THERE was a time during my captivity in the late ’80s when one of my captors approached me and told me to be patient. I was doing odd jobs inside the camp, sweeping the yard and cleaning the floor of the military unit’s headquarters. He reminded me that the setup was temporary. I was into what my captors would call a rehabilitation process. I wasn’t really detained but could not also go home. The future for me was hazy at that time.
One day, I finally gathered the courage to tell one of the officers, a Major, that I wanted to lead a normal life again. He allowed me to get my school records in Southwestern University (SWU) preparatory to a return to school. When I decided to pursue the struggle against the Marcos dictatorship outside the walls of thecampus, I had shifted to a political science course two years after I enrolled in Chemical Engineering. Then I quit school altogether and went underground.
I eventually let go of the plan to continue my schooling when I realized I was old for that sort of thing. I remembered a scene in my political science class when our teacher, lawyer Rodolfo Golez, joked with one of my classmates, who was also working as a security guard of the Associated Labor Unions (ALU).
He was the most senior among us and so Atty. Golez asked him: “Noy, iniggraduate nimog Pol Sci, mo-proceed ka’g law?” My classmate nodded. “Unsa diay nang imo, pang-lapida?”
So there I was inside the SWU campus when my high school batch mate approached me. “Nag-unsa ka diri?” He asked.
“Suroy-suroy ra,” I said. He was already a member of the faculty and I could not admit to him I planned to be a student again. I could not help but smile at the possibility he would ask me, “Unsa man nang imo, do, pang-lapida na?”
I thought the next best thing for me was find work. A military man told me that PLDT (Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co.) was hiring. I proceeded to the firm’s office along Jones Ave. only to retreat after seeing the hundreds of other applicants who were there. Which was actually a blessing in disguise because I soon convinced myself that the job that I should seek should be one imbued with public service. I chose media work.
When I was in college I trained under the Broadcast Production and Training Center (BPTC) that was then based in the ALU compound. That batch produced John Manalili, who ended up becoming a broadcaster in Cebu before heading back for Manila. After the training, I worked part-time with dyLA under its news director Gary Bacolod.
That background gave me the daring to take my chances again with dyLA. My only worry was that its manager, the late Cerge Remonde, was anti-communist. So I asked the Major to vouch for me. He sent me a note that I gave to Remonde, who then referred me to Leo Lastimosa, the station’s news director at that time. Lastimosa gave me the break I needed. Thus started my stint with the Cebu media.
In a few days, I will officially be retired after two decades of working in SunStar Cebu where I worked after my stints with dyLA and The Freeman. This has been quite a journey. But to my readers, rest assured I will continue the pursuit of my passion: writing.