“The entire family will watch it together,” she told the Philippine Daily Inquirer on Monday, the eve of AJ’s burial. (The 18-year-old died in a road accident in Tarlac on April 17.)
AJ shot some scenes of the drama series in his mom’s hometown, Legazpi, Albay.
Happy with work
“He told me they had traveled from Laguna to the edge of Luzon,” Marivic recalled. “He was happy that his job took him to many places.”
In the MMK episode, AJ plays an impoverished boy who walks from Manila to Samar with his younger brother (played by Bugoy Cariño).
“I’m sure he was able to relate to the character,” said Marivic. “AJ was very close to his younger brother (Gelo, 12).”
“To think they’re from so-called rival schools. AJ was from La Salle; Gelo is from Ateneo. Still, they were buddies. AJ was a loving and playful kuya. He never let the age gap get in the way of their friendship,” Marivic related.
Needless to say, she and husband Gerry have had to guide Gelo through this ordeal.
“We explained to Gelo … that he has to be strong … His Kuya AJ wouldn’t be pleased if he were sad. It wasn’t hard for Gelo to understand that our family should be united at this time, to better help each other through this crisis.”
She doesn’t think Gelo would follow AJ in show biz, though: “He has different interests.”
AJ’s friends from the biz are also helping the Perezes cope.
Judy Ann Santos, who played AJ’s big sister in the movies “Kasal, Kasali, Kasalo” and “Sakal, Sakali Saklolo,” remembered AJ as a “respectful and quiet kid.”
“Whenever we were in the studio, he’d go out of his way to greet me,” Santos recounted. “He was one teenager who knew the meaning of courtesy. I wish he could be around much longer, to influence his peers.”
Janus del Prado, fellow Star Magic talent, said: “He was fun to work with.” Another Kapamilya, Jed Montero, noted: “AJ was a big kid and a little brother to me.”
“He was accommodating. He agreed to host my niece’s debut,” said comedian John Lapus.
Kind words from friends and colleagues help the family tremendously, said AJ’s mom.
“We are so proud of him still,” she said. “Whether as a student or an actor, people have good memories of him.”
Marivic also felt elated seeing fans at his wake in La Salle Green Hills and Christ the King Church. Even President Benigno Aquino III dropped by on the last night of the wake.
“I’m certain AJ would’ve been glad to see the President—and everyone—there,” she said.
And knowing how generous AJ had been, his family thought it wise to donate his corneas to the Eye Bank on his behalf.