Monday, June 02, 2008

Natayen ni Manang Dave

Dave Tabligan died today. Here's my original story on him:


"He says, "Son can you play me a memory
I'm not really sure how it goes
But it's sad and it sweet and I knew it complete
When I wore a younger man's clothes"
Piano Man, Billy Joel

Robert David Tabligan was 23 when this song came out. He had been playing the
piano for 17 years when he got his first piano lesson at six. He was already working
as a professional piano man in 1973 for seven years.
Billy Joel may have composed that song for himself but people who know or
were touched by Dave and his piano-playing would always equate that song to him.

"I can not imagine being anything else," Dave said.

We, too, can not imagine Dave anything else but a piano man.
Born February 10, 1950, Dave was only six when he first got his piano lesson.
His mother sang and also a piano player. His grandfather was also a musician.
Other than these, there was no answer from nature how Dave got his ear for music
and how he can effortlessly play your memories.
He was 16, a high school student of SLU Boys High and already playing for the 
of Baguio Science High
and PE Department when he was recruited to
play at the A&D Inn in what is now Nevada Square.

There was a casino there or maybe a clandestine one because the chips,
roulette tables and other paraphernalia can easily be hid and the whole place
transformed into an instant birthday party when the police raided, Dave recalled.
Dave played then for Helen Cruz. 
I was so naïve then. I asked Helen if she had a husband," Tabligan said.
Helen Cruz as it turned out was one of the first transgender siren who later dated
famous people like Indonesia's President Sukarno and celebrities Troy Donahue,
Ricardo Montalban and Matt Monroe.
 Dave played for Helen at the La Playa and Trader's Hotel in Manila. That's where
he met a band that was about to go to Japan. Dave told the manager that he, too,
wanted to go. He was fitted with the same suit as the band and they played at the
's Club at the Roponggi District in Tokyo. Dave went solo while the band
went back to the Philippines and played piano at a bar near a US military base in
South Korea
. Then he went back to Japan. The rest in the comments

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Blogger frank cimatu said...

All in all, Dave spent about 17 years in the posh hotels in Japan, China, Korea and even Burma. During the Christmas break, he came home to play at the Christmas Cantata for the UB Science High.

He also played at Pine's Hotel and cafe Amapola and now play at the John Hay Manor. He was famous for his shocking Afro back then and the seemingly effortless way he tickled the ivory.

Dave was known for his piano dexterity but he is more famous for his wide range of repertoire. Although he had formal studies, Dave play by ear.

"I go to classical concerts and others. That's how I learned," he said.

"Some people test me if I know classical music and they request. Of course, I don't have to play it like Horowitz but I play it with my own style. More often than not, they are satisfied and come back," he said.

His comfort music is Mozart Piano Concerto in C Major, which he plays when he feels a little under the weather. But piano playing had been his therapy all along.

"When I play, I bring out my happy thoughts. There's no other way for me to play," he said.

Among his fans are Doy and Cocoy Laurel who sang with him and violinist John Lesaca who accompany him.

Recently, Dave was beset by diabetes. He is now legally blind but of course can still play the piano.

Last February 1, his neighbors from Scout Barrio led by Julie Palaganas surprised him with a concert for him. Baguio musicians who are friends and whom he accompanied before played for him at the Barangay Gym until the wee hours of the morning.

The concert, entitled Concert Para Kenni Auntie Dave, netted about P30,000 for his medicines and therapy. This may not be enough but it's a good start.

Let us help raise funds for Dave so he can play our memories the only way we wanted them played.

12:14 PM  
Blogger marionne said...

hwaaaaah! anya metten!

6:54 PM  
Anonymous volume-addict said...

I had lunch at the kambingan at their house in Scout Barrio the last time I was there. RIP.

11:58 PM  

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