Of awards and goodbyes

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By May Anne Cacdac

The Iron Maiden

Thursday, May 8, 2014


THIS was an eventful week.

More like an extension of last week's flurry of activities this Maiden engaged in.

It started on April 30 with initial preparations for the Golden anniversary of the Philippine Press Institute.

Ariel Sebellino, PPI executive director, I believe, had everything under control – well, except his voice.

This as he insisted, when finally he got the chance to see me upon my arrival at our venue Traders Hotel, that he was already 3 decibels softer.

“Of course,” Wally Panganiban, head for Corporate Communications of Mead Johnson answered.

It felt good to be with friends.

I have reason to believe Ms. Eileen Mangubat of Cebu Daily News was the early bird.

She was already there setting up CDN’s exhibit on disaster reporting.

Her booth may not have won as best booth but without a doubt, CDN was the big winner in this year’s PPI Civic Journalism Community Press Awards, daily category.

Another highlight of the previous week was meeting Ms. Evelyn del Rosario, PLDT head for Community Relations.

She is the epitome of humility and it was more than a pleasant surprise to learn she is Ilocano. We instantly bonded.

And when I thought the day could not get any better, in comes former president Gen. Fidel V. Ramos.

I was surprised to see FVR still in great physical condition considering his age. At one point in his speech he even challenged PPI chairman-elect and former Cabinet secretary Jess Dureza to push ups. Sir Jess knew better than to accept the former commander-in-chief’s challenge.

Ramos’s speech was funny. And yet it was sobering. This from a man who served the military, rose from its ranks to become the head of state. And this from a man whose father was a journalist.

It was FVR who handed SunStar Baguio its very first award in all the years it has been a member of PPI - in the category I least expected – Best in Culture, Arts and History Reporting. My knees were literally shaking when I walked up the stage to receive the trophy.

But FVR calmed the nerves asking, “Ilocano ka, anak ko?”

He elicited a laugh from Jane Cadalig, copy editor of Baguio Midland Courier, when he jokingly told her he knows a Baguio lass just by her legs. I caught the last part of the comment and I could not help but laugh, too.

“Napintas ti legs da,” said the President.

To cap the awards night it was manong Sly Quintos, managing editor of the now award winning Baguio Chronicle, who gave the acceptance speech for all the winners.

Friday, May 2, was a slow day apart from lunch with my Commander and the Baguio PPI members’ trip back home.

On this note, I would like to thank Benguet Electric Cooperative general manager Gerry Versoza. Your generosity to us just overwhelms me.

Saturday I was brought to tears when Sir Pedz (Peter Rey Bautista, just in case) texted that Vice Mayor Danny Fariñas was hospitalized and in very critical condition.

Sir Danny, I would like to believe, is a relative by affinity.

Ma’am Lilia, his wife, is sister to my late Uncle Ruben Cacdac’s wife, aunty Elvira, who passed several years ago. Manang Midol, their eldest daughter is wife to broadcast journalist Kiko Calado.

The last conversation I had with VM was during Ambassador Goldberg’s reception at the Ambassador’s Residence in Camp John Hay.

He pulled up a chair beside him and said, “May Anne, you come here. You sit beside me. Very rare that I see you.”

We had a good time catching up that night. He had very kind words for me. And his words resound in my heart especially over the past few days.

His words bring me comfort. That perhaps, I must be doing something good.
One thing I know, he served this city well.

Farewell, Sir Danny. Farewell.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on May 09, 2014.

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