Great ride a third of the way
TO THE QUICK - Jerry S. Tundag (The Freeman) - July 17, 2019 - 12:00am

The FREEMAN will be celebrating its 100th year tomorrow. It is a celebration not many newspapers here and abroad can experience in their lifetimes. To its journalists, past and present, to have written for such a storied and illustrious publication, whether only briefly or for a long time, is truly a treasure worth first mention in their résumés.

It is just tough luck that my column schedule does not allow this piece to be in the memorabilia centennial edition tomorrow. I only write Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Since I retired last year from active editorial work, I no longer do the daily editorials for the paper, tinkering with words now with just my 3X/week column, and from afar at that.

I am currently in Carigara, Leyte, the hometown of my wife, Arlene. Incidentally, today, July 16, as I am writing this, Carigara is celebrating its 424th town fiesta. I find it uncanny that a semi-active journalist from Cebu's oldest existing newspaper should now be writing from Leyte's oldest town, and from where the evangelization of Leyte started in the late 1500s.

My "Kalgaran-on" wife I first met at The FREEMAN, where she and 16 others from the pioneering batch of Masscom students from the now-defunct Divine Word University in Tacloban, a sister school of Cebu's University of San Carlos, had their internship. As a matter of trivia, Ted Failon of ABS-CBN was a member of that class.

I joined The FREEMAN in 1982 upon the invitation of Sir Dodong Gullas. I started as a reporter covering City Hall. I was asked to start a column a month after by my editor then, Juanito Jabat. From there I held various positions in the paper until I was named editor-in-chief in 2004 by Sir Miguel Belmonte. I eventually retired as publisher of the paper.

The course of my 36-year ride with The FREEMAN was a full one. It was a lifetime in itself. Into it went my marriage, the births of four daughters --Carmel, Eisila, Lia, and Nina-- as well as the loss of one, Eisila. Off to school they went in search of their own lives, just like the rest of the smaller families spawned within the bigger family of The FREEMAN owners and employees.

My own career in The FREEMAN saw its great triumphs, valuable enrichments, wealth of experiences, and the inescapable shortcomings and disappointments. To say that I have not lived a full life in my 35 years with The FREEMAN would be a big, fat, and unpardonable lie. And I am too old to lie like a child.

For indeed the ride was great. And to have ridden those 35 years with The FREEMAN, to be able to claim that more than a third of its 100 years had also been mine, is something I can truly be proud of even if I will not be physically there for the celebration. Thank you then to everyone I shared the ride with and congrats, especially to sirs JRG and MGB.

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