ONE OF THE BEST QUOTATIONS we hold dear in our heart is: “the most important days in one’s life are the day when one is born and the day one finds out why.”
For the Chronicle , both events happened on May 16, 1954.
It was the day the first two -page issue of the Chronicle hit the streets of sedate Tagbilaran, Bohol’s capital town. It was also the day we found out we are to service the Bohol community, come hell or high water.
It is part of history that Jun Dejaresco, bruited as the “Father of Bohol Journalism” , was a one-man show: writer-editor- proof reader- advertising agent-collector at the start.
No, he was not even a journalism graduate. He was a lawyer- who knew his English like his body and had this passion to chronicle the life and times of Boholanos.
No, he was not even a Boholano. Born in Negros Oriental but Boholano by choice. Part of that big choice was to meet, court and then marry the love of his life from Bohol- the demure, piano stroking lass Charing Pernia on New Year’s Day in 1949. He decided to live and die in Bohol -with his boots on, so to speak.
There is that over-used story about a certain well-meaning priest who proclaimed (jnot ex cathedra, of course) that either the paper or Dejaresco will die , one after the other. The Chronicle due to lack of business and Dejaresco from sheer fatigue and disappointment.
Jun Dejaresco lived up to the ripe age of 80’s while the poor priest had long been buried six feet on the ground.
And so the Chronicle went on to live another day- and another -yet another till the months turned into years, years to decades.
Today , we turn 64 – after missing only one Sunday week issue right after the declaration of Martial Law. Amid storms,earthquakes, political repression and financial challenges- it sailed through unflinching -with eyes focused to our goals.
Public service is a public trust. Service ,not profit, is our main motive.
It is hard to resist the temptation to say that the Chronicle is Bohol’s No 1 Newspaper. We are not ashamed or afraid to show our copies to anywhere in the country and to any Boholano globally. After all, from two pages to 40-plus unwasteful pages is quite a feat already.
We have physical proof we have been the Chronicler of Bohol’s history since 1954 – with hard bound copies of each week’s copy- in our premises. When fire threatened our premises in the past, Jun Dejaresco shouted “save the newspapers”. For the fire would have gutted Bohol’s recorded history into grey ashes.
More than that – we have struggled to be the leveler in the open field- to give voice to the voiceless and fight oppression whether it strikes for both the lowly and the mighty. As it were- to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.
Public service we have painlessly given -utilizing our pages for fund raising programs, noteworthy endeavors and individuals.
Our best comforting thought is when Boholanos tell us “the Chronicle has become a part of our Sunday life.” It amuses but also pains us when our phones ring at 9 am on Sunday mornings – of agitated voices asking why the newspaper is still missing from the streets.
Responding to technology, we have on-line versions of the Wednesday and Sunday editions of the paper. Furthermore, we have a digital partner in the BC daily news that has kept our province mates abroad and outside Bohol in the country- abreast with all things Bohol.
With the ascension of radio as a communication vehicle , we branched into the airlanes with DYRD AM and Kiss FM -both now lording it over in their respective categories here- plus an extension DYZD -am station in central Bohol.
In this era of social media, we pioneer in Bohol going global with the posting of news developments in our boholchronicle.com.ph website. And to date, we are the only Bohol newspaper which maintains a daily on-line news. one of the handful provincial papers.
We are not alone in this quest for public service, though.
There are our writers, photographers, proofreaders, lay-out artists, printers, collectors of pages, newsboys, accountants, office staff, marketing agents , drivers and helpers. We could not produce a successful paper without them.
But most of all we have our advertisers and readers.
For what is a newspaper without readers? It is but an intellectual indulgence and the paper a candidate for the garbage can or to wrap up fish or mangoes from the market.
And would there be advertisers without readers?
On such symbiotic relationship lies the secret of staying in the business for the past 63 years. And we will not falter , no matter the barriers that may come before us -under us -above us or behind our backs.
We have often asked the Lord Almighty’s help for protection not only against financial disasters, libel cases, threat to life and liberty – but also from self pride of believing that we alone (without Him) could have made it this far.
Or to feel a sense of self-entitlement in society just because we have rendered service to it. Our motto is to remember in our hearts all graces given to us and forget all the favors we have given.
Our sleep is enhanced by the knowledge that we have done a job well and hopefully society is better of because of us today and long after we have gone on to another place aside from home.
The Beatles had this song with asking lyrics: “Will you still feed me, will you still need me? When I’m 64?” Perhaps we ask that , too, from our readers and advertisers.
We sincerely hope the answer is still a “yes”.
Thank you to all of you. Shalom!