By Noel Cabobos
PORING over the pages of Sunday Punch got into the sentimental side of me as I try to recall the story of life and those “moving” personal letters of this paper’s founder, Ermin Garcia, Sr. The feeling was even exacerbated by the thought of a book (where his life story is contained) I lost in the flashflood spawned by Typhoon Frank that struck Kalibo and the rest of the Visayas Region in 2007.
On the lighter side though, it also brought the memory of meeting his junior for the first time, this paper’s publisher-editor, in Cebu in mid 90’s when he was still the executive director of the Philippine Press Institute (PPI). Along with that meeting is my equally memorable association with Howie Severino, who, before venturing into broadcasting, was with the Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism (PCIJ), and of course, how can I forget Isagani “Sir Gani” Yambot (God bless his soul), of the Philippine Daily Inquirer whom I can always remember whenever I down a bottle of San Miguel Beer.
How couldn’t I?
I had the privilege of meeting these beautiful people in one setting during the “Re-Write & Edit” Seminar Workshop which was conducted by the PPI in partnership with Konrad Adeneur Foundation during that time.
I really cannot forget my first meeting with them whom I consider as mentors because it served as a spark for a struggling writer like me, igniting the flame of passion to the trade that I never thought I will have a tryst with for two decades now.
Writing is my first love but after meeting and listening to them and to their thoughts, it was only then that I realized it doesn’t end there. Like any other profession, one has to be armed to the teeth to be able to practice it with keenness guided with the sense of professionalism. I owe them that.
Indeed, their wisdom that was shared to us during that time and during the many other seminars that I and my colleagues in the print media had attended with the PPI as host is something all of us will keep dearly.
About Sir Gani, one thing that I will particularly never forget about the guy was when I invited him to be a speaker in Aklan sometime in 2008 when I conducted the 1st Campus Writers Congress in partnership with DepEd and the MassCom Department of the Northwestern Visayan Colleges.
When I wrote to invite him to speak before high school and college writers who were converging to organize CAWSA or Campus Writers Society of Aklan in time with the holding of the said Congress, he immediately called me to ask how long he would stay in the province and what are the things that he had to prepare for the event. In the course of our talk, he offered to take charge of his plane fare to and from Manila and assured me not to worry about anything. The only favor that he asked, which got the laugh out of me, was his request to just prepare him a cold San Miguel beer. During the entire duration of that 3-day and 2-night event, I was privileged then to be his personal aide in bringing him his well-loved ice-cold San Miguel.
I am missing that beer-giving privilege now.
* * * *
By the way, please allow me to thank Sir Ermin Garcia, Jr., this paper’s publisher editor, for the opportunity to be a part of this paper through this corner. I was thinking of temporarily shying away from news publications to take a little breather while I’m working on my first book but like the writer’s proverbial, “Once a writer always a writer” and “Writing? Yeah, it’s my first love”, I decided anyway to make the most of my presence in this part of the country, and so I’m at it again.
Now, who would dare say only women have changeable minds? But if you still wanna dare, let me remind you of that famous line, “Only fools don’t change their minds”, which was locally popularized by fiery Ilonggo Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago. The same quote, if I may add, was popularized in Iloilo City by another Ilonggo senator back in the early ‘90s–the late Senator Rodolfo “Roding” Ganzon, whose photographic mind, according to some political observers, can equal that of former President Ferdinand Marcos.
Well, as I’m at it again, I have to admit though that it is never easy to go back in the old habit with the same passion and orgasm needed to consummate an affair oozing with excitement and ecstasy. Besides, I’m not that easily aroused now compared to what I was before but I’m trying–trying very hard to experience that euphoria-like sensation whenever I try to be at peace or, better still, amazingly contended in my favorite sit-down position…pounding and pounding the keyboard of my PC travel mate.
AFTERTHOUGHTS. Life isn’t perfect. We just have to accept that. One moment we are happy. Another moment we are no longer one. That is why you have to seize the moment if everything seems so good and great. Grab it and cherish whatever goodness life has to offer. So when sadness comes, you will also have many things…many good things in mind to reminisce or reflect upon. Things that will make you smile or just be happy about. And then you will realize that you’re no longer in the dumb.
Life, indeed, is like swing and roundabout. Yeah, just like a seesaw. What one loses on the swing, he gains on the roundabout. So smile, my friend, because such is life. Sometimes situation gets bad and sometimes things get really wrong. But sometimes it is also good, even great perhaps, to experience those things because that can make you stronger and better. What is important is that we live the moment as it is supposed to be. Just don’t forget to mind your Ps and Qs. I mean, always be careful and always be cautious because the world is full of tricks, pretenses and dishonesty. Traitors abound. Backstabbers too. But one needs this kind of people to be stronger than ever.
Such is life. That’s why it’s beautiful. (Comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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