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MANILA, Philippines – A number of Filipino celebrities commemorated the life of veteran film and television actor Ronaldo Valdez, who passed away on Sunday, December 17.
Singer-comedian Janno Gibbs, who is Valdez’s son with Maria Fe Gibbs, confirmed his father’s passing in a post on his Instagram.
In his post, Gibbs said: “It is with great sorrow that I confirm my father’s passing. The family would like to request that you respect our privacy in our grieving moment. Your prayers and condolences are much appreciated”.
At the time of his passing, the father-and-son duo were working on Gibbs’ directorial film debut, which was set to arrive in cinemas in January of next year.
In a previous post on his Instagram for Valdez’s birthday on November 27, Gibbs tagged his father in a sweet message.
“Happy [birthday] Papa! What a joy to share the screen [with] you. And such a privilege to have directed you. We had fun, didn’t we?” he wrote. To which Valdez replied in the comment section with: “[Thank you, son. You do me proud.]”
Kathryn Bernardo and the cast of 2 Good 2 Be True
In a series of photos and videos posted on her Instagram stories,, box office queen Kathryn Bernardo commemorated the late actor by sharing photos of her and Valdez, taken from their time together on the set of the TV show 2 Good 2 Be True (2022).
While working on the TV show, Bernardo posted a long message on her Instagram, calling Valdez “the lolo [she] never had.” At the time, Valdez had responded with a sweet message of his own, writing: “You will now [and] forever be my very much [loved] fifth apo.”
Valdez had also posted a message for the actress’s 27th birthday earlier this year, writing: “Hppy B’Day!!!U SweetHeart of a Girl.”
Co-stars Franco Laurel and Alyssa Muhlach also shared tributes to Valdez in their IG stories.
Renowned newscaster Arnold “Igan” Clavio shared several touching tributes to Valdez, referring to him as “Tay” in the posts he made on his Instagram.
Clavio shared a Boney Kapoor quote to commemorate his colleague, writing: “There are heroes and then there are legends, heroes get remembered but legends never die.”
He also made references to his experiences with Valdez and how they would stay together at EDSA Shangri-La, fondly remembering how he shared warm hugs with the late actor.
Clavio went on to write: “Tay bakit ganon? Magpapasko pa naman. Pero kung yun ang itinakda ng Maykapal, masakit man ay kailangang tanggapin.”
(Dad, why now? Christmas is about to come. But if that’s what the Lord planned, even if it hurts, we’ll accept it.)
Clavio expressed his condolences to the grieving family in the same post.
Veteran actress and former House Deputy Speaker Vilma Santos-Recto also took to Instagram to express her condolences, sharing a still from the 1981 film Karma, which the two worked on together.
Santos-Recto kept her message short and simple, writing: “Our condolences and prayers. You will be missed. Rest In Peace, my friend!”
Renowned singer Gary Valenciano shared a touching tribute to Valdez in his Instagram post, recalling how Valdez’s authenticity inspired him.
“You were one person who I loved to watch. Your authenticity never failed to move me. Thank you sir Ronaldo Valdez.”
Valenciano went on to write: “I never had a chance to work much with you but in those few moments I spent talking with you, it made me feel blessed to know that I got to meet someone like you. Rest in His peace sir. I know His embrace will always keep you smiling.”
Fellow actress Chanda Romero posted images of her with her late friend to her Instagram.
“Ron, one of my favorite leading men. A treasure in the Philippine movie industry, a perfect gentleman, with a sweet and happy disposition and wicked wit.”
Romero ended her caption by saying: “Rest well, my dear friend. You will be missed. Sorely missed. I’m sure you’re already bantering with Danny Zialcita now. Hugs to him too.”
Bella Padilla also posted a message on X about the passing of Valdez, writing: “Grew up watching sir Ronaldo Valdez’s movies and TV shows. The news today is so sad. Our greats are joining the stars in the heavens.”
Dimples Romana, who was Valdez’s co-star on the 2009 Maalaala Mo Kaya episode “Bisikleta,” wrote about her experience working on the film with the late actor in her post, paying homage to his impact on her life.
“May mga taong sadyang makakapagpabago ng pagtingin mo sa buhay. Tatatak sila sa ‘yo hanggang sa huli at kailanman ay hindi mo sila malilimot. Ikaw yun sa akin. At sa napakarami pa naming nagmamahal sayo Lo.”
(There are really individuals who will change the way you view life. They’ll make such a mark on you that you’ll never be able to forget them. That’s who you are to me. And to a lot of people who love you, Grandpa.)
Romana spoke about the warmth that defined her interactions with Valdez.
“You were always full of joy, of life and gratitude. Your smile lit up the set. Your warmth melted everyone’s hearts. You have that gift. And I will always be grateful for all the learnings, the laughter and the lessons that came with lots of smiles and realizations. And super tight hugs.”
Romana added that while her heart might be “broken” by the news, she “will never be disheartened” as Valdez has taught her how to remain strong and steadfast.
“For you Lolo taught me to brave the huge waves of life with a spirit of a warrior whose armor is not made of steel but is made of love. The kind that endures all and conquers even the darkest of days. Salute to one of the greatest actors of all time for me. A man who knew how to value not only his work but more importantly every single other person on and off set.”
Romana ended her message by reiterating her love for the late actor: “Mahal ka namin Lo. Mahal na mahal. Pahinga na po. Patuloy ka naming mamahalin at titingalain.”
(We love you. We love you so much. TIme to rest now. We’ll continue to love you and honor you.)
Ronaldo Valdez’s career onscreen spanned nearly six decades, with a filmography including acclaimed hits such as Loving Someone (1993), Sukob (2006), and Nasaan ang Puso (1997). He was also the first-ever Filipino Colonel Sanders for Kentucky Fried Chicken.
Valdez was 76 at the time of his passing.
As of this writing, the Quezon City Police District is conducting an investigation into Valdez’s death. – with additional reports from Dana Villano/Rappler.com
Dana Villano is a Rappler intern.