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Fil-Ams from Los Angeles mourn the passing of stage actor Bernardo Bernardo

By Abner Galino

THE passing of stage and movie actor Bernardo Bernardo last Friday has triggered an outpouring of sympathy from fans and friends here in Los Angeles where he used to be one of the stars of the Filipino American community’s musical and entertainment events and social gatherings.

Social media is awash with expressions of sympathy for the family and loved ones of the 73-year old Bernardo, also known as BB.

Fans and friends have also posted messages praising the actor, not only for his artistry, but as well as for his qualities as a person. 

I was driving when I received the call the other night,” recalled Lou Sabas, herself a prominent artist here and a very close friend of Bernardo.

Since then, I am still in a state of denial. I cannot tolerate alcohol but I had to take a glass of wine to calm my nerves after receiving the news.”

Sabas said she has not talked to Bernardo personally since organizing a fund raiser for the artist last month at the Kapistahan Grill in Temple Street.

Rosalinda, the sister of Bernardo, was the one who was giving her updates on the condition of the artist who was then battling pancreatic cancer.

I had the impression na umiige ang kalagayan niya. I was told that he was going through a sort of a holistic treatment since he didn’t want to have surgery.”

Sabas was instrumental in prodding Bernardo to move to Los Angeles many years ago. The two met in an awarding ceremony hosted by local newspaper in northern California.

Sabi ko sa kanya, lumipat na lang siya sa LA dahil mas maraming gig,” Sabas recalled.

Soon after, Bernardo was booked to perform for the annual “Pistahan sa San Fernando Valley” held at the St. Genevieve Church.

That was when he decided to move to LA. That is why he considers me his ninang of his career here in LA. And he tells that to everyone,” Sabas added.

He is more than a friend to me. He is family. We poked fun at each other without reservation. We shared bad and good times.”

Bernardo was last seen in Los Angeles during the 2nd annual Los Angeles Philippine International Film Festival (LAPIFF) where he represented an indie film titled “Imbisibol,” a film about Filipino overseas workers in Japan.

Imbisibol was adjudged as one of LAPIFF’s best picture for 2017.

During the same period, Bernardo held a mini-concert at Josephine’s Cerritos with an equally prominent artist Joseph Gelito.

Bernardo started as a theater actor during his college days at the University of Santo Tomas. He is best known for playing the character Steve Carpio in the long-running TV comedy series ‘Home Along Da Riles’ that starred iconic comedian Dolphy.

In 1980, Bernardo won the Gawad Urian’s Best Supporting Actor award for his role in “Manila By Night” (City After Dark).

On 2017, Bernardo did the lead role in “Ang Larawan.” The movie won the Metro Manila Film Festival Best Picture award.

His last project Joel Lamangan’s “The Significant Other.”

Bernardo’s wake is at St. Peter’s Chapel in Quezon City.

Abner Galino
The author is a poet and a writer. He was a cultural worker before he became a reporter for Tinig ng Masa and Malaya Midday Edition during the Marcos regime. He later became a reporter of People's Tonight shortly after 1986 EDSA Revolution. He went on to become its Chief of Reporters, City Editor and News Editor. He retired after 15 years in the Journal Group of Publications. He now writes for Weekend Balita and the US Asian Post (USAP), weekly Filipino-American newspapers based in Los Angeles, California.

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