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Mario Dumaual: A true friend and mentor, a dedicated family man, showbiz journalism’s shining star

There are people who just come and go and there are those who leave an indelible mark in our lives. My dear friend, veteran entertainment journalist Mario Dumaual, belongs to the latter.

As a respected pillar in showbiz journalism, he left a void in the industry he so loved. As a husband, father, grandfather, friend, and coworker, Mario also left a profound impact.

On the 40th day of his death, his family shares this message. “We continue to grieve as we reach the 40th day since Papa’s passing, but we find comfort and warmth in knowing that he was deeply loved and appreciated by so many, not only by us his family and his friends, but also by those whose lives he touched. Today and always, he is remembered as a devoted father and husband, a doting grandfather, a dependable friend and brother, and a dedicated journalist whose legacy, in both his personal and professional lives, leave us with gratitude as much as there remains grief.”

I consider Mario as one of my mentors in ABS-CBN News. When I was still a newbie moving from police beat to general assignment, he helped me as we worked together on controversial stories concerning celebrities, like the case of Nida Blanca.

When covering artistas, he would guide me in asking the right questions so I could get a scoop. We worked even more closely whenever I did political stories on showbiz personalities like Kris Aquino, Vilma Santos-Recto, and Senators Grace Poe, Jinggoy Estrada, and Bong Revilla.

Mario was very detail-oriented and thorough when it comes to facts. He had a sharp memory and could remember quotes verbatim. That’s what made him a great journalist.

(Right) As a rookie reporter, one of my very first photos with Mario was for our Boto Mo, Ipatrol Mo citizen journalism campaign (Left) with our fellow ABS-CBN reporters

Even when he was already a name to reckon with in the field of entertainment reporting, he remained low-key. He was never overbearing and didn’t call attention to himself. He doesn’t have insecurities, was generous in giving advice, and did not hesitate to share the spotlight.

In a Facebook post, Jeff Canoy describes Mario as “ever the consummate professional and bastion of humility.” He also wrote, “He’s the guy who would call everyone up to arrange a dinner with his Star Patrol ‘angels’ whenever they were in town. He’s the guy who would be there to get hard-to-get celebrities. He’s the guy who would dress up in a Mexican poncho and drink tequila with you in the middle of the day, during an out-of-town teambuilding seminar.”

Mario’s long-time desk editor Cherry Cornell admires the journo’s professionalism. “Napakamasunurin n'yan. 'Pag sinabing alas-4 ang submission, alas-4 nasa akin ang script. Konting-konti lang ang aking ine-edit,” she shared in a tribute during Mario’s wake. “Lahat ng mga istorya ni Mario, palaging maganda at maayos kasi pulido siyang magsulat. Hindi ako kailanman nagkaroon ng hirap kay Mario.

Many of the cameramen who Mario got to work with were one in saying that the late entertainment journalist is “irreplaceable.”

“Nakita ko kung gaano siya ka-professional sa trabaho niya,” said Ariel Fulgado, his former cameraman. “Kaya ganun siya ka-respetado ng entertainment press. Hinahanap siya sa lahat ng pinupuntahan naming events kapag wala siya. Umaabot pa nga sa punto na hinihintay siya bago magsimula ang event.”

(L-R) Mario’s son, Miguel, received a photo-mosaic of his father’s news coverages from ABS-CBN News Head Francis Toral as the news department’s way of showing its appreciation for Mario’s close to 3 decades of service; During the tribute, Gary Valenciano and I were among those who spoke about Mario’s humility and willingness to always lend a helping hand.

Celebrities also think highly of him. In a statement, Megastar Sharon Cuneta said, “Sure he was a showbiz reporter but he was decent, fair and loved whom he loved.”

Mr. Pure Energy Gary Valenciano, appreciated that he would never put out anything that would make the celebrities look bad. “He always wanted to bring out the best in all of us. Even if the artist was going through controversy and all, he would try to focus on, ‘Yeah, but it can’t be all bad. There’s a reason why that artist ay naging artista – dahil gusto siya ng tao.’ And he would always find a way to bring that out.”

(L) Miguel Dumaual shared, “Marami pong salamat sa mga kapamilya ni Papa outside of our family, sa kanyang home away from home;” (R) Mario’s wake became a reunion of kapamilyas and former kapamilyas from the news and entertainment industries.

Pop star royalty Sarah Geronimo remembered him for his “genuine concern” every time he’d ask a question during interviews.

For his work ethic and his contribution to local entertainment journalism, he was awarded the Joe Quirino Memorial Award at the 5th EDDYs or Entertainment Editor’s Choice in November 2022. He was also honored with a star on the German Moreno Walk of Fame at Eastwood City early this year.

The award-winning journalist was also a dedicated family man. As what his son Miguel said, Mario is their family’s “super glue” —he held them together and kept them strong. He was a good husband, a loving father to his five children, and a doting lolo to his three apos.

More than scoops and breaking news, Mario’s top priority was his family.

Mario will be sorely missed. But I find solace in knowing that heaven gained another star.


Watch Pamilya Talk on Facebook, YouTube and Kumu (@JingCastaneda – 12:00 noon – 1:00 p.m. Monday & Wednesday). You can also follow my social media accounts: Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Tiktok, Twitter and Kumu. Please share your stories or suggest topics at [email protected].

Credit belongs to : www.philstar.com

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