By Virginia Jasmin Pasalo
I DO not exactly know when I was invited to write for Sunday Punch. The first person however who brought up the idea was Gonzalo Duque, who was then writing for the newspaper.
“It would be good for your advocacy. I know the publisher very well, he is a good friend of mine.”
“After I am done with my technical writing engagement, I might take you up on that.”
That was that, I forgot all about it. I met the publisher, Ermin Garcia, when I interviewed him for the book I was editing, Pinablin Dalin: Pangasinan History, Culture and Development sometime in 2012. It was in 2015, when he invited me to write for Sunday Punch.
My very first article, “It is not what you think” was published on O5 July 2015. This is my 316th article, which included, “Landing an Airplane in a Forest of Fireflies”, republished after having won first prize in an international writing competition sponsored by the Fundación Internacional de Literatura (Cuba-Holanda).
I have to credit Ermin Garcia for his persistence in the deadlines. Without his constant reminders, I would have missed two or three issues, which is normal for columnists. I learned from him that so far, I am the only columnist whose column never missed an issue. Just like Sunday Punch, now on its 65th anniversary, as announced today in his Facebook timeline:
“Pangasinan’s News Leader, our SUNDAY PUNCH, is 65 years old this month. It never missed an issue since July 1956, through the martial law, the 1990 earthquake, floods, typhoons, Covid pandemic etc. Not even the murder of our founding editor-publisher, Ermin Erfe Garcia in 1966 by a politician stopped it.”
I am honored that I write in this tradition of dedication. This is my 6th year with the publication, whose office I have not visited since I interviewed its publisher in 2012. I have had only three meetings with Ermin Garcia in 2015, after which we communicated via messages occasionally on the deadlines.
yes, you are older
and missing an heir
but just the same
here is a bottle of wine
we can toast
to the spirit that lingers
in between triumphs and disasters
dance with rebels and patriots
taking on critical steps
moving in the rhythm
of the now, with closed eyes
but with faith
in softer, healing melodies
drowning the lament of uncertainty
and the elegy of chaos and tyranny
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