There’s never a dull moment with “Macho Gwapito” singer Rico J. Puno. After 40 years in show business and two years since he underwent triple bypass operation, Rico is as active as ever.
The singer behind the hits “Kapalaran,” “May Bukas Pa,” “Buhat,” and “Damdamin” will hold the concert “Rico J. Puno, 40 Years Of The Total Entertainer” at The Solaire Theatre on Dec. 2.
“Sabi ko nu’ng una, ano ba iyan, tribute ba iyan? Ayaw ko ng tribute. Sabi, ‘Hindi.’ Itong 40th celebration, may concert ka din diyan, pero maganda diyan, andiyan mga kaibigan mo, family mo,” Rico told the press.
His friends from showbiz are also his guest performers, including Hadji Alejandro, Rey Valera, Martin Nievera, Ogie Alcasid, Ai Ai delas Alas, and Claire dela Fuente.
Every day now is like a celebration of life for Rico. Surviving the seven-hour surgery in 2015 is his second chance to life.
“Nagtataka ako kung paano ko naligtasan iyon. Akala ko (hopeless) na. Kaya iyon ’yung sinasabi, kahit singer ka o ano, you have to save for the rainy days, lalo na (para) sa iyong health,” he said.
In April 2015, Rico was confined at Makati Medical Center and Asian Hospital, where he had heart surgery. He had difficulty breathing after taping for ABS-CBN’s “Home Sweetie Home.”
“Ako, diniretso ko ’yung doctor ko. ‘Doc, tell me the truth. What will happen to me?’ Ako first time ko ma-operahan, takot ako sa dugo eh. Pero sa mga panahong iyon, hindi pwedeng takot ka,” he said.
Recalling his ordeal, Rico added, “Dati, doon ako kinabahan kasi noong nilagyan ako ng tube, nu’ng binatak ng ganoon, meron akong part ng throat na parang hindi mo maabot, pipiyok ka. So, ang naging therapy ko, lahat ng kanta ng The Beatles.”
Help from his friends in show business poured. Thank God, Rico recovered quickly and returned to the sitcom “Home Sweetie Home.”
“Ang dami mong kailangan na balikan, bukod sa pamilya mo, ’yung mga tao sa industriya,” he shared.
Rico hasn’t lost his humor.
“Doon ko lang nalaman na kapag nawala pala ’yung boses ko, tapos na. Hindi naman pwede daanin sa mukha,” he noted.
Of course, there is no stopping Rico from making green jokes. He shared though that he adjusts to his audiences.
“Itinigil ko nga iyon (green jokes) pero parang nagkakasakit ako nu’ng wala iyon eh. Sa akin, kung saan ka effective. Siyempre, masaya sila eh, ’yung mga fans ko mga hoodlum eh,” he said in jest.
Years since Rico released his biggest albums, his songs are still widely played on radio, TV, and some are even used as theme songs. Many also sing these as contest pieces on TV variety shows.
“Sa totoo lang, ang lakas ng audience noon, ’yung “Tawag Ng Tanghalan,” parang lahat ng Filipino eh iyon talaga ang gusto, maging sikat na mang-aawit. ’Yung last na nanalo, si Joven, song ko din ang pinanalo niya noong una,” he said.
Rico, of course, feels proud he has stayed relevant and known among different generations. His song “May Bukas Pa” was used for ABS-CBN’s teleserye of the same title and was sung by Kyle Balili and Erik Santos.
“Siyempre proud ako. Kasi noong panahon namin, wala kaming kinokopyahang local eh. In fairness, sa ngayon, para sa akin, mas gusto ko pa ngang pina-pirate ang kanta ko eh. ’Yung mga pinakamahal na kanta ngayon, ’yung mga kanta naming, lalo na sa VST & Co. Kaya ’yung website importante iyon eh,” he said.
Rico is reaching to wider audiences through www.ricojpuno.com, which contains his shows, songs, and concerts.
“Iyon ang kailangan eh. Kahit hindi ako marunong mag-computer, pero complete ako (ng gadgets) sa bahay ko.”
Almost a month from now and Rico will be on the big stage again. Amid the challenges he faced in the recent years, Rico is thankful to be standing strong.
“Pagkakaiba noon, I hope, para ding si Senator Pacquiao, noong una siyang lumalaban sa boxing kinakabahan ako. Ngayon, pwede niyang itabla, idiretso. Ako, meron ako noon. And at the same time, ’yung mga makakasama namin, laging patok iyon. Alam ko na kung paano iyon gagawin. If you have it, you have it,” he said.
Tags: Manila Bulletin, Manila Bulletin Entertainment, May Bukas Pa, mb.com.ph, Rico J. Puno, Rico Puno concert marks milestone in his decades-long career, The Beatles, “Macho Gwapito”, “Rico J. Puno 40 Years Of The Total Entertainer”
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