Coffee and Tea at O Hotel

Last Tuesday I had coffee and tea with Negros Daily Bulletin Editor-in-chief Pert Toga and Columnist Henry Streegan.

I asked Editor Arman Toga, the son of Pert to make an appointment on my behalf for coffee at a place of their choice and Arman answered at O Hotel.

I had no idea where O Hotel is and Arman texted back the address at San Sebastian–Locsin Sts. I know where San Sebastian is but not Locsin. The problem with some of our elected leaders is that they are not conscious of making big signs for streets but wanted to slice Bacolod for another district. Perhaps there are no millions on street signs so once you are in any place in the Philippines; you are on your own. They think it’s more fun looking for a place on streets with no signs.

But corruption only distorts my story. I met Henry and Pert at O Hotel. Arman did not make it as he had water problem at his home and according to Pert, he cannot come without taking a shower. Water problem and as well as electricity is acute in Bacolod. So again, why leaders are more interested on districting and not on solving the actual problems of their residents? There was no acute water and electric problem in Bacolod when I was living there sometime more than 20 years ago when Digoy Montalvo was Mayor but that diverts me from the topic I want to write.

I wanted to meet Pert, Henry and Arman for a future personal activity. Although our readers read us on Negros Daily Bulletin, but actually I only meet my colleagues in the media once in a blue moon.

Both Pert and Maninoy Henry had big influence on Negros and Visayas based on their industry and as men of the media, but I barely know them. I am not as active as before on the press club or any club in Bacolod or anywhere anymore. I only come to realize how these men touch my life and I wanted as much as possible to twine my world with them. Both are exceptional achievers. Pert is a silent worker and although he was a columnist like me at Kapawa News before our world did not meet closely. Pert is a silent man but works solidly like the actor in the old movies by the name of Gary Cooper. For our young readers who do not know who is Gary Cooper, you still have many miles to walk. If you are interested—research.

Maninoy Henry was a former columnist on now defunct paper owned by the Montelibanos when I was writing at Kapawa. He and Pert were all past presidents of Negros Press Club while I was the first president of now (defunct?) CAMP. CAMP is not heard anymore because of the corruptions of some latter officials. It had the best of its time until some crook media men squeezed its last breath due to corruption. Who said only politicians are crooks? Corruption in the Philippines is everywhere. If Jocjoc Bolante and the fertilizer scam is not heard anymore, soon after the hoopla of Janet Napoles will just die down. The Marcoses had made mince meat of this nation but look where they are now.

Well, Maninoy Henry has many talents. At 86 he amazed me with his verve. He is making organic fertilizer of which he said Gov. Freddie Marañon is showing interest. The Governor of Cebu wanted him to live there as he is his consultant on fertilizer making. The organic fertilizer project was documented by documentary film maker Andrea Stuart to be shown at BBC. Aside from that, he is also consultant of Bacolod Mayor Monico Puentevella. Unknown to me, he is a veteran of many libel cases which started from Armin Gustilo until the time of former Mayor of Bacolod Bing Leonardia. I asked him if how did his libel cases go, he said the Judges dismissed them. Maninoy Henry is also the spokesman of PWDs or persons with disabilities.

When I was living in Bacolod I was not one of those who are on the group of Maninoy Henry and little did I know that he even was in touch with my firm as he is one of the check signers of Hawaiian Sugar Central as he had been an executive of the central for a long time.

I am interested about his life during the Japanese time. His father was an American General and was imprisoned in Manila. He has many tales of known Filipinos. One of them is Senator Arturo Tolentino and many other known names that have something to do with his life.

Maninoy Henry said he is writing an autobiography.

Pert and I cautioned him to slow down as we both do. But Maninoy Henry who is a chain smoker seems to live a different world from Pert and me. We are 73 and he is 86 but he wants to do more. He reminds me of writers Henry Miller and Ernest Hemingway.

Pert is on the pink of health and drank tea, while Maninoy Henry ordered brewed coffee. Mine was cappuccino which turned not to my liking, but it is not coffee or tea or the hotel or any place that matters, it’s the quality time I had with them.*