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Writing for Tempo through the years

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In the early ‘80s, I left The Evening Post to write a column, Highspeed, for Tempo. It’s now 2016 and I’m still with Tempo, enjoying and loving the years I’ve spent with the daily, a publication of The Manila Bulletin.

I remember reporting for work and was shocked to learn that Ninoy Aquino was murdered at the Manila International Airport. His death sparked widespread protests and demos, culminating in EDSA revolt, which led to the ouster of then President Ferdinand E. Marcos and the ascension to power of Corazon Cojuangco Aquino, the beloved Tita Cory.

As a Tempo columnist, I came to know Kris Aquino and met Tita Cory thrice – at the guest house in front of Malacañang, at the Aquino residence on Times Street (Quezon City), and at a five-star hotel in Makati where an intimate graduation dinner for Kris was held. It was upon invitation of Regal’s Mother Lily Monteverde, then very close to Kris.

When Fidel V. Ramos took over the presidency, I got the rare chance to attend a Tribung Pinoy concert held at the Palace’s Heroes Hall. This time, the invitation was courtesy of art patron Danny Dolor, head of Tribung Pinoy.

Then Joseph Ejercito-Estrada came to power… and fell from power after barely three years. While I didn’t get a chance to set foot in Malacañang, I visited Erap many times at the Veterans Hospital and his Tanay farm, where I often bumped into the late Rudy Fernandez, Bong Revilla, Philip Salvador, close friends of presidential son Jinggoy Estrada.

During the Gloria Macapagal Arroyo administration, I came to know Mikey, then appearing in movies.

By the way, I was flattered to learn then that President Ramos and Erap read Tempo every now and then.

Then came President Noynoy Aquino, who I saw during the birthdays of President Erap and Sen. Grace Poe. At Grace’s party, Secretary Mar Roxas saw Ricky Lo and I seated in one corner. He brought us to PNoy’s table and introduced us, “entertainment writers from Star and Tempo.” To which the President smiled, “Of course, of course.”

Now we have a new President, the straight-talking and maverick Digong (Rodrigo Roa Duterte), a San Beda alumnus (Law) like this columnist (AB Journalism).

Of course, I befriended a lot of people through the years as a Tempo columnist. One distinguished gentleman, Mr. Tony Meloto of Bahay Kalinga said “I’ve been reading your column from way back.” Another one said, “High school pa lang ako Highspeed reader na ako.” Now, he is an executive of a multi-national.

In 1994, when the Miss Universe contest was held here, a beauty-pageant expert, Jay P. Delgado, wrote articles for Highspeed. The feedback was so overwhelming that Jay ended up forming Highspeed Club whose members included Tempo readers all over the Philippines and even as far as the Middle East, Europe, South America, and the United States.

Original Highspeed Club members have since then been writing in other publications but, in the words of Jay, “Lahat sila galing sa Highspeed Club.”

Jay still writes regularly for Highspeed.

Oh, before I forget, there were libel threats, but only one actually filed a case with the Manila Fiscal’s office, promptly dismissed for “lack of merit.” I was ably represented by then Bulletin legal counsel Atty. Roberto Mendoza, who passed recently in Los Angeles.

Before Rey Bancod, there were Tempo editors Recah Trinidad, the late Gus Sta. Ana, and Robert Roque. But. Nestor Cuartero and Tessa Castillo remain as entertainment editor and associate, respectively.