I wrote as I wrote

ROSES & THORNS - Alejandro R. Roces -

“They are not long, the days of wine and roses; Out of a misty dream Our path emerges for a while, then closes Within a dream.”  Ernest Dowson

This is our last column. Our first was 60 years ago. Aside from a few exceptions, when we were called to serve the Filipino people as Secretary of Education and during Martial Law, we have written almost uninterrupted. In that time, we have always maintained that the only true freedom any individual or institution has is the freedom to do good. That progress is a collective responsibility. And patriotism is not a short frantic burst of emotion over a slogan. It is a daily lifetime dedication.

 “I Write as I Write” was the name our first column ran under. The name was simple, we would write what we thought and what we believed. We would like to think that we accomplished this during our time as a columnist. Later, we changed our name to “Roses and Thorns”. After World War II, we went to university and upon returning, began our career. It has spanned over 60 years and covered many fields: From education to journalism to government service to writing. What we have always promoted and believed in is the Filipino; his culture and history.

There is an old Tagalog folk saying: “Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan, ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan.” Without a past there is no future. The Filipino is himself plus his circumstances. What differentiates a Filipino from a Malaysian or an Indonesian is his culture. He lives in his culture, as his culture lives in him. For us the highest example of this is fiesta. There are two necessary ingredients for communal celebrations — collective memories and collective hopes. Two ingredients that are the basis for a nation. The fountainhead of patriotism and nationalism should be fostered. The dream that is Filipinas must be nurtured and respected for the benefit of all Filipinos.

Professionally, there are two fields we were active in — journalism and education. We chose these two fields precisely because we believed that these were the two areas where we would have the greatest opportunities of helping direct the future.

Journalism, at its finest, can be one of the pillars of a free society. It acts as the safety valve, the conscience of a society. Media should inform and enlighten. It stands to reason that it should inform and enlighten its readership on questions that matter. And if it is a truly great press, then it can be one of the beacons that guide a nation to greatness.

Our stance on education has never changed. Jose Rizal believed that education was the solution to national problems. We believe this as strongly today as we did at the beginning of our career. Education makes citizens. It is through education that ordinary citizens can develop extraordinary possibilities. It is only education that can create the conditions for the full development of each and every individual. And it is only through education that the soul of our people can pass from one generation to the next.

Looking back, the true measure of a life is not the length, but the quality of life led. We consider ourselves doubly blessed by God in life. We have led a long life, and we have led a good life. We have shared it with the finest and the best that this country has to offer.

We would like to thank our faithful readers for the years we have spent together. Our publishers, who have always allowed us to write what we thought and believed in. And to those we have had the pleasure of working with. Thank you one and all.

To our family and friends, who have always supported us. We have been enriched by knowing you. Thank you for being a part of our life for the past 86 years.

Of the Philippines, the country of our birth, the cradle in which we were nurtured, whose greatest moments shine so bright and whose future knows no bounds, this is our home and we are blessed to be a Filipino.

It has been our honor.

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