The UST Archives, in coordination with the Miguel de Benavides Library, hosted a thanksgiving dinner and special tribute for its archivist, Prof. Regalado Trota Jose, on July 12, 2022 at the lobby of the Blessed Buenaventura Garcia Paredes, O.P. Building.
An archivist of UST for 12 years (2010-2021), Prof. Jose, or known as Sir Ricky, is a renowned researcher, a true scholar, and a professor at the Cultural Heritage Studies Program of the University. He is an expert on the cultural heritage of the church in the Philippines, especially during the Spanish colonial period. His book Simbahan won the National Book Award for the Art Category in 1992. In 1999, Jose was one of 100 Filipino cultural workers who received the Cultural Center of the Philippines Centennial Award for the Arts. His recommendations paved the way for the declaration of 26 churches as National Cultural Treasures in 2001. Moreover, he was a Commissioner for Cultural Heritage of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2011-2013.
Before the thanksgiving dinner, a Eucharistic celebration was held at the UST Santísimo Rosario Parish. Rev. Fr. Reynor E. Munsayac, O.P., the Vice President for Religious Affairs of Colegio de San Juan de Letran – Bataan, and a co-novice of Sir Ricky, was the Main Celebrant and preacher. It was concelebrated by the Dominican priests and attended by Sir Ricky´s family, colleagues, friends, and students.
Afterward, the guests headed to the BGPOP building for the testimonial and dinner in grateful recognition of Sir Ricky´s exemplary dedication and meritorious service to the University, where Ms. Maita B. Oebanda of the UST Museum served as the Master of Ceremonies. The program started with an invocation led by Ar. John Carlo L. Sayco, his former student and assistant director of UST Museum. Rev. Fr. Gaspar R. Sigaya, O.P., UST Acting Archivist, welcomed the guests, and shared the significance of the archives, its collections, and activities for the continuous preservation of the nation’s history. This was followed by Sir Ricky´s brief profile which was presented by Ms. Jane Frances F. Tumambing, UST Archives support staff. An audio-visual presentation of various photos illustrating Sir Ricky´s life as an archivist, a former novitiate Dominican brother, a teacher, and a friend was also played.
Sir Ricky was also a member of the UP Madrigal Singers in his early years. To reminisce about his days with the group, a special serenade of his favorite classical music and a Filipino song Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas was played by the quartet musicians from the UST Conservatory of Music.
A plaque of appreciation was presented to him by Fr. Sigaya, O.P., and Fr. Louie R. Coronel, O.P., Secretary-General and assistant archivist.
Testimonies were delivered afterward by the University academic officials, administrators, and colleagues who have worked with Prof. Jose, namely, UST Museum Director and Faculty of Civil Law Regent Rev. Fr. Isidro C. Abaño, O.P.; Rev. Fr. Angel Aparicio, O.P., Prefect of Libraries; Rev. Fr. Christopher Jeffrey L. Aytona, O.P., of the House of Mary Magdalene, Caleruega, Batangas; Assoc. Prof. Maria Eloisa P. De Castro, Ph.D., of the Faculty of Arts and Letters; Ms. Carla T. Gamalinda, his former student; and Rev. Fr. Jesus M. Miranda, Jr., O.P., Prior of the Priory of St. Thomas and editor of the Philippiniana Sacra.
All of them shared their experiences, fondest memories, funny stories, and how much they have enjoyed working and learning with Sir Ricky over the years. They have described him as a culture advocate, a heritage warrior who has a strong passion on the preservation and promotion of Filipino cultural heritage and of the UST history which can be seen in his remarkable publications. Aside from being simple, diligent, pious, and humble personality, Sir Ricky is also well-regarded by many for his good sense of humor, being a “walking encyclopedia” in the field of culture, church and others, and for his elephantine memory in which important dates like birthdays, anniversaries, feasts and holy days, and historical events, are things he gladly shares with his friends.
One of the many contributions of Sir Ricky to the University was his dedication in helping in the establishment of the UST Graduate School Center for Conservation of Cultural Property and Environment in the Tropics (USTGS-CCPET) together with Fr. Abaño and Prof. Eric B. Zerrudo. In addition, he would always promote the University’s significant contributions to the development of the country through its precious archival collections whenever he gets the chance, be it through conferences & training sessions he attended, and his visits to other places, which made UST known as a significant resource among local and international researchers.
He has also brought the writing and research styles of his students to a higher level as he influenced them to engage themselves in reading to hone their writing capabilities. Likewise, he helped in the modernization of the UST Archives, in which the digitization of rare documents and its availability online through the Miguel de Benavides Digital Library was materialized and is being sustained up to now. The improvement of the Archives´ facilities and equipment, publication of two-volume catalogs of archival collections with English annotations were also done under his term.
In his testimonial speech, Fr. Aparicio said that in Spanish, regalado from the verb regalar, means gifted or to be given as a present. Thus, regalado is a gift. Therefore, he said, Sir Ricky has been a gift to UST. It is also fitting that the University sends him off as a gift to others as added by Fr. Coronel in his word of thanks.
As the University officials, colleagues and friends bid farewell to its brother Ricky, Very Rev. Fr. Richard G. Ang, O.P., Ph.D., UST Rector, said that he admired him for his passion, which gives him motivation, energy, dynamism, and the drive to do the things he loves to do. He told him to always carry his passion wherever he goes, whatever he does. His good reputation as a sought-after archivist and expert in cultural heritage are highly regarded as well. He also expressed that he values his formation he received not just from University of the Philippines but also his Thomasian and Dominican formations, too.
Lastly, the Father Rector proposed a toast dedicated to Sir Ricky – to more passion, to more good reputation and continuing formation. The University owes him a lot, and he thanked him for his service to the University.
Sir Ricky in his response, truly appreciated this unexpected tribute and gratitude program for him, an event that he will always remember with a smile in his heart.