VETERAN newsman Domecio “DomCi” Cimatu Jr. died in his sleep at dawn of May 14. He was 68.
DomCi was the vice president of the Cordillera News Agency (CNA), an organization he helped start in the mid 80s. He was known for his wit and candor as well as bellowing outbursts which scared newcomers to the industry to his delight.
He liked people to think he was mean and often scolded the young ones when he saw mistakes as he leafed through almost all local papers, every week.
In reality, DomCi was kind hearted and generous and would often call the boys for a night out of drinks and will be missed at the local cafés Luisas and Rumours, where he loved to hang out and give free lectures on journalism while he drank beer.
In the early 2000, he climbed Mt. Pulag, the second highest mountain in the country, despite his bouts with gout.
As he scaled its summit, he was heard to say “What the hell am I doing here,” eliciting laughs from media friends.
Former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo did not escape the candor of Domci, at one media Christmas dinner, he asked to kiss her.
DomCi said, “Madame President, may I kiss you?” Arroyo answered, “Yes you may, but my husband will get jealous.” The PSG entered and asked DomCi to move over.
His last trip in December was to Sagada, Mountain Province, where he saw the opening of the CNA art hub, and in his speech, he said it was a sign of more good times to come for the organization.
He also said climbing the stairs to the Sagada cottage we were visiting was equivalent to an eco-trail trek for him as he declined to roam the orange tree farm of the compound.
DomCi traces his roots in Ilocos and was the bureau chief of the Philippine News Agency and then later became part of the Benguet Electric Cooperative.
Cimatu was also past president of the Baguio Correspondents and Broadcasters Club, the largest and longest running media organization North of Manila.
Friends and colleagues mourned his passing with tributes on social media.
Art Tibaldo describes DomCi “though he is called ‘Baak’ as anyone in #Ilocandia would call an unmarried male elder, Domc’s wit and wisdom including jokes are incomparable, mark of a journalist who survived and won a libel suit.”
Nonnnette Bennet wrote, “Your angst is finally gone. We will miss you so bad.”
Sonia Daoas wrote, “Happy writing, DomC. I’ll miss you, my friend. Enjoy. Kampai with Baboo & Pepot,” referring to colleagues who have likewise passed on and were good friends of DomCi.
CNA president Dave Leprozo Jr added, “happy adventures in the Happy Hunting Grounds Domci. Have a wonderful and adventurous time in the Great Beyond.”