Showbiz has lost another pillar with the death of respected movie critic-columnist Mario Hernando on Tuesday. He was in his mid-60s.
Hernando had recently been afflicted with cancer, and noticeably lost weight when The Manila Times last saw him at the Gawad Urian awards night in July.
According to Kathy Solis, a close friend of the deceased and former PR executive at ABS-CBN, Hernando’s brother found him “unresponsive” in his home Tuesday morning. They rushed him to Capitol Medical Center but doctors at the emergency room were unable to revive him.
Colleagues expressed shock over social media on Tuesday afternoon after Hernando’s death had been confirmed with messages of condolences to his bereaved family, fond recollections and touching tributes.
Hollywood-based reporter of the Philippine Daily Inquirer Ruben Nepales summed up Hernando’s renown in showbiz as “the Philippines’ veteran and respected film critic, a true cineaste and a walking encyclopedia. Name it— he knew film talent, from the most esoteric to the most commercial. He was also knowledgeable in art, music, etc.”
One of the original members of Manunuri ng Pelikulang Pilipino, Hernando was also a board member of the Movie and Television Regulatory and Classification Board (MTRCB) and former Malaya weekend editor.
He was also a familiar face on television as movie reviewer of several showbiz programs produced by the ‘80s and ‘90s late talk show queen Inday Badiday. The Manila Times Lifestyle and Entertainment editor Tessa Mauricio-Arriola who had a short stint on one of these shows, said that while Hernando’s reviews were pre-taped, she remembers how he would always seek out his “co-hosts” in showbiz events to say a kind word and acknowledge they were all part of a team.
Active on social media himself, Hernando’s last post on Facebook was a link to an article about Princess Diana on September 2.
Meanwhile, according to Hernando’s former colleague at Malaya, Maridol Rañoa Bismark, his remains were to be cremated Tuesday night at Funeraria Paz in Araneta Avenue, where his wake will follow.