CELEBRITY WORLD PH
By Crispina M. Belen
RIP dear friend Ricky Lo!
You could just imagine my shock when Facebook friends started texting me up early morning today (Wednesday, May 5) telling me and/or asking me if it’s true Ricky Lo, esteemed Entertainment Editor of Philippine Star, has died!
Being used to sleeping early (usually at 9pm I’m down on my bed!), and waking early too (at 5:30am, I’m already on my praying routine) and would only listen to the news while I’m having my breakfast at 7am). So I didn’t catch the news about Ricky’s death from the early broadcasts.
I was deeply saddened when Pelita Uy informed me of Ricky’s passing. Pelita said “I know that Tito Ricky is one of your closest friends. Thank you for introducing a respectable and honorable man to Stan and I.” Stanley is Pelita’s husband. They own the Telenovela Channel.
During the pandemic, Ricky and I kept in touch through Facebook/Messenger and we became closer as friends. We texted each other about news tidbits and called each other (once a week, usually on Saturdays) about bigger news or “tsismis” which were usually better off spoken. I am even more saddened by the fact that I didn’t initiate our last Saturday “kumustahan” on the phone. But I told myself I’d call him up Wednesday – a day too late!
During our Saturday “kumustahan,” we ask each other what’s new in our families, what we’re doing aside from writing (I’m retired but I still write my Celebrity World Ph column on Facebook, Instagram and WordPress). And I was surprised to know that, like me, Ricky also had interest in gardening, sending me photos of his potted plants – turmeric (luyang dilaw) and some veggies. He said “Cris, lapit na ako magkarun ng store named By Gulay! Anti-viral pala yang ginger, kaya alagaan mo turmeric tanim mo. Yan na iniinom ko everyday.”
Ricky was very health-conscious. Every time we talked, he always shared me helpful things to do to control or manage our diabetes, like avoiding sweets in our diets, and the need to exercise daily, even for just 10 or 30 minutes only. “Walking is a good exercise,” he told me, “and if we don’t have enough space, we can walk around our room while watching TV.” That’s what I’ve been doing every day, thanks to Ricky’s suggestion.
Ricky regularly hears mass online too. But usually he prefers to hear masses at the Vatican. One time, I sent him a copy of the Jan. 3, 2020 homily of Pope Francis, which goes in the beginning: “You can have flaws, be anxious and even angry, but do not forget that your life is the greatest enterprise in the world. Only you can stop it from going bust. Many appreciate you, admire you and love you. Remember that to be happy is not to have a sky without a storm, a road without accidents, work without fatigue, relationships without disappointments. To be happy is find in forgiveness, hopes in battles, security in the stage of fear, love in discord. It is not only to enjoy the smile, but also to reflect on the sadness, it is not only to celebrate the successes, but also to learn lessons from the failures…”
That’s just part of Pope Francis’ homily and I liked it so much so I shared it with Ricky. Only for him to tell me, he used the entire homily in his column!
Ricky and I have so much to remember and reminisce. Being the entertainment editors of two of the biggest newspapers in the country, we were invited together to join worldwide junkets. We were together in Los Angeles, California several times for media conferences for big stars like Angelina Jolie (for “Tomb Raiders”), in Taiwan and Hong Kong for Jackie Chan’s movies, and in Japan and other countries for Tom Cruise and other famous actors’ films, among others.
Indeed, we will never lack topics for conversations in our lifetime.
A graduate of AB English from UE, Ricky started out as editorial assistant for Variety magazine (the Sunday supplement of the old Manila Times), from 1969 to 1972. From 1986 to 2021, he was entertainment editor of Philippine Star.
In 1995, Ricky released “Star-Studded,” a compilation of his articles about showbiz stars. In 2001, he released “Conversations,” a compilation of his exclusive interviews.
Ricky also had a TV hosting career, albeit short. He co-hosted “The Buzz” of ABS-CBN in 1999, and was co-host of “Startalk” from 2008 to 2015.
Ricky was born Ricardo F. Lo on April 21, 1946 in Las Navas, Northern Samar.