In 2010, Cebu Journalism and Journalists (CJJ) 5 began an initial listing of Cebu journalists who, excelling in their craft, had gained national recognition. Seven were in the list—Leo Lastimosa, Eileen Mangubat, Juan Mercado, Bobby Nalzaro, Godofredo Roperos, Pachico Seares and the late Cerge Remonde.
To inspire future media practitioners to follow in their footsteps, the Cebu Citizens-Press Council put up the achievements of the seven on a wall board at the media gallery of the Cebu press, also called CJJ, at the Museo Sugbo.
This year, the wall board at the CJJ Gallery was updated to include the names of five more Cebu journalists who had left their mark on the national consciousness.
Leo A. Lastimosa
BEST PUBLIC AFFAIRS RADIO HOST, 12th KBP (Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas) Golden Dove Awards (2002) and BEST TV NEWSCASTER, 14th KBP Golden Dove Awards (2005). He won in the local or provincial category, that is, he bested all others in broadcast stations outside Metro Manila.
Lastimosa was also “GARBO SA SUGBO” AWARDEE, broadcast journalism category, 2005, by the Cebu Provincial Government.
A tri-media practitioner, he hosts a radio public affairs program and a TV news program and writes for a Bisaya daily newspaper.
Eileen G. Mangubat
BENIGNO S. AQUINO JR. FELLOWSHIP FOR PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT, awarded in 2003 (with interfaith dialogue advocate Taha M. Basman). The U.S. Embassy established the fellowships in 1988 to commemorate the late Senator Aquino’s accomplishment in public service and media.
It cited Mangubat, publisher of Cebu Daily News, in recognition of (her) outstanding contributions to the field of journalism,” particularly for her work with other Cebu editors in founding the Cebu Citizens-Press Council (CCPC).
She was the first community journalist to win the award, which “allowed her to travel to the U.S. to meet and exchange views with professional colleagues.”
She was also the first journalist from Cebu to be selected as MCLUHAN FELLOW by the Canadian Embassy, which cited “her noteworthy efforts to steer and maintain an independent and professional community press in Cebu.” As the 2013 Marshall McLuhan Fellow, she went on a two-week study and speaking tour in Canada.
Mangubat also won the PALANCA AWARDS and DANGEROUS DRUGS BOARD COMPETITION (1992), for the special report on the painkiller Nubain. She and a Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism co-author placed second in the Palanca Awards and topped the DDB contest.
Mangubat was the first editor of Cebu Daily News.
Cerge M. Remonde (1958-2010)
ELECTED FOR SIX CONSECUTIVE TERMS AS KBP NATIONAL CHAIRMAN, a record not achieved by any other broadcaster and tough to duplicate. More remarkable was that he was a “promdi” (from the province) when he won and held for six years the national Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas leadership.
He rose in the media ranks: from news reporter to newspaper editor and columnist, to broadcast station manager. In government, after he left the private sector and KBP, he headed the government media (with all the radio and TV stations in its wing), led the Presidential Management Staff, and finally, served as press secretary. He summed up his meteoric and exhilarating journey: “From news reporter to Cabinet secretary!”
A journalist to his bones, he was set to return to private media work when his term would’ve expired co-terminously with president Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s.
He died before then, on Jan. 19, 2010. He left a legacy that future press secretaries may do well to emulate: to respect the boundaries between a free press and a transparent government. As a former media practitioner, he knew the boundaries only too well.
Cerge earned his place in the media Hall of Honor. And he was a journalist schooled in the culture of Cebu journalism.
Pachico A. Seares
GAWAD PLARIDEL awardee in 2008, for community journalism. Gawad Plaridel is the University of the Philippines System’s “sole award” given each year to one outstanding media practitioner for excelling in any of the media (print, film, radio, television and new media). The U.P. Diliman College of Communications awarded Seares the Napoleon Abueva trophy in a grand ceremony capped with his lecture on his work in community journalism. Seares was the second Gawad Plaridel awardee from print, the first from community print journalism, and the first from outside Manila.
The U.P. System, which celebrated its centennial year, cited him for “promoting not just excellence in the practice of community journalism but also the rights and welfare of community journalists by effectively organizing and leading media-related organizations.” He gave “a sense of identity and pride to community journalists and served as a model for emulation to students, colleagues, and all who want to venture into journalism,” the citation read. For the feat, the Philippine Press Institute declared him “Icon in Community Journalism” in a cover feature article in the PPI official magazine in May 2008.
He was also a “GARBO SA SUGBO” AWARDEE, community journalism category, in 2008 of the Cebu Provincial Government. And he received the PERLAS AWARD ON THE VALUABLE FILIPINO, for “outstanding journalism,” in 2009 from Philippines Foundation Inc.
Seares edited The Freeman for 17 years, Sun.Star Cebu for 28 years, and Sun.Star Superbalita [Cebu] for 16 years. He was founding editor of the three dailies and Sun.Star’s “Cebu Yearbook.” During his watch, Sun.Star Cebu reaped 210 awards.
Gregy Magdadaro and Teodorico “Jun” Solon Jr.
SM S.U.P.E.R. (SALUTE TO UNPARALLELED PEOPLE, ENDEAVORS AND RESOURCES) AWARD FOR MEDIA, awarded in 2014.
Among 13 people recognized in the local media category by SM Foundation Inc., GMA 7 Balitang Bisdak reporter Magdadaro and video journalist Solon were cited for risking all to cover the strongest storm to make landfall in world history.
Nerves shot as debris and trees flew around them, the pair lived to capture the fury of super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Daanbantayan town, Cebu on Nov. 8, 2013, and show it to the world.
Juan L. Mercado
JOURNALIST OF THE YEAR, Rotary Club of Manila 1968 National Journalism Awards. OPINION WRITER OF THE YEAR, 2004 Rotary Club of Manila National Journalism Awards. ONE OF “50 MEN OF SCIENCE,” listed in 2008 by the Department of Science and Technology, for his writings on the subject.
He was a “GARBO SA SUGBO” AWARDEE, print journalism category in 2005, by the Cebu Provincial Government. And he received an HONORABLE MENTION FOR OPINION WRITING in the Society of Publishers in Asia 2005 Editorial Excellence Awards in Hong Kong.
Mercado started with a local newspaper, then moved to Manila for stints at Evening News as reporter and associate editor; Philippine Press Institute as training director; Press Foundation of Asia as chief executive and DEPTHnews as editorial director; and Financial Times of London, Honolulu Star Bulletin, and Sydney Bulletin, as correspondent. He was among 22 journalists detained in the first wave of arrests by the martial law regime.
Godofredo M. Roperos
FIRST PRIZE IN GENERAL REPORTING, 1963 National Press Club-Esso national journalism awards, for his front-page banner headline story in the Manila Times about the crash of a Philippine Air Lines plane in Malalag, Davao del Sur in March 1963, which killed all 27 passengers (with only a fighting cock as survivor).
As associate editor of Sunday Times Magazine, he also won in the 1961 NPC-Esso national journalism awards the SECOND PRIZE IN MAGAZINE WRITING, for his feature “The Filipino Farmer and his Grain of Rice” published in the Manila Times annual progress report in that year.
He has worked as journalist in national publications for more than four decades, capped with his column writing in Sun.Star Cebu.
Valeriano “Bobit” S. Avila
TOURISM AWARD FOR PRINT MEDIA, ROTARY CLUB OF MANILA 9th Tourism Awards (2013). OPINION WRITER OF THE YEAR AWARD, Rotary Club of Manila Journalism Awards 2013.
In separate ceremonies, the Rotary Club of Manila bestowed on Avila the Tourism Award for Print Media for articles he wrote on the tourism industry, and the Opinion Writer of the Year award, the first time it had conferred two awards on a journalist on the same year.
Avila was a correspondent for The Philippine Star in 1986 before turning to column writing in The Freeman in 1987, and then in The Philippine Star in 1988.
Bobby G. Nalzaro
BEST PUBLIC AFFAIRS HOST FOR RADIO, 13th Kapisanan ng mga Brodkaster ng Pilipinas Golden Dove Awards (2004), besting Korina Sanchez of ABS-CBN in one-on-one national finals.
Nalzaro was also a “GARBO SA SUGBO” AWARDEE for broadcast journalism in 2004 (the pioneer batch) by the Cebu Provincial Government and the recipient of the ACHIEVER’S AWARD IN MASS MEDIA in 2006 by the Zamboanga del Norte Provincial Government.
Nalzaro hosts radio and TV programs and writes a column for both English and Bisaya daily newspapers. He is a much-sought-after product endorser for his credibility as a news personality.
Nini B. Cabaero
SANDRA BURTON-NIEMAN FELLOWSHIP FOR FILIPINO JOURNALISTS, awarded in 2013. Chosen by the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility, she was the first journalist from Cebu to qualify for the fellowship. As International Nieman Fellow in Journalism at Harvard University, she spent a school year in its Cambridge, USA campus studying journalism innovations, the sole journalist from the Philippines in the group of 24 journalists from all over the world and across media platforms that formed the 76th class of Nieman Fellows at Harvard.
Cabaero is a pioneer of new media in Philippine community journalism, heading the website and new media office of the Sun.Star group. She writes a column for Sun.Star Cebu.
Cherry Ann T. Lim
BEST INVESTIGATIVE REPORT, PRINT CATEGORY, CATHOLIC MASS MEDIA AWARDS. The Archdiocese of Manila awarded Lim the prize four times: for “OFW in Crisis: Peril at Work, Havoc at Home” on the plight of overseas Filipino workers (2010), and for reports co-written with Sun.Star Cebu writers: “Squatters and the City,” on housing Cebu’s urban poor (2009), “Greening Cebu: Help or Hazard?” on Cebu’s reforestation program (2013), and “Cordova: Cybersex Capital?” on home-cumcybersex dens (2014).
The managing editor for special pages and features of Sun.Star Cebu also won the Council for the Welfare of Children-Philippine Press Institute BRIGHT CHILD AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING NEWS FEATURE ON CHILDREN (2010) for “Goal 2015: Every Child in School” on the challenges of providing universal primary education.
At the 8th Bright Leaf Agriculture Journalism Awards (2014) of Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp., she clinched the BEST AGRICULTURE FEATURE REGIONAL PRIZE for “Bug slay, nature’s way,” on natural pest control, and AGRICULTURE STORY OF THE YEAR for “Fish in troubled waters,” a report on the Visayan Sea’s declining fish stocks co-written with Liberty Pinili.
With Mayette Tabada, Lim received from the Department of Health and Probe Media Foundation Inc. the PARANGAL SA MGA KUWENTONG KALUSUGAN PANGKALAHATAN MEDIA RECOGNITION AWARD (2013) for “Breast Wars: Life Saving with Breastfeeding.” With Tabada and other coauthors, Lim also bagged the BEST INVESTIGATIVE REPORT PRIZE from the Philippine Legislators’ Committee on Population and Development Foundation Inc. and the United Nations Population Fund for “Surviving Aging” (print category, 2007) and “Squatters and the City” (print and online category, 2008).
“Squatters and the City” also earned a PLAQUE OF MERIT from the Center for Media Freedom and Responsibility and Ateneo de Manila University at the 20th Jaime V. Ongpin Awards for Excellence (2009) for its “comprehensive examination of a major social issue that has resisted resolution.”