Now Reading
‘Ron Me to the Moon…’

‘Ron Me to the Moon…’

Tessa R. Salazar

30 years of Auto Review is like a teaser for exciting behind-the-scenes action with a legendary broadcaster

There are people who may be considered the “life of the party.” And then there’s Ron de los Reyes. He has brought this quality in him across many generations of media, from radio and television, and now across online realms, in the motoring and sports beats.

A media party or get-together wouldn’t be complete without Ron, whom more senior colleagues refer to as “Gov” (because of his uncanny likeness to actor and Senator Lito Lapid, who was at the time Pampanga governor when the “kaloka-likeness” was first pointed out). And a media party isn’t successfully concluded without Ron grabbing the mike (from the stand or from someone else) and singing either one or both of his all-time favorite songs “Moon River” and “Fly Me to the Moon.” And yes, the live band MUST know how to play these two songs. Otherwise, Ron would still sing them, a capella.

That’s just the singing. We haven’t gone to the “pun” part yet, and that’s the man’s penchant for making puns from out of the blue. It doesn’t just happen in parties and get-togethers. Ron’s lightning word wit can strike anywhere, anytime.

“Asparagus as I’m concerned … ”

We the members of the motoring beat have been the long-time recipients of these one-liners. He delivers them in that deep, baritone voice that hints of a long and storied life in broadcasting. He dishes them out during our ride-and-drive events, over the walkie-talkie, or during mealtimes, or in the middle of conversations.

“What did the carrot say to the other carrot? You’re my soilmate.”

When he cracks food for thought like this, you either chuckle or the palm of your hand forcefully lands on your forehead. He can switch from “the life of the party” to the “laugh of the party” in a snap.

The singing. The one-liner jokes. That’s already a knockout one-two punch in group fellowships. But what really makes Ron one-of-a-kind is his out-of-this-world stamina. As certain as a full moon occurs every month, you can count on the man being present in almost all motoring happenings—even in events that are held at the same time on the same day. Don’t ask me how. Like the action star Governor who can kill two villains with one bullet (using a knife to split the slug in mid-air), Ron can split his time from one event to the next. All of these superhuman abilities haven’t diminished in a man who amazingly hit 70 last May 14.

Speaking of age, Ron takes all those piled-up years in stride and grace—including the age-related wisecracks made at his expense. One time, a media colleague joked, “Ron, didn’t you cover the Bataan Death March?” (The infamous Death March happened during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines in 1942.) Ron, like everyone else who heard the ribbing, laughed it off.

All those decades of experience being part of the country’s sports and motoring media has given Ron a virtual truckload of compelling memories, many of which he has shared with younger colleagues.

Ron told me that during the First Pyongyang Invitational Amateur Boxing Championships in 2003, when the Philippines sent a sports delegation to North Korea for the first time, his North Korean liaison officer advised him and his fellow media man to “change professions,” as the liaison warned that foreign reporters were unwelcomed in North Korea. Ron’s colleague then ingeniously declared himself as “team dentist” and Ron as “team physician.” Later on, that colleague was called upon to attend to a boxer’s toothache, which the “dentist” treated by giving the fighter a packet of Ponstan, relieving the patient of his symptoms, and leaving the North Korean officials none the wiser for the remainder of the tournament.

In between laughter, I asked Ron if this story was true. He insisted it was. But he also couldn’t keep a straight face.

Apart from that “misadventure” in North Korea, Ron has amassed an enviable collection of adventures from around the world. And there have been firsts, too. Ron is the first Filipino motorsports journalist to have covered the 17-day Australian Safari in 1997. It was also in this event that he was punched by a kangaroo, and this time he had no Ponstan to treat himself, much more so since he was knocked down, marking probably the first (and only) time a motorsports journo was brought down on his butt by a marsupial.

At this juncture, I will have to stop myself from revealing too much about Ron, since he recently disclosed to me that he was in the middle of compiling his life experiences into a book tentatively titled “Ron on the Run,” which encapsulates his over 40 years of work in various media, public relations, motoring and sports endeavors. I bet that book will contain spectacular pictures, as well, because Ron is that quintessential mountain trekker, counting his conquests of Mount Pinatubo, Mount Pulag, Mount Apo, Mount Vulcan, Mount Kinabalu and Ayers Rock, to name just a few.

That book will probably attempt to put in print the life of an overachieving broadcaster and president of Visions in Action Production and Events Ltd and producer-host of the long-running weekly “Auto Review” show on PTV 4. “Auto Review” is now celebrating its 30th year, and continues to air every Saturday 2:30 to 3:00 p.m.

If there’s no dull moment in Ron’s company, it could also be said that Ron hates idle time. That’s why, even when he has been busy producing his “Auto Review” segments, Ron still finds time to do many other things, such as anchoring the weekly “Aksyon Sports” on Radyo 5 92.3 NewsFM (February 2011 to March 2020). That radio show won him two KBP Golden Dove Awards for Best Sports Program on Radio in 2016 and 2018.

Quantity, and quality. That would summarize Ron’s continuing stint in motoring media for over 29 years. His work here has earned him 11 Henry Ford Motoring Journalism Awards (between 2001 and 2019), the Nissan Best TV Feature and Best Story Award (2005) and the Department of Tourism’s Best TV Travel Feature Award (2012).

The “Auto Review” team is as indefatigable as Ron and his jovial and ever-reliable cameraman Davein Madrid. Ron has covered and featured events in Southeast Asia, Japan, China, Taiwan, the two Koreas, Australia, Germany, Russia, France, The Netherlands, England and the United States.

As a sports commentator and writer, Ron has covered four Olympic Games—from Seoul in 1988, Barcelona in 1992, Atlanta in 1996, to Sydney in 2000. He had also covered the Wimbledon Tennis Championships from 1992 to 97 and the French Open in 2016, the Incheon Asian Games in 2014, the Jakarta-Palembang Asian Games in 2018, as well as 9 editions of the Southeast Asian Games, including the games in Kuala Lumpur in 2017 and in Manila in 2019.

Memorable also was Ron’s live commentary of boxer Onyok Velasco’s silver medal bout in the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. He produced the special TV coverage of the Philippines-Sweden Davis Cup World Quarterfinals (1997), the Asian Track and Field Championships (1993), the World Women’s Volleyball Grand Prix (1998), the 1st International Beach Volleyball Open (Boracay, 1993), the ABAP Go for Gold Amateur Boxing, the Pre-Athens Olympic Qualifying Boxing matches in Puerto Princesa (2003), and several editions of the Mitsubishi International Junior Tennis Championships.

In motorsports, apart from the Australian Safari in 1997, Ron also covered the Rainforest Challenge Malaysia in 2003, as well as the Formula 1 Malaysian Grand Prix, Australian F1 and Shanghai F1.

See Also

‘Ron-ning’ events organizer

From 1994 to 1999, Ron also spearheaded the organizing team behind the Milo National Marathon. He also managed the Pasig River Heritage Marathon in 2000, and the Quezon City International Marathon from 2009 to 2013.

For the motoring industry, Ron also led the 2011 launch of World Health Organization and DOTR’s Decade of Road Safety 2011-2020 Relay Run from Manila to Quezon City, the Isuzu D-Max Mt. Pinatubo Off-Road Challenge in 2002 and 2005, the Suzuki Vitara 48hour Non-Stop Challenge, the Nissan Frontier 72-Hour NonStop Challenge in 2003, the Isuzu-Auto Review Philippine Centennial Drive from Manila to Cagayan-Ilocos-Cavite and Batangas in 1998, and the annual Auto Review Run for Road Safety and Courtesy from 2002 to 2016.

The ‘BRon-caster’

Ron’s heart invariably lies in broadcasting, and it’s in this sector of media where he shows the most career zing and zest. Ron was the first broadcaster to be elected president of the Sports Communicators Organization of the Philippines (SCOOP) in 1998-99. He also served as president of the Independent Blocktimers Association (IBA) and the Association of Road Race Organizers (ARRO).

In print, though, Ron has exhibited a similar energy. He was a founding member and treasurer of the Society of Philippine Motoring Journalists Inc (SPMJ). He wrote weekly motoring columns for Malaya Business Insight (2008 to 2018), Manila Times and Manila Bulletin. Ron was also a sports columnist for Malaya (1994 to 1999) and Scoreboard Magazine, and was a travel columnist for Cruising Magazine.

From 1981 to 1990, Ron served as San Miguel Corp’s media relations officer.

He anchored the IBC 13 late night newscast, “IBC Balita: Huling Ulat,” in 1989 and 1990. He was also a newscaster and program host at Far East Broadcasting Company (FEBC) DZAS and DZFE-FM from 1976 to 1978 and at Voice of the Philippines DZRP and DWBR Business Radio from 1978 to 1981. He also hosted the weekly “Cathay Pacific Inflight Hour” and “La Germania Love Hour” on DZHP-FM.

Ron graduated from the University of the Philippines with a bachelor of arts degree in broadcast communications. He also attended the Korean Broadcasting System-Deutsche Velle Seminar on Sports Journalism in Seoul, Korea in May, 1988.

The man who goes by the full name of Reynaldo L. de los Reyes was born in Lingayen, Pangasinan. He’s now based in Quezon City, and lives with his wife Aurora. He has four children Ronald Rey, Rona Reina, Shazadi Reyra and Eric Rey.

By all accounts, Ron has already proven to everyone that he can stand toe-to-toe with the best of us in this game of life. Well, maybe not everyone. Ron still has a score to settle with the kangaroo who floored him. Faces and personalities come and go all the time. But what I know is that, as certain as the moon rises after the sun sets, the Ron de los Reyes I know from decades back will still sign his name in the attendance books of every motoring event, and the mandatory selfies and groupfies of those events will be posted on his Facebook wall the next day—happy chronicles of the life and times of the “punny” life of the party.