Saturday, June 10, 2006

EPI QUIZON: "I AM A JOLOGS, SON OF A JEPROKS!"

WRITER'S NOTE: Back in 2003, to make ends meet, I contributed articles to different small publications. Here are some of the articles I wrtote back thenespecially for SKYLAND NEWS in Baguio. Special thanks to Chit Balmaceda for featuring them on the pages of the paper. I am sharing the articles to anyone who might be interested to read about Directors Erik Matti, Jon Red, and Larry Manda, and actors Epi Quizon, Tado, Aubrey Miles, and Alessandra de Rossi.

EPI QUIZON

“I AM A JOLOGS, SON OF A JEPROKS!”
Text and Photos by SIGFREID BARROS-SANCHEZ

IF 2002 will be summed up by the end of the year, only three groups of people will best summarize it --- The Power Boys, The Sex Bomb Girls, and, yes, of course, The Jologs. Although a film was made on the supposed lives of the jologs, the production company failed to really give us the real picture of what a jologs really is. What it gave us was its own interpretation of the word, plus its usual money-making machine of cashing in on something they thought they have complete authority of defining. Thus, like our culture and identity, we are again at lost at something that is already practically ours.

Coined some two years back by some state school punks in Diliman to define the “new masa”, jologs is actually a corruption of the everyday man’s common meal, “daing-tuyo-itlog” or “d-yo-log”. Last year, it was first used in a film when lady jock Ruffa Mae Quinto teased a psychotic Jeffrey Quizon after it phoned in a very baduy request. The film is “Radyo,” directed by Yam Laranas and written by Jon Red, which catapulted a timid Epi Quizon to national consciousness and the word “jologs” into every street corner lingo.

“Tuwing naglalakad ako no’n, me tumatawag sa akin, “Hoy! Jologs!”” the 29-year old Jeffrey recalls. “Sasagutin ko naman na, “Jologs ka rin!””

“Ewan ko talaga kung papasok ba talaga ako sa totoong definition ng jologs. Pero kung jologs ako, I am a jologs, son of a jeproks!” he proudly adds.

Late-bloomer

For a son of “the” Dolphy, Jeffrey Quizon bloomed late. His brothers, Eric and Ronnie, were already well-adjusted to the lights and intrigues of moviedom for a decade when he decided to test the same water. Although he has been active behind the camera as an assistant director (“Langit Sa Piling Mo”) and as a scriptwriter (“Cristina Moran”) to brother Eric’s films, the brave step he took in “Markova,“ as the younger version of his father, opened a lot of opportunities for him.

“Mahiyain ako, pare. Todo akong mahiyain,” he confides although this writer is a witness to this shyness as a fellow-workshopper at the 11th Ricky Lee Scriptwriting Workshop in 1998. He was more Jeffrey then than the Epi now. “Siguro nu’ng bata ako kaya pangit ‘yung lumalabas kasi kabado ako. I have to overcome my fears to become who I am right now and the fear was more of facing the people. Dahil nga nahihiya ako sa harap ng kamera, nagtrabaho ako sa likod.”

It was also during this time that he decided to experiment at Jeffrey Quizon, the theater actor. A Humanities student then at the DeLa Salle University in Taft Avenue, Manila, Epi decided to study the different schools of acting (Stanislavsky, Eric Morris, etc.) in preparation for a role that required him to play four characters. The piece was Lakaginting Garcia’s Palanca-award winning “Juan Bautista” that had Epi portraying a professor, a father, an evil person, and the play’s narrator in one evening.

“Yun ang pinakapaborito kong ginawa,” he proudly states.

Young Dolphy

Jeffrey decided to bring his new-found love for acting to the big screen when director Gil Portes decided to scout for a younger-looking Dolphy who will act a few yet marked scenes in the bio of comfort gay Walter Dempster, Jr. The role gave him rave reviews and, eventually, acting nods from some of the country’s top award-giving bodies. It eventually paved the way for other roles such as a psychotic radio listener in “Radyo,” a gang-member out to extract vengeance against their old boss in “Utang Ni Tatang,” and a gay friend of Judy Ann Santos in “Bakit Di Totohanin”. But Epi admits that this list would have been longer had he gobbled tempting offers served on him to play more gay roles.

“Hindi ko sila pinayagan,” he strongly affirms. “Andaming offers, pare, pero sabi ko sa kanila, I wanna play different characters muna. I want to continue to learn from different people. Kasi, I want to think of myself as a social chameleon. In my profession, in my work, I’m a social chameleon. Everytime I step out of the house, it’s already work.”

His decision proved to be healthier for the young Epi as he has averted the common stigma that befell and fell most of our comics (even generally actors) in the past and in the present: overexposure and overdoing of a particular role (think Rene Requiestas, GBHS). Because of that, we just don’t know Jeffrey as Epi the gay character in “Markova” and “Detour”. During the past four years, we had different images of him on the TV set as the nosy helper in “Biglang Sibol,” the bumbling provinciano in “Kahit Kailan,” the sidekick cop in “Daboy En Da Girl,” the matchmaker in “Match TV,” and the tour guide in “Road Trip.” Come next month, we might be seeing him in two other new faces. He plays the stylish contravida Jiggs in the Sex Bomb Dancers’ launching film “Bakit, Papa?” for Regal Films and then shifts to a masked Green Goblin-like villain, Stryker, in M-ZET and Octo Arts Films’ Metro Manila Filmfest entry “Lastikman” opposite Vic Sotto. He might even do a cameo role in his father’s MMFF entry “Home Along Da River” once he gets the green light from the Quizon patriarch.

Psycho

“I’m experimenting still,” he explains. “Eksperimento pa rin kaya kahit na tirahin ako ng sinumang kritiko, please do. I am more than welcome to listen to their criticisms because I’m learning. Kaya nga Epo ‘yan e. It’s a hyperbolic expression of me. Sabihin nilang OA pero ‘yun talaga ‘yon.”

Epi admits that he loves playing psychos, which also concludes that his “Radyo” experience tops his list. “May psycho sa lahat ng tao, e. May tama tayong lahat. Pero dapat lahat ng tama natin tama, hindi mali,” he seriously delivers. Quite noticing also is his choice of his top films as motivation: “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” for serious roles and Peter Sellers’ “The Party” for comedy. Try combining that and Epi comes out. He also voices out that if there’s one movie made by his dad that he wants to remake, it would be the 1977 critically-applauded “Omeng Satanasya” where his father played five characters like a devil, an angel, and three different humans. It earned for Dolphy a best actor plum.

“Every Quizon is a filmmaker. Nasa dugo na namin ‘yan, brod,” he tells. “We may not be really filmmakers but we appreciate them. Nakikita namin siya in all aspects, commercialism and experimentation. Wala kaming discrimination. Basta kung ano ang market mong tina-target, mapa-masa man siya o mapa-elitista, basta may gusto kang kuwentuhan at may kuwento ka na gusto mong sabihin, suportado ka namin.”

Serious comedy actor

Epi’s hardwork and working ethics has not passed unnoticed by his peers from in and out of the industry. In his death scene for the film “Lastikman” opposite Vic Sotto, Epi spent some five to ten minutes internalizing his character by walking to and fro on the set, blurting razorback-like sounds. Something that past villains (even leads) of Pinoy comedies never did.

“He’s a very serious actor,” says the much-veteran Sotto. “Kahit comedy ‘yung ginagawa namin, nandoon pa rin ‘yung intensity niya as an actor. Meron siyang sariling kusa as far as development of the character is concerned. Meron siyang mga suggestions na magaganda na makakatulong sa character and the movie in general. Hats off ako sa kanya.”

“Very professional,” says megman Tony Reyes. “Quizon, e, kaya nanggaling sa father niya ang ugali. Very well crafted ang acting at masarap katrabaho kasi buhos ‘yung loob. Everyday naibibigay niya lahat.”

Director Jon Red, who has worked with Epi for “Radyo” and “Utang Ni Tatang” sees him as a “flip and wild pero may disiplinang artista at tao”. He even goes into adding that not a single trace of “Bow your heads, I am Dolphy’s son”-attitude was thrown in by Epi in his set. “Parang ayaw iparamdam na anak siya ni Dolphy,” Red shares.

“Gano’n ang tatay ko!” Jeffrey proudly answers why. “Yun ang makikita mo sa tatay ko! “Discrimination” is unknown in our vocabulary. Tinuro kasi sa amin ng tatay ko to be open-minded and open-arms to every soul. Kaibigan namin lahat. A, B, C, D, E, kahit anong demographic, puta, kaibigan ko lahat ‘yan!”

Baguio blues

Epi considers Baguio his second home, having spent most of his childhood at the family property in Ambuklaw, Tiptop overlooking the Sto. Tomas Mountain. He remembers the days when he was just plain Jeffrey and he’d hie-off to the city via bus to watch the sunrise, write some songs, and create some of his famous “ultra-violet effect photography”. He even took some crash courses, a few years ago, of photography and videography, at the UP-Baguio and has been donning for the past five years some fashion wears dug at the famous ukay-ukay shops. “It’s one of my favorite places,” he reveals.

However, like a true son and lover of the once-favorite vacation spot in the country, he is saddened by the abuse and beatings taken by the city due to its forced embrace of development and commercialism due to globalization.

“Nasasayangan ako sa Baguio dahil sa growing population, smoke belching, and the traffic now,” he criticizes. “Kapag nasa city ka na, hindi mo na maamoy ang amoy ng pines. Kailangan mo pang maghanap ng sarili mong spot para maamoy mo ‘yung preskong hangin. Kailangang ma-kontrol ‘yung sobrang development at alagaan ang Mother Nature.”

He still tries to sell it though to this writer “Mahirap man, you can still find your spot there, pare.” I nod in agreement. But at that time, at two in the morning, the only spot I could think of is that one where my pillows lay.

I decided to hook up a ride with Epi from the Star City to my place in Vito Cruz. As his van treks the short distance, we are greeted by the face of a Manila by night --- dirt, garbage, pollution, prostitution, scums, and crumbs. It dawned on me that someday his fear of Baguio will be turned into a new Bernal via “Baguio By Night”. When what remains of that spot he wants us to find is just a blot or, shamefully, a dot.

“It’s actually a black and white world and what’s in between are colors,” Epi tries to remind. “Itim at puti pero sa gitna ang nagpipinta, Diyos. Nagpipinta siya sa mga mukha ng tao na walang parehong mukha, walang parehong tingin. Tapos, parang film, kina-capture Niya ‘yung twenty-four moments, ‘yung twenty-four frames, in one second.”

With the way this jolog’s career is going, we may be seeing him in more than just twenty-four frames in the coming years. And when all these end, rest assured we will always find him in Baguio seated at his chosen spot, surviving with his daily daing, tuyo, and itlog. After all, he’s not a son of a jeproks for nothing.

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