Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Of Stories Told and Untold

The last Rational Technology article
For the past four years, the Metro Post has been part of my weekly ritual, both as reader and as writer.

As I writer, I came on board -- on the insistent prompting of Danah Fortunato -- at a time when I was already writing a weekly column for the online edition of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. I wasn't quite sure whether I could handle the burden of two weekly columns. It turns out I wasn't; therefore, I dropped the Inquirer.

It may not be as prestigious as a national daily, but there's much to be said for writing for the Metro Post. I felt that the paper, and I along with it, was making a palpable difference in the life of this university town. It wasn't just a mouthpiece for political ends nor a vehicle for ads. It was reflective of the opinions of the community just as it helped shape the directions of the community. The Metro Post is the community paper of Dumaguete.

Without reservation, I will say that the Metro Post has been instrumental in my development as a writer. Four years of column space, side by side with columns of the liveliest writers in the city, has that effect. What was originally a charter to write on technology issues has grown into my sounding board for culture, politics, business, literature, travel, satire, and personal reflection, thanks to the forbearance of the Pals, my editors, and yours, the readers'.

As I received news that this issue of the Metro Post would be the last, I ruefully thought of all the future stories that would never come to be: an all-Bisaya article, a feature on the morning denizens of the boulevard, and some exploration into the oft-misunderstood Filipino sexuality. Writing for the Metro Post has never been a chore. In fact, it's something that I've come to look forward to, a prompt to challenge creativity. Every missed deadline now goes with much regret; there will be no next week to make up for lost time.

And there's some regret, too, that I will not get to read those untold stories of long-time Metro Post regulars Ian Casocot, Moe Atega, Kristyn Maslog-Levis, Atty. Whelma Yap, Dr. Angel Alcala, Dr. Perry Mecqui, nor the continuation of the stories of new columnists Olga Uy and Macrina Ramos-Fuentes, nor the return of old favorites like Nikka Jo Cornelio and Gilbert Arbon and Cecilia Hoffman, nor other writers yet to come. Like all good writers, they will find other avenues for their words, but it won't be the same as finding them on the pages of the Metro Post.

Still, it's not the end. Dumaguete needs a great community paper. It's my hope that the Metro Post will come back one day to fill that role again.

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