The mythical character that is the Grim Reaper must be in full frenzy mode these days. You see, this persona has caused so much shock and sadness to a multitude of people with the successive deaths of three beloved personalities in the entertainment industry.
The biggest reap is definitely the performer once dubbed as the Total Entertainer, Rico J. Puno. My first recollection of Rico’s popularity happened during my wonder years. When his anthem “Kapalaran” became a mammoth hit, my youngest brother, Alfred, was barely five years old that time, could sing the ditty with much gusto complete with the swag and machismo that Rico employed as a charm offensive.
Since that time, his songs have become a regular staple in my household as vinyl records of his singles were in constant play.
Fast forward to the present, prior to his sudden demise, the original guapito addressed me as, “O, andiyan pala si Celeste.” He called me as such because my hair resembled that of Celeste Legaspi during their heydays. We usually meet for meetings and even mounted a press conference for a concert scheduled this November with Giselle and Marissa Sanchez, billed as Sana Tatlo Ang Puso Ko.
As of this writing, I have not received an official word from Grand Leisure Corporation, the producer of the concert, if they will give it a green light.
From everywhere, most especially on social media, and even in the Palace, accolades and tributes are bestowed to the King of Original Pilipino Music.
I am sending warm embraces and condolences to his family. Thank you Rico Puno for your music. Thank you for your songs that we are and we will always sing.
Meanwhile, the two other Grim Reaper casualties were entertainment writing colleagues Bayani San Diego of Philippine Daily Inquirer and Bong de Leon of People’s Journal.
Tonton’s death came like a thief in the night, just like Puno’s. It shook me to my very core because someone from my demographic, my co-Generation X’er, is now in heaven.
San Diego was a regular bus and taxi mate who became a friend. When we manage to be in the same press conference or event and we no longer had other businesses, we took rides together and as we braved the traffic prior to arriving in our respective Southern villages, we had freewheeling conversation about the entertainment industry in particular and its many denizens and gossip in general. We also talk about personal, political and a different kind of love stuff.
As I write this, I remember his boisterous laughter, pouty lips, wit and his commitment to promote and support the Philippine Independent Cinema Movement.
The other colleague was the seasoned Bong de Leon. I was still in my wonder years when I first read his by-line and watched him asked intriguing questions in English at that in the entertainment talk show of yore, See True, hosted then by the late, great Inday Badiday
When I became an entertainment journalist as well, Tito Bong, was how he was called. He was one of the very few tabloid writers who had a column in English and come press conference time, inquired in the King’s language. He was always welcoming. He never made me feel a newbie.
All Saint’s Day and All Souls Days have passed and the Grim Reaper had his fill, obviously. To these three fine men who are now in the loving embrace of our Heavenly Bother, you will all be missed. The world has become a better place because of your artistic contributions and writings.
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