Mar Lopez, one of the biggies of the D’ Big 3 Sullivans and Tatlong Pinoy (Bindoy, Mar and Ding) the musical trio known for their novelty songs during their heyday in the 1960s and ’70s.
He started his career as a performer when he joined the Top 3 with Apeng Daldal and Bebing Santos who became the top drawer of the Grand Opera House in Avenida Rizal.
Remember the songs “Butsiki” and “Magellan?” Yoyoy Villame sang them and they became big hits, but it was Mar Lopez who composed them. For “Butsiki,” Mar revealed the lyrics were nothing, but a meaningless compilation of names of hardware, commercial retail stores and restaurants he randomly wrote down on a piece of paper while walking around Chinatown in Binondo, Manila. The “Magellan” version of D’ Big 3 Sullivans is as riotous as Yoyoy’s and it’s a wonder why it didn’t make as big a splash.
It was Mar who also gave our pop culture such naughty songs as “May pulis, may pulis sa ilalim ng tulay,” “Pinagbigyan,” “Ang manok kong Texas,” among many. They are now embedded in the Filipino people’s memory from Manila and Cebu, to Los Angeles and Las Vegas, to Abu Dhabi and Riyadh.
I didn’t ask about his age because he is so zestful, but I reckon he is in his 80s. He said he works as an “auditioner” (his own term) of Tesda (Technical Education and Skills Development Authority) applicants for performers going abroad. His approval of a singing talent’s performance is the passport to high-paying stints in cities, such as Tokyo, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok and other cities outside the Philippines.
Da Big Three Sullivans is an actor, known for King Khayam and I (1974), The Wild Grease … Wild and Riotous (1978) and Captain Barbell (1973).
Auditioning has been a main part of his professional career, in addition to composing songs in a jiffy and performing onstage with the D’ Big 3 Sullivans. As an auditioner, Mar claims to have given breaks to a gallery of big-time talents including Nora Aunor, Diomedes Maturan, Ogie Alcasid, the Apo Hiking Society, Sarah Geronimo and others whose names now has slipped from his mind.
It was during his days as an auditioner for the top-rated Tawag ng Tanghalan TV show when he discovered Nora Aunor (originally surnamed Villamayor) during a 20-minute train stop-over at Iriga station in Bicol. He was hearing applause somewhere and when he came closer to investigate, he heard the melodious voice, which was music to his ears. After finding out about the girl with that voice (laging panalo sa local amateur contests), he told Nora’s mother to bring her daughter to Manila. From there, Mar Lopez got Nora to perform in Tawag ng Tanghalan, where Nora went on to be the undefeated champion. The rest is history.