A. Paulita Roa .
THE late Lorenzo de la Serna sent this article to me a year before he passed away. He was one of the stalwarts of the first radio station of Cagayan de Oro-DxCC. He was a former president of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club, a member of the Knights of Columbus, a writer and a civic leader.
I joined Radio Mindanao Network or RMN when it was about to expand its area of operation and needed additional manpower. Its transmission power was raised from 500 to 1,000 watts and the frequency moved from 1560 down to 820. Except for Bob Avelino, Tinong Bautista and Viben Magdales, the administrative assistants and personalities hired by Henry and Reuben Canoy were outstanding Ateneans and Lourdesians. Among them were Nestor Torre Jr., Titus and Terry Camacho, Ester and Dulce Laput, Peggy Barker, Sylvia Antillon, Linda Neri, Marilou Reyes, Charlie Yrrastorza, Emil V. Corrales, Amador Factora, Raul Panares, Fil Apolinario and farm program host, Carlomagno Raagas.
Speaking of news, it was amazing that the most listened to newscast in those early days of DxCC was that of Reuben R. Canoy’s, Monday to Friday, national and international news at 7:00 o’clock in the morning. The national newspapers would arrive in Cagayan de Oro via PAL’s first flight from Manila at 9:00 am. The words “satellite” and “skylab” did not yet connote conveyance of information from space. There was no internet connection nor long distance communication. What was then Reuben’s source of national and international news? Creative as he is, he would come to the station very early in the morning to tape-record the 5:00 o’clock news of DzAS in Manila, transcribe the same and deliver it in English at 7:00 am. His voice would reverberate in blasting transistorized radio sets in the public market. I was also forced to be at the station early in the morning to translate his news to Cebuano to be delivered at 8:00 am.
But the mobile unit of the station remained the lowly tartanilla of Tirso Daaca. That horse driven rig was very memorable to me because it was the only means of transportation I could use for free to visit “all the girls I loved before.” There was a car owned by my paisano Dodong Godinez but it was as diminutive as he was where only he and his best friend, Candoy Villarin, can fit in.
I became a member of the Cagayan de Oro Press Club when founders Fred Cruz and Guido R. Ongpin of the Mindanao Star were still alive. The leadership of the prestigious association were in the hands of Reuben R. Caanoy of RMN, Augusto F. Neri of Ang Katarungan, Manuel V. Quisumbing of The Manila Chronicle and Noli F. Olarte of The Manila Times. Years later, I was elected as president of the club. Some of the charter members of note are Sen. Nene Pimentel, Gov. Bono Adaza and Mayor Tinnex Jaraula.
As caretaker of DxCC, I had the rare privelege to rub elbows and became a close friend to many great public servants like vice President Maning Pelaez (father of the Cagayan de Oro Charter), Mayor Tenying Borja (dubbed as the best Mayor Cagayan de Oro ever had), Governors Alfonso Dadole, Vicente de Lara and Cording Diel. Assemblyman Nyor Idroy Vamenta, Borad Member Doxing Along, Vice Mayors Mundo Waga, Jake Serina and Eliong Luminarias. It was City Secretary Tacio Abas (we called each other “sargat” after Mayor Serina’s favorite expression “saragate’.) was the one who taught me many traits and characteristics of the Kagay-anon.
By virtue of its location, Cagayan de Oro was fast becoming the commercial center of northern Mindanao. The attributes that spurred the city’s great prosperity were the friendly attitude of its citizens who were eager to cooperate for the city’s development and were supported by sympathetic administrations from both the city and provincial governments.
Among the big plus factors that the city can boast of are the enlightened citizenry, a big consumer market of a salaried middle class, availability of skilled labor, and abundance of raw materials, absence of storms, typhoons and earthquakes, good distribution of rainfall, excellent law and order conditions and ideal geographical location.
The only drawback at that time was the shortage of electric power which was meagerly distributed by the Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company or Cepalco. The company was established by Gonzalo Abaya and was managed by Mike Siojo. Because of frequent blackouts, people started calling it “Cepalong.” But this was a temporary detriment for not long after, the extension from the Maria Cristina Hydro Plant in Iligan city, some 70 kilometers away, made available an almost unlimited supply of electric power.
Now, we have Limketkai Mall, the city’s biggest mall that is located in Lapasan. But do you know that it started as a rice and corn mill and a shipping agency for M/V Cagayan de Oro, M/V Davao, M/V Hin Tian Ting and M/V Sweet Lines? Commercialism has indeed wrought great changes in Cagayan de Oro but the City has not allowed it to sully its culture. Predominantly Catholic, the Kagay-anons were and are deeply religious.
The first international organization that I was invited to join was the Lions Club. It was then headed by Cording Diel, Nene Puyo, Tinnex Jaraula and Peping Cinco. I later joined the Rotary Club together with Msgr. Patrick Cronin, when Casimiro “Roymi” Tamparong was the president. Those were the clubs that gave me the oppurtunity to serve and be exposed to the truthful maxim of the Kagay-anon — service above self.
The Knights of Columbus is the global civic- religious organization that recognized my leadership by awarding me the rare privilege to represent Mindanao as delegate to its international convention in Cincinatti, Ohio, USA. The K of C is where I am honored to be counted among the many eminent members of Council 3108 composed of judges, lawyers, physicians, engineers, businessmen, college professors, provincial and city executives and military officers. Foremost among them were Teogenes Velez Sr., Blas Velez, Paquing Velez, Aquio Pimentel Sr., Nemesio Pimentel, Maning Valdehueza, Dodong Malferrari, Ed Marfori, Liz Floiriendo, Diego Imperio, Pacifico Borja, Luis Borja, Andres Cervantes, Francisco Boniao, Apolonio Magtrayo,Wally Ludena, Roque Chaves, Licerio Floiriendo, Mading Chaves, Pio I. Roa, Loloy Fuentes, Maning and Mike Roa, Juan Regalado, Gonzalo Go, Pons Sia, Jose Sabio Sr., Eugenio Espinueva, Maning Gapuz, Maco Mosqueda, Dante Sarraga, Mordino Cua, Minggoy Villahermosa, Vicente Reyes, Santiago Maceren, Cesar Hipona, Onying Santos, Joe Ranile, Ben Mindajao, Paping Tiro, Jun Poticano, Mending Balinado, Kiking Esling, Bands Hernandez, Danding Cecilio, Briccio Salvana, Marcelino Lagamon, Peping and Maning Argayoso, Maning Pacana, Pabling Toledo, Badong Olivenza, Jimmy Echeverria, Fernando Reyes, Florencio Causin and Alfredo Cayton, to mention a few.
All of them may have gone back to their Maker, but they, as well as those whom I have been closely associated with, made me proud to be Kagay-anon.