You had a good run, Ricky Lo!
Your life’s work put you in the shadow of celebrities and movie stars, trailing them, chatting with them eyeball to eyeball, trying to catch them on a slip-up, drinking and dining with them, angling to pry a secret out of them. In the end, hours after your departure, you had become as big a star as the brightest of them, for you were their idol!
Ricky was a health freak. How could a 75-year-old who didn’t look a day older than 60 (or 55) be taken from us so suddenly? Not necessarily a picky eater, he never gained a pound, careful with what he ate and how much. He walked as much and as far as he could, if he was alone and certainly when he was in the mood for soul food at Mr. Ube’s restaurant, the Mezzanine, on Ongpin street. Chinatown was the place for quick satisfying meals but also for exotica like dikkiam and hopia. What the natives knew about Chinese healers and medicines Ricky also knew.
In our younger days we would occasionally run into each other at “our” foot-massage place in Malate (not Chinatown, but the style was Beijing-ish and the owner, Mercy, gave us a discount). Ricky believed, as I did, that rubbing the legs, feet, and soles is a time-tested, ancestor-endorsed health technique. He also showed me how to slap my wrists and armpits “to drive away toxins.”
Ronald K. Constantino, Ricky’s best buddy forever, said he is “devastated” and will miss Ricky’s company, an understatement. Danny Dolor, Ricky’s friend for 50 years and who writes his Filipiniana columns for Ricky’s page – it’s their 27th anniversary next Saturday – will remember him for “his compassion and willingness to help young dreamers, he was not a prima donna, hindi siya mayabang o pretensyoso.” (Danny, neither should we forget how high his one eyebrow could arch skyward, without need for words.) A certain Pat-P Daza, who also writes for Ricky’s page, “will miss his company at our get-togethers, and for his insider stories and scoops,” the best of which, I hasten to add, were most likely not for public consumption.
In the long run, those unwritten stories were what made him the gentleman that he was.