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List of Articles by Joaquin Henson



Celeb lookalikes solid for Manny

By Joaquin Henson
PhilBoxing.com
29 Apr 2015



Celebrity impersonators Johnny Dagami as Manny Paksiw, Sherylene Castor as Jinkee, Tessie Valdes as Mami D and Romeo Jamero as Freddie Root are in hot demand for TV appearances and live events with the Fight of the Century only nine days away in Las Vegas.

Dagami, 42, is the main attraction and his resemblance to Pacquiao is so close that he once doubled for the WBO welterweight champion in the movie “Anak Ng Kumander” in 2008. He’s been impersonating Pacquiao since the ring icon wrested the IBF superbantamweight crown from Lehlo Ledwaba in 2001.

Dagami said impersonating Pacquiao is his living. “My wife and I used to do a sari-sari store business at home in Las Pinas,” he said in Pilipino. “But we don’t do that anymore. My wife (Rovilyn Gargoles) now just takes care of our two kids while I do shows as Manny Paksiw. In the beginning, my fee was P300 to P500 then it became P3,000 to P5,000. Now, it’s P10,000 to P15,000 in Metro Manila and P15,000 to P20,000 out of town. I can quote a special price for friends.”

As a singer, Dagami has cut eight singles including “Kukong Bato,” “Ikaw Ang Inspirasyon Ko” and “Paano Sasabihin.” He uses Manny Paksiw as his singing name. Dagami recently recorded Pacquiao’s song “Lalaban Ako Para Sa ‘Yo” on composer Lito Camo’s invitation. He will sing Pacquiao’s entrance song for the Mayweather fight as a guest on “Tonight With Arnold Clavio” at 10:15 p.m. tonight over GMA News TV.

“It took me only a day to master Manny’s new song,” said Dagami. “I’m grateful to Lito for inviting me to record the song and he even gave me a CD of my recording in his studio.”

Dagami said he does personal appearances on his own or with his team of impersonators. Castor, 35, is a dead-ringer for Jinkee and was first runner-up as her impersonator in the “It’s Showtime Kalokalike” contest on ABS-CBN two years ago. She won a P200,000 prize for making it to second place. Valdes, 51, auditioned for the same contest as Mami D but didn’t qualify.

“I met Tessie during the auditions,” said Castor who has appeared as Jinkee in town fiestas and carnivals since 2011. “I think she really looks like Mommy Dionisia so I often invite her for events. I’ve never met Jinkee and my wish is to meet her someday. Last year, I was able to meet Manny but only once. He told me I really look like Jinkee. My prediction is Manny will beat Mayweather by decision.”

Castor is married to Norman Pipino, a drummer in a band, and they have three children, aged six, eight and 10. Like Dagami, she also sings but has not made a recording. “I live in Mabalacat, Pampanga, with my family and I’ve never been abroad,” she said. “Maybe, I’ll get the chance if ‘Showtime’ pushes through with a trip to Italy.”

Like Castor, Dagami has never travelled outside of the Philippines. “But I always go around our country doing appearances,” he said. “My hope is to someday watch Manny fight in Las Vegas. It’s been a while since I saw Manny. Director Tony Bernal introduced me to Manny many years ago. I really admire Manny. I’m hoping and praying he wins. My message to Manny is not to take pity on Mayweather, to knock him out. I know this will be a tough fight but Manny will win because he’s stronger and faster. He’s more aggressive than Mayweather. I’m confident that Manny will knock out Mayweather. If Manny wants, I can fight Mayweather next. But seriously, Manny’s my idol. I pray that he’ll never change, that he’ll always remember the poor people who support and believe in him.”

Dagami said he’ll watch the Battle For Greatness at Solaire where there is a live satellite hook-up. “I’ve been invited to sing ‘Lalaban Ako Para Sa ‘Yo’ before the fight on stage,” said the Biliran native. “I’m excited to do it. With the fight coming close, my schedule is so busy. I’m doing back-to-back TV appearances and one network is even producing the story of my life. I’m grateful to Manny that I’m able to feed my family impersonating him.”

Dagami’s children Princess, 7, and John-John, 6, are enrolled at the CAA Elementary School in Las Pinas. Dagami finished only up to second year of high school then worked five years as a printing operator at a Malabon plastics factory. Then, he was introduced to show business. “Our team can do a 45-minute comedy skit,” said Dagami. “We crack jokes and sing. As a package, we charge between P40,000 to P50,000 for Metro Manila. It’s a very entertaining and enjoyable show.”

Jamero, 56, impersonates Roach, wears horn-rimmed glasses and applies grey-blond dye to match the trainer’s hair color. “Freddie Root is my neighbor in Las Pinas and I bring him along for shows,” said Dagami. “If we’re invited as a team, I call Sherylene and she takes Tessie. My dream is to do a comedy TV sitcom impersonating Manny’s family. I think it will be a hit. I can do Manny and we already have Jinkee, Mami D and Freddie. Maybe, we could start as a segment in a TV show. It’s our way of paying tribute to Manny and of course, it’s also a living.”

Photo: Joaquin Henson with (from left) Sherylene Castor as Jinkee, Johnny Dagami as Manny Paksiw and Tessie Valdes as Mami D.


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