Greggy Vera Cruz: In memoriam
I’m not really one for surprises because I don’t like being caught unawares, so to speak. But last Wednesday, my MFCB family pulled off a surprise birthday and farewell party at the ballroom of the City Club in Alphaland Makati. They were able to do it in “connivance” with my good friend Art Lopez, who used the pretext of a birthday lunch with Pepe Rodriguez and Tony Garcia to “lure” me to City Club.
It was a great party, but everyone also felt the loss of our PeopleAsia features editor Greggy Vera Cruz, who passed away that Wednesday morning. Greggy, who finished AB Communication Arts at the Ateneo de Manila University, was with our magazine for 10 years.
As a features editor, he had a way with words. He had a knack for coming up with witty, naughty titles and memorable one-liners that made his subjects/interviewees stand out. It’s not surprising to find out that most, if not all his subjects, eventually became good friends of his.
Greggy interviewed some of the most interesting and notable personalities featured in the magazine, among them movie queen Susan Roces, basketball star James Yap, multi-awarded actor Christopher de Leon, and 29th Tokyo International Film Festival Best Actor awardee Paolo Ballesteros who, incidentally, is a co-host of television variety program Eat Bulaga! where Greggy also used to work.
“Gregster” was well liked by many because of his gregarious personality and cheerful disposition. He had this habit of greeting people by their complete names, and in so doing (consciously or unconsciously) communicated that the individual was important. In fact, one of his numerous friends even said that by greeting her by her full name every time they met, he made her feel like a celebrity.
The 51-year-old features editor was literally and figuratively the life of the party, with his colorful and eye-catching outfits that highlighted his equally colorful nature and personality — “embodying joie de vivre” as someone described it.
It’s not surprising that Greggy’s Facebook page was flooded with messages from his “FB darlings” who all expressed shock, sadness and grief at his sudden passing.
“You were loved, not just because of your fabulosity, but because you were one of the warmest and kindest people in this crazy industry. Not a single bad bone in your body. I will miss you so, so much,” one of the messages went — echoing the sentiment of many others whose lives were made all the more “fabulous” by Greggy V. Vera Cruz.