Rico's parents eventually decided to build their vacation cum "retirement" home in Baguio, summer capital of the Philippines.
It just so happened that, before Rico died, Mrs. Yan had bought a piece of land in Baguio. The lot was owned by Mrs. Yan's father, Col. Isabelo Castro, who belonged to the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) Class of 1942. "All the owners of the lots here are PMAers, 1942," Mrs. Yan explains. They subdivided this lot into ten."
She and Rico discussed their plans for the lot when her son was still alive. "So I go and tell Rico, ‘Rico, we're going to start with our gamit lang.' Although he hadn't seen the place, the lot, he was giving his inputs on how it was gonna happen."
A week before Rico died, Cocoy Cordoba started working on the look of the Baguio house. Since they both live in Manila, Mrs. Yan would come up to Baguio every weekend, while Cocoy would check on the house every two weeks.
"All the furniture you see is basically her old stuff," Cocoy says. Working on a tight budget, he and Mrs. Yan eventually achieved a look that satisfied even Mr. Yan, who had at one time fumed that 'Cocoy is all gastos!'"
In turn, Cocoy guffaws: "This is not magastos. With some pieces bought for as low as P80, we've created a country Aztec theme!"
Mrs. Yan, leaning against the living room wall holding a huge photograph of Rico, smiles in full agreement.