Goodbye Choy. Go with the light.

TO THE QUICK - Jerry Tundag - The Freeman

I was rudely jolted awake early Wednesday morning by my Waray wife who could not keep things down when agitated. An early riser, she had been reading The FREEMAN columns when she came upon Leo Lastimosa's piece. "Hala Jerms, adto na si Choy!" Arlene exclaimed. It took me quite a while to let what she was screaming about sink in. And then I got it.

Born Cirse Francisco Torralba, Choy was a very good friend of mine. In fact he was one of my oldest and enduring friends from the media. Both dabbling in opinion, he in his preferred broadcast medium and I in print, we shared many views and disagreed on a few others. But that never changed our friendship, only strengthened our mutual respect.

For a man who led a very colorful life (a few wines and roses here, wink-wink, a shooting incident there) he had two traits that you might say went against the very grain of his being: He was deeply religious. And he was strangely, remarkably loyal. I do not know of any media person in Cebu who does not seem a friend to everybody than Choy.

I do not know if he categorizes his friends. I just have a feeling that sometimes when he wanted a little less drinks, a little less laughter, and a little more subdued serious talk, he would call me for some late dinner knowing I stayed in the office very late. We would eat in some quiet corner at Tinder Box or Eddie's Log Cabin. Yes, just the two of us.

Most other socials though were with the rest of our media group which we affectionately called the Media Mafia, although it is far from what you think the name suggests. Usually it is for some birthday or for no occasion really, just a crying need by some serious, busy professionals wanting a little down time, lots of good food, plenty of drinks, and even more laughter.

In the midst of all that, Choy cut a figure of stability in a raucous mix. As remarkably loyal as he was, he was even more steadfast as a neutral person who often stepped in to intervene when the atmosphere got intense over politics or some other issue. Since I moved to Leyte and with Choy gone I don't know how the Media Mafia is doing.

Choy and I, along with Cheking Seares and Bobit Avila were once an unofficial part of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's press delegation to an APEC Summit in Singapore. There was really no need for us "probinsyanos" as the three-day event was amply covered by the Malacañang Press Corps. But then Press Secretary Serge Cermonde, another "Cebuanong dako" brought us along, to the joy of President Arroyo who in those days found solace and fairness only in the Cebu Media.

My wife had one thing to thank Choy so much for. Her being Waray and her politics are inseparable. One time at the wedding of Choy's son with at the time former senator Bongbong Marcos as principal sponsor, Choy found time to pull Bongbong to a corner at the reception and introduced my wife to him and did some pictures together.

The Cebu media suffers a great lose in the passing of a dear esteemed colleague in Choy Torralba. His listeners will surely miss the great commentaries that have been a stable and major draw for dyRF over the years. From time to time he would text to tell me that he just read my column in each entirety in his radio program and follow it up with his Cebuano translation. It was always very humbling and flattering for him to tell me that.

My condolences to his wife Michiko, his children, family and friends. May God in his wisdom and kindness show mercy upon his soul. May his dear ones he left behind take comfort and solace in the thought that their Choy was well loved and respected among his peers and those who got to know him well enough. Goodbye Choy, my friend. Go with the light.

vuukle comment


  • Latest
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

Get Updated:

Signup for the News Round now

or sign in with