Mat Ranillo III is enjoying his Lolo time

Where do actors go when they retire (sans regrets) from showbiz?

Well, many of them seek (and enjoy) life as private citizens abroad, unperturbed by people prompted by curiosity to verify, “Ikaw si ______, di ba?” The faint recognition is usually returned with a polite smile.

“That’s what usually happens when I meet our kababayan in the mall or wherever,” said Mat Ranillo III in an e-mail interview with Funfare. “Nakakatuwa naman.”

For several years now, Mat (named after his father, the King of Visayan Movies who died in a plane crash in 1969) and his wife Lynda Tupaz have been living in the States enjoying their “Lolo/Lola” time looking after their grandchildren. In 2016 in L.A., I was invited to a lunch with their daughter Krista Ranillo and her husband Nino Lim who were then parents of four beautiful children, with the fifth born in 2019.

I invited Mat to be a respondent in this corner’s seventh “Lenten Reflections” series (concluded last Maundy Thursday, April 1) and, no thanks to technical glitch, his response came later (no worries, you’ll read it in a while). “Greetings and felicitations to you, dear friend,” Mat wrote. “It’s been quite a while since I heard from you. Well, the pandemic seems to have slowed everything up and people got so scared of mingling. Times are different now.

…and now five with names that start with the letter ‘N’ like their dad’s: Nate, Nolan, Nash, Nathalie and Nyles (born in 2019).

“As for us, we’re all doing fine here in L.A. Keeping the family tight and no socializing. The kids’ virtual learning keeps us busy daily. Krista and I assist the four kids (I call them babies still) who do virtual school.”

Maybe it challenges the memory to connect Lolo Mat to the gentle-faced actor made immortally famous more by his portrayal of Jesus Christ in passion plays (and on television and in film, no other local actor on record has done it with welcome frequency) than his memorable films with Lino Brocka (Rubia Servios), Ishmael Bernal (Salawahan, Dalawang Pugad Isang Ibon), Elwood Perez (Paraisong Parisukat, Masarap…Masakit ang Umibig), Gil M. Portes (Sa Piling Ng Mga Sugapa) and Carlo J. Caparas (The Annabelle Huggins Story). He even plays the titular role in the San Lorenzo Ruiz bioflick.

“Masarap na masaya maging Lolo,” assured Mat. “Makes me feel young, hihihi!!!”

Here’s Mat’s answer to the question “How do you know that there is God?” in that Lent series:

Ever since I was a child, I’ve always been curious and interested about God. I learned, too, from my aunt Gloria Armada that my Lolo Mat Sr., who grew up in a seminary, and my Daddy Mat Jr. had the same interest. Well, it seems it runs in the family.

Growing up, I was surrounded by priests and nuns who were friends of my Dad and Mom (Gloria Sevilla). Eventually, I dreamt of entering the religious life when I got older. Life was fun for me.

When my dad suddenly passed away in 1969 in a plane crash, everything turned gloomy and sour for me. From a mischievous, bubbly and energetic kid, I became an introvert. I kept everything to myself, absorbing all the pain inside. That was when I questioned God’s love, His plan for my life and for family.

Those were dark days and I saw no light at the end of the tunnel. It took a long time, in fact years, for healing to come. I struggled but had to fight through it all. I needed to be strong; I needed to help me as I felt all alone. 
 As the years passed, I thought I was walking by myself but not knowing those were God’s steps as He carried me through my anguish and struggles. I was being helped by God and I didn’t see it. He did have a plan for me, and it was for my own good and not to harm me.

Slowly, I saw how He molded me to be me and made me a strong person. He gave me pains, He gave me failures, He gave me disappointments to show me and mold me for His bigger plan for me. I saw His hand at work in my life. There were times in my life that I felt He wanted me to do something and it turned out to be a failure.

As time passed, I would realize that it was I who wanted it and not God. A bigger and better door opened as the failure closed.

As I see my children growing up and having a family of their own, as I see my grandkids with all their smiles, hugs and kisses, as I see me and my wife Lynda going through life together, with all the blessings God has showered upon me and my Ranillo family, it’s undoubtedly impossible not to think of God’s Mercy and Love. 
This is how I know that there is a God.

Time for a little laugh

Here’s a fun (not funny, ha) item from my friend Edu Jarque.

Said Edu, “This has got to be one of the cleverest e-mails I’ve received in a while. Someone out there must be ‘deadly’ at Scrabble.”

• PRESBYTERIANWhen you rearrange the letters: BEST IN PRAYER

• ASTRONOMERWhen you rearrange the letters: MOON STARER

• DESPERATIONWhen you rearrange the letters: A ROPE ENDS IT

• THE EYESWhen you rearrange the letters: THEY SEE

• THE MORSE CODE When you rearrange the letters: HERE COME DOTS

• DORMITORYWhen you rearrange the letters: DIRTY ROOM

• SLOT MACHINESWhen you rearrange the letters: CASH LOST IN ME

• ANIMOSITYWhen you rearrange the letters: IS NO AMITY

• ELECTION RESULTSWhen you rearrange the letters: LIES – LET’S RECOUNT

• SNOOZE ALARMSWhen you rearrange the letters: ALAS! NO MORE Z’S

• A DECIMAL POINTWhen you rearrange the letters: I’M A DOT IN PLACE

• THE EARTHQUAKESWhen you rearrange the letters: THAT QUEER SHAKE

• ELEVEN PLUS TWOWhen you rearrange the letters: TWELVE PLUS ONE.

(E-mail reactions at [email protected]. For more updates, photos and videos, visit or follow me on Instagram @therealrickylo.)

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