I’ve accumulated quite a few experiences with Inquirer, because I was employed by this newspaper—and quit— thrice. The first time, I lasted just a day, after my article was turned on its head by a now deceased desk editor in 1991.
The second time, I was editor of the now defunct Saturday Special when it was still a chopsuey of different articles in 1994, and not the stellar show-biz section Nestor Torre later transformed it into; I left after a year.
The third time, I was with Sunday Inquirer Magazine for 11 years, 1996 to 2007, seven of them as editor in chief. I still have the pen I earned for my tenure.
I rejoined Inquirer part-time via the Lifestyle section as a contributing desk editor in December 2010, and as a veritable senior citizen of various beats, I get to write about topics that truly interest me.
Like in January 2011 when my boss Thelma San Juan told me to skip my evening yoga class, because we were going to Dr. Joven Cuanang’s Pinto Art Gallery in Antipolo for dinner, to meet my favorite novelist on the planet, John Irving.
It took little time for Irving to realize that I was a rabid fan, having read everything he wrote, which is why he invited me to pose for a photo. I was too starstruck to ask myself— hence, our photo, like two wrestling buddies, and the warm message he wrote on my dog-eared copy of his 2005 novel “Until I Find You.”
Animal welfare has also been a favorite beat, which led me to check on the Laguna pit bulls, survivors of a dog-fighting ring run by Koreans, busted after Holy Week in 2012. It was heartbreaking, but also triumphant. Our late editor in chief Letty Magsanoc used my story on the front page for Easter Sunday: “Because there is resurrection for them now, too,” she said.
The same year, I took my rescued “asPin” Kikay on a staycation in an Ortigas hotel. I was over the moon that my baby’s picture saw print.
Then there was the memorable coverage of the World Street Food Congress in Singapore, June 2013, because: 1) I met Anthony Bourdain, and 2) I had left Manila after a biopsy, and returned to a confirmation that I had breast cancer.
When my treatment ended in 2014, I danced with Letty at the ICanServe party for Breast Cancer Month that October.
After I completed treatment, I interviewed Cesar Milan, the Dog Whisperer, on his Manila visit in 2014. I banged out a story that same afternoon which made the front page the next day—and which Milan’s Facebook page reprinted in full, the only article from a Philippine publication that made it there.