Mentor, and guiding light

/ 12:29 AM December 31, 2015

Two storms had just blown themselves out, the sun was shining forth brilliantly, and in the garden a small bauhinia tree was putting forth the very first flowers of what I hope will be a long and fruitful life. The one dark cloud in the sky of what could have been a truly glorious Christmas morning was the sudden demise of  Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc, the iconic editor in chief  for most of the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s 30-year existence. And to think that just the day before, I sent her a message to thank her for publishing the article of mine titled “Ghost towns and pirates.”

Allow me to now publicly show my gratitude to the one person who helped me get through and surmount the tremendous travails and difficulties I have encountered in my advocacy against error-riddled textbooks. Without Magsanoc’s absolute and unequivocal support, the seed of what would turn out to be my true calling and mission in life could not have germinated, could not have grown to become the tree it is, that, like the quiet and self-effacing bauhinia in the garden, is now putting forth flowers and providing shade to the children who need it.


I have included in my last Christmas gift to Magsanoc—a nautilus shell—this poem by Oliver Wendell Holmes titled “The Chambered Nautilus,” the last stanza of which embodies all of my sentiments and aspirations for this great lady, whom I consider to be my mentor and my guiding light, then and now:

Build thee more stately mansions, O my soul,
As the swift seasons roll!
Leave thy low-vaulted past!
Let each new temple, nobler than the last,
Shut thee from heaven with a dome more vast,
Till thou at length art free,
Leaving thine outgrown shell by life’s unresting sea!


academic supervisor,
Marian School of Quezon City,
199 Sauyo Road,
Novaliches, Quezon City

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