The Dabarkadsâ fondest memories of Ricky
Ricky Lo (seated, leftmost) with the Dabarkads: Ronald Constantino, Law Tan, June Rufino, Danny Dolor, Sen. Grace Poe, Jaypee Victoriano, Gelo Jamias, Dolor Guevarra, Joseph Sonora, this columnist, Tony and Mads Tuviera, Helen Gamboa- Sotto, Malou Choa-Fagar, Veana Fores, Anes Victoriano, GR Rodis and Shirley Kwan.
STAR/ File

The Dabarkads’ fondest memories of Ricky

RAZZLE-DAZA - Pat-P Daza (The Philippine Star) - May 17, 2021 - 12:00am

News of Ricky Lo’s passing on May 4 sent shock waves throughout the country that were felt by Filipinos all over the world. His death was unexpected, and I was in disbelief, having just exchanged text messages with him on his birthday last April 21. Along with the news of his passing, people were surprised to learn that he was 75 years old. Ricky was fit and known for his rosy cheeks, and clean and clear complexion.

Ricky and I belong to the same newspaper family. He was the one who called me two years ago to ask if I would like to write for The Philippine STAR upon the invitation of Miguel Belmonte, our president and CEO. We also belonged to a group we fondly called “Dabarkads,” which gathered at least once a month (pre-pandemic) at the condo unit of Lawrence Tan to eat, gossip, laugh and enjoy each other’s company.

I asked some of the Dabarkads to share their fondest memories of Ricky, because rather than mourn his death, we choose to celebrate his life and our happy memories of him.

This columnist with Ricky and Albee Benitez, CEO of Brightlight Productions

Lawrence Tan: “Ricky and I had our private conversations …in Chinese. During big gatherings, Ricky, Mother Lily, Pat-P and I would converse in Chinese and laugh so hard we had a hard time explaining why we were in tears to the other guests. He was so private that he never gave away his real age to me even if I badgered him endlessly about it. I only found out his real age after he passed away. That is Ricky, always private, always with a silent knowing smile, always trustworthy and always leaving the party before the welcome is worn out.”

Malou Choa-Fagar: “I subscribed to Philippine STAR mainly to read Ricky’s articles. I will miss his blind items. I will miss calling him to ask who they were… he was not selfish not to share. I will also miss the toasted siopaos that he would bring during the Dabarkads Christmas parties and that smile of his that goes with it.”

Dolor Guevarra: “Si Ricky ‘pag kumakain kami sa labas, hindi niya linalabas ang senior citizen card niya dahil ayaw niyang malaman ng iba kung ilang taon na siya!”

Gelo Jamias: “Tito Ricky will always leave a smile on my face. I remember how we exchanged photos from our late-night Dabarkads parties, and our bulungan sessions on some controversial issues and our viber chismisan.”

Sen. Grace Poe: “We lost a revered writer and dear family friend. Tito Ricky was like family to us. Not only did he write about almost all of our family’s milestones, he celebrated them with us. He remained very humble and low-key even if he was one of the most sought-after showbiz and entertainment writers. Tito Ricky always knew how to put his interviewees at ease and treat them with respect. The name Ricky Lo became synonymous with the latest showbiz scoop because he always prioritized the truth and highlighted the positive values of his subjects. He was a credible and prolific writer. It’s heartbreaking to lose a true friend and champion of the entertainment industry.”

Ronald Constantino: “My fondest memory of Ricky was eating in Chinatown and chatting for hours, and our trips together to Bicol, Baguio, Cebu, Tacloban, Hong Kong and Los Angeles.”

Danny Dolor: “Ricky’s first trip out of the country was in 1979 when I invited him to join me in Hong Kong. I had a band back then, Tribong Pinoy, and they were the performers in a local cruiseship, Reyna Filipina. It was a seven-day cruise: Two days, two nights from Manila to Hong Kong, then three-nights in Hong Kong and another two-days, two-nights back to Manila. We had so much fun during that trip. Our party was comprised of 18 people (singers, pianist, and friends) and Ricky was the only one from the press. While we were docked in Hong Kong, we ate delicious Chinese food and shared many secrets.”

Tito Ricky, you left us too soon and so suddenly. The Philippine STAR will have a very difficult time replacing you… your shoes are too big to fill. I hope you and Manay Ichu are together now and enjoying your private conversations.

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