‘I watched Pam grow up’ | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

SHARING cotton candy—and a great story—with Super's Pam Pastor
SHARING cotton candy—and a great story—with Super's Pam Pastor
SHARING cotton candy—and a great story—with Super’s Pam Pastor

I’ve been trying and trying and trying but I can’t recall the first or the last time I saw LJM. But I remember the in-betweens. Sixteen, almost 17 years of in-betweens.

These are just a few:

Watching her in action as she grilled politicians with her killer mix of charm and tenacity. Sometimes, my mouth would fall open in awe, and I’d have to remind myself to close it.

How generous she was with praise, taking time to write a memo just to tell you that you’re doing a great job.

LJM asking, “Done working? Almost? Almost?” Her gentle way of reminding us to close our pages on time and not make it last up to the wee hours.

How she kept her favorite Super and 2bU! issues, some of them for years and years.

How she came to my defense during a dispute over coverage territory. She told a room full of editors, “I know Pam. I watched her grow up. She has no malicious bone in her body. She’s always just excited to work.”

Me bringing her food, often from Lifestyle’s spread, as she edits, and her checking if it was up to her dietary standards. “What’s this? Ay pork? No, no, no. Chicken? Okay, okay, thank you.”

Being in her office for meetings, however short or long.

How I panicked when I submitted the story about the cotton candy man that I pitched and LJM returned the printout of the eight paragraphs with her trademark scrawl, “OK. Where’s the rest?” I walked up to her and said, “That’s it.” And she said, “No, it can’t be. We need more. And we need pictures of the cotton candy, a lot of cotton candy.” And because the cotton candy man lost his phone, we had to search for him all over Makati night and day until it turned out that all we needed to find him was Rudy, Inquirer’s taho guy.

The picture she wanted

Arnold Castro, the cotton candy man, spent an afternoon making enough cotton candy to get all of us sick of sugar so LJM could get the picture she wanted and I could do my much-needed second interview. My article doubled in size and appeared on the front page.

How every assignment she gave me made it feel like she was lighting fire inside me. She kept my love for journalism and telling stories burning.

Me running to her to tattle when I spot ads masquerading as articles. “Tell them to put ADVT,” she would always say and I’d feel like hugging her.

Sitting with her at last year’s planning sessions, watching her brilliant mind work but also witnessing how open she was to fresh ideas.

This excerpt from a memo to editors she sent earlier this year that still makes me smile: “…with the realities of the digital age, we have to tweak our stories, twirling them, standing them on their head, twerking when necessary.”

Her thoughtful presents and the sweet cards that always go with them.

Our text messages. “Super thanks!” she’d reply. Or she’d text me late at night, “Hope you’re still up in one of your post-midnight happy hours to read this.” She was always cool and youthful—in text and in person. “This reminds me of when I edited Panorama… Great minds think along parallel lines haha!” she texted one time.

How we’d talk about her grandkids and my grandma.

Hearing her voice and her laughter.

Just seeing her in the middle of the newsroom, in her editing chair, a comforting sight I took for granted for a long time. I thought I would always see her sitting there.

I will miss all these things and more. I already miss her.

I may not have vivid memories of our first and last encounter but it’s the in-betweens that now fill me with sadness but also make me so grateful—that I had known her, that I have worked with her and that I have the privilege of carrying her in my heart forever.

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