Adieu Max, we sorely miss you!
A POINT OF AWARENESS - Preciosa S. Soliven (The Philippine Star) - November 21, 2019 - 12:00am

This coming Sunday, Nov. 24 is the 13th death anniversary of my husband Max Soliven. My email and my daughter Sara’s were loaded daily with touching condolences on the sudden passing away of Max in Tokyo. He would proudly tell me that the Philippine STAR makes two million hits daily on the internet not only from Filipinos, but from other nationalities all over the world. With his columns written six days a week, Max would regularly receive enthusiastic comments by snail mail or email. His regular readers have been shocked and saddened by his quick departure. Mille Grazie to all those who have written us and offered Masses, as well as prayers. I would like to share with you some of their sentiments.

Simple and reverent cremation rites for Max

The cremation rites for Max were simple and reverent in the palatial three-story Karigaya Crematorium in Japan. His large colored photo was displayed on an easel board beside a lovely vase of white flowers at the ground floor, which looked like an elegant hotel lobby with shining brass and glass halls and escalators. The ceremonies started in the second floor where I, together with the Philippine embassy officers, was allowed to view Max. Meantime, Fr. Marcelino of the Claretian Order blessed him. On the third floor, three uniformed officials bowed before us, while his white casket was gently slid behind the metal door of the furnace. We were led to a tearoom to wait for an hour. Later, we returned to the hall and in solemn ceremony, his remains were given to me in a porcelain urn placed in a pine box. This was wrapped in white silk furoshiki and covered by a thick Shinto gold brocade silk.

Sanamagan! Salamabit! What to read now?

From EMELITO ROXAS, an American Navy: “Sanamagan! Salamabit! What to read now? I always start my day by reading the online version of Honorable Max Soliven’s “By the Way” column. Never met the man, but sanamagan, I always felt like I knew him well from his writing. I saw him as an obviously well educated, well respected, knowledgeable, honest man of principles who fought for freedom and shared his wisdom and ideas six days a week. He was one of those kababayans whom I admire greatly, whose courage, patriotism, intelligence and moral character make him a model Filipino to whom every Filipino should emulate. His biography should be studied, just like Dr. Jose Rizal’s, by all young Filipinos.” (His biography “Maximo V. Soliven, the Man and the Journalist” is available at O.B. Montessori headquarters in Greenhills or at National Book store).

From PERLA HUBER, a Filipino who resides with her German husband and children in the southern part of Germany near Bodensee area wrote: “I’ve never known your husband personally but I have been a fan since I became politically aware during my freshmen year at Far Eastern University when Martial Law was declared. In the early ‘80s when other newspapers were banned I first read his columns in the Mr. & Ms. and later at the Inquirer and finally the PhilSTAR in the internet. My day wasn’t complete till I am able to read his column. I do miss his column whenever he is on travel and couldn’t send his article or not very long ago when he got sick. He was gentle even in his criticism with the present regime and I admire a lot his sharp memory.”

DITAS P. WOLFE-FABIAN of New York City starts her day with Max’s column on the PhilSTAR’s website: “Now, there is this void caused by his passing on… His masterly way of relaying news, with his deep insight, wit, and vast knowledge is sorely missed. He used his God-given talents bravely, proving ‘the pen is mightier than the sword.’ And we salute him today, on the National Heroes’ Day. We do miss you, Mr. Soliven, bidding you adieu, as it is ‘a far, far better place where you are now.”

Faithful friends and fans

From MARIO OROSA of Fairfield, Ohio: “Since the Philippine STAR became available on the internet some years ago, I have been a faithful reader of your husband’s column. I always looked forward to noontime here (US Eastern Time) when it would be midnight there and the next day’s edition of the STAR became available. You probably don’t realize how large a following Max had, not only in the Philippines but worldwide. I wish I had the privilege of meeting him during my visits in Manila since some of my family members were his friends. My late brother Augusto and cousin Naring often talked about him when we went to Club Filipino in Greenhills.”

ERNIE DELFIN and COMMODORE RAMON ALCARAZ would always gather the Filipino community to listen to Max whenever we were in Los Angeles: “We are planning to have a sort of a ‘celebration and get together’ among the many friends and fans of Max at Simon’s Restaurant in San Pedro, California on Wednesday, Dec. 27. Ms. Malou Mariano of Long Beach has volunteered to co-chair it with your daughter Marinella. I will do my best to support them. It will be a team effort.”

Touched by encyclopedic knowledge and sober opinions

JOSEPHINE YAO-CHAN, a 40-year-old mother of two has always been an avid reader of my column as well as Max and Sara’s articles: “You are all so eloquent writers in your own rights. How I wish there are other journalists and writers as poignant as you all are. I am saddened by the untimely demise of your husband, the great Max Soliven. I have always been so educated and so entertained by his articles. I will surely miss his wise cracks and advice. After reading all the tributes being given to him by his colleagues and friends, I am awed by the magnitude of his impact to our country. I have never written to anyone and am not in a habit of doing so, but I am so touched by your article.  They moved me to tears. Mr. Max Soliven will always be in my prayers and I will pray for Ms. Sara’s safe delivery next week.” (Sara gave birth to Monique right after Max’s burial.)

From VIC HAO CHIN JR. of the Theosophical Society of the Philippines: “I read today your beautiful article about Max and about death. Thank you for this piece. Coming from you, I am sure that it will bring about better understanding and comfort about the phenomenon of death. We will all miss Max. I am an admirer of his columns – his encyclopedic knowledge of history has always impressed and inspired me. His opinions are among the most sober that I know and go into the heart of things. Perhaps we will never be able to measure how much he has influenced national policies and public opinion, but we know that he has done a lot to change that crucially vital part of human life. – human thought.”

(For feedback email to precious.soliven@yahoo.com)

MAX SOLIVEN
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