The FREEMAN’s 100th year!

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero-Ballescas - The Freeman

So proud to be part of the family of the oldest newspaper in Cebu!

The FREEMAN was first published in May and its first daily issue published in July of 1919! This newspaper has retained its motto: fair and fearless.

I first joined this newspaper in 1999, a year after Joseph Estrada was elected president when a national newspaper asked me to write an article about Erap’s first year in office. My article quoted the honest reply of my respondent, a taho vendor, who said that he and his family were “lalong naghihirap kay Erap.” My critical article never saw print in that national newspaper associated with Erap.

Noel Pangilinan, then the editor of The FREEMAN, contacted me soon as he read my article and invited me to be a columnist. This year will mark my 20th year with The FREEMAN!

My articles have hardly been edited or censored, to date. I thank our Opinion editors for allowing us to speak our minds in our style of writing. Our readers may have observed how, on the same Opinion page, the same topic has been discussed by several columnists with different views! Even if our own views differed from the editor or other columnists, we were afforded the freedom to speak our mind on issues we found relevant and important to write about.

When we were invited to the February 22 gathering of The FREEMAN, I thought it was going to be an intimate gathering of columnists, editors, and staff. Was I in for a big, happy surprise!

It turned out to be a very big, happy kick-off celebration, a night filled with music, dances, awards, and thanksgiving to the sponsors, supporters, and partners of The FREEMAN! Thank you, Sir Dodong Gullas and Sir Miguel Belmonte!

The University of the Visayas Chorale, with Anna Tabita Abeleda-Piquero rendered beautiful songs to the delight of the audience, including this big fan! The UV Dance Troupe performed well-applauded cultural and modern numbers!

We missed out on many other numbers on stage as we were happily chatting in our table with fellow columnist, family friend, and paisano from Bohol, Fr. Roy Cimagala and former UP Cebu colleagues, Atty. Ian Manticajon and multi-awarded artist, Binibining Ligaya Rabago with Ginoong Jun Visaya, Sir Bobit Avila also joined us, together with DOT-7 Regional Director Shalimar Tamano. And our youngest member, our very patient and understanding Opinion Editor, Bryan Padilla added more fun, laughter, and chika that night!

Oh, not to be outdone, our waiter, Jack, was the best! We truly appreciated his sense of humor and committed, patient service for us all!

He made sure we had ample supply of hot tea and peanuts. He always introduced the next lauriat dish to be served and he even kindly accommodated our “eco” request to pack the remaining dishes for us to bring home! Daghang salamat, Jack of Grand Majestic!

We also have to note the warm, hospitable welcome and support of The FREEMAN staff. I asked for their names but can’t remember them now - the wine must have wiped out their names from my memory that night.

I sincerely apologize for my forgetfulness but I am sure you know who you all are. Thank you for being there for us, allowing us to taste the delicious, pure black Tableya chocolate drink, for taking our pictures, for handing us our red wine gift, for leading us to the venue and our table, and before that, even waiting for me to retouch my make-up before the photo session!

I am truly happy and proud to be part of The FREEMAN family!


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