Ricky Reyes’s rich and eventful life could definitely rival today’s most colorful telenovelas. With its dramatic highs and lows, one could say that it even begs to be filmed.

It was not surprising then that his life story was recently dramatized in a weekly drama special on a popular television network.

But before his life was told on national television, there was, of course, a book. In 2000, writer Abe Florendo charted the life of Ricky Reyes, from his humble beginnings to his initial forays into the world of beauty and fashion, from his early triumphs as a hairdresser to his achievements as a philanthropist. As the blurb on the book’s cover explained, the writer could have explored countless of themes like the glitz and glamour that Reyes has surrounded his life with.
The decadence of the world he has conquered. But then, as Florendo constantly pointed out on his book, it would have not explained who exactly Reyes is.

Here is the short but very revealing copy:

“Abe Florendo could have chosen to write a book on the life (and loves!) of Ricky Reyes from the velvet side of midnight. Imagine: The glamour and decadence! The boys and the bitches! The operatic melodrama and the whimsical extravaganza! It would be a scream. But it would be false. Most midnights Ricky Reyes would be asleep, tired after a hard day’s work. Velvet midnights are what most people assume hugely successful hairdressers like Ricky Reyes pursue with a passion—or to destruction. It will come as a surprise to them that he keeps an ordinary day like everyone else, working to earn a living—and to indulge the small passions and pleasures.
What makes his life extraordinary is his arduous and determined climb from his modest beginnings and his mission to share with others the fruits of his success.
This then is the story of Ricky Reyes, the hairdresser with a big heart. It tells us how he was inspired to found Isang Gunting, Isang Suklay, a most original and socially responsive livelihood project with a nationwide reach. It tells us about the other programs he has set up for squatter communities, street children and manually skilled but unschooled workers.
It brings us to the heart-tugging cancer ward for children at PGH. It gives us a levelheaded picture of the Helping Foundation, the livelihood-training program he put up in the different regions of the country, which cemented his friendship with the former First Lady, Mrs. Ming Ramos, the founding chairman of the foundation. The untold number of beneficiaries of his good works makes up the milieu that defines the meaning of the life of Ricky Reyes.

On another level, the book may also provide valuable tips for would-be entrepreneurs coming from a maverick businessman whose unique management style mixes the soft-heartedness of a “Mother” and the toughness of a taipan.

But one may not be exactly disappointed after all:

There’s also melodrama here, in the episode about his father who had scornfully rejected him; and extravaganza, in the spectacular national and international makeup and hair shows whose prizes are coveted by everyone who dreams of becoming another Ricky Reyes. And to make this happen, listen to Mother’s homespun counsel: “Don’t stop dreaming.

"But stop dreaming and do something about it.”