Dubai's very own Pinoy comedy king!
Dubai - His secret to vitality, he told Khaleej Times, "is to always have an ever-gracious smile and a strong sense of humour".
Danny Vera is one of the Filipino "old-timers" in Dubai. Called mang (an endearing tagalog term for elders), Danny is known in the kabayan circle as "Dubai's Dolphy" for his strong resemblance to his famous cousin, Dolphy, the late "King of Comedy" of pinoy movies.
But unlike his celebrity cousin, mang Danny prefers to be in the background. He'd rather be a "father figure" to the younger generation of Filipino expats in Dubai.
One of his strongest suits is organising local basketball tournaments. Dapper at 66, mang Danny manages operations of maharlika club at president's Hotel in Karama. He can be seen welcoming guests and giving pointers to his staff on how to better serve customers. He also coaches his entertainers on how to deliver performances at par with billy Idol or Justin bieber.
On weekends, he looks after his pinoy big brother League basketball tournament in Al Ghusais, giving Filipinos a respite from the daily grind as well as promoting healthy living and strong camaraderie among them.
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His secret to vitality, he told Khaleej Times, "is to always have an ever-gracious smile and a strong sense of humour", much like his late cousin, who until his death in 2012, was still cracking jokes on his sick bed. mang Danny also had a short stint in showbiz.
He made a cameo appearance in Facifica Falayfay, one of Dolphy's blockbuster hits. but mang Danny had his sights on the food industry and left before his showbiz career could take off. He then learned the basics of kitchen work when he got a job at barrio Fiesta, a chain of restaurants owned by another cousin.
In the 1980s, at the start of the Filipino migration to the middle east, mang Danny saw another opportunity. He packed his bags and headed for saudi Arabia to work as a cook for a company building an airport in Al Khobar. From the kingdom, mang Danny moved to Dubai after he was hired as a chef by the Dubai ports Authority.
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After moving on from the kitchen, mang Danny has helped set up and manage a string of Filipino clubs such as mabuhay Nightclub, pavillion Hardcourt, blue Wings, tayo-tayo, Castle rock and maharlika Club, where he works now. Mang Danny has long considered Dubai his second home but he said it is important for Filipinos not to forget where they came from.
And if there is one great legacy he wants to leave for his kababayans, it is pakikipag-kapwatao - or "treating each other like kindred spirits".
WHO WAS DOLPHY?
Dolphy, Rodolfo Vera Quizon in real life, was a Filipino actor regarded as the 'King of Comedy'. Born on July 25, 1928, he began his showbiz career as a stage dancer in Manila at the height of World War II. He began acting in films at 19. Idolised by millions for more than 60 years, he was known for his portrayal of a witty and street-smart father in hit comedy sitcoms. Dolphy died on July 10, 2012 at 83. Although he was not conferred a National Artist Award, former Philippine President Benigno Aquino declared July 13, 2012 as a 'National Day of Remembrance' in his honour.