Centennial Anniversary kick-off: The Freeman pays tribute to partners, Cebu’s pride
John Kendrick Ceciban (The Freeman) - February 24, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  The Freeman kicked off its months-long centennial celebration at the Grand Convention Center in Cebu City Friday night with a thanksgiving dinner dedicated to its corporate partners, news sources, and advertisers.


The paper’s executives also affirmed The Freeman’s commitment to Cebu with Chairman Jose Gullas sharing with the crowd his message to President Miguel Belmonte: “You take care of the next 100 years.”

Belmonte, for his part, told the crowd:

"To all our advertisers, our dealers, all our readers, from the bottom of our hearts, from The Freeman family, we thank you very much. And as our Chairman told me, onward to the next 100 years!"

Twelve companies and institutions received the Centennial Award as top advertisers.

These include Gaisano Brothers Merchandising, Inc.; Banco de Oro; Cokaliong Shipping Lines; Home Development Mutual Fund; Cebu City Government; Suzuki Philippines, Inc.; Philippine Airlines; Isuzu Phils. Corporation; Visayan Electric Co., Inc.; Toyota Motor Phils., Inc.; Department of Labor and Employment; and SM Prime Holdings, Inc.

Awarded as News Luminaries of the century were the Oslob Butanding, famed Cebuano designer Kenneth Cobonpue, Cebuana singer Pilita Corales, Cebuano boxing champion Gabriel "Flash" Elorde, Cebuano 5x PBA MVP June Mar Fajardo, first Cebuano chief justice Marcelo Fernan, the Gaisano Family, Cebuano fashion designer Monique Lhuillier, first Cebuano Philippine President Sergio Osmeña Sr., Cebuano Olympian Manny Paner, Cebuano marathon runner Mary Joy Tabal, and the mother of all festivals, the Sinulog Festival.

The Freeman also recognized personalities and groups that brought pride to Cebu, including University of the Visayas Filipiniana Dance Group, internationally award-winning University of the Visayas Chorale and Don Juan, international title holders Alvin Arranguez and Judah Jyreh Cohen, first Filipina Miss Earth Karla Paula Henry, renowned designers Philipp Tampus and Cary Santiago, business tycoon John Gokongwei, and historian Resil Mojares.

The night was made meaningful with the presence of the family members of the late The Freeman Publisher Juanito Jabat; Balt Quinain; Judge Lorenzo Paradiang, Jr.; and The Freeman Founder, Don Paulino Gullas, who received their posthumous award.

On the same night, The Freeman paid tribute to Gullas who revived the paper in 1965, in time for his 85th birthday this month.


Jose's uncle, Don Paulino Gullas, a lawyer and public servant, founded the paper with the first issue released on May 10, 1919.

In 1932, the paper would stop publication when Paulino was called to take part in drafting of the first Philippine constitution, and the occurrence of World War II.

After more than three decades, Jose breathed new life to The Freeman, after his father, Vicente, advised him and Paulino's wife, Hilda, permitted him.

In 1994, The Freeman welcomed the birth of its all-Cebuano language daily, Banat News, through the efforts of Jabat.

Aiming to strengthen its foundation further, The Freeman joined the family of The Philippine Star, the country's biggest media group, in 2004.

Archie Modequillo, The Freeman's Editor-In-Chief, said that the current reporters and editorial staff have "a very big pair of shoes to fill."

"The Freeman is much older than the oldest personnel of the company. It should warm our hearts to be part of this company that has seen much more of life than we do," Modequillo said.

With the celebration launched, the succeeding months will see more activities as The Freeman toasts to 100 years of fair and fearless journalism, 100 years of celebrating Cebu. —  JMO (FREEMAN)

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