OpinionWriting for La Salle student papers: from the‘50s to the ‘70s
Writing for La Salle student papers: from the‘50s to the ‘70s
October 24, 2012
October 24, 2012

By Philip Ella Juico

I spent all my student life, except for the two years at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) where I obtained my Master of Business Management (MBM), now known as Master of Business Administration (MBA), in 1973, and a great part of my career as an education manager and academician at De La Salle University (DLSU).

I started going to De La Salle in 1951, then barely four years old, when the minimum entering age in grade school was six years. There were two other Juico boys (Luis or Sonny and George) ahead of me. Later, two more Juicos (Francis and Alfred) would complete the Juico roster at La Salle.

My early entry into La Salle grade school was, no doubt, due to the unrelenting efforts of my mother, the former Maria Ella, who was uncompromising in her desire (which started when she was still a single lady traveling in the weekends from Manila to her hometown, Mauban, Quezon, and the BLTB bus she was riding would pass in front of what she described as “that white imposing building, which seemed to have so much character” along Taft Avenue) to see all her sons go to La Salle. I guess she twisted the arms of the then grade school principal, Brother Francis, whom she visited practically every day until I got to wear the La Salle grade school uniform.

In 1961, after grade school, I started my high school career and finished it in 1965. I then took up Lia-Com or Liberal Arts-Commerce and obtained two degrees in 1970: Bachelor of Arts, major in History-Political-Science and Bachelor of Science in Commerce, major in Accounting. In 2008, six years after my first enrollment, I finally got my doctorate in business administration and was fortunate enough to graduate With Distinction.

From 2002 to 2008, I was Dean of the Ramon V. del Rosario Sr. Graduate School of Business. When I retired as Dean in 2008, I resumed my teaching career as a part-time faculty teaching Corporate Social Responsibility, Human Rights and Sustainable Development in the MBA program and occasionally, Sustainable Business in the doctoral program.

I started teaching right after graduating from AIM in 1973 in the undergraduate programs of Assumption College, St. Theresa’s College and Maryknoll (now Miriam) College. In the following years, I taught in the graduate schools of business of San Juan de Letran, University of the East, and as a full time faculty at AIM in 1989 (after I resigned as Secretary of Agrarian Reform) up to 1995 (when I was invited to become Chairman of the Philippine Sports Commission).

Most of my pre-teen, all my teen years and my early twenties in the 19 years as a student at La Salle were spent writing as a member of the staff or editor of the school papers in grade school, high school and college. In grade school, I was a plain sportswriter in grade six and seven of the school paper, the Junior Archer. Lacking in maturity and experience, the writing I did for the magazine-style Junior Archer was limited to news reporting, following the traditional outline: “who, what, when, where, how”. We were not insightful enough then to discuss the why’s of the games. We reported only about team and individual scores and the usual facts of the game. I did not write columns, but I occasionally contributed a poem or two in the paper’s literary page.

In high school, I joined The La Sallite, which, like the Junior Archer, was also in magazine format. I found myself in a unique situation in high school since I also joined the nine-man volleyball team of De La Salle high school to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA): I was both a sports writer and an athlete.

The NCAA was then under the home-and-away format (with rival schools visiting each other to play in each other’s campuses) after a tumultuous basketball championship in October 1961 at the Rizal Memorial basketball coliseum forced authorities of the member-schools to cancel the regular NCAA to allow passions to cool down. In 1965, the NCAA returned to its old format—all competitions were held at the venerable Rizal Memorial sports complex.

In college, I joined The LaSallian, from 1965 to 1970 as a sportswriter, sports editor and later, concurrent associate editor in my last year upon the invitation of my very good friend, Eduardo (Danding) Lucero. I was also associate editor of the school’s literary magazine, “The Horizons,” and was given the Literary Award upon graduation. I remember spending many memorable nights and early mornings at “press work” in the Girl Friday office at the Metropolitan Bank building in front of Sta. Cruz Church.

The late 1960’s saw the emergence of the hippie (and drug, specifically, marijuana) culture centered in the intersection of two streets, Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco, California. The area had become synonymous to drug culture, psychedelic rock and roll and the so-called flower people whose main advocacy was peace. The slogan then (which tended to be abused) was “Make Love, not War”. Opposition to the Vietnam war was at its highest. Liberation theology attracted attention and so did the exploits of the revolutionary, Che Guevara.  There was fascination with Maoism, the existentialist philosophy of the Frenchman Jean Paul Sartre and the Beatles and the Beach Boys were producing one golden hit after another.

It was only natural that these themes would find their way to the Philippines and to the campuses, including La Salle — and in the La Sallian, to the consternation of the more conservative elements in the faculty and administration who, however, guaranteed the sanctity of academic freedom. We were part of the student boycott that was triggered by the administration’s initiative to ship back a De La Salle Brother who supported student calls for student power and academic freedom. It helped that La Salle alumnus, Senator Jose W. Diokno Jr. acted as the lawyer for student strikers.

Outside the campus, we joined other La Salle student leaders like Santiago (Chito) Sta. Romana in opposing Ferdinand Marcos who was into his second term as President after an election marked by heavy government spending in his favor and clear indications towards strongman rule and perpetuation of his rule beyond the eight years allowed by the 1935 Constitution. The First quarter Storm (FQS) took place in January 1970: it was precipitated by Marcos’ State of the Nation address in Congress and a melee ensued as he stepped out of Congress to return to Malacañang.

My involvement in writing, in being part of the school papers in grade school, high school and college at La Salle probably stems from the fact that I enjoyed reading as early as grade four. Another good friend, Jesus (Jess) Gallegos (who would become my editor in the La Sallian) and I were engaged in a friendly race to submit the most book reports or book summaries in the Reading class per grading period. I had a voracious appetite for reading. I would read a book from the time we left the house in Roosevelt Ave., Quezon City to the time we got the Taft Avenue and on the way back home as we went through the traffic in Taft, Quiapo, Espana, and Quezon Avenue. I think that reading in the car, even in the dark, worsened an astigmatic condition that would hound me for the rest of my life.

I would then say that one’s writing is very much affected by the quantity and quality of what one reads,  especially during the ‘50’s to the ‘70’s when print dominated the communications scene. Television and radio, the movies and the performing theatres did not exert the same influence they do now, and there was no Internet to provide added impetus to the information and knowledge explosion.

Certainly, the times of the times dictate the topics and the tone of the subjects of articles and opinion columns and vice versa. I have seen some issues of today’s La Sallian and a great number of the topics written about now (especially controversies within the campus) would not have seen the light of day during our time.