Thank you, Ramos Family

THE ILOCOS TIMES turns half a century plus two years in the service of the Ilocano, and it is fitting that we thank the family behind the institution.

While this paper is a family business, I don’t think its continuous operation is driven by profit.  Community newspapers are not known as big earners.  Truth to tell, many local newspapers in different provinces have folded up into oblivion on account of financial woes.  In Ilocos Norte alone, a couple of weeklies have come and gone, and only The Ilocos Times remains legitimate and strong.

Members of the Ramos Family, I’m sure, make sacrifices to let this paper thrive.  I assume there are issues when advertisements do not suffice to cover the cost of printing, even as the paper is sold at only seven pesos a copy, one of the cheapest in the Milky Way galaxy.

I can only surmise that this is so because the family treats the paper, founded by their late patriarch Efren O. Ramos, Sr. in 1957, more a mission, a vocation than a business.

A few people, in jest, refer to it as The Ilocos Sometimes, so I imagine there were trying years I do not know when, but definitely not in the past decade.  Jun-b (Efren S. Ramos, Jr.), who has been editor since 2004, must be commended.

The online version, however, is sometimes not updated on time, so this may be giving Ilocanos abroad the impression that the paper does not come out weekly as promised, but it does.

Even as a child, I was already a loyal follower of this paper.  There has always been this burning desire in me to know, to express, and to get involved on social issues, a desire this paper helps consummate.

My cousin Erme Labayog had also served as staff reporter for this paper in the late 90’s.  It was intriguing to me because Kuya Erme’s undergraduate course was BS Mathematics.  Individuals who are good in both numbers and words are a rarity.  He was naturally gifted, and was glad to share that gift, but he had to quit writing when he took up law, and passed the bar the first time he took it in 2002.

When I decided to come home to Ilocos to work here, I decided to offer my services to this paper.  Tata Pepito Alvarez, who also used to write a column here (Pardanon Samtoy), arranged a meeting between Jun-b and me.  I showed Jun-b my writing portfolio, and then we had a short exchange of ideas on local issues.  Right then, I knew he was an editor a very opinionated writer like me can work well with.

True enough, Jun-b has never meddled with this column’s content, and is lenient, too, with deadlines.  For this issue, he asked me to submit earlier than usual, but my schedule this week has been nothing but toxic—I have been frantically correcting final exam papers, computing grades, distributing them, and being chased by those who got red marks, so I have to frustrate Jun-b, and his efficient associate, Michael Esmino, who does the layout, yet again.

Still, I write for my column every single week, and mainly because I have the paper’s readership in mind.  It’s like a weekly date with readers, and I know how it feels to be stood up on a date.  I really hope columnists would be more consistent in writing.  I think one should start his own space only if he/she can commit to churn out articles regularly (maybe at least once a month).  In the past one year, there was even a column which appeared only once, and a number of columns which appeared one week and disappeared the other. This is frustrating because in any newspaper, columnists are supposed to be the constant.

On this note, let me remember with gratitude and admiration two scribes who, in the past one year, have made the big leap from here to there where flowers don’t wilt, where streams don’t run dry, and where typhoons dare wreak no havoc, Vic Labaro, the iconic local newsman, and Sozimo Ma. Pablico, agriculture journalism’s finest.  We remember that Dr. Pablico contributed a huge pile of articles here in The Ilocos Times that even after his demise, his column continued to appear for months.  He was, even from six feet under, the quintessential journalist.

As for you, dear karikna, thank you for the patronage.  Remember that this paper is OUR paper, and so let’s continue to support it not only by devouring its pages, but more by nurturing a vibrant and enlightened culture of discourse on issues that affect you and me as Ilocanos, as Filipinos, as human beings who dream of a world more free, just, peaceful, and humane.

All these said, we say with much glee, Mabuhay, The Ilocos Times, and Thank you, Ramos Family.

16 Comments

Filed under Family, Ilocos, Media

16 responses to “Thank you, Ramos Family

  1. maplesyrup21

    interesting

  2. William S.

    Owning and running a newspaper business requires hardwork and perseverance. You need a dedicated staff to picht in the objectives of the paper to the public, ala salesmanship. You need a committed staffs to promote the paper not only to residential but to commercial stablishments to generates ad fees. You need a reasonable exposure thru advertisement. This would expand the subscription base of the paper beyond the Ilocos Region.

    I live in the Bay Area- Calif and I am really amazed of the numbers of Phil newspaper available at the entrance of various oriental stores. These papers are free- “gratis” for the shoppers consumption. The headlines are crafted creatively. Phil politics, Phil socialites “wannabees”, editorials and lots and lots of commercials are the core contents of these papers.

    • Herdy La. Yumul

      I agree, sir William S., that Ilocos Times has to be a little more aggressive and innovative so it can generate more revenues, and so that it will be less beholden to the patronage of politicians.

  3. Noi

    Indeed, we need to fortify the writing tradition before we will be eaten by indolence. we need to get involve now. This blog is highly recommended.

  4. guiengarma

    I first encountered The Ilocos Times when I was still in grade 4 at MMSU-LES (yes, I studied at Laoag although I live in Batac). Since 2004, I buy newspapers at the newsstand beside 5 Sisters’. That’s where I encountered this local paper. I was quite surprised that a local paper existed in the province.

    Since then, I buy The Ilocos Times there weekly. Then, when I was in grade 5, another paper, The Ilocos Sentinel started (I think… I’m not sure when the Sentinel started in 2005). And probably after one or two years, it disappeared. However, due to tight schedules when I was in grade 6, I cannot regularly go there to get a copy, thus I just go to Ilocos Times’ website.

    What I like in this paper is the fact that it gives Ilocos Norte a voice, an alternative. It also gives us a look at all the local news we just heard on the radio and on local TV newscasts. I also like the variety of columns there, like In and Out by Stevie Barreiro, In-Depth by Juan Mercado, and of course – Riknakem by you, Sir Herdy. (Kaya po noong nalaman ko na kayo po ang lecturer ng debate sa English Week, nagulat ako. A very good columnist as a debate lecturer… great!)

    However, I think there shall be a little improvements in the paper, especially about some of its news. Probably, they can team up with Philippine News Agency for national news coverage. I read that some local Cebu papers have national news through PNA. Yes, there are articles from Philippine Information Agency, but news from there appears quite rarely now. (But before, there was “PIA Dispatch,” a collection of newsbriefs.) I also noticed that there are some news items there that can also be advertorials. Probably they can also urge businesses to advertise, and, because elections are coming near, politicians can put their political adverts there soon.

    All in all, The Ilocos Times is not just an achievement of the Ramos family, but of Ilocos Norte as well. Indeed, Ilocos Times is Ilocandia’s Bastion of Press Freedom!

    Post-Script: I remember The Ilocos Sentinel’s slogan… “The Forerunner of Weekly News.” I checked the dictionary, it said that it is synonymous to predecessor. But isn’t it that The Ilocos Times was established in the 1950s and The Sentinel started in 2000s? I agree with you, sir, a couple of weeklies have come and gone, and only The Ilocos Times continues to provide news to us.

    • Herdy La. Yumul

      Hi guien, thank you for supporting the Ilocos Times, and for offering your suggestions. If you have a nice piece to contribute, let’s publish it in the paper.

  5. tita lita

    thursday is thanksgiving day.i guess i have sooo many to thanks for.and this family and their paper is one of them.if not for them and riknakem i should have not known herdy{my friend and confidant} eight months and counting..thankful for all the blessings..i lost both my parents in nine month apart in their 90’s and lived a long happy life i might say.thankful that i was able to stay for 3 month, thankful that i have a loving husband and son that understand me whenever i leave them 3-4 months at a time…a good family and friends even i am unbearable at times accept me the way i am,even i hurt them with the words that i do not mean they are still talking to me and thankful for all of the joys in my life and for 38 years of marriage…happy thanksgiving everyone..

  6. tita lita

    i thank GOD that my son and i have a good relationship i am not saying that it is all roses.true we disagree on things but we are able to talk things out rationally .he respect our views and we respect his..there are times that he did not want to talk to me on the phone.”may i speak to my dad please? and i will not give the phone to his dad i would say what am i chopped liver? WILL..i did not taught you that way..where are your manners ?are you forgetting something ?i am your mother etc etc.and then the rest is history and we live ever after…moral lesson do not go to bed angry on this thanksgiving da.this is another thing i thank GOD for… .

  7. rc

    i like the essay that you write in this article sir that”Remember that this paper is OUR paper, and so let’s continue to support it not only by devouring its pages, but more by nurturing a vibrant and enlightened culture of discourse on issues that affect you and me as Ilocanos,”. An an ilokano and a human being also, we are free what we want to express to other people just for example, in writing a column as what you do sir. by doing that we can recognize by others. I think this is also describing of what we are.

  8. cl

    It’s nice to know that there are columnists who are grateful to those who sacrifice for the local newspaper to thrive and to remember with gratitude and admiration ascribes who are really faithful in their chose work. And that without the patronage of readers the newspapers would not thrive.
    So, the owners, the editors, columnists, contributors, and readers should join together to make a newspaper thrive and a success indeed.

  9. sherwin fernandez

    yes. you are correct sir, we thank the Ramos Family for establishing this newspaper in order that the ilocano expresses ideas about the happenings in every lives of every ilocano. and i agree on the lines you have said sir that “Remember that this paper is OUR paper”, yes because it is our own and continue supporting it…

  10. voldemort

    Writing is life, i still remember my teacher when i was in high school, write in the wall and that’s vandalism write in a shirt and that’s design but write in a piece of paper it makes a difference –that’s life. Writers are born to write therefore they are not created by sleeping and dreaming they are molded by nature, feelings and catastrophe. I wish i was a writer, to write a world beyond expectations, but I think I’d rather to read. Specially the one who are the author of truth and justice they are the people who face the reality and speak for change. Hail the truth and justice and it’s media.

  11. tc

    It’s nice to know that there are columnists who are grateful to those who sacrifice for the local newspaper to thrive and to remember with gratitude and admiration ascribes who are really faithful in their chose work. And that without the patronage of readers the newspapers would not thrive.
    So, the owners, the editors, columnists, contributors, and readers should join together to make a newspaper thrive and a success indeed.

  12. joma

    I’m not really interested to newspapers but Ilocos Times gives fact about Ilocos Norte, and also give some information and features of the said province.. It also gives us a look at all the local news we just heard on the radio and on local TV newscasts. i suggest this newspaper should have to be more aggressive and innovative so it can generate more revenues, and so that it will be less beholden to the patronage of politicians.

  13. xtian

    Ilocano version ba ito ng Manila Times? Actually ngayon ko lang nalaman na may babasahing ilocano pala na Ilocos Times. Ngayon ko lang ito narinig. Ang alam ko lang na babasahing Ilocano ay Bannawag. Sana makakabasa rin ako ng Ilocos Times. Syempre salamat na rin sa mga nasa likod ng Ilocos Times.

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