By Jesus A. Garcia Jr.
I WAS shocked and sad upon learning the news from the internet that my friend and co-recording artist of Vicor Music Corporation/Plaka Pilipino Victor Wood met his untimely death last April 23 due to COVID-19 infection. Shocked because he called last February 27, and asked me to find a place in Pangasinan where he can hold a singing concert, possibly in a town or city celebrating its traditional fiesta, or whatever the occasion I could find.
Victor, born on February 1, 1946 in Buhi, Camarines Sur, however, was frank enough to tell me that he can no longer sing the way he used to during his heydays. He said because of his age, he can no longer reach the usual highest pitch of his voice when he recorded his song titled “Cherryl Moana Marie”. I told him “I’ll try my best” to make the arrangements with the help of media colleague Dennis Mojares given Victor’s concept.
Alas, that’s not going to happen anymore.
I still recall my acquaintance with him. Aside from singing together when we could, we also played basketball game a couple of times in a gym in Malate, Manila with some of our colleagues at Vicor Music Corporation in tow: the late Jay Ilagan, Julius Obregon, Romeo Miranda, Boy Mondragon, to name some, whom we played with against the team of actor-singer Tirso Cruz, III and Vicor’s instrumental group called “Orly Ilacad And The Ramrods” headed by Ilacad himself, the president of Vicor Music Corporation.
Aside from singing together on television (IBC channel 13) on several occasions, Victor and I had occasions to enjoy rounds of bidahan over beer (I was happy with maximum two bottles of Pale Pilsen SMB in a certain decent restaurant at Raon Street in Quiapo, Manila.
I’m one of his avid fans since late of 1960s and met him for the first time in person at the Vicor Music Corporation office sometime in August 1973. That was three months after my first cycling Tour victory. He was initially shy but happily told me that I was his “pin-up” choice in the 10-day 1973 Tour of Luzon. I told him that I am a fan and admirer, telling him how I never missed to drop 25 centavos in the Jukebox machine to play any of his songs every time I ate in a restaurant. I told him I always enjoyed listening, singing-along and singing his songs in parties: “You Are My Destiny,” “Eternally”, “Oh Carol”, “Carmelita”, “Teenage Señorita”, “One More Chance”, “It’s Now or Never”,” Jenny Jenny”, “Cheryl Moana Marie”, “Am I That Easy To Forget”, “I’m Sorry My Love”, “Sonata of Love”, “A Tear Fell”, “In Despair”, “I Went To Your Wedding”, “Mr. Lonely”, “Sweet Caroline”, “Take Good Care of Her”, “Crying Time,” “Let Me Be With You”, “Knock on Wood”, “Island In The Sun”, “Release Me”, “Oh My Mama”, “Remember You’re Mine”, “Before The Next Teardrops Fall”, and Tagalog songs: “Ibig Kong Magtapat”, “Malupit na Pagibig” and “Pagibig Ko’y Nakatali Na”. He gave me a “high five” after I gave him some of the titles of his songs. He knew then that I was a true fan, then, and until now.
Victor Wood, the jukebox king is gone, but his songs will never die, they will linger on and will be remembered by those who knew him and admired him for his talent.
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QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” GENESIS 3: 19
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