Filipino Internet users the world over turned to Twitter and Facebook to send their final goodbyes to the Philippines’ “King of Comedy” as he was laid to rest on Sunday.
Television has traditionally been the national bonfire around which Filipinos gather for major news events. But social media has been rapidly eroding TV's influence, simply because Twitter and Facebook offer the power to interact in addition to being another means for following the news.
In the case of Dolphy's death and funeral, many Filipinos still watched TV but used social media to express their feelings. TV networks are becoming adept at combining both TV and social media.
Though Rodolfo “Dolphy” Quizon’s funeral was closed to the public, television networks beamed the footage from the Heritage Park in Taguig City, while offering livestream video on their web sites. Their reporters and producers live tweeted the ceremony.
Tweeple tweeted their goodbye messages to Dolphy, their condolences to his family, calls to make him a national artist, and even comments on the death of a white horse that was supposed to pull the carriage carrying Dolphy’s remains to his final resting place. #PaalamDolphy, #SalamatDolphy, and #RIPDolphy were among the hashtags that they used.
Twitter user @PINOY_QUOTES posted, “#PaalamDolphy Salamat sa sayang ibinigay mo sa amin. You'll always be in our hearts.” The message was retweeted more than a thousand times.
#PaalamDolphy, which was used by GMA News in its coverage, became the top Twitter trending topic in the Philippines and third worldwide.
One of the most heartbreaking moments during Dolphy’s funeral was also the among the most tweeted: his long-time partner Zsa Zsa Padilla’s last look and final goodbye to her lovey.
A message accompanied by Dolphy’s picture from Zsa Zsa’s Twitter account (@zsazsapadilla) after the funeral was retweeted by more than 2,800 users: “Maraming salamat, Lovey ko. Pinasaya mo ang buhay ko at ng buong sambayanang Pilipino. Hanggang sa muling pagkikita.”
After the news of Dolphy’s passing broke on the night of July 10, Facebook users started posting graphic tributes to the comedy king. Such artworks, which continue to circulate, include proposed commemorative bills and coins for the comedy king:
The most-liked Facebook fanpage for Dolphy, Dolphy “King of Comedy,” with 28,000 fans, has been flooded with messages, poems, and photos from those touched by his life.
Facebook user Maria Cristina Enriquez Mutuc posted: “We salute the King of Comedy , for all the laughters and tears you shared to all Filipinos, Goodnight and Good bye, continue to bring joy up there in heaven, I know you will make my mom and dad smile and laugh so much up there, your legacy will continue for lifetime..... Godspeed........ From all your fans here in Toronto, Canada..."
In the Philippine blogosphere, there was a spike of blog posts about Dolphy. Filipino blog directory TopBlogs.Com.PH logged 150 distinct posts related to Dolphy after his death.
International media like the New York Times and Huffington Post also carried Associated Press’ report on Dolphy’s passing. — HS/TJD, GMA News