IN THE mid-sixties there were only few reporters in Pampanga.
The digital age would come so much late that those newsmen in those years contend filing their stories through long distance calls to the newspaper desks in Manila. No fax machines, no iPads and no cellphones yet.
You have to have so much patience in making the calls. And the other option is to travel to Manila from your base of coverage.
In those years, the most popular newspapermen in Pampanga were Silvestre Songco, Lino Sanchez, Sr., Tomas San Pedro, Macario Fabian, Marcelino Pangilinan, Butch Maglaqui and my brother Greg.
Newsmen based in Camp Olivas were the more popular and influential considering their proximity to and their state of rubbing elbows with the military top brass.
It was also in those years when the Philippine Constabulary had four zones and Camp Olivas was the headquarters of the 1st PC Zone.
There were only few constabulary generals in the whole organization?
Notable among those assigned in Camp Olivas were Generals Lucas Cauton, Rafael Ileto, Felizardo Tanabe, Emilio Zerrudo, Tomas Diaz and Romeo Gatan among others.
I was publisher-editor of the newsweekly Pampanga Examiner and no staff. It was a one man job. I was learning the ropes. The tabloid publishers like Armando Baluyut of the Voice, Tom San Pedro’s Luzon Courier (where Bren Z. Guiao who became Pampanga governor started his writing career), Lino Sanchez, Sr.s’ Pampanga Tribune, Ram Mercado’s Star Reporter were displayed on most newsstands.
Some of these local publishers had the unusual knack of knowing where to get financial support/advertising, espousing causes wherever found and undertaking individual crusades.
In between newspapering, public relations and other ventures I indulged into by becoming a radio commentator of the two radio stations in Angeles City, the Puyat owned DZAB and the Eduardo Cojuangco owned DZYA.
Mercado was my regular partner in covering the beat or whatever you may call it, and he has this to say of me in one of his writings.
“Max didn’t read the news in whatever accent, neither did he recite Pampango poetry. He was a hard hitting, thunder and lightning commentator.”
At that particular period in Pampanga, the national law enforcement agencies tagged Central Luzon particularly Angeles City as a hotspot.
This was the period when the Huk movement was at its strongest. And it was in Angeles City where I based my editorial operations.
As a young newsman full of idealism, I got into trouble either from dissident groups, the military or from local politicians.
How I survived all those perils, I can only attribute to my deep belief in the Lord Almighty.