Remembering my 'BASUBS!'
MANILA, Philippines - "Chichi!!!"
This is what resonates in my head when I think of Subas (Herrero).
That was the nickname the Champoy family gave me. I still can’t remember where it came from. I think it was from one stand up act with a dog they just decided to name Chichi and, henceforth, it eventually became mine.
It was a pet name and I loved it. No better compliment.
"Chichi" was obviously a term of endearment that one can only give to the cutest pet. I figured they decided on that nickname for me since I was the youngest. I was their pet!
Everyone had some sort of a term of endearment from Subas. For me it was Chichi. For Noel (Trinidad) it was Welno. For Maya (Valdez, hahahaha) it was Mitch. For Peque (Gallaga) it was PQ. For Tessie it was Tomas. For Gary it was Lising. And so on…
Ever since, whoever called me by that name was on my list of “best friends forever.” (I now recall that it was Mitch who may have baptized me with it.)
Nobody uttered it as best as Subas.
Subas would just say it without expectation: out of the blue, in the middle of a rehearsal, or what have you — and always with a big smile. He would say it just to remind me that he was thinking of me at that moment and that I was loved.
If I was close enough to him, he would give me the biggest and best bear hug to go with it.
I can’t remember a moment when Subas was in a bad mood. He was a true blue professional and a man full of love and life.
He just meant so much to me. After a few drinks of beer with the gang, he would utter the infamous line of the family whenever he felt the need to check on me: “Ano, Chichi, maganda ba ang bagsak?” and we’d break into laughter, all of us.
To my Subas: all I can say is that you were the first to make me know what love and laughter are truly all about.
I thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.
You are already missed.
Here are photos from our Champoy days in the '80s:
Here's a YouTube video of sketches from Champoy featuring Chichi with Noel, Basubs with Noel, and Tessie Tomas, Maya Valdez, and Gary Lising:
Cherie Gil is known for her iconic line in "Bituing Walang Ningning" as Lavinia Arguelles: "You're nothing but a second rate, trying hard, copycat!" Famous for playing "kontrabida" (antagonist) roles, she is now part of the Rappler family as our resident "kontra diva" (anti-diva). Watch out for more of Cherie Gil and her thoughts only on Rappler.