number actually knew him, perhaps three or so out of the ten plus people. Be aware however that I’m not a fan, and my recognition of him perhaps owes to the fact that my room television at San Juan is eternally stuck at GMA-7, (with fixed volume level to boot), so I guess that makes me a “Kapuso” by default. So going back, I watched Showbiz Central together with my mother. I tried to wait for the news about Cielo as I was quite familiar with him—as a Starstruck sole survivor, one of the birdy people in Encantadia, and one of the pulis pangkalawakans in Zaido: Pulis Pangkalawakan. After waiting for the news item to come out, I gathered that Cielo’s death is one of Showbiz Central’s main “news” that day, meaning it will be aired just before the show is to end so as to entice viewers to finish the show. My mother and I have a dinner date at a nearby mall so I did not have the luxury to finish the whole show to wait for the news (by now I hope I already made the point that I was really intrigued by his death). But I distinctly remember how awkward the suspension of the news was behind the flurry of Hossana in the Highest frothing-at-the-sides-of-the-mouth praise and worship “news” and commentary about Pacquiao. I’m amazed at the probable emotional torment that the Showbiz Central hosts were undergoing at that very instant-suspending requisite misery in place of the overwhelming sanctity of Pacquiao’s historic win. I mean, I don’t know. I’m not a fan, but I think it does not take a rabid stalker to feel saddened by how sayang (not to sound coño you know but I’m not sure if there is an exact English equivalent of sayang) his life was. You hear the hosts in wild jubilation and in communal joy over Pacquiao’s victory, but you know by the news teaser that they’ve already prepared the script on the news relating to Cielo’s death, which means that they’re actually suspending the obligatory commiseration for their departed colleague. Di ba amazing ‘yun? One minute they’re jumping up and down ecstatic over Pacquiao, and next you’ll see them heads bowed down mumbling what a waste Cielo’s life was. But how do you traverse such emotional tightropes? (Imagine saying “Mabuhay ka Manny Pacquiao!” and “Nalulungkot ako sa pagpanaw ni Marky Cielo” in one single breath and with full sincerity). As in every ecological balance, the reality is that big fish eats the smaller fish. And celebrity trumps virtue.
Besides the fact that Cielo did not reach a level of fame which could have given him a network crossover appeal as Yan’s, how more tragic an episode could it have been than coinciding with the country’s revelry for the historic win of one of its most fabled hero. How tragic. How unfortunate.