I was the 16-year old boy in Proofreading whom, Ave (Timboy Guevarra of the “Alin-alin ang naiiba?” fame) and company always teased: Pinabili ka lang ng nanay mo ng suka, nag-apply ka ng trabaho at tinanggap ka naman!
[I am forever indebted to my first influencers, bos Vir Lumicao, to mas-bosing Pocholo Romualdez and to ninang Carmen ‘Chitang’ Guerrero Nakpil, also a nonagenarian now like EPR, for that first job of mine (actually, ’twas my first school, and home, too!.]
“I am very happy to see there are 14 pioneers (in the photo op in today’s Aristocrat reunion). I witnessed the birth of the Daily Express. As I said in the souvenir program, “kasama kami, nakita ko nang unang lumabas ang diyaryo, narinig ko ang unang iyak ng bata.”
– MARY JANE C ORTEGA, Comptroller of Philippines Daily Express
IT HAS been five years today since November 2012 when IBM typesetters, pasteup artists, proofreaders and visual artists decided to see each other again, picnic in La Union, and do the reunions (during summers and Christmases) consistently every year. The last big occasional reunion was before that at the National Press Club. There was another at the Bay Leaf (exclusively, Editorial) and another one at the Rockwell. Yuletide seasons or summertimes were the more realistic schedules for everyone.
In the beginning, there were Louie Guevarra, Jojo Ventura, Abe Guevarra, Jun , Benjo Laydo, Vir Lumicao and yours truly. Five years after copyboy Jojo is very active, together with Charlie Zaragoza, Alice Reyes, Mary Jane Ortega and then some. Mommy Alice (she had got daughters who were all crushes ng bayan) has been a consistent member of any of the organizing committees, then and now.
‘Mang (as in ama or amang) Neal “Nail ‘em Down” H Cruz, the international Filipino fashion designer Danilo Franco, and pressman Avelino delos Reyes were very much around, during those five years
Philippines Daily Express the publishing corporation (and its corporative union), to me the Inquirer, Star and Bulletin combined, of the Seventies and Eighties, are the ties that bind on its fortyfifth anniversary, and beyond.
No, it is not only manang MJO the comptroller who has been a most prolific tie that bind the Daily Express reunions.
It is not only the commanding presence of the nonagenarian chief editors’ editor, Enrique ‘Pocholo’ Romualdez, who keeps the Expresspeople together as “one family” as then Express Publisher Johnny Perez and then Express President DH Soriano kept on harping as the Express mantra.
It is not only the full moral support of a few “trueblue Lapulapu” in our ranks, such as but not limited to, Publisher Johnny’s son, Juan Antonio ‘dok Jeepy’ A Perez III, MD, a kaProof (reader) of ours when he was just haggling Medicine and preparing to become one of Johnny Flavier’s pioneer doctors to the barrio, or Pat Sosa Sigue, Antonio Alabastro, Evelyn ‘Kleng’ Diao, Ella Buenaventura, comadreng Bes Zamora, Rene Bisquera ng Women’s Journal, Manong Unding et al, that keep us all as One big Express family, even in heart, mind and spirit, onwards the Express Golden Anniversary in 2022.
THE TIE that really bind the living Expresspeople is the singlemost thought that “all newspapers and media outlets that followed the Express paled in comparison.” I am talking economic, financial, logistical, material and physical.
That will be another great story (Daily Express as one of the Philippines’ only real newspapers in history).
Being an official mouthpiece of the Marcos dispensation is another great story to tell the generation XYZ (millennials).
Did not you know that sugar baron Roberto S Benedicto’s Daily Express was run by the best and the brightest from Chino Roces’ Manila Times, its friendly competitors Chronicle and Herald, and from the best journalism, fine arts and photography schools of its era?
Did not you know that Ang Bayan, Liberation, Christian Science Monitor and all the dissenting publications under Marcos’ martial law freely (but discretely) circulated at the Express?
Did not you know that, according to then Express editor (now a Star power columnist) Federico ‘Dick’ Pascual, the “steak commandos” in the US and the “freedom fighters” back in Manila were communicating via the highly coded and codified line ads at the widely read Classified Ads pages (usually on Sundays) of Manila Bulletin by Hans Menzi? Allegations of the Express Classified Ad pages were also used as support media outlet for the PH-US-worldwide “libertarian exchanges via codified line ads” were true?
You may add more…
In the past five years that we came, we saw, we went, I have been buzzing off my first bossing Pocholo, amang Neal and all of us the average fifty from among the three hundred in the Seventies and Eighties: Please, I beg you, draft and craft and publish your book now about your very own personal Philippines Daily Express experiences, until we have time?
Danny Franco was trying to put together a fashion design book of his own before he run out of breath.
Great living Filipino glamour photographer, Enrique ‘Jun’ de Leon (I still do not know if he can already shoot Imelda Romualdez Marcos better now?), has a photography book with his son, but not yet about his Express lensman’s life.
Tony Alabastro’s book is in the can. It is, I think, about his writings in Brunei (maybe, an OBB and CBB articles are about his first reportage at the Express?).
Manang Mary Jane had published an obra biographical pictography book about La Union’s eldest statesman, manong Victor F Ortega (Seasons), but not yet about her Express life. Neal Cruz had thought every opinion column he wrote at the Philippine Daily Inquirer was in itself, a book of his own; or so it seems to me?
(By the way, the Express fortyfifth anniversary press release of May the sixth, 2017 was published at the Philippine Star courtesy of Express colleagues Millet Martinez Mananquil, Ricardo F Lo and Miss Ching Alano. )
I believe we, the Expresspeople, are forever bound by the genuine ideals of publishing a newspaper in the real sense. You can never xerox it. #