Date of Interview: March 7, 2001
Venue: Solid Gold Publishing Inc., Murphy, Cubao
Lydia "Cookie" R. Guerrero: they call me Cookie, that's my, ah, nickname. I was born, ah, April 3, 1946 in Manila, Philippines. I'm a divorced and my parents are Elena Roces and, ah, Dr. Mario Guerrero, who also belongs to a family of journalist. If you know, ah, Carmen Guerrero-Nakpil is his sister and, ah, Wilfredo Maria Guerrero is our uncle, I mean we have, I, I'd say more journalist in my father's side than in my mother's side, um, the journalist probably in my mother's side would be Ding Roces, um, who's Alfredo and, ah, Alejandro Roces who, who is, ah, Anding.
Sassy Mae C. Sumulong: Ah, this would be on the Reyes-Roces side.
A: Um, no, this is well, yeah, yeah, yeah, right, you're right, you know more about this than I do and as far as my grandfather per se Ramon Roces, he is not a journalist, he's a publisher so he doesn't really write, he publishes, I mean he used to, noh. And, um, what's this, I have two other brothers who are also in publication and publish publishing and printing, um, well, I'm a graduate of high school, ah, I never went to college and as far as journalism as a formal course, I've not taken journalism. So if I'm writing it's only because I feel I have a natural talent for it and, ah, I went through good school, you know, my early education or, is at St. Theresa's College in, ah, both San Marcelino and Quezon City but I actually graduated from, um, Jose Abad Santos Memorial School which is, ah ..it's an experimental maybe it's not anymore experimental but during my time it was an experimental school, ah, of, ah, Philippine Woman's University and was spearheaded by Mrs. Doreen Gamboa who is the mother of Virata, Joy Virata, you know, you know who Joy Virata is?
Q: I've been hearing the name but
A: She is one of the, let's say, oldest member of the Repertory Philippines, so you could, probably still seeing her in, ah, any of the stage productions of the Repertory.
Q: So, ah, St. Theresa's College would be your, um
A: My elementary 'til my early high school.
Q: That would be like first year, second year or just
Q: First year, second year.
Q: Do you transfer third year on Jose Abad?
A: To JASMS, tell call it JASMS, J-A-S-M-S (spelling the acronym), they don't really say Jose Abad Santos Memorial, it sounds kinda like public schoolish (laughs) but it's (laughs), it's not really, we were kind of like the experimental group that's why, ah, I had a lot of exposure to this kind of open type classroom because we, we were not under any kind of rigid, ah, ah, classroom type, you know, coming from STC to JASMS was a little bit, ah, kinds like a giant step because, ah, in fact my mother thought you know, ah, studying in a, ah, school like STC or, you know, you have the Belgian nuns which were just really bad, I mean bad not bad but like very, very strict. JASMS was the opposite of St. Theresa so I think, there I was able to maybe have more independence, you know, more free thinking sort of, type of, ah, atmosphere because Mrs. Gamboa would always encourage creative, you know, ways of learning things. So, ah, a lot of the graduates of JASMS have moved on to, you know, like UP and other schools that, ah, have actually allowed them to be quite successful so it really depends on the child, you know, like, um, if you have incentives or will to, you know, learn, you don't really need this super strict at, prop, ah, education that you would normally receive, right. But then on the other hand I have to be thankful that I went through this rigid education during my younger years because that's also allowed me to, um, have a better basics education wherein my English is way above, I'd say what the kids are getting nowadays, unfortunately, because, um, I hate to say this but, ah, sometimes I do get, you know, writers or the writers', you know, turned in work that needs a whole lot of, you know, editing, so I'm like saying, hey these are girls, for example, that are in, ah, college level in La Salle and I'm looking at it and I'm like what (chuckles), you know, so it gets me worried, you know, ah, and I start to think are our future generation getting, you know, the education that we got during our time, you know, so although it seems that, you know, kids nowadays have other more important things that they consider a priority, you know, especially now with all these modern gizmos like, ah, you know, like computer that's, the cellphone, the, you know, cellphone for example it kinda chop down your words, it's not something that you could say I'm exercising my English, you know, it's like wow, you're just chopping down words and, ah, I hope, you know, these young people don't get used to writing that way because it's so bad but anyway that's the generation and, ah, I try to understand this generation, I'm not that person that have a close mind at all because I have a 16 year-old and, ah, 32, turning 33 year-old son, you know, so I had two kids of two different generations and of course I need to be, you know, in their world too, so I don't close my mind to, you know, just what I know, so I get into the texting, I get into a computer, so I know what they're doing, you know, so I'm a fairly modern person.
Q: So, you mentioned that you never went into college?
Q: Ah, can I sort of like know the reason behind it?
A: Well, because after high school, um, my idea was to get married, you know, and I lived abroad, I lived in Spain for like 6 years and, um, my husband was, ah, Spanish and, ah, so I had, I, um, met him before I finish high school, so we had this long distance kind of writing each other, you know, and so of course, ah, I suppose any, any young girl has a some kind of romantic notion about things so, you know, so I just wanted to get married (laughs). If I only knew (laughs). So, you know, so I did and so I have my first kid and you know I stayed in Spain and, ah .
Q: For 6 years is it?
Q: Ah, where particularly in Spain?
A: In Barcelona.
Q: Ah, 'cause originally the Roces came from Spain
A: From, yeah, somewhere, ah, let's say great, great, great grandfather came from Asturias and, ah, yeah, so that wasn't really the reason why I went there, ah, part of the reason was because my mother was, ah, and still has a eye problem and, ah, one of the best doctors, eye doctors is in Barcelona, so she had a cornea transplant during that time and, ah, in the 60's, you know, late 60's and, so she had to go there to see the doctors and, ah, so that allowed me to explore, you know, that part of Spain and therefore, you know, after school, there we were decided, you know, to kind of like go and change, ah, sceneries and, um, so my youngest brother and myself, we went there and my eldest brother stayed here, he got married here, my younger brother got married also there, so 6 years there.
Q: The younger would be, um, Xavier?
A: Yeah, yeah. So, after that then we came back here (laughs). And then I went to America, yeah, I came back here.
Q: Oh, you came back here before you went to America.
A: Yeah, yeah, then I went to America and my, my eldest son finished his high school there, he started off at JASMS and then, ah, went to Wisconsin spent 4 years, finished his high school and then we went to, ah, California, San Francisco stay for, at 4 years and then, ah, came back here. Now, you know, my answer to why I didn't take up college, I guess it's, I don't want to say this (laughs), it's more or less, ah, just wanting to do whatever in other words, ah, if you have certain means, don't quote me you're the one who sound like, you know, that certain means and, ah, you just kinda wanna hang around, I was a hippie, you know, and, ah, so I went, I went to India, the usual hippie scenario, you know, of a doing leather stuff, selling, you know, smoking a little grass here and there, wherein, yeah, during that time so, yeah, that was our generation, you know, I wasn't straight, I was a hippie and, ah, I got out of that when you've out grow these things, you know, get back into the real world sort of (chuckle), and then, ah, part of the reason that I'm working is, ah, because we're only three and, ah, eventually we would have to take over the business so we had to get into the business and take over but, ah, you know, that actually allowed me to exercise things that I've always enjoyed doing like writing, ah, creating, because I do, I do the covers of the magazines, so like layouting and, um, I think by nature I'm artistic, you know, um, I've designed my own house at the beach, I've done, um, ah, designs and, ah, mosaic, design I cut my own tiles, I'm, I'm very creative in that sense, you know, I do a lot of stuff, creative stuff.
Q: So can you remember again the year that you moved to Spain?
A: Maybe around sixty - eight, 67, oh no because my son was born 68 so like 67.
Q: Then you stayed for 6 years, then moved back for sometime?
A: Yeah, came back here
Q: then just stay long like for a year at least or
A: Yeah, 'cause, ah, my son was like 13 and .moved to .so what's that, um
Q: Stayed 6 years, so you left, oh, you
A: My son was born 68
Q: At Spain?
A: Yeah, and so we stayed there for 6 years
Q: . when he was 6 years old something
A: 6 year-old, so I came back here and then went back to, I went to the States when he was 13 so that like another 6 years, year kind of
Q: Yeah 6, 7
A: so then I moved to Wisconsin because I, I, ah, actually visited a cousin of mine who was living in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. And I liked it a lot because it's, you know, it was kind of like very nature-oriented sort of place, you know, kind of like a resort with big lakes and, and all these, so I thought wow this is perfect for my son to grow up and, you know, this environment so we spend for 6 years there and are really hard winter, super cold, incredibly cold and hot summers and so from there I used to travel during, during the holidays, so, you like, you know, we go to Jamaica or, you know, some other, ah, parts of the world that, you know, would be beneficial to my son also so, um, we did a little of that and, ah, but I do feel, let's just say I do feel fortunate that, you know, in a way I didn't have to like struggle to survive during those years. But, ah, maybe at some point I would have wanted to start earlier in my present career because then, you know, I'd be more energ, I am energetic but maybe I have had more time to do my projects but, ah, of course having, you know, starting, working at your, in your 40s is not ..(chuckles) advisable, don't follow that (laughs). The sooner, the better. So you know, um, you could say I'm more uncon I mean, you know, unconventional because I didn't take up journalism per se, go to school for it but I really feel that maybe it's part of my genes, you know, because I do come from a line of writers and, ah, you know, ah, maybe I was born with that gift and my mother who's a very, very creative and artistic person have, I supposed I've also, you know, gotten some of the genes from her side, so
A: Yeah, you know I'm a, I'm a person that I'm not afraid to use my hands, I'm not afraid to work, ah, you know, like, ah, manually because I have, you know, doing things I, if I can do it myself I never ask somebody to do something that I won't do that's, that's my philosophy, you know, like, and I talk to people at work for me, I always say, tsk, I'm not gonna ask you something that I wouldn't do, you know, and, ah, here, even here sometimes if, you know, somebody's absent, I can always replace them if that's the way I feel, you know, and, ah, aside from being a publisher, I also, ah, I'm a boutique owner and I have a, a ladies' wear and children's wear and you know I'm also the president of an export company, we export the children's wear and we make for Laura Ashley and GAP so it's, you know, but I have a local outlet which is more what I'm handling so, like I always say I feel the same way too because I can saw, I can design and I can do beading, I can do embroidery and, in other words I have the same philosophy there, like I had said alright somebody's absent
Q: Ah, you can easily .
A: akin na akong gagawa niyan. You know, I can do that so, um, I think what, what I would be more scared of is doing something that I don't know anything about. Let's say if I got into something like food although I do cook at home for my kids, for the family, I used to have a cook but, ah, the kids used to always complain na, pareho na lang, pareho na lang, so I said well alright I'm going to start cooking so I have a whole library of cookbooks 'cause I can't cook without a cookbook (laughs). I am what you call precision cook in other words if it says one tablespoon, it's like one tablespoon (demonstrating how to be exact in cooking) and you know, so for sure if that's supposed to be a good recipe .(laughs) . And, and you know it's, it's true, it happens like that .yeah, so people say, uy, you know pala how to cook well, they don't know that I just followed the recipe to the T, you know, and it comes out perfect, some. Ah, maybe you can say I'm a bit of a perfectionist because if something is not right I just can't seem to let it go until, 'to perfect na ba 'to, like that but I wouldn't also kill myself over it, I mean, I think I allow mistakes because it's human and you know, ah, I don't expect people to be super human because I myself, I'm not, so in the same way I also, you know, figure that well if she made that mistake I could make that mistakes too, so who am I to now expect 100% .so yeah, you can say that people who had worked for me liked me, I'm st, I'm not, um, I can be like strict but I'm not unreasonable. I like to get things done in the fastest possible way, I hate procrastinating, you know, it's like bukas na lang, ha, if we can do it today, ngayon na, you know, so I'm a doer, in fact maybe I, ah, sometimes think, I mean do before I think, you know, so that's a, that's a flaw, you know, but before I say something and I say I'm gonna finish it at that day you can be sure, move heaven and hell, to do that .because I don't want to have, ah, bad image of myself. So, and if I say I can't do it, it's because I know I can't, so I only say yes when I know I can, so yeah, I'm not a very, I think too much, I'm not a very easy person to get along with because maybe I'm demanding, my expectations are high but that's only because I know that people can do it, you know what I mean? So, I, if you're lazy, it's because well, you must have your reasons but you know, when you know that the person can do it and he's just being lazy, I mean that's annoying.
Q: So ma'am what's the name of your boutique again?
A: Amica, A-M-I-C-A (spelling the name out)
Q: So, ah, that would be separate from the one that, ah, from your export, ah
A: Well, you know it belongs to the same company and that's also a family company. But, ah, what we produce for Amica is not the same, it would, strictly for local consumption. Yeah, so, ah, actually I am introducing a new line which is wedding and, um, I'm excited because, well, I do have some inquirers but, um, it's a new thing, you know, although I have my wedding dresses before but I've never really marketed it so I'm excited to you know hear how people react to, you know, my design, I also do the windows you see and my, I, I do the windows (laughs) and what else you know what, it saves a lot of having to hire a window display, you know, and, ah, I have, I have to write and that also saves us from ..(laughs). I don't charge (laughs). If I do something for my, you know, benefit of my company, normally I really do not charge and, um, it's something that I enjoy and so, you know, yun na lang, I guess I'm, I'm more of a private person I'm, I'm not a social, um, animal or say so a party animal ..how do they say that. No, I'm a, a day person, I wake up at 6, you know, and I bring my son to school and then, um, I probably get sleepy by like 9:30 or 10, you know, that's why like (chuckles) if we're gonna go out it's like, wow, I gonna psyche myself and say well, okay, you know, um, gonna stay up until you know, certain hour but, tsk, when I was younger yeah I, I could stay up longer but nowadays I don't know even if I want to parang, I kinda lose my energy all of a sudden it's like, ano let's go home (laughs).
Q: Easily get tired. So can you recall the first, ah, the first instance that, um, you got yourself involved into publishing.
A: Well, let's see, ah, if you're asking when I actually took over
Q: Um, even like before during high school is there a certain like pull, a gravity that's pulling you to
A: Well, you know, like I'd say when I was in school my favorite subjects were Literature, English, you know, bad at Math, bad at, at least I passed, you know, but those were always my, ah, easy subjects because I liked it and I've never stopped reading, I mean I read everyday, I mean from let's say psychology books to novels, you know like from the, how do you say, from Jackie Collins to, ah, that's it (laughs), I mean, I, I am, I like to read contemporary novels although I've, ah, read let's say the normal high school must-read sort of books, you know
A: and some classic novels but, like these days I enjoy reading let's say bestsellers and then I interchange them like reading Harry Potter for example, yung number 3 book number 3 .and, ah, I don't kind of like hesitate to read children's books like, um, Indian in the Cupboard
A: read the book. Ah, I have no, um, prejudice against any subject you know, except bad writing, I mean like if I start reading, I mean it's you know badly written I don't wanna waste my time on it So I've read, you know the usual Chicken Soup, Anne Rice, all those people you know, although I've been discourage after a few because maybe they started up okay but they probably have, you know, other people writing for them because it could be that good, you know.
Q: (Chuckles) It lose its, ah
A: Di ba? This Stephen King it's like, um, wala naman.
Q: Parang nawawala yung
A: Oo. Yung bang his first works were the fame and then, parang now, parang ano ito, di ba, waste of time ano ..so, so yeah, I mean I get choosy when it gets to that, ah, but I, you know, I like romance and, ah, um, detective, suspense, you know, um, erotic because I've read them all, you know, and I think that has actually helped me be more imaginative, you know like I imagine so many scenarios and I love movies, you know I could sit down and watch three or four tapes na .. And after that I've forgotten what, what was the title of that first one, you know, so I've always been interested in movies and books, I've always had you know, a book that I could, ah, let's say, um, spend time with, ah, I, that's why I don't really mind being by myself, I never get bored because my books are my friends and teachers because I've learned a lot of what I know from my books and, um, I consider books sacred. When I see books that are thrown in like, in a garbage, I like feel, hah, oh no, no way you know (with expression of discourage), I tell to like pick it up and give it to somebody, I think it's sacrilegious, really, I mean bow, you know, so I can't get rid of my books, ah, so I have
A: library. So, and it's very difficult to borrow a book from me because it's sacred (laughs) . You wanna borrow, you can read it here, um, yeah, because they, um, I have big respect for books you know, I don't like people like treating books badly, you know like
Q: Ear dogs (chuckles)
A: oo, you know, so I don't know, maybe, I'm sure there are a lot of people like me but that's you know, that's the way I am and so to me writing, I've read a lot of, ah, books on writing, you know, and, ah, correct usage and so I feel confident when I write and I've read a lot so I can write a lot of current, ah, you know And so I, I, I find that I'm not left behind, you know, sometimes, ah, people write about a certain things only well, not me. I just wrote an article about mad cow, you see, so I mean, I like to be where you know the current events are, you know and, ah, for me to write a, you know, mushy-mushy novel But I have no barriers you know
Q: What to write
A: yeah, yeah, ah, I'm open and, ah, so as far as your question on, in journalism well, I'm sure other people have other opinions about me, maybe some good, some not so good but I haven't really contributed out of my own publication, that's a test, ah. I should try to
Q: You should try to
A: yeah, because, ah, I consider myself an amateur, you know, but, um, I'm confident and so I would like to, I would like to, um, stand
A: yeah, why not .
Q: With other editors
A: Oo, di ba.
Q: But back in high school did you get involved to any, um, school paper or ?
A: No, because when I was in school I was very much an introvert, I'm not like this chatty as I am now, no, actually some situations had made me this way because, ah, I think when I was in STC the, I think those were my most miserable years in terms of, ah
Q: during education years.
A: yeah, you know, like you see girls that are so happy and they have their group of girls and their doing this, you know, now it's kind of like very much, ah, to myself . But then when my son started to go to school like in JASMS, you know, ask invited to talk to
Q: Parents, ah .
A: group of kids, talk about, you know, publication and so it's like huh, so once I kind of like launch myself there, I kind of probably opened a, a door. And so I started to feel more comfortable and, ah, so much so I made a magazine, a full magazine with the kids, we have named this Inkdot, you know, and, ah, we, it, the inside pages were made up of kids' own article, you know, and we made the cover together. We made the entire magazine together and that to me was one of my greatest achievements because I think kids are just wonderful, you know like they have, ah, so much in them that, you know, um, it only takes a little to tap all these great things, you know, and I was so happy that I was able to do this and was even given the chance to do this with these kids, you know.
Q: It's called Inkdot?
A: Inkdot, yeah, it's about this size (referring to a regular magazine size).
Q: So is it like a special edition or, or
A: No, I would just did and I, ah, I don't remember how many copies I printed, ah, but I gave it to the school and you know it's free, I didn't charge them a cent. I mean, you know, we just did because I wanted them to know how to, you know, put a magazine together and then from the very beginning to the printing stage and then they were so glad to see their work all in a, in a magazine. So I was just, just that to me was enough payment, you know, I didn't expect, yeah. So, I was quite happy with that and so, um, I guess you know those things kind of, um, allowed me to exercise my probably natural talent because you know I, I just went through it like easiest thing for me, you know, and, ah, I enjoyed doing it so, I supposed, ah, other than the fact that, ah, I find myself in this business because it's a family business maybe if I weren't here I would still be writing, you know.
Q: In a different forte or
A: who knows ano, I mean, it's like, what, what, I think really, um, writing is, is a part of me and I would probably not do it privately and probably I would be, you know, contributing to other publications, who knows.
Q: (Chuckles) So your first, um, involvement, ah, with journalism o with publishing per se is, um, with that of your family?
A: Family. Yeah, I would say, let's say my first exposure to publishing was when I was very little and, you know, um, my grandfather published comics and that's what the maids used to read at, it was like we were all, you know, tutulog na tayo, ganun, o basahin mo yung ano, basahin mo yung komiks. So there, of course Tagalog di ba, so the, the maids would kind of like read it to us, you know like Valentina, the Darna, all these ..my grandfather's publication. And so, you know, we grew up with comics. And, ah, so, I mean, we've always had, ah, publications or the publishing world that's always been there for us because when we were born, well, of course my grandfather were already in the publishing and, ah, so, also our early memories, comics, you know, and, ah, so, I guess we'd always been exposed to these, you know.
Q: How about the first hands-on that you had?
A: I'd say it would be this magazine, Woman's Home Companion.
Q: Which was, ah, established when?
A: Well, this was not started off by our family, actually we bought Woman's Home Companion, how many years ago was that, I'll have to ask, I could not, maybe something years ago, maybe something like that. And, ah, so I was on and off, um, handling this magazine, of course in the very beginning I'd say I, I didn't have the exposure or the let's say the background to, you know, um, head this kind of publication, so I did, ah, start off with Woman's but, ah, I gave it up because I thought I wasn't really qualified, you know, because I don't like to do something just because I'm the daughter of the owner and I'm gonna take over, right, so they did tried it but neither, but, um, after awhile kind of like said look, um, I don't really think I have enough experience and background to do this, so I'm, yeah, giving it up to somebody who can, I mean you know, I'm just, I'll just be, you know, more stupid or ridiculous if I thought, you know, pretended, I don't like, so I gave that up.
Q: So, Woman's, um, would be under your family and then it was sold to another
A: No, that one was, belong to somebody else, this, this particular magazine here because what we had, what other things we have which are movie magazines and comics that was, that came from my grandfather, that was all handed down to us by my grandfather.
Q: It just changes names and
A: Yeah, yeah because, ah, obviously he divided, ah, all these different companies and gave some to my aunt because they're only two sisters, my mother and, ah, the Davila, okay, so
Q: Doņa Carmen.
A: Carmen, yeah, so the, the business was divided into 2 and then consequently divided among the grandchildren.
Q: So originally it would be Ramon Roces Publishing?
A: My grandfather, yes.
Q: And then it was sub-divided into
A: Because the first company that the, my grandfather's company was Capitol Publishing House. If you need to look some more, I brought, I brought this for you, you look through it here, it tells you a little bit more, if you wanna get some other stuff, okay, you can look at it. And you can get some more, ah, um, this to be more historical, you know, so I'll let, let you look at it and, ah, maybe you can get some things. So this is my grandfather (referring to the picture on the book being lend). My grandmother (referring to another picture on the book). And so if you wanna look through this, I mean, you may and if you think you can get something from it
Q: I just, I, I sort of like, ah, browse through some already because we that, in school.
A: Ah, you had this, oh.
Q: Yeah, but I would like, I would like to look at it too (laughs). Yeah, but what, what confuses me is like the division of what happened to Capitol Publishing.
A: Ah, okay, alright, wait, ha .(interruption) ano Capitol?
Q: Yeah, Capitol.
A: Well, actually that was, ah, that other half of the company, um, my grandfather used to live in that same compound and so the portion that was given to my aunt was that part, ah, what was in there, on that compound and this one is the, the part that was given to my mother, so that was divided into 2 big parts, so what they did was, um, I guess they decided you know they didn't want to stay in the publication business, so they sold it. They sold the land, the land and the publica, the publishing company.
Q: So originally, ah, Capitol is Ramon Roces, it's, it's the same thing also?
A: Capitol Publishing House was let's say, ah, one group of, ah, publication and then this one was Graphic Arts, it's another group of publication.
Q: So it would be under one bracket?
A: Yeah, they all belong to my grandfather, with my grandfather had a lot of different companies, I mean he had this two companies, he had, ah, a plywood industries, he had Permanent which is hollow blocks, I mean he went into a lot of different businesses, um, but the one that he is actually stayed with was in this, um, comics and, um, movie magazines, you know. So, ah, when he thought well, it was time, so he divided it into two, two into his two daughters and then, ah, that side was given to my aunt and this half was given to us. So that was sold because well, they didn't wanna stay in the publishing business but, um, we still in the publishing business. It's not easy, you know, part of the reason that it's difficult, it's because, um, aside from, ah, television and, ah, well this cable TV, ah, you know, cost of printing and paper also gone up so high that, ah, it's very costly to have, you know, and, ah, seeing that the consumer is not also able to buy expensive magazines you can't also sell it for, you know, expensive because who's going to buy, the so, you must realize that our market is C and D, you know, except for the women's magazines which is B and C, alright but the rest is C and D because these are, ah, publication that are for the masses and as you know there are more poor people than rich people in this country, so who's going to give them any reading material, are they gonna go and buy in a hundred peso magazine di ba no, so are you going to now, ah, you know, um, exclude them from reading, ah, you know something, no, so, you know we do provide them with reading material. It's cheaper because it's newsprint but as the years pass and there's so much competition between cable TV and TV, regular TV and computers and you know other forms of entertainment. The comics for example who, which was one of the, you know, most entertaining, ah, item for (SIDE B)
Q: yeah (laughs).
A: but the cable, tapos they also have, ah, how do they call this, the tape
Q: The VHS.
A: the video, oh, how but they managed somehow to buy one for themselves .and, di ba? So you're competing with things like that.
Q: different especially with the Internet right now (chuckles)
A: And you know, since may TV so let's say how you compete, that's a problem, you know so we're encountering a lot of modern day competition, you know, because you can only be so much to modernize your publication, for instance print, I mean, how, di ba, you can make fancy, you know put fancy colors, put fancy designs and more attractive but they cost money, so how can we now sell it, a reasonable product if it cost you a whole lot of money to produce? di ba hindi puwede. I wish we could, noh, pero that's not the way things are, things are you gonna be able to make ends meet, you know, so that you can still produce, something that is affordable, did you got the keyword - affordable, di ba, I mean especially students, you know, and even mga working class sometimes they don't get paid enough to, you know, for them to buy something that is not food, di ba. So it's been a struggle and I think one of the reasons that I'm still here is because we've been very conservative, we haven't, ah, launched into one project after the other and also I believe that I owe some kind of loyalty to my grandfather's memory, you know, and so, um, to our family has been, ah, known for this sort of thing
Q: It's, ah, like continuing the legacy
A: Yeah, so whether it will continue on to the next generation I don't know, you know, my kids are more interested in other things and, so maybe it will stop with me, I don't know, you know, I hope not but you know with the current trend many will be let believe, ano, that, you know, print media is very limited na, first of all paper is you know getting more expensive because to produce paper, you know, you need the trees, you need, so you have to have like a source and, ah, it's not going to be there forever although all these are plantations, noh, they are not cutting the forest down, they, they plant and they plant and you know although it's limited there might, ah, there might come a time that paper will be different, it won't be paper from the trees it might be some artificial, other artificial, you know .who knows, you know but I choose to be more kind of op, optimistic.
Q: So with Graphics, um, that, that was the part that was, ah
A: It went to us.
Q: yeah to the Guerreros
Q: and then
A: And then eventually it was divided among the three of us, you know, because we're only three in the family and my mother's never, because she's really not involved in the business and so we have to divide it into three and so of course, ah, Graphic Arts was dissolved because we each have our own different companies now.
Q: So, ah, your mother, ah, never handled Graphics .?
A: No, no, no, no, she, she never involved herself in like a day to day kind of like hands-on, no, no, she, you know my mother has lived abroad most of her life and, ah, so she's not really that involved in the day to day operations of the company. Now, she might know what's going on but she's never held an office in the company, you know, so that sense she's a, even her sister.
Q: But even before it was Graphics, ah, you three already have a hands-on with it, or ?
A: No, because Graphics was like the mother company
Q: Ah, so
A: the other half, noh, so that's the other half of the Atlas is my
Q: The Davila.
A: yeah, my cousin and so ours was Graphic and that was the mother company and from there came the three other branches which is what it is now my younger brother . and my other brother.
Q: So yours would be the Solid Gold
A: Solid Gold and Woman's they are two, they are two different companies and then my brother is Sonic although he also, he also stop publishing and is now only a printer but my eldest brother is a publisher and a printer so he had, ah, ah, Counterpoint and Kislap.
Q: So, ah, under Solid Gold will be different publications?
A: Yeah, we have the comics, the song hits and movie magazines. And woman's, ah, and the, and the woman's magazine, Chic.
Q: Um, so there's a separate woman
A: Woman's and Chic are, are two different publications. You see (showing magazine cover samples), here's Hot Copy, here's Chic this one belongs to Solid Gold, Chic and Hot Copy, this is the movie magazine (referring to Hot Copy), this is women's magazine, Chic and then here's Woman's Home Companion, so, these (referring to Chic and Hot Copy) belong to Solid Gold, Woman's Home Companion stand by itself, it's a separate company.
Q: I've learned that, um, you used to handle like the wedding magazine?
Q: (Chuckles) I don't if, ah, it went, um, .got the wrong information.
A: No, we never handled, ah, wedding magazine.
A: My brother who is into this Born Again thing, are you Born Again?
Q: No (chuckles)
A: brought out some, pangalan nito, I think, I don't think it's in, in the market anymore pero he brought out some, ah, kind of parang religious-oriented publication, hindi naman yung religious na religious pero like, this, parang basta, the orientation was kind of like Christian-oriented, instead of religious parang Christian-oriented.
Q: Ah, whi, which brother that ?
A: My eldest brother, yeah, because he's Born Again. My younger brother is definitely not so mayroon siyang chika-chika, all these bold, you know naman yung kanyang (laughs). That was what he used to have before, he sold that, he sold his publications and now he's just printing. So, all these things were divided between the three and so we are independent of each other although we'd, ah, monitor each other, you know, as to we're gonna raise prices, we kind of like raise prices together, we used to do that also with, when Atlas was still alive although Atlas is still alive but it was bought by National Bookstore, okay. So, when we had Atlas and, ah, Graphic, we practically monopolize the market, okay, so, we would always coordinate, you know, with one another when it came to pricing and then, ah, of course also like cost of paper, you know, how much are you buying your paper, how much, you know, um, stuff like that, so that it becomes like one, you know, one is not better than the other although we were competitors which was very, very hairy because we never talk about business when we're socializing with one another, I mean never talk about business. When we talk about business when we're, you know, in a meeting or, you know, the office situation but we never, never, never, never talk about business in a social
Q: Oh, you never changed location, ah, from Capitol it was always
A: Graphic was always in this location. Capitol or Atlas was always there.
Q: Ah, at where?
A: Atlas in Alejandro Roces Ave., ah, near you know where that is?
Q: Yeah, I've, I passed through the
A: Morato, this is
A: Tomas Morato
Q: And then there's a certain
A: Alejandro Roces Ave. So that's where it was located. Now, my bro, my eldest brother has it's offices in that area, Sct. I don't know what, it's also within the vicinity of Capitol.
Q: So, was it a coincidence that it is in Alejandro Roces (chuckles)
A: You know I've never, I've never actually asked that question but I just thought it was kinda neat that you know, you're living in the same street as your great grandfather's, you know, so, well, I never asked, you know if as a result of it being the name did he buy a property or he already had that property and then
Q: It just happened
A: they actually named that street after him my great grandfather.
Q: 'Cause even the Inquirer's, the Prietos with the Roces blood they're along Chino Roces
A: Yeah, yeah, because of course Inquirer, um, the owner which is Rufino married to Prieto who actually the mother of these Prietos is the sister of my grandfather, sister of Chino, of a
A: yeah, Chucha is a Prieto, and, ah, so the Rufino's per se, um, Inquirer well that's kind of like through marriage, noh, that has nothing to do with us or, you know, and, ah, I suppose when they put up that newspaper, I don't know what their real intentions were because that was parang, we have nothing to do with the Inquirer. And of course when during Marcos time when they closed the Manila Times it was very upsetting because you know, lots of people lost their jobs and the point was, the number one newspaper at that time and it was very upsetting for the family al, also because, ah, it was started by the family and, ah, so, my grandfather brought it out again like post Marcos but it was never the same because you know, other newspapers already were in the market, you know, you kinda lose your place, noh, bad side it didn't, ah, really work and, ah, so I think he sold it and then, you know, but same Manila Times has been moving around it's not anymore the original, you know.
Q: Yeah. So, it's kind of like the longest name of broad sheet, na, um, Manila Bulletin being considered as the oldest newspaper but with Manila Times like the oldest name of, or
A: Oo, is that what it is?
Q: Yeah. You never get to think of buying it out during (chuckles), like, ah, getting the paper of the family?
A: Well, um, a lot of, for sentimental reasons like I said, my grandfather brought it out again and, ah, it, it didn't work and so he, you know, consider it close to and well, that time my grandfather is too old, you know, although my grandfather lived long, he died 95, um, and he could have lived longer but, you know, he's the type that if he couldn't do exactly what he wanted it's like there's no reason, you know, to get up in the morning to just , you know, so, his health deteriorated, he wasn't really sick, his health just deteriorated because he just didn't feel like living any longer, so eventually, you know, his body just kind of . because, you know, he wasn't eating well, he was, you know, so he lost his, um, will to continue living, so it was quite sad but that's the truth, you know. So, I don't, um, I don't know how long any of us are going to stay in publication but we would like to continue because, um, it's something that we know, it's a business that's been in the family and, um, we'll just try and, you know, continue for as long as we can, you know.
Q: Um, going back to your, ah, first hands-on experience in this, ah, business, you started out as editor right ahead or
A: Well, yeah, that was the thing that I was telling you, I gave it up because I didn't really think that I had, ah, enough experience, you know, to be an editor.
Q: Ah, so you kinda like, um, tried it for some time
A: I gave it yeah, because, you know, who, I was the most logical to be placed there, ah, and, um, hey because I'm a girl, I don't if it's anything
Q: (Chuckles) So, how long, how long did you
A: It wasn't very long.
Q: Is it for a year or
A: Um, I can't tell you exactly but not very long but you see I don't like to be just, ah, a fixture, you know, is that editor, editor ka ba, I mean it's like, are you really editor, now stuff like that so, after awhile I thought well, it's not, you know, it's not right, I mean I didn't like that idea so I thought I'll just gave it up then, you know, we got some other editor and about . out of that, so then I did .but that was early on you see but then and then, I think that's the time I just kind of like I went to America but that must have been before that, that was awhile ago. And so then, um, when I came back and started, you know, handling the magazine again, not even as an editor, I mean I have, ah, an editor I kind of like, you know, got, maybe a, I was more mature, you know, and had better ideas and exposure ah, so I thought I was more capable then and so, you know, now in every, everyday and every, you know, year, I, I'm getting to know the ins and outs, you know, of doing magazine and being in this business, so I feel more confident and I believe that I'm doing my job, you know, I'm president of the company but I'm here everyday and, ah, I just don't come in during meetings, I am hands-on, you know, so, the title to me is not important, ah, I don't go around saying, you know I'm the president, ah, that to me, to me is unimportant totally, you can give me another title I don't care but I will just function the way I feel I can, you know, what capacity I have that's what I will do I don't assume to do something that I am not capable of so, you say I'm the president sure but people around me help me be one okay because and say what, other person I know everything, I can, no I still call my accountant and ask her what is this, you know, can you explain this to me stuff like that and, ah, so, um, that's the way I feel, you know, but that's the kind of person I am, I try and learn from, you know, being with the people that work for me because I don't assume I know all of the steps and everything, no, 'cause that's wrong, just, noh
Q: So, are there, ah, any memorable peop, people that you've met or that, that you would say had contributed to what you are right now?
A: Well, yeah, actually it's sad that she's not here, ah, she died, ah, last year, no wait, no she only died in, is it May
Q: Ah, part of the clan, was it?
A: no, she, ah, she's, her name is Mrs. Paguio and she was kind of like the pillar, you know, of this, ah, company, of Graphic Arts, although we had, ah, um, a manager, we have, you know, president, you know, all that, Mrs. Paguio who was the editor, started off, eventually, I made her manager but this was a woman that devoted her life and I mean her life to this company and our family. She died of, ah, cancer last year that last year and, ah, you can ask anybody in this entire compound or in the, ah, publication business of this level who Mrs. Paguio is and they will tell you who this woman is.
Q: Actually I think I was able to talk to her last year .
A: Ah, were you?
A: She was downstairs?
Q: Ah, she was the first contact that I had and then when I came back I was looking for her and then this . told me
A: She died.
Q: ah, she's no longer with the company and I didn't think that
A: She died.
Q: yeah, she passed away.
A: Oh, yeah, well, she died a few days, no, she was working here and, you know, like maybe four or five days when she decided she just couldn't anymore get out of bed and died but she used to come here, everyday, you know, with her pain killers, if she couldn't walk, she use the wheelchair, anything just to, because she lives like in the compound right here, next door, so she would come here and, ah, do her job. And the thing is, I think it worked both ways wherein that was her incentive for waking up in the morning and in spite of all her pain because, you know, first she had breast cancer then she died of, ah, she had bone cancer which the, the most painful form of cancer. She would come here in spite of that and, ah, you know, she only stopped coming because she couldn't get out of bed, I mean like physically, get out of bed, ah, and, ah, so fortunately, because I say fortunately she died, ah, maybe about like a week after because I couldn't imagine, everybody was anticipating, oh, she gonna suffer so much but wow, fortunately I think her heart just gave up and she didn't have to go through the, the bitter end wherein you said wow, ano, so that was good but, you know, if there's one person, that's the person, you know, so, you can ask anybody and they'll tell you the same.
Q: So ever since she has been the, she has
A: Always been the most devoted and loyal person I can ever imagine.
Q: So even before with Graphics, she's already
A: Yeah, she was the one that would have the "malasakit" as you would say, sympathy, you know, she would sympathize with the family as well as management, you know, ah, she would even choose work and our family on top of her own, you know what I'm saying it's like, hindi ako sasama sa inyo ngayon kasi may, I have something to do here, you know, she would in fact, you know, put us before her family and, but, you know, like her daughter works for my brother, you know, so, um, we've always been, ah, kind to her family, I mean, her like, she's like family with us. So, yeah, she is the, how do you say, you , you, whenever Graphic was mentioned, Mrs. Paguio was the next thought, you know, she always associate Graphic and Mrs. P, Graphic and Mrs. P, you know, it's the nostalgia, ask all the illustrators, all the writers, all these people were, you know, Mrs. Paguio's, ah, friends, she was, um, very loyal and kind and
Q: How, how about with any memorable ins, instances during your involvement in publishing?
A: Well, we've never really had a strike let's say as far as this company, I mean, I don't know, I couldn't single out a memorable event or, I don't think so, because like I said, we were very conservative, so the, the company would just, ah, um, function, you know, like any normal, we weren't like trend-setters or, you know, um, nothing too, how do you say, extravagant or, you know, um, I'd, I, I, I can't remember anything too memorable that stands out.
Q: But, um, during the like, the Martial Law years your grandfather, were you here during, ah
A: Yeah, yeah, part of, part of Martial Law because then I also went to America, let's just say, I never witnessed EDSA I, you know.
Q: But when Martial Law was declared and
A: I think I was
Q: they closed almost all publications.
A: Well, all the media, noh, they, even for awhile they, they closed it, they sequestered a lot of these, ah
Q: So, um
A: um, companies.
Q: didn't the magazine and comics, your forte
A: No, we, actually we never closed, during that time because
Q: But you experienced like censor, cens, censorship?
A: oh, yeah, yeah, you know we have to show, we give the, the blueprints of every single issue and every single issue have to be okayed, you know, yeah that was parang nightmare.
Q: Ah, no, um, no pressure was put on you because, ah, you're a relative of Chino, Don Chino?
A: No, because you know the problem with Manila Times was it became kind of political, you know, they would voice out their opinion, you know, using the newspaper, so they were anti-Marcos, so there's a lot of anti-Marcos, ah, ah, things going on there but my grandfather is more practical in that time. He refused to, you know, take sides because he knew very well that if he did, he would have been closed down too. So, you know, it's like saying, ah, there are other people that are depending on you, now would you be so irresponsible as to endanger, you know, those things and, ah, unfortunately, my uncle was idealistic, so he chose a different road but, you know, the, the results, right, I mean, let's not talk about it pero that's it, you have to pay for the consequences and that was the very hard for us to take.
Q: But they never like, um, put more, more .
A: Like he harassed us or
Q: yeah, yeah, just because you're a Roces
A: No, no, no. It was in fact, you know, my grandfather has remained neutral, I think this must have been pre-Martial Law that, you know. Most presidents have had lunch with my grandfather, they visited his home and, ah, so, um, I don't think he, even if he did not agreed, I don't really think he, ah, used his business to, as a vehicle to give out whatever opinion he have, you know, because he's like saying if that's your bread and butter are you willing to lose it just because of your opinion and if you are alone, I believe that's your choice, you wanna do that go ahead. At if you have people that depend on you, you have to think, you cannot just say, well this is the way I want it and this is what I'm gonna say whatever the outcome. Now I call that irresponsible, you know, so everybody makes his choices and my grandfather made his choice and he never said, I'm pro-Marcos, no, but he never announced that he, you know, was anti, we all know who was pro and who was anti, I mean, you know, but some of us are more practical and choose not to endanger the rest of the family. So imagine they know how to get tito Chino out of the jail di ba, I mean they're all, at a such a, it was so traumatic for the family because then who would get him out, you see, di ba you also have to I mean, sometimes you wonder, noh, you know, you do these, you get to jail but then you have to use these other means to take you out of there, oh, di parang, ano ba yun, di ba, you wanna languish in jail, well, right but you know, he was sick, got cancer, you know, so how are you going to let this old man stay in there, hindi naman puwede. So, yeah, it was, ah, it was, ah, a bit of a burden in, on the family but you know tito Chino was like that, we couldn't stop him. Some members of the family thought well, hey, he's a hero, he's great but I think those were the members who didn't suffer as a consequence, yeah, these are people that had their own businesses, whether tito Chino wanted to do his thing, bahala sila, it doesn't affect them but the people that who were affected like the people working and some members of the family that they were working at the Manila Times and were depending on the Manila Times, ano, di ba. So, those are the people that suffered as a consequence to, you know, his idealistic beliefs about politics. So, there's a good side and there's a bad side, you know, depends with how you wanna look at it, di ba.
Q: (Chuckles) But you, ah, when you get to handle, ah, Graphic Art or Solid Gold, you never had like thought of revising how, how the magazine is like turning it into something political or
A: No. Actually, um, tsk, in a way the, the magazine that we have now is limited in a sense that you have to target your market, no. 1. So, what is your, first you say what is my market and what is the level of, ah, ah, readers that you want to reach and what can these readers afford, so if you say well, I want to improve my magazine, how do you improve it well, I like to use photo paper, I would like to, you know, ah, get more, ah, well-known contributors, ah, ganun ano, what add that all up and you think your readers can afford what you're gonna offer them, hindi ano, so in a way you kill a little tied down to certain, ah, quality because your readers are also, they also belong to a certain level, so your improvement on your product is also limited to the price so, we have to stick to newsprint whether we like it or not and then, ah, if we choose to put four colors inside it will bring up the price, now we have colored ads but those are paid ads so they pay for themselves, you know, and, ah, the only new thing that we've done for Woman's for example which is recent is and if you notice the old Woman's, the logo is different, so we have modernized it in a sense that there is a shadow, ha, has a little black line here that kind of makes it stand out rather than the bilog, you know, if you look at an old Woman's it's different. So, we have very subtly changed a little bit the logo and then now we have UV, in other words, you know, the shiny coating, that's an additional, ah, expense because the regular coated paper that's regular coated but when you have gone a UV it's parang maplastik ng konti di ba, parang makintab that's an added cost. So, we've done that to why not naman give the readers a little something new di ba, something more modern ganun, so and then of course inside you have more articles, more up-to-date subject matters, um, you know, you try to improve on the contents, that's the only thing that you can do. Now, I find that there is a lot of room for improvement as far as contents is concern, so I concentrate a lot on what you're offering the public. So I think a publisher also has that responsibility to the reader, you see I'm not gonna hand you trash because you're paying for something di ba, so I believe in offering the best I can at the price that they can afford di ba, so it's not easy but we do try and I'm very conscious of that, if, when I see something, for example, if there's a recipe na, ano ba ito, magagawa mo ba ito, pano mga ingredients nito, nahanap mo ba yan dito. I mean it's like, so I said, I prohibit putting any kind of recipe that, that just not possible in this country, di ba. And then sabihin mo yung bibili nito, ah, kunyari lang may caviar, ano, mayroong caviar dito pero mabibili ba naman iyan ng reader mo, o smoke salmon mabibili ba nila yan, so 'wag mo ng ilagay diyan. Isn't it ridiculous? So it's things like that, you know, like maybe some publications don't look at stuff like that but I do because I go through it page by page and I'm like put myself in the place of the reader, o ano ba ito, o ito subject matter that doesn't apply, like going to, like going to Australia, although we did come out with an article like that, of course sinasabi ko makakapunta ba naman yung reader natin sa Australia (laughs) or sa, sa Switzerland or some other far fetch place naman you practical, the most is maybe Hong Kong di ba, so bakit, bakit ako maglalabas niyan. Is a waste of page and, what the hell .oh, Lord sana makapunta tayo dito, I'm just, I'm just gonna frustrating my reader (laughs). Dito na lang tayo sa Pampanga (laughs), hindi ba. Yeah, let's just go around the Philippines, even around the Philippines is expensive.
A: Punta tayo sa Cebu, wa, punta tayo sa Puerto Princesa, ano, I mean God it's so expensive 5,000 pesos, mag-isa ka lang puwede but what about the rest .you know, our family, Filipinos have numerous kids. Five is normal, noh, five, imagine what you're gonna go to (laughs). Sabi ko, hay naku, let's be practical here, let's give them something that can be done, ganun, even articles, even mga relationships, let's make it local, like those values hindi naman, Americanos naman hindi Pilipino values, that's not, hindi apply you know, you're reading something na hindi naman, hindi naman ganyan eh, like he wouldn't do that or he, di ba. So you have to be very aware of what your readers are going to get from reading and, kaya me I always stress, you know, ito, o, bakit ganito, o ano 'tong title na ito hindi mo naman naiintindihan, it's like let's not use titles na yung, ano ba yun, like what's that word, hindi ba yung, which is never, because when you look at the cover di ba you'll see what's inside, you're looking at the cover, noh and that's, eh kung hindi mo maintindihan, ano ba yun. Are you gonna buy it?
A: Yeah, di ba, but if you use simple language, straight to the point, di, aba mayroon palang ganito, ay, I'll buy it. Naintindihan ko agad, di ba, so, I understand people who like to buy foreign magazines because I buy foreign magazines but I do not expect people at certain level without putting them down because I'm the last person that puts down people okay, but I have to be realistic, na hindi naman nila naiintidihan, so like now because of this bad English that I've seeing every now and then I've decided to put a, How Good is your English. Parang mga little quizzes, you know, but this is not something I invented mind you, this is something that is textbook, okay. And so, okay, I came out with it, this is my only ., came out with it like a month and a half, you know what I mean, so sabi ko, hmmm is anybody reading this, ha, kasi you know naman how people, they only like to read entertaining things, yung gagawin ko ito, ano English ito, o, ayoko nito, di ba, instead if they have to learn something I don't like, noh, okay. I learned that a long time ago mind you (laughs), because before I used to put out, this is years ago, I used to put out a lot of yung mga psychology, you know, like top of, how do you take care of your kids properly, yung mga ganun, ayaw, our ration just, chup (making a sound effect), went down and so I said, ay, okay bahala na kayo I will not give any input because apparently what I want is not what the people want to see. But I've learned through the years okay, so sabi ko, lagay ng konting English, so after a month and a half sabi ko I'm gonna test, alisin natin, for like two issues, wala, didn't hear anything but then my secretary comes in and say, ma'am, may mga tumatawag dito saan na daw yung ano, How Good is your English, I'll tell you there's a mother that wanted to buy all the issues starting from the no. 1 with that How is your English and I said, huh, wow, I mean, I think to me that was about the most satisfying (laughs) ever experience for a long time so I said, wow, I was in such high-spirits and so when I went home I said, wow, guess what, mayroon palang nagbabasa niyan, you know, so immediately, o gawa na gawa na agad, you know, so, and that was so encouraging for me. And so now I realized that there are people who do want to improve themselves, you know, and that is something so encouraging for me because you know I like to teach people and I like to see people that like to learn to improve, you know, so I really believe. are intelligent, ah, people, they just need that little push kasi if you don't katamad, you know, like, hah, they always need somebody to push them, push them, push them, you know it's very tiring. And I really, and I think that I'm a mixture of east and west, you know, because I was born here but I've had a lot of exposure in the Western world and I can deal with both worlds and so I think that's why my expectations of the Filipinos is high because I know that he can do that (Part 3 of 3)
A: actually that's my motivation and, ah, having a vehicle to do that I think it's very, um, fortunate for me because, um, if I can, ah, share what I have then that's enough for me then I'll sat, I'll feel satisfied and the, and courage, and that is my incentive trying to give people you know, a, a better break and, ah, probably also you know giving them something better of more, something of more substance to read (laughs), that's why I spend all this time here and you know telling everybody that, you know, they need to give quality magazine at this affordable price, that's a challenge and that's something that I enjoy. I accept the challenge, I enjoy that and you know it, it, I think, it should, you know, allow me to continue in this business for as long as possible (laughs).
Q: Eh di your two sons have no inclination in any way with the family business?
A: The what ayan?
Q: Your two sons or they also have an inkling
A: Ah, well, I don't know, my, my youngest son is studying in IS (International School) so his orientation is a bit different, in a sense that maybe they have, ah, higher goals and, ah, well my son is, my, el, eldest his a little bit more, um, probably interested in this business because he had his own publication also.
Q: Which will, ah, which is?
A: Infiniti, he had Infiniti and, ah, it was quite successful, in the beginning, but you know, you don't have the patience to stay with it then after a while like, um, ayaw na niya and so, on to something else, so, but he's the one that comes here and he's willing to help out but, ah, I prefer that he should do something on his own, you know, so that he can have, ah, parang feel more assured, self assured, you know, rather than just hand down something, I would prefer that he would.
Q: What's the orientation of the Infiniti? It's a magazine
A: Full of comics.
Q: Ah, comics.
A: Oo. It was a you know Streetfighter? Kickfighter? Kickfighter ba yun?
A: Well, yeah, he, he, based on that it was a very instant success actually during that time, now that's on television and not only television, the game, Streetfighter, Kickfighter, Kickfighter ba yun o Streetfighter?
Q: Yeah, the I know a certain Streetfighter (laughs).
A: Oh, okay that one na back, that was a game, a video game, ah, he caught on to that particular, ah, cartoon whatever, figures and made a comics based on those characters and it was highly interesting, you know, until it ..like anything else, it's out now.
Q: It's like Marvel and
A: No. Marvel, no.
Q: like the Spiderman, more like the concept of that
A: Yeah, action, action, action, ah, comics yeah, but that was, ah, you know, ah .. so, he's had that experience in publication, so he had his own company, other thing, I didn't do anything with him that's his money so .it was, ah, it's a experience for them, so they know it's not easy and, ah, some of us have, ah, you know more patience and, ah, I suppose the older you get the, the more you have, you know, patience in continuing something, you entirely believe in long term businesses, I don't, ah, really like this one-shot deal ..you know yung mga di ba, um, it's difficult for me because, um, I like something that's more consistent you know, so maybe you might not earn instant, ah, amount of money, large, but you have it coming in every time so, well, that's one thing I stress with my kids or any younger ..,you want to establish a business, you have to look towards a long-term business. It might not give you what you want right away but at least there's something everyday, something every month and that was to me the most important thing, you know, I always that, I always stress that and, ah, I don't know if it's, ah, actually (laughs), learned it but (laughs), I always tell them, if you want a business hindi na bale itong mga kasi cyber café, kasi ganyan because sandali lang yan, kapag nagsawa na diyan iba na naman, so you know, of course you can make a killing but then after that you can take another big amount of money to start off something again. It comes out more expensive to do that
Q: Change your ventures.
A: parang if you say, alright I wanna start something let's say like a basic commodity, other than food or whatever, noh, of course it will take you a while to really have a profit but at least you know that matagalan ito, tapos regular yung income mo, yun, they have kids now a days they want yung, agad-agad, tapos yung di ba, I understand that but such young-impulse mentality.
Q: How about, um, what does it take to be a Roces like is there any pressure on like having yourself involve in
A: Well, on, on my side I have two prominent, ah, family that have joined together so, may have the Roces on my mother's side and I'm the Guerrero on my father's side. So I won't say that, um, I don't enjoy, you know, certain notoriety in myself that, um, you know, they know who these people are or you're rel, at least related to somebody who's more known than you, you know stuff like that, so yeah, there are times when using the name could give you a certain advantage but on the sense that you're pressure to prove something, I've never felt that you know, um, no, I guess I would say more than the other way around I've feel like I've used the name more than the name using me or put in pressure as you say. I don't think I've because, um, I'm never, I mean we weren't brought up like that, ah, we were not brought up under such strict, ah, conditions wherein you know you had to do this, you had it, no, I think my family is more liberal, you know, in everything so, no, we're not under any kind of pressure at all. Maybe in the business world, you know, ah, they might expect more of you because as you say, noh, from, ah, my grandfather being a, you know, well-known a, um, not journalist because he is not a journalist, he's a publisher, yeah, we're all on publisher, di ba they could always probably expect that you know, you are also in that business and successfully, okay but like I always say, hey these are hard times di ba, you know and everybody start bring a sorry, so maybe you could say well, you know during my grandfather's time I think that was the golden years di ba, but it isn't anymore. And so we have to suffer through the changes ano, and well, the only thing I can say is, you, probably if you were in that same era where my, when my grandfather was alive, he was a, he was richer, you know, while now we were less rich (laughs) because it was the truth you know and, ah, that's something you just have to accept, it's either you're this fantastic, ah, economist then you could probably have invested your money, you know, you made it grow like, ah, mushroom, okay but you know I believe that each one makes his own future, ano, we didn't have that kind of background, we were not a, an, an economist, ah, my grandfather had great foresight, you know, if you don't have that then you know di ba, I mean you have to live the life that you can, the way you know how, so I cannot base my life on what my grandfather's achievements were, that was his achievement, these are my achievements, I don't think mine is less than his but he had different opportunities during his time, I have a different opportunity and this is now di ba. I might be poorer than him but .. di ba. I mean we just have to you know make what we can with what we know and that's the way I feel, I mean you know. Some before are luckier because you know they have all these major businesses and then I also say I wonder if they are really that happy, I mean, saddled with major problems, I might have problems but I'm sure they're not as major as Ayalas or, or, or sino ba? So I said, I can go to the beach on the weekend (laughs), enjoy my beach house, I mean, travel at least once a year then di ba, that's all I want and not naman to have a house in every country or, you're only one, I mean enough. I prefer to have a simple but comfortable life, ah, not naman luxurious but just, just comfortable that you don't naman feel that you're left out of anything, noh, so, that's it and (laughs) . I wish there are more people like me (laughs). I think they will be happier (laughs).
Q: Yeah. Simple satisfaction, yung lang.
A: I think so you know but of course we shouldn't lose ambition. We have to have an ambition, if you don't have then that's not good either.
Q: So how can you equate, ah, the family name Roces to publishing? If you're to define it's relationship.
A: Well, I think the Roces family have pioneered a lot as far as publication is concerned
Q: Philippine setting.
A: yeah, yeah, of course I'm talking about Philippines only. As far as newspapers, as far as comics, as far as, you know because a lot of people that have worked, ah, in the early days of the comics, for example have become well-known painters, you know national artist and, ah, I think the, the Roces family has played a major role in Philippine publishing you know, and, ah, and the, and the Roces family is recognized, it's not like nobody knows about it, no, in fact, you know my grandfather has been given awards you know, and, um, recognized for his achievements and, ah, you know, we're all grateful to our, the Philippines for you know, um, allowing him to you know, be what he is love and, ah, acknowledging us and so that's how I would relate a Roces name with publication or publishing, yeah. So I'm proud, let's say, I'm proud of my grandfather's, ah, achievements and, ah, you know, ah, I can't say anything too negative about you know ., so, um, his some part of Philippine history and I'm proud of that so, you know, I'd, I'll do my share, maybe I'm not recognize the way he is but hey, I'm fine.
A: You know so
Q: Finally, ah, what can you advise budding, ah, publishers or journalists, ah, who want to venture the way that
A: Well, you know, I've seen a lot of new magazines come and go and, um, I believe that if you wanna put up a magazine seriously, you have to have enough capital to back it up na I feel fortunate that this publications that I'm handling for example have been started off by my grandfather and have been handed down to us and I think that, um, simplifies a lot of things, so, ah, if you want to avoid appearing and disappearing, I think you have to study your economics really well because it's not easy to break into the market, number one, mark the, easy to make the magazine because I think with the computers, ah, and you know the availability of, ah, little presses it's very easy to come out with a magazine, you know, but the nature of the business is not easy because, tsk, ah, in spite of it being a retail product you have to go through agents and sub-agents and, ah, collection is not easy containers, in other words it's hard thing to do, you know, so if you don't have money set aside to support your magazine while you're waiting for collection, you're dead. So that's you know, that's what I'm saying because the market is open but you have to have enough to back you up you know, so it's not easy and, ah, the important thing is you have to be consistent you have to have this staying power because the life of a magazine is, ah, 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 gonna disappear because I can say okay I'm going to give you a contract of 6 months, right, so you're actually putting out and after 3 months it closes so the advertiser loses confidence and, ah, if you're expecting to get an ad right away, that, it's never , you can't get one right away. Now what you see out there like when they have a first issue that's laden, tadtad with ads, a lot of those are exchange or some of them are free you know, so it's hard to judge a magazine just by looking through it because you don't see the real picture, you know, I don't want to say this magazine, I don't want to name magazines but that's the true, you know, so it's, um, 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 well, do your numbers correctly and, ah, stay with it, that's all I can say you know, because I myself have been a victim of comin' out with something and you know being unsuccessful and having to close and, um, it difficult, you end up spending a lot of money but you know, you just have to try and the readers are fickle. It's like one day they like that then next day they don't, so you have to keep on giving them something that will make them continue buying, so it's hard. It's it, you know like they say, the toughest business, businesses that you could actually get into is publishing and export and garments, okay, publishing and garments and you guess what?
Q: You got both (chuckles).
A: (laughs) Just like putcha is there money in this goddamn businesses? It's like hard, I tell you.
Q: Um, but additional question just in case that, um, you haven't acquired the family business where would you have foreseen yourself to be involved?
A: Um, something to do with the arts, you know, whether it's, ah, cre, always creating, always on that, that level di ba. Something to do with creating and, ah, it could be anything from , furniture, clothes, anything you know, doors, I make doors, ah, I would in be in that kind of business because that's the kind of business I know, you know, I wouldn't go into something that's totally foreign to me even if they say that's the thing that oh, you know, that's the, the, the, the money-making thing in fact if it's foreign to me I don't think so because, ah, I, I think people will just take me for a ride, you know, it's hard. So I choose to take maybe something that's less, ah, of a money-maker but I know exactly what I'm doing so that would be my choice, you know, be something, something that involves the arts and, ah, writing is art, part of art also either I'm doing that or something else but always in the arts. I think it was that's, that's really, ah, my natural talent and all.
Q: I've heard your mother has a like a studio of
A: Yeah, she's, she's forever creating, I'm sure you've read or you've seen her write-ups, she's done, ah, her, I think one of her more unusual, um, project was making, ah, caskets, she made, ah, hand-painted caskets and, ah, and kind of like a modern lore of a, art piece type of casket you know, totally out of this dimension and all, um, and then she, she's done a lot of icons you know wherein, ah, it's totally kind of like wood curving, ah, hand-painted and then kind of like a decoupage you know, wherein it gives you the 3D effect, she uses lace and other, other things to make it really standout, I mean that one was a very successful project of hers and now she does jewelry, you know, like bead work, um, she's also been very successful she did rosaries although she's not religious in anyway. But she's doing icons in rosaries and that sort of thing and so, yeah, she's very much into the arts and, ah, she maintains a, a workshop, she has people that are under her or like in a payroll situation, so they're there on a daily basis and, ah, she maintains that.
Q: She travels once in a while?
A: Well, yeah, she ano, she lived for a long time also in Spain and then in San Francisco, she still maintains a house in San Francisco, so she'll goes back and forth but, ah, now that she's almost like older, she's going to be 80, no, 79, she spends more time here but, ah, she used to, she goes back and forth 'cause she still goes to, to spend for her eye problem. Yeah, she still goes there, ah, several times a year. So, um, right now she's very busy in a project in Palawan, she's kind of like re-doing her, ah, house there, ah, among the mangroves I told her that's the environmentally unsound, pero it's on stilts, so she cannot cut the mangrove. So ganun, well, well my father is dead, so, he was a doctor but at the same time he also dabble in art, he used to paint also, so we all have a little bit of the artist in us, yeah, so I'm not surprise that you know, we have, ah, inherited some of those traits. My youngest brother is now back into his photography.
Q: Ah, isn't that
A: Wahoo Guerrero, right there so, that's what he does. My eldest brother, he used to do some painting before, but now he has to, he could if he wanted to but he's not into that at this time, you know, he's, ah, aside from his work, he's a preacher.
Q: Ah, will he be willing for an interview, um ?
A: Him? I can't say work but what I know, not, not (whispering) his wife, it's like wow, I mean, she can have you there all day long and tell you all about God not in na, na But have you interviewed, ah, am I the first that you've interviewed in, have you talked to my brother?
Q: Not yet. I was trying to get in touch with him but
A: Well, how much do you need for your, your thesis?
Q: Ah, I'll be defending next term pa po, like around October.
A: Oh, but how much do you need, I mean like more information, more
Q: If, if possible, um, almost all Roceses still inclined in publishing.
A: Well, you know, well, you can interview my mother although she's not into publishing but she did published together with Anding and all these people who are now, you know . prominent by their, their own merits, ah, .with the magazine called AKDA.
Q: With, um, Ms. Sylvia?
Q: Mon, Montilla.
A: Montilla, right so, she did that and, ah, I don't know how many issues they came out, well, but she could tell you all about that, and she should tell you how she would sleep in the, in the press there and she will you know, all her mga kung anu-ano. I bet she had a lot of like experiences with, ah, all these, ah, people which she likes to work, ah, as a crew, as you call them a crew, so they're like giving their inputs like Arturo Luz, was one of their illustrators, Manansala was an illustrator, I mean you know these are our national artists right? So those people had their beginnings with the Roces, ah, publications and my mother you know, ah, but that's as far as, you know, publication that she's done, she's got other things like with the restaurant, ah, ah, whatever, plenty, plenty of stuff that she never really quite stays with one thing you know. Start na, I wanna start this that's exciting part after awhile, o, sige kayo ng bahala o, I'm on to another thing. So you know, she's been trying to bring out like bridal books, this is way before they had this mga bridal, bridal like magazines and stuff or yung for the dead, you know like, ah, you write all these history of the dead and who's in, I said ma, no one's, no one's gonna buy that I mean it's like who wants this what you want is to forget about it and instead but I don't know, I say ..family tree, I mean, she has all these things going on so, you wanna interview her, sure she'll love to accommodate you, but you, you'll be there all day long but no if you want like, like right now she's not in town but sometime next week, you know you'll like, ah, I can tell her, Ofel knows your number?
A: Ofel. And you can go for an interview she, she will give you enough she likes to talk about herself, so if you like, she's a more likely person to interview because nga my brother might have different view, I don't know if he wants to interview with him. My youngest brother at the moment is not very sociable, he's got himself a problem since, ah, he's out of the publication, so he might not may wanna enter in the idea of
Q: Yeah, I guess your mom would be okay.
A: But I think you know to get more of the, well, my eldest brother has, ah, dealt a lot more with my grandfather than me. So you could interview him, you know. So if you want to ano you could ask for an interview, his office was there near, ah, Tomas Morato, ah, that a yeah, I could ask him to give you a day di ba. Well, next week siguro when did you say you need all your materials? Next month? Tama? May, may, may?
Q: April, but I can still like interview first week of April. (informal talk afterwards)