Open happiness

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By May Anne Cacdac

The Iron Maiden

Thursday, January 30, 2014

THIS is, of course, Coca-Cola’s slogan.

And they made us happy at the Philippine Press Institute Tuesday after the signing of the memorandum of agreement between Coca-Cola Far East Limited and the national association of newspapers for the conduct of the 2014 National Press Forum and Civic Journalism Community Press Awards.

The signing was led by Coke’s Public Affairs and Communications director lawyer Adel Tamano and PPI board chairman former cabinet secretary and lawyer Jesus Dureza.


Present during the signing was PPI vice president and Visayas trustee Ruevivar Reyes, corporate secretary and Luzon trustee yours truly, and PPI executive director Ariel Sebellino.

Being in the company of these men surely made my day. Interesting conversations ensued ranging from the Vhong Navarro condo scandal to our almost freezing weather and capped by a private conversation with a prominent figure in publications regarding how media covered the Casa Vallejo controversy.

No, I won’t talk about Vhong. As if we don’t have enough of that on national tv.

The weather. Well. They all think it’s cool. Very cold is more like it, I told them. But still they all want to come here and experience firsthand how 8 degrees truly feels like. Be our guest, I said. As long as you dress appropriately.

On the other hand, I welcomed the 27 degree weather. It was relatively cold in Manila and enjoyed dining al fresco with friends. But I’m back here in the office, all by my lonesome and freezing my bun once again.

I was caught by surprise when after lunch this Sir said, “May Anne, may I please have a moment with you later? I want to ask you something about Casa Vallejo.”

“How do you see this? Do you think the move to have Casa Vallejo declared as a heritage site is shared by the majority?” he asked me later after bidding the others goodbye.

I told him the truth. At least, my truth.

Casa Vallejo is lucky it has friends. Very good friends who immediately moved to protect its tenants from being evicted.

But somehow, sentiments, especially on social networking site Facebook, will tell us there seems to be something amiss here.

In one thread I was able to follow, a comment said: “Bakit ganyan ang mga taong yan? Mga sosyal lang ang pinagtatanggol?”

I believe this is in reference to other ‘endangered’ lots being issued Certificates of Ancestral Land Titles by the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples which include lots within forest reservations and parks.

There was no petition launched against these, I said. If we fight, then we fight for all compromised lands in the city. Not just Casa Vallejo.

Don’t get me wrong. I love Casa Vallejo. My grandpa Trofimo retired scrubbing floors there. But if we fight for Casa Vallejo, I believe we show the same passion for Wright Park, Forbes Park and the Busol Watershed.

He then asked if those who launched the petition are the same people who fought against the cutting of trees in SM.

I laughed. “Next question please.” And he laughed. And he said, “There will be more time to talk about this when we see each other next month.”

I then reach for the ice cold Coke beside me. Happy the conversation was over.


Commander Wo and I don’t have epic discussions on where to eat out. He asks me what I don’t like to eat. I tell him. And then he decides. I just follow really. The one time I decided on the resto, he ended up with a tummy ache because of the pomelo salad but not after he devoured the lamb curry.

Wednesday lunch was no different. And since it was no different, we both had our regular Cokes. No zero or light for us.

Topics ranged from his growing vinyl collection to Yolanda rehab efforts to Marcus Lutrell’s “Lone Survivor” to disaster preparedness to our favorite topic, his media friends here.

He asks, I answer. And when I can’t we both reach for our ice cold Cokes and enjoy the silence.

Happiness is like that sometimes, I think. We ask questions and not mind if we lack the answers.

Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on January 31, 2014.


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