The original Chichay, whose real name is Amparo Robles Custodio, was born on January 21, 1918. According to the CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art, Custodio started her career in show business as a singer and a chorus line dancer. "Chichay," the stage name for which Custodio became popular, was given by the actress Atang de la Rama. It is a corruption of the Japanese word, chiisai, which means "short."
|Chichay as Lola Tisya in Bondying: The Little Big Boy (1989)|
Aside from having a short and stocky stature, Chichay had a characteristic scratchy voice and prematurely aged appearance that made her perfect for portraying grandmothers. Her almost-four-decade-long movie career started with the 1949 Sampaguita Pictures production, Huwag Ka Nang Magtampo.
Chichay also appeared in the 1962 Hollywood film No Man Is an Island. She played the title role in the 1985 film Mga Kwento ni Lola Basyang. Other films in which Chichay appeared in include Gorio at Tekla (1953), Pitong Atsay (1962), Karnabal (1973) and Bondying: The Little Big Boy (1989). She was also lead star of Ginang Milyonarya, a TV series during the 1970s.
Chichay passed away on March 31, 1993 at the age of 75.