Estremera: Memories and impermanence

Spider’s web

LOOKING through old photos from Ang Peryodiko Dabaw days until right before digital cameras took over brings me back to my three decades as a journalist and reminds me how fleeting life is.

Since SunStar Davao transferred its office along Jacinto Street half a decade or so ago, one-half of the photo files did not make it to the new office.

I was exasperated at the seeming lack of concern as all I got were blank looks when I asked where the files of Letters A to G went when I had strict instructions that all the envelopes be placed in two big plastic containers I bought for them.


A search in the printing press yielded nothing... until last month when a mezzanine space full of old receipts and accounting files were cleaned. There they were in one box. Someone obviously did not follow instruction.

So, there I was with congressman-elect Vince Garcia, looking through envelopes upon envelopes of photos in search of his father’s photos.

Vince has been among the most devastated around three or four years ago when he asked if he can look through our old photos for files of his dad, former Rep. Manuel “Nonoy” Garcia, and we said the A-G files were lost.

He was among the happiest when told it has been found. It was his idea to look through other files outside “Garcia, Nonoy” on the off chance that his father, being very active in politics and the city’s growth, could have been filed in.

That means looking through all A-G and walking through the years past where the newsmakers pre-digicam/phone cam were in their most newsworthy poses. Most of them are gone now from the limelight and kindergarten Baste is now vice mayor.

Some have retired, some are dead, and many we haven’t heard from after their heydays.

Indeed, everything passes, even one’s vigor and popularity.

Sad are those who can’t let go of this past and still demand the limelight even after their time has passed. Saddest are those who become bitter because younger ones have taken centerstage.

“I let go of who I am, I become what I might be.” That’s in Tao Te Ching, the book of Taoism where I resonate with its message on the power of detachment.

It was that power that made me leap out of a career path I have taken my whole adult life and choose a less stressful and visible one.

Been there, been and done that. Even holding the highest position in a news office is something that one must not hold on to until retirement days. For while you linger on, you are restricting access to that position by the younger ones. There are more things that can be done while you are on top of your game.

“Life is a series of natural and spontaneous changes. Don’t resist them-that only creates sorrow. Let reality be reality. Let things flow naturally forward in whatever way they like.” Tao Te Ching


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