Mendoza: My first overseas coverage

All Write

PART of the new normal brought about by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic is putting our travels on hold. No trip to any of our major cities, whether for business or pleasure. Not a single trip overseas for the rest of the year.

Nothing is more urgent now than our safety. And, if only to belabor the truth, it is safest to stay at home.

The virus is that vicious you could catch it while inside a jet—if there’s ever a flight willing to take off. A ship can also be virus-infected for all you know.

Anyway, the sporting world is on a virtual standstill. Grounded we all are, practically.

So, while the vaccine-versus-the-virus remains as elusive as when Michael Jordan is on a drive to the hoop, let’s behave.

Obey the quarantine’s chief rule: Stay at home. OK, wheedle yourself by asking: Where to today? The sala, master’s bedroom or the kitchen?

Speaking of travels, Singapore was my first trip outside of the Philippines.

That was in 1977 when I covered the Pesta Sukan in the so-called Lion City for the Bulletin Today (now Manila Bulletin).

The Pesta Sukan, now defunct, used to be Singapore’s annual festival of sports. It featured several disciplines, basketball being one of them. And, as you may have guessed it, we joined the basketball tournament.

I will never forget that coverage as I almost did not make it to Singapore.

The country was under Martial Law then and travel outside the country was very much restricted.

My travel permit was initially denied by the government. I was labeled—hold your breath—the editor-in-chief of Ang Bayan, the publication of the Communist Party of the Philippines. A complete lie.

Luckily for me, my interrogator was the sister-in-law of Tony Zumel, the former Bulletin Today news editor who had gone underground.

Upon appeal of my case in writing, the lady relented.

Of course, she didn’t say it, but I saw it in her eyes: She was sympathetic to Zumel—and to Zumel’s colleague as well.

I had told her that her no, would cost me my job.

I won’t lie. My eyes moistened after the lady, smiling so sweetly, handed me my passport.


SunStar website welcomes friendly debate, but comments posted on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of the SunStar management and its affiliates. SunStar reserves the right to delete, reproduce or modify comments posted here without notice. Posts that are inappropriate will automatically be deleted.

Forum rules:

Do not use obscenity. Some words have been banned. Stick to the topic. Do not veer away from the discussion. Be coherent. Do not shout or use CAPITAL LETTERS!