Friday, March 25, 2011

Ding Gagelonia: Friend, Mentor and Colleague

Toots (Susan Ople) just texted me and asked me if I know why Ding Gagelonia died. When I saw the text, I was disturbed.


Ding Gagelonia, the man with the infectious smile, the astounding wit, and with the Panda-like hug, dead? Nah. There must be something wrong here.


For months now, I was'nt able to contact or call Ding. After our collaborative efforts during the elections, we parted ways. I went back to corporate and he, well, I really don't know what he did after the elections. He did not email. He was not writing stuff at the FV (Filipino Voices) and his Facebook updates were not as regular as before. 


I was so busy that I was'nt able to text him, as regularly as before. Philip Lustre often sends me texts which I replied. As for Ding, none. The last text he gave me was a few months ago.


His last post can be seen at http://dinggagelonia.blogspot.com. That is still AtMidfield. Last date: March 20, 2011 or about five days away.


He describes himself in his blogs as:


I've been a journalist all my life and am so passionately in love with the Philippines, warts and all. Our country will really prosper only if we stand up to be counted and not leave it to self-serving politicians and the corrupt to sell out the Philippines. Andres Bonifacio, Jose Rizal, and Ninoy Aquino did their bit. So should we. Am also at midfield.wordpress.com and www.youtube/dingg458


Ding was proud to be a journalist. 


Ding and I with Mar Roxas
Arlyn dela Cruz, a colleague and friend, updated her Facebook and said that she's sad that Ding already left this world for the next.


Ding opened doors for us. 


I started my journalistic career over at DZBB, when Ding was station manager. I haven't graduated school yet when I was hired as Newswriter together with Norlyn Temblor and Tina Panganiban. Julius Babao was still with us, back then, and Ira Panganiban. Arnold Clavio was still doing the defense beat and Susan Enriquez the southern part of Metro Manila.


He taught me how to write news pieces. I was accustomed to writing academic ones. He taught me how to become a journalist.


The most memorable was when he suddenly arrived one early morning with balut for every body. 


After I left DZBB, it took more than a decade before we met again. I was now in the corporate world and blogging as Patricio Mangubat. 


He was so surprised that the one whom he reads everyday happened to be one of his acolytes. Since then, I decided to make him a part of my world.


There were great times and not so great times with him. We had a common friend, Jules Fortuna, who left us one and a half years ago. 


I cried back then. Now, I don't know how to approach this. 


Still, I don't believe what I'm hearing or reading. I must see my friend. 


If this is true, then, all my prayers are for him. His writings will live forever