Lydia "Cookie" Roces Guerrero
Lydia Roces Guerrero
is a descendant of two prominent families. On her father's side are the Guerreros
who are writers with the likes of Carmen Guerrero Nakpil and Wilfredo Maria
Guerrero in their lineage. On the other side is the Roces clan of publishers.
Her maternal grandfather, Don Ramon Roces,
is the known "Komiks King" of the Philippines.
Born on April 3, 1946, Cookie, as she is fondly called, is the daughter of artist, Elena Roces and Dr. Mario Guerrero. She is the second child with elder brother, Alfredo and younger sibling, Xavier. Alfredo or Bumbo is currently the publisher of Kislap magazine and its other affiliate publications, and is also owner of a printing company called Counterpoint. Xavier or Wahoo also has his own printing business named Sonic. Cookie is a divorcee with two sons: Julio Ortega, with her first husband, and Adam, her youngest.
She studied elementary and part of high school at St. Theresa's College in both San Marcelino and Quezon City. But she graduated secondary education at Jose Abad Santos Memorial School (JASMS), which was then an experimental institution of the Philippine Women's University. She never went to college but is currently venturing into a career in print media and according to her, "I didn't take up journalism but I really feel that maybe it's part of my genes, because I do come from a line of writers and maybe I was born with that gift and (with) my mother who is a very creative and artistic person, I suppose I've also gotten some of the genes from her side "
After her high school graduation, sometime in 1967, she went to Barcelona, Spain to accompany her mother for an eye operation. Cookie lived in Spain for 6 years. During those times she got married to her first husband, a Spanish, and gave birth to her eldest son. Then she came back to the Philippines for a year and was offered to handle Woman's Home Companion (one of the Roces-owned magazines). At first she refused the offer because she said, "I didn't have the exposure or the background to head this kind of publication I gave it up because I thought I wasn't really qualified I don't like to do something just because I'm the daughter of the owner and I'm going to take over". Right after, her family migrated to Lake Geneva, Wisconsin in USA. She lived there for 6 years and was a full-time housewife. But when her son reached high school, they moved to San Francisco, California and stayed for 4 years. Then she came back home to the Philippines and took the offer with the publishing business. "Part of the reason that I'm working is because we're only three (in the family) and eventually we would have to take over the business so we had to get into (it) ", Cookie explains. Fortunately, she is now the publisher of Woman's Home Companion and president of Solid Gold Publishing Incorporated. She is also the owner of a ladies' and children's boutique called Amica and president of a children's wear export company.
As publisher, Cookie's attitude towards work is distinctly of Roces character. Stating her ethics in publishing, she explains that, "I concentrate a lot on what (I'm) offering the public. I think a publisher also has the responsibility to the reader(s). I'm not going to hand you trash because you're paying. I believe in offering the best I can at the price that they can afford". She also mentions her strength behind her hanging onto the business, saying that, "I think one of the reasons that I'm still here is because we've (company) been very conservative. (We don't) launch into one project after the other. And I also believe that I owe some kind of loyalty to my grandfather's memory".
For aspiring journalists and publishers, Cookie emphasizes that, "if you want to put up a magazine seriously, you have to have enough capital to back it up". She believes that, "the important thing is you have to be consistent. You have to have this staying power because the life of a magazine is advertising and before you can get the advertisers' confidence you have to be in the market long enough for them to know that you're not going to disappear". Lastly, she reiterates, "it's not an easy thing getting into publication. It might look easy but it's not, so if you want to get into it do your numbers correctly and stay with it".
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