No place like home, and no paper like INQ | Inquirer Opinion
High Blood

No place like home, and no paper like INQ

I am an octogenarian. It was my 82nd birthday last March 23. I am a retired municipal information affairs officer of General Trias, Cavite, a rustic municipality then, and now an emerging premier city 35 kilometers south of Manila. I live alone in my house because my wife, Vicky, is already dead. I did not marry anymore because no woman can replace her in my heart. I have two daughters: Excelsa and Charisma. Excel lives in Quezon City while Charis migrated to Canada in 1988.

My daughters invited me to live with them, but I politely declined. Not because I don’t love them or have problems with my sons-in-law and grandchildren. They are very kind and welcome me wholeheartedly.


The underlying reason is the surreal feeling that my home is a place where I always want to stay regardless of its condition and how I manage my daily life. My home is where my love resides, memories are kept and treasured, and where I can continue living my dreams and wonder. It is beyond compare, and has never been surpassed by any other home. It is the best place for me to stay. My home is much more than a building. Indeed, it is the feeling that there is no place like home.

I started living alone in my 44-year-old home after the untimely demise of my wife 15 years ago. My daughters were already married and had their own homes. My daily routine starts at 4:30 a.m. With no alarm clock to wake me up, I usually leave my bed at this time, after profusely thanking God for a sound sleep and for another day to live. After partaking a cup of hot oatmeal, I bike to church half a kilometer away. From there, I walk around the nearby city plaza and do certain exercises to build tolerance for my vertigo (unsteadiness). Then I go back home and have breakfast at the adjacent home of my unmarried 80-year-old sister who also lives alone. Then, I go back home and sit on a chair in my porch to wait for something very special that makes my day—a copy of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. Since 1985 up to now, it has been my favorite newspaper. Never have I opted for a substitute when it is not available.


Every day, I get a copy of the Inquirer, rain or shine, from a motorcycle-riding man between 7:30 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. We have a deal that if he does not come by 8:30, it means he won’t come anymore for a reason. Then, it’s my time to call a ubiquitous tricycle plying along the street and give the driver P50 to look for a copy from the five newspaper outlets within the población.

I’m lucky if I get one, because it is the first newspaper to disappear from these outlets — proof that it is No. 1 anywhere. If I fail to get a copy, which is most likely to happen, I text Excel to buy me one, ask her to keep it, and give it to me when she visits me or I visit her during the weekend. That’s how important the Inquirer is to me. I don’t want to miss a copy of it any single day.

I pay the Inquirer delivery man one week in advance to ensure a copy every day without fail. For one week, I pay P157 — P22 a copy from Monday to Saturday, and P25 during Sunday. This is P17 costlier a week, with the paper costing only P140 in Metro Manila. It’s P884 a year. Quite an amount. I’m an ordinary GSIS pensioner with daily maintenance medicines and daily and monthly household expenses plus extra ones, but I always have a budget for the Inquirer. Otherwise I’m depriving myself of one of the few precious things I love so much — reading it.

“Reading maketh a full man,” Sir Francis Bacon said. The dictum has inculcated in me the importance of reading. It nourishes my intellect and broadens my ideas and imagination. For me, there’s nothing more relaxing and soothing than sitting in the porch with a copy of the Inquirer in my hands and relishing with gusto its current real local and foreign news, its hard-hitting editorials, and uncompromising columnists. Never have I heard through the grapevine that the Inquirer cowers in fear in exposing the truth, or ever became silent in speaking out against the shenanigans of public officials for fear of reprisal. Never has it pandered to President Duterte and became its lackey for a price or for compromise.

True to its commitment, it lives up to its lofty slogan, “Balanced News, Fearless Views.” However, I can’t help but notice that the Inquirer has grown thinner and costlier nowadays. Its print is smaller and therefore strenuous to older persons like me. The Letters section now occupies a narrower space, and similar names always appear in it. Is this an indication of giving lesser importance to the Letters to the Editor, which I consider the best section of the Inquirer? I’ve also noted that the editorials and columns sometimes use words, phrases, and idioms that are Greek to many of us common readers. I understand this Fourth Estate gobbledygook for purposes of emphasis. However, I welcome and love it, because I don’t let such words pass without knowing their meaning. The Inquirer, besides providing me with fresh and genuine news daily and nurturing my wisdom, also enriches my vocabulary.

For me, my home is the best place to live, and the Inquirer is the No. 1 newspaper to read.

* * *

Vic Jocson Columna, 82, lives in General Trias, Cavite.

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