Remembering Ric Segreto
Countless videoke sessions have been enjoyed by Filipinos over the years to the music of Ric Segreto. The Filipino-American recording artist is the voice behind immortal classics in the OPM songbook: “Don't Know What To Say (Don't Know What To Do),” “Kahit Konting Pagtingin,” “Loving You,” “Give Me a Chance,” “Stay,” and many others.
Segreto had a flourishing career in the local entertainment industry as a singer and actor, but not many people know that he also pursued a career in the academe as a teacher and historian later in his life, before he so tragically left this plane in a motorcycle accident on September 6, 1998.
Ric Segreto’s life
Richard Vincent Segreto Macaraeg was actually born in New York City to an Italian-American mother and a Filipino father. He was the second in a brood of five and spent the first few years of his life in America. His profile entry on Wikipedia states that his father was actually a captain in the Philippine Army who was one of the thousands of prisoners forced to walk over 100 kilometers in the infamous Bataan Death March. The elder Macaraeg survived the March and eventually migrated to the U.S. and became a surgeon.
The Segretos moved to the Philippines in the late 1950s where the patriarch set up a medical practice. Segreto himself first attended Lourdes School in Quezon City but continued his studies in Guam when the family moved there in 1959. He eventually went back to Manila to attend the first year of high school at Ateneo De Manila University.
Even back then Segreto was already showing signs of a love for music. He played in a band with his brother in Guam and it was actually in Ateneo where he met a group of other musically inclined young men that eventually became the original Apo Hiking Society.
Segreto completed high school in Guam and eventually flew to the mainland U.S. to study history at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. Even then he continued playing in bands, performing in shows and acting in stage productions in school. In the 1970s he played in a showband and performed all over the United States and even moved to Japan at one point to perform for audiences there.
But the young artist apparently felt the pull of his Filipino roots because he eventually decided to come back to the Philippines. According to an article by Sol Vanzi, Segreto was “discovered” by stage director and film critic Nestor Torre while performing with a band at the Cusco Lounge at the old Manila Midtown Hotel. Torre then cast Segreto in the musical Cabaret where he earned rave reviews.
He eventually landed a recording contract and released his debut album simply titled Segreto in 1982. It contained the hit "Kahit Konting Pagtingin," which eventually became the title of a blockbuster film starring Fernando Poe Jr. and Sharon Cuneta in 1990.
With his silky vocals and good looks, it didn’t take long for Segreto to become one of the biggest names in Philippine entertainment in the '80s and '90s. Perhaps his biggest hit, “Don’t Know What to Say (Don’t Know What to Do)” has been covered numerous times over the years, including by Rachel Alejandro and Side A and countless other singers on YouTube. His song "Loving You" also proved popular and later covered by artists like Nina.
Segreto also dabbled in acting, appearing in movies like Missing in Action (1984) and May Minamahal (1993).
Teacher and historian
In the late 80s, he moved to Guam with his then-wife, a Dutch flight attendant namd Erica, who bore him a son named Darby. Vanzi says he taught literature at the University of Guam and sometimes contributed articles to a magazine here in the Philippines. But even then he never stopped performing, often popping up in local bars around the island, sometimes with his brother Gordon, with whom he started a casual musical side project.
Segreto was estranged with his wife in the mid-1990s when he flew back to Manila to resume his entertainment career. He released a few more songs and, in 1997, starred as Ferdinand Magellan in the musical Lapu-Lapu.
He was living in Salcedo Village in Makati when he met his untimely demise in 1998. According to news reports at the time, Segreto was riding his motorcycle along EDSA at around noontime on September 6 when he was hit by a jeepney. The impact threw him off the motorcycle to a protruding steel bar from what was then the under-construction EDSA-Buendia flyover. He was killed instantly. He was about three weeks away from his 47th birthday.
Tributes poured in from all over soon after news of his death spread. Segreto only recorded one other full album (called Man of the Hour) after his debut, but his impact on the music scene is felt even today, over two decades since his passing. Many other singers have come out with hits over the years, but no one has ever been quite like Ric Segreto. Perhaps this is the reason we're still listening to his songs and sing them ourselves during videoke sessions until today.