Date of Interview: March 1, 2001
Venue: Mc Kinley Road, Makati City
Karla Prieto - Delgado: were slurping, okay
Sassy Mae C. Sumulong: (laughs)
A: Um, okay, let's, let's say, ah, yeah, so, as I said in, in more I think grade 4 when our teachers asked us what we want to be I answered journalist, um, but in between I don't know why, I like to write you know they, they, I was in IS and they made us write stories, I like that, so I think that's why I said journalist but, um, um, it actually happened, I didn't grow up wanting to be a journalist, it happened by mistake, it was, um, in college when it was time to senior year of college we have to do our resume, bio-data and the only exp, marketable experience I have is writing 'cause I wrote for a college publication called, it is the Harvard Political Review and, um, so that was the only marketable skill I had so I end up applying on, to the Village Voice in New York, um, which is a lefty, leftist, artsy newspaper based in Granich Village.
Q: The one in New York though.
A: Yeah, the one in New York, (chuckles), the ori, the original one. The original one, that was my first job, I started as an intern .(interruption) . So, where were we?
A: Oh, how I got to journ, um, yeah, it was also luck, I, um, started out as an intern and awake into the internship, um, the managing editor happened to dropped by, um, the office of the personnel's internee core, who was the senior editor and then he said that he was interviewing for a job, he was interviewing and if I wanted to I could like have an interview with him that day, so I, it's the phone .I'm sorry. so, I did and I got the job (interruption) .oh, yeah got into the job, um, and that was my first entry into journalism, um, but I knew then that I wasn't gonna make a good reporter because I, I, I have to do, I, I was doing stories on the Asian-American community in, um, the lower east side of New York City, places like that, um, and then at that time a lot of wealth is coming out of Hong Kong into New York, um, so there was a, a fiasco around, I was doing a story on that, okay, I realized that I would never make a good reporter because I respected people's privacy too much, so, so then my next job was, um, at Asiaweek magazine. And I started, um, as a stringer for them in New York and did a couple of stories and then they asked me if I wanted to become a staff writer based out of Hong Kong, so I took up, I took the opportunity and moved, so I was a staff writer with them, um, from January 9, I was with them for three and half years. First as a staff writer then as a, um, news editor, general editor and issue managing editor, they, they have this great, um, I guess program where they would give the younger members of the staff a chance to become editor of the magazine for a week. So then we were called issue managing editors and you plan the entire issue as if like it was your magazine and you were the editor 'cause they wanted younger ideas and stuff like that, so they experimented and allowed us to do that and that is a lot of fun, um, and that was
Q: So, were, were you able to get more than what you
A: Oh yeah, yeah, we did that for awhile
Q: after the experimental
A: we did it for awhile, um, and it was fun, it was a good way to get to know Asia because I don't think that many of us here, um, know about our Asian neighbors so this, this really educational in that way, um, yeah, sorry I'm talking and talking, do you have any question?
Q: Ah, sort of like a educa, educational background with you like how, ah
A: The background
Q: 'cause, yeah, started
A: I started here in, ah, the Philippines however grew up to college was my thirteenth school, so I was constantly moving because my mom is somewhat of a gypsy, you know she's, she opts, she's always moving, um, so I did part of grade school here, um, oh I started, okay I'll do my history, ah, Montessori in Pasay and then, um, I went, went to St. Theresa's, and then I went to Assumption and then International School and then we moved up to Baguio, um, and my mom put up a café and a bookstore, called, ah, Café Amapola and Angel's Coffee Book Shop store. So while we were there I, I went to Brent, Baguio for a year and then I went to a public school called Special Education Center, um, where, um, some of the kids were deaf, blind, um, mentally handicapped and then they were gifted kids, gifted meaning like normal, um, so that was also, ah, ah, very sort of, an experienced that left a, a life-long impression on me, I think. And after that one I went to University of Baguio Science High School and then, um, and then I went to school in England, I went to boarding school, Old Stoke Brunswick, and then I went to Sacred Heart (at Woldingham), um, and then I did a school-year abroad program in Spain, Barcelona for a year, um, I would, the name of the school Philipp's Exeter and Philipps Andover, they have a program where you can live with the family and all of that, so I did that and then college in the States, I went to Smith College which is an all women's college and then I decided I want to be in a coed Harvard, and yeah, that was my last school.
Q: You've mentioned IS?
A: IS was grade school, did I skip that, sorry, IS was after Assumption and before Brent, yeah.
Q: So, um, so basically did you enter any other field aside from journalism or ..?
A: Yeah, um, I studied, I majored in government in college which is the same at .(interruption)
Q: So basically .like I've asked, ah, last question was, ah, if you entered into any other field other than journalism.
A: No, I am
Q: Directly in journalism. Does it have something to do with you being a Roces or ?
A: You know I, I don't just making suspicion that does, I think it does because I, um, of all the people in fam I really relate with my Roces relatives, that my mom is close to like tita Sylvia and, um, I feel a close bond with them and I don't know if it's because we sha, we shared, I think it has to do with how sharing the same values, um, and, and that kind of bond is, is, um, is very strong, and I think it has to do with that and, um, I always find hanging out with them, especially the women, um, such a, such a, like a, um, I don't know what to do with this but it's very like, ah, reassuring and reinf, if it's reinforces also your, what you stand for and what kind of person you are, um, and I like that, the older I get the more I, I appreciate them, um, so, yeah, there's also, I guess activism, I've always been like, ah, I get that from my mom and I know she gets that from the Roceses, it's the same thing, I'm always at the rallies, I always see them and, um, and I think that it's like the same connection of why, why the Roceses entered publishing and why, like, they're always involve in, um, fighting for this or that, or you know, like even locally here I was really involved with, um, McKinley Road they wanted to commercialize it and there was a threat that they were gonna cut the trees down to widen the road, um, so we really fought against that as a community, um, so little things like that I think it really has to do with, um, um, it has to do with values and standing up for what you believed in, yeah.
Q: So what year, ah, what year did you graduate college again?
A: I was an undergraduate so I, I have a B.A., Bachelor of Arts.
Q: So, um, never, um, got involved into Manila Chronicle or, you know, the family paper with the Roces side?
A: No, because when it was, um, ah, I always grew up, like, um, knowing about the Manila Times, what it stood for and, and, um, and I always wanted to get involved with that so I was really bombed when I heard that it was sold to the Gokongweis, that was like after People Power, I think, but I know that was actually like a controversial thing because it was sold, um, without, it was sold without the consent of the whole family, um, and I don't know if you gotten around to that point of it yet, have you talked to anybody about that? Did they mention that?
Q: Ah, I think, ah, with sir Joaqui, well, he just mentioned that before, ah, right after sir Chino's death it's like, um, he couldn't look for someone within the family who could look after the paper or financially, ah, yeah, um, able to hold for the, hold the paper, so they decided to sell it to the Gokongweis which have other businesses and can finance the paper.
A: Yeah, because the Marcoses actually, basically wiped out the Roces family business which is they, um, the Manila Times was padlocked when Martial Law was declared in 1972 and I know that there are holdings in TV and radio stations were, um, were confiscated. So that basically liked wiped out their businesses, um, and unlike the Lopez family I don't think the Roceses were able to recover from that, quite as well, yeah, um, because the Roceses after, I mean the Lopezes after Martial Law, you know, came back and really like got their act together with ABS-CBN and at that time they have the Chronicle, um, so, yeah it was a different, it was different, different path that happened after the revolution, um, I know that there was, there was a lot of, um, the Times was not run in the same way as it was before Martial Law because lolo Chino wasn't involved in it, ay no, he was publisher pre-Martial Law then post-EDSA I
Q: It's, I think it's Ramon.
A: it was lolo Ramon who was never in the newspaper business, he was in the comics, Liwayway, which is like a, it's publishing but it's
A: totally different kind of publishing and that's why, that's why I think it didn't work.
Q: I remember that, um, short history of the Inquirer was, ah, it was established by Egi Apostol and the other one, from Philippine Star before, Belmonte, Betty Go-Belmonte, ah, they, they used to have, they used to be tandem with Philippine Star then Egi separated and then how did your family got involved with
A: Um, we bought the paper from Egi Apostol.
Q: Like what year would that be?
A: That was already '90s, I was still with Asiaweek, I think it was about '92 we were talking to them already then the act of sale, actually maybe the sale was in '92, yeah, um, it was Louie Prieto, tita Marixi's eldest son, um, came to Hong Kong and, um, was trying to convince me to move back to work for the Inquirer but I was happy working at Asiaweek and all that so I didn't and I was but then I ended up moving back in '93 here, and eventually ended up with the Inquirer first as, um, in corporate planning, um, but then like I miss the, I miss, I guess, yeah for awhile I thought I might be interested in the business side but then I realized that I missed, I missed the, I missed the writing side, the editorial side, the creative side, um, and you know it's, that, that's really what I like to do
Q: And then you just resigned recently?
A: Uh-um, I was editor of the Sunday Inquirer Magazine for, four years, ah, and just left last, last December 2000. And that's when I started as a, um, as a student at Diliman, I'm taking Creative writing now.
Q: for M.A. or
A: I'm taking a graduate class but I'm not like actually taking it for credit, 'cause I like to apply for grad. school, um, abroad but then I figured while I'm applying I wanted to start already, so I'm taking that class with Butch Dalisay and I'm writing a book on, um, Philippine Forests, it's a coffee table book being published by Centro Escolar University and Neil Oshima, I don't know if you know him, he's a well-known photographer, yeah, he's taking the photos and he recommended me to write the text, so that's my main project now.
Q: So, ah, other than being an editor of, ah, magazines and newspapers, have you ever thought of putting up a paper of your own or
A: No, because I know that, um, it takes, it's a lot of work and also a lot of money out and you're not sure you're gonna get it back (chuckles). So if you don't have any to lose that's like a, that's a difficult venture to get into, 'cause usually with magazines it takes like a good, um, three to five years is an early break-even point, five years is more like it, if you break-even and then I think a lot of the magazines out there, um, are not making money, it's something, it's, it's hard to make money in publishing. It's not like a, in a way it's like not a good business venture based on what I, what I know and what I've been exposed to and all of that, um, plus I really wanna write and, um, I didn't wanna spend my time putting up, I, I wanted to write, I didn't want to be distracted doing other things, um, which so easily happens when you wanna write there's always something else going on, you know, so you never get around to it, so now I've decided, okay, I, I've just gonna write that's really what I wanna do.
Q: But, ah, didn't it ever occurred to the Prietos to buy the Manila Times during the Gokongwei scandal or was it ?
A: Um, oh, but we already had the Inquirer.
Q: Yeah, just so to, you know, regain the Roces, you know, like with your, with the, with your mom's side.
A: I don't know. I guess not, no. I guess not, I remember, um, if you look at the Inquirer stories about that sale, you'll see my byline there which at that time was it still had Yulo at the end of it, Karla Delgado-Yulo, because, um, I would talking to, I was reporting that story also just because I was curious, um, and I remember at that time that Katrina denied, um, what did she denied, I can't remember anymore, but anyway in the end it really came out that she had broken a deal from Mark Jimenez and, um, and all that, that eventually came out but that was denied at that time, um, yeah, so, no, no we never thought of
Q: 'Cause I think on file there's some history of Manila Times as the longest running name in, other than in Manila
A: Have you, um, have you seen copies of the Times pre-Martial Law?
Q: I've read this book about, ah, by D. H. Soriano about the Roces clan and I think they have a, a page with the Manila Times.
A: You know you can see it, I was like amazed it, it, it, parang it looked like the international Herald Tribune, it was so good, it was like, not just in the way it looked but the way it read, you know there was like no typos, the English was perfect, you know none of this like mixed pronounce of he gave birth, you know that kind of thing (chuckles) that's so common these days, none of that and when I think the quality of the paper was just, it was amazingly good, you should look, you can find copies of it in the Lopez Memorial Museum, which used to be in Benpres but I think they moved to Rockwell, yeah. Um, you want tempura (offering a dish)? You're free to use the chopsticks or the fork, whatever, you're more comfortable with rice.
Q: This is okay, I'm kinda like full.
A: Okay, um, yeah, so you can actually look at a copy.
Q: 'Cause there's also Sunday Times, I'm wondering if it's somehow related or
A: I'm not sure, I'm not sure. I don't know if you notice but the Inquirer office happens to be on Chino Roces Ave.
Q: Yes, don't they have a story in it (laughs)?
A: No, it's just luck, I mean, it's just
Q: Before, um, when you, ever since it was founded it was there already?
A: Which one?
Q: The Inquirer.
A: No, no, we moved, we used to be in, um
Q: Ah, okay, Port Area?
A: it's moved several times, but when I joined in, um, '94, Inquirer was still on E. Rodriguez Ave. in, um, off to U. N. Ave. in Manila.
Q: Have you been to Port Area or ?
A: Yeah, I, I
Q: with the, the Manila Times, um, the
A: I don't been recently, um, I known the Chronicle office used to be there, um, I don't know if Inquirer was there at some point might have been, um, yeah, the, the lot where we are now used to be owned by, um, Artes Español, the ones who make the, the locks out of, ah, metal, um, used to be owned by them and I think that's the family of Sanso, the painter, Juvenile Sanso, um, ah, and so it was bought from them and the Inquirer building was put up in about '94 or '95 maybe '95, yeah we moved in there '95, um
Q: So it was just really, ah
A: Chance, it was chance, say, it was chance.
Q: And, um, with your first experience in journalism do you have any memorable people you've been, you'd dealt with?
A: A lot but I'm trying to think of, um, who
Q: Your environment is more on the outside Philippines like that
A: It, the first well, I moved like here ninety, end of '93, so I've been here the last seven years. But always like politicized, I mean because lolo Chino was jailed and all that, I grew up in a very politicized household, always anti-Marcos household, um, and so during, during the, ah, the first People Power that, that happened February, um, December I worked for the Cory Aquino for President Movement because it was lolo Chino who started that one million signature campaign and all of that and I think he started the Cory Aquino for President Movement.
Q: So you've been part of that
A: So I was, I was working for that during my, um, winter break and, but we were based in Baguio, 'cause my mom was in Baguio at that time and, and the headquarters of CAPM was in her café, Café Amapola, um, and at night we would go around putting up posters, um, um, then during the day they would be stripped down, you know that kind of thing, um, but I have to go back to school, so I wasn't able to stay until Feb. I left in January, um, so during the People Power thing I was going around campus giving anti-Marcos speeches and all of that, um, so I was really glad to be able to experience the second EDSA this time.
Q: So, no, no threats, um, like didn't you got any threats during your participation in any of those
Q: Considering that, ah
A: Well, Inquirer, yeah, we had our share.
Q: If they're gonna, yeah, if they're gonna trace, if they're gonna trace, ah, who your relatives are they could like trace you to, with Chi, with sir Chino, who was detained during that time.
A: Um, well, that's why we'd post during at night because weren't allowed to do it dur, to do it during day. And but Inquirer had it share of threats under, um, under Erap, the boycott and, um, and he would give us thinly build threats about, um, um, I know that, ah, for one tita Marixi's other businesses were, um, 'cause the, the Rufinos are involved in, um, real-estate and stuff like that and Erap gave thin, thinly build threats about, um, basically harassment it was like harassing the other businesses that have nothing to do with the Inquirer just as a way of, um, ah, as a form of intimidation, I guess ..yeah, I found these out of there.
Q: So, you've been following the EDSA II
A: Yeah, we are there everyday. I'd say before EDSA, di ba there were so many rallies, yeah, the women's rally
Q: impeachment start of that
Q: So with your first job assignment, um, are there any memorable people that you've dealt with?
A: Um, like people I've interviewed?
Q: Yeah, or people you've worked with.
A: The most memorable would have to be, um, the most recent is, um, Letty Magsanoc and Amando Doronilla, um, who become, I'm really closed to them, it's more than, um, they kind of like, um, people I look up to, kind of like mentors / friends /, you know like last night I was with both of them, um, I had dinner with Doro and then I had, um, I picked up Letty after the paper was done, so it's like, ah, um, I think it's important to have people like that in your life because they, they reinforce, um, what you believe in and, and what you stand for and what you're doing and things like that and for me they would be two very important people in that sense. Letty is such a, excuse me, she's such a committed journalist. I've never met anybody so committed to journalism, she's so proud to be journalist and it rubs off and I think that's why she works so well as, um, as an editor because she's the kind of person you look up to, she leads by example that kind of thing, um, and boy she really stands up for press freedom, the truth and, um, ah, you know she doesn't coward in, in the face of threats and I think Doronilla naman, he's been in this business for, since before you and I were born, I mean he's been doing this for, he's about 74, so he's been doing this for more than 50 years, um, and he's also, he's really like a no non-sense, he is orphan at the age of 12 and he has a very strong work ethic, also very like solid values and, so to me they, they would be like the important people, if you're going to ask me, and we'd continue to be good friends.
Q: How about, um, events that like you've been, you've done during your journalist experience, being a journalist, like, um, looking back in it you wouldn't think that you have done it or something like that.
A: Hmmm, I don't think I have those, I think more of, um, intensive seminal events or events that, that led to something bigger, I would say definitely, um, ah, I think People Power in 1986 have a huge influence in terms of me choosing government as a major and, um, you know, me becoming a journalist and then, um, as a journalist naman, I mean so many like, so many things that just confirm to you, um, why you're doing what you're doing and what's, what's, what's important and what you need to stand up for, things like, um, what was there, there was the Never Again Movement, when the Marcoses were coming back into, into power, um, then there was the Cha-Cha thing, um, so things like that where when push comes to shove you need to, you need to make a stand, you know, there been so many, there's always, we always have tests like that, um, and I'm always there and so are the Roceses, so are the Roceses.
Q: So is there, um, why choose UP for your ?
A: UP. I've always, I've always wanted to go to UP, I have this thing that because I didn't go to college here, I have this thing about, um, I don't know I think like, um, it sounds like really silly but I just think like it would make me a better Filipino if I've gone to UP because like, there's something about the UP experience that, um, that I think is different, I mean I, not for anything but I have no interest in going to Ateneo or Assumption or anywhere else but UP, I mean that's just where I'm interested in and I think it's because UP is like sort of a microcosm of the rest of the country, I mean you have like a real sense of, um, um, it's not a world onto itself, you know it's very connected to, um, society at large, what's going on, and to some of the other colleges they are so, they're like cocoon, you know, um, whereas UP I think it's, it's very in touch and there's also that, that, um, tradition of activism and, that I like, you know, involvement in society and all of that.
Q: So, when, when are you planning to move to the States is that or ?
A: Um, I don't know maybe later this year, um, I'm actually thinking of, my mom lives in, in Europe so I'm thinking of living with her, so their actually living in Europe, um, she lives in Paris and, mostly it's because you know, life is short and I don't know if I'll get another chance to live with my mom and my sister and my daughter, you know, in Paris and so parang I should like go for it, right, it might only come once, so it's like, it's what I wanna do but I wanna come back here because this is home and this is where I think, um, we can make the most difference, you know, 'cause there's so much, there's so much, you can do here beside that I definitely wanna come back.
Q: Ah, when, with your coming back do you plan on going back with Inquirer too?
A: I don't know they're asking me that, like, so when are you coming back, I don't know, I really don't know, I mean, the reason I'm doing creative writing it's because I've always wanted to do it and actually, um, I wanted to do it since, since I graduate in college but you can't money writing short stories right, you can't pay the rent and all that and, um, that was very important to me after college to become financially independent and, um, you know parang this thing of, if you're gonna say you're an adult, well, you should act like one and you know, pay your own rent and your own taxes and, and all of that so that's why I never wrote the short stories, so that's why now at age 33 I was saying, if I don't do it now, I'm never gonna do it, see so I'm doing it now.
Q: So, aside from being a journalist and you're in to creative writing other things that you've been keeping yourself busy with like ?
A: Like interest, like that? Um, very strong interest in art and culture, books, um, ah, yeah, I would say that, um, I love the theater, I love film, I always go to those like film festival, there's a women's film festival next week in UP.
Q: Right now I think there's one at Shangri-La with the Japanese
A: I heard there's one, yeah, okay, so I love film, I love, um, I go to exhibits, I like the interaction, you know, that you get from that, um, there's a Roces who's an artist, ah, Katya, Katya Guerrero, she's a Roces - Guerrero, um, ah, yeah, and also outdoors, I love nature, so I'm always, um, going to places like Sagada and, you know the hiking and .. with nature . It's a sane 'cause otherwise living here like this with all the pollution and traffic and, you'll just go crazy. So, yeah, I do that, I do that for my general well-being.
Q: So, um, you're still a Filipino citizen or ?
Q: You just keep on like visiting, do you have like tourist visa or ?
A: Um, it's never been a problem, I guess, 'cause I was a student, ah, yeah. That's not been a problem.
Q: So how does it feel to like know that you've been, you're a part of a clan with the Roces?
A: Yeah, I guess I, I'm definitely, I, I am, I relate very strongly with my Roces relatives because of the shared values and the shared, um, things, what we believed in and stand up for, so it's, it's, um, it's something that I'm very much aware of, um, ah, and I know I get it from my mom because my dad side of the family is very apolitical and, um, ah, I'm very unlike that side of the family (laughs). So I know that it comes from my mom and I know she gets it from the Roceses, so in that sense the, the passing on of, of all these, um, of who we are, I mean it comes, it's for me, it's been passed onto the women, you know, it came from my mom and I know it came from her mom, um, and, and that's why when I get together with the Roces' women in the family, it's a very powerful, um, pleasurable experience you know, 'cause you are with your own kind, kind of thing and that's why I think it's really, it's a reinforcing kind of experience. Yeah, so I guess I feel lucky to, um, to know, um, that part of the family and to be, to be able to, um, to interact with them and, and, um, share things with them
Q: But is there any pressure like you're a Roces, you're a Prieto, you own your, a newspaper you should be like this and
A: No, no, not really it comes naturally, it comes naturally, um, like at Inquirer, I mean, I just, I feel so at home there that way it was so difficult to make the decision to leave because it's like, um, I was there like, ah, from '94 to nine, to 2000, end of 2000, so was like six years, um, so like, um, I was there longer than I was married (chuckles), so I was only married four years, so parang they become family and I have a natural, um, I just, I just get along well with editorial people and it's just part of, it's just a natural thing, you know it's like parang, I guess I'm one of them, so I feel like totally, totally at ease and comfortable that it's not, um, it's the milieu that I'm comfortable.
Q: So, if you're gonna choose, um, among the papers that you've been involved with, you'll definitely choose Inquirer or ?
A: Yeah of course.
Q: or would you think of going back to Hong Kong or
A: Well, I just, funny you brought that up, I bumped into Tony Lopez, he's the senior correspondent of Asiaweek, he's been with them, um, 25 years and he just told me that they're a business magazine now. And their turning to a business magazine was just too bad because they have strong political tradition which they're just dropping under, under a new editor. So, yeah, I wouldn't .
Q: So you stopped, ah, working with Asiaweek like what year?
A: End of nine, August '93, I left Hong Kong.
Q: That would be for, how many years was it?
A: Was I there?
A: Ah, 3 years and, ah, but 3 and half years.
Q: So, so the 12 years that you've been a journalist is like, one year, one year or on the others
A: No. Village Voice '88 - '89, Asiaweek '90 - '93. Inquirer '94 - 2000. (Interruption)
Q: So with your father, no, in, ah, father side, no journalistic, um, involvement.
A: None at all, none at all.
Q: Delgados are like ?
A: Um, would have been, well, my dad is in shipping and, um, ah, a little bit of food, um, yeah, transportation is there business never, never media.
Q: How about with your brother?
A: My brother? He's never, he's never been involved with journalism, um, yeah, my sister is involved, she's a good writer.
Q: Ah, the, your half sister, I mean?
A: But she's only in high school so I don't know, but she's a good writer.
Q: Did you have any difficulty getting into the media like, um, any expectations that, that you were thinking of the field, that wasn't met? Any instance that you got disappointed and
A: Yes, I mean I don't trust journalist in general but I always knew that so that's not really a sense of disappointment it's more, um, ah, I don't know, I guess because I just know that, so, yeah, usually journalist can't be trusted and that's a funny thing to say but, um, I don't know why I say that, I guess 'cause, um, not all journalist have integrity, I guess it's what it is, yeah, so that would be my, that would be my grief, um, that, um, many journalist can be bought, you know, um, and yeah, I have a problem with that and for me I would never, I would never accept money to alter the truth or, um, and that, that I think comes from the values thing again that I was talking about that's definitely something passed on by your family
Q: If given the opportunity that you didn't have the Inquirer and this issue with the Manila Times came out, would you have like personally, would you have like often to buy the Manila Times?
A: Yeah, I would have been interested, um, yeah, I think so, I would have been interested.
Q: Considering that it's kinda like a long lineage from the Roces already.
A: Yeah, yeah, I would have been interested, 'cause I always was and then nga it was so and then so, we just went somewhere else, to the Inquirer, um, but in a sense like, the Inquirer is today what the Times was pre-Martial law, you know that, you stand up for press freedom, you stand up for the truth, you stand up for bringing the truth out, um, rather than suppressing the truth and we had instances of that under Erap's administration where we would get calls from Malacañang, you know to say don't run this story, kill this story and that story and, um, you know, um, never mind the boycott of the ads and never mind all that parang that's just, there's no way we're gonna (chuckles), we're gonna like, um, bow to that kind of pressure and it just, it just kinda, um, got reinforced during Erap's administration, 'cause they were asking things that were totally like outrageous, you know, like the Mark Jimenez story, in the Mark Jimenez story book that, um, he was being charged in the US with, ah, I think something like tax evasion and, or, yeah, illegal funding of the Democratic, the American Democratic Party, um, they wanted us not to run the story even though it wasn't even our story, it was a story, it was a wire service story, so it's like it's already out there in the world and then you're gonna ask us not to run it, I mean that's just, ah, (laughs), hello are you dreaming
Q: Maybe it's also the first time that they get to hear it from you, they, I, I mean, maybe they weren't aware
A: I don't think they quite know what they were doing, by asking something like that, I mean this is not something you even ask to a, a newspaper, um, and there were many instances of calls from Malacañang, um, asking us to, not to put it on page one, okay if we're gonna run it then, like the textbook scandal, um, what are the stories, there's so many stories, um, ah, I need to recall what other things but they would be calls just to ask us, um, you know not to, not to, to downplay na lang, not to dwell on it na lang and all of that but I mean with that kind of thing, the more pa they say that the more you're like
A: oh, this is news, this, you know, this is like a scandal involving the what was it, 3 million pesos to one of the president's cousins or something, um, so that's something that's news worthy but you a what was your question I got side tracked, what's your question?
Q: Ah, it, yeah, if you were to get Manila Times and then you said that
A: Ah, the things that, yeah, the time, the Inquirer is kind of now, the Times was then, um, yeah, I, I, I, also I think in terms of, um, one thing very much in common is, um, not suppressing the truth even under, even under pressure from the powers that be, that's why the Manila Times was padlocked, um, so in terms of that, that's a very strong petition that, that has stayed on.
Q: So, do you think publishing is such a, sort of like profitable venture?
A: Inquirer is profitable, um, it is a profitable business, not all publishing is, I think it's, um, and it's a very tough business to be in because you're, you're, there's so many things to consider there's a, newspapers there's always a union and, um, there's always like a CB, Collective Bargaining Agreement that you have with the union, every three years, this year is CBA year again, um, then, um . (SIDE B) A: think about in running a, a newspaper there's also the cost of paper that fluctuates, um, we're very much affected also by the devaluation of the peso, um, because pulp is imported, um, so even though our paper is from here the pulp we use to produce the paper is imported so that affects the price very much, um, and, so it's not, it's not an easy business to be in at all but, um, I think it's a very rewarding business to be in because, I mean, I think I, um, Inquirer makes such a difference in our society everyday you know and, um, not to like blow our own trumpet but I think, I think it serves a very important role in, in, in the Philippines now, I think that, um, it also, besides, besides, um, um, keeping the public inform that's to what's really going on, I think it also tries to, um, make the Filipino proud of, um, there's a lot we can be proud of and I think one of the Inquirer's, um, underlying objective is that, parang it's just a given already that we're always trying to, we always have like special series or, um, I don't know, ah, to make, to make us proud of ourselves, you know.
Q: Finally, a sort of like a wrap up question, do you advice, what do, what do you advice, ah, budding journalist?
A: Um, I think it's important to find a good mentor, um, not just for the technical skills but also for the, for the values and, um, and the outlook, for me those two would be Letty Magsanoc and Amando Doronilla, um, ah, I feel lucky to be able to know people like that and to be able to, yeah, spend time with people like that, um, ah, 'cause it reinforces, it reinforces your, your beliefs and, and your, your, your, ah, your sense of, your sense of, ah, your sense of purpose in this world, I mean why, why are you doing what you're doing, um, why don't you just become a stockbroker and make more money, I mean journalist don't do it for the money, you know, which is ironically that's what gets them in the end because the salaries are so low that it's just like being a police officer, the salary is so low, how can you not accept the bribe of somebody who hands you over a hundred pesos not to write them a ticket, you know it becomes like this paying of, you're not in it for the money or at least the journalist goes into it not for the money and then you're so hard pressed, I think especially if you're a male, because if you're a male you're expected to support your family and feed your family, were as, if you're a woman usually your income is supplemental, okay, not always but usually and, I think it becomes especially difficult for men, um, not to take money on the side, you know, um, and so, yeah, so my advice to, ah, budding journalist would be to find a mentor and, um, to get out there and like chase the story, get the story yourself, you know and, um, and never to take what's, to question, to question everything, 'cause in our culture like if somebody important tells you something, you generally like just take it for, you accept it, right, you don't question it, so I'd, I would say particularly that, not to take everything that's told to, um, you know, not to take it as necessarily the truth.
Q: So would you still have opted to join, ah, to be a journalist, ah, given the chance that you could write like you could like focus on book publishing and creative writing if you, if you've been inclined to creative writing first but
A: I was.
Q: yeah, but Roces blood is there would like diverse yourself in journalism or there would still be a part of you, um
A: I don't know, I mean right now like when I left Inquirer I miss, I definitely miss the, I would be doing stories weekly, I mean we all go through phases but, especially towards the end I was writing a lot, ah, because I knew I was leaving, right, so it's like I, I really wanted to be writing and completely involved in it and then once you have that and then all of a sudden it disappears, you miss it, so I think, I think eventually I'm gonna back to it because, just because it's, it becomes a part of me after that, after twelve years it's gonna be a part of me, right, so I think, I just need to get this thing out of my system of doing the stories, so that giving my time to it and then I think I'll probably, I'll probably, you know, um, it's like a magnet, you're just, I'll probably be drawn back to it, eventually.
Q: You want to focus more on your other interest for awhile?
A: Yeah, yeah, given a chance also.
Q: That would wrap it all up.
A: Okay, um.