When the norm was to field good-looking meztiso DJs and broadcasters, Mike Enriquez questioned his colleagues’ decision to put him in front of the camera for the first time and said, “Tingnan niyo nga itong mukha ko. Pang-TV ba ‘to?”
It was way back in 1969 when then college student Enriquez went to a radio station merely to visit his radio announcer friend. Bringing nothing but curiosity and innate talent with him, Enriquez—after a little push from his friend—tried his luck, read a news report from a broadsheet in front of the microphone and, as expected, impressed the station manager at the time. Enriquez immediately secured an offer to be a radio announcer, which paved his way in the broadcast industry.
READ MORE: Veteran broadcaster Mike Enriquez dies at 71
Years later, the radio disc jockey—formerly known as “Baby Michael”—would join GMA Network in 1995 and be one of those to spearhead the expansion of its radio department. However, Enriquez did not anticipate that another circumstance would come up again and open more opportunities for him, this time in television.
“Biro ba ito? Kung biro ito, masamang biro ito,” Enriquez, in a June 2022 interview with Pia Arcangel, recalled his immediate reaction after he was tapped to anchor a special news coverage due to lack of newscasters.
“Sinabi ko sa kanila—which even my own mother used to say—‘Oy, tingnan niyo nga itong mukha ko. Pang-TV ba ‘to?” he added, pointing at his face.
Even with his initial inhibitions to fill the role, Enriquez delivered and—as we know it—had since made a mark as one of the renowned broadcasters in the country.
Over five decades in service he established his name as part of DZBB’s radio programs “Super Balita sa Umaga” and “Saksi sa Dobol B,” as well as Kapuso public affairs programs “Saksi,” “24 Oras” and “Imbestigador.” Enriquez also served as president of RGMA Network Inc. as well as GMA network’s senior vice president for radio operations.
Despite the several health battles he had undergone including a heart bypass surgery and a kidney transplant, Enriquez had always endured to return in front of the camera and be of service to the people.
Enriquez—much more than the numerous awards he bagged and catchphrases he created such as “Hindi namin kayo tatantanan!” and “Excuse me po!”—will always be remembered by Filipinos for being one of the fiercest voices in the Philippine broadcast industry.
“Ang trabaho natin ay walang hinahangad at wala namang hinihintay na balik e. Ito’y puro lamang na serbisyong totoo,” he told fellow journalists in an “Imbestigador” interview.
Tributes to Enriquez
After Enriquez’s death was confirmed to the public, tributes poured in from his colleagues including Arnold Clavio, Pia Arcangel, Atom Araullo, Raffy Tima, Lyn Ching and Iya Villania.
“Paalam aking Ama, kaibigan, mentor kasabwat, boss at higit sa lahat ‘tagapagtanggol,’” Clavio wrote alongside a video of him and Enriquez grooving to a TikTok dance challenge. “Ang alaala mo ay mananatiling buhay sa isipan at damdamin ng maraming Pilipino.”
View this post on Instagram
Other journalists who recounted their fond memories of Enriquez were Pulitzer Prize winner Manny Mogato, Anthony Taberna, as well as “TV Patrol” anchor Noli de Castro. Celebrities including Ogie Alcasid, Gary Valenciano and Kim Atienza also paid tribute to the late broadcaster.
“He was warm, down-to-earth for a broadcaster of his stature. We became friends but later learned about his health challenges,” Mogato said in a Facebook page. “Goodbye Mike, The Philippine broadcast industry lost a pillar and a voice.”
“Matagal-tagal din kaming naging magkaibigan ni Mike. Lagi kaming nagkakasabay sa mga live,” de Castro recalled during his “TV Patrol” closing spiel on Tuesday.
Enriquez passed away on Tuesday, Aug. 29, a month before his 72nd birthday. Details on Enriquez’s wake have yet to be disclosed by his family as of this writing. /ra