Our Ilocos, Our Time: The new Ilocos Times

Thank God, the Mayans were wrong after all. It is August 2012 as I write this, and the world has not come to an end. At least, not yet.

And we here at The Ilocos Times are taking this golden opportunity for a renaissance of sorts. Let’s admit it, while the paper, oldest in this part of the universe, remains the most legitimate paper here, much of what it could, much of what it should be remains unrealized. And it cannot but keep up with the changing times, lest the Mayans be proven right, at least in the case of The Ilocos Times.

Newspapers aroud the world are in peril of extinction in this age of Internet and digital boom. Print circulation has suffered as demand for news in real time has forever changed the media landscape. Note that the paper’s ilocostimes.com, which debuted in 2000, was one of the country’s first websites offering local news. The website brought a lot of joy to Ilocanos, especially to those who are in Diaspora beset by homesickness.

Somewhere along the way, however, the website faltered, with uploads coming in as sporadic and unpredictable as menopause. Also, in the past half decade, only the paper’s pdf file was being uploaded. Readers would frequently visit the site only to find an outdated issue still posted, and new ones waiting to be uploaded no one knows when.

On the first day of Christmas in the Philippines, September 1, all these will change, hopefully. The new ilocostimes.net (take note, dear karikna, it is .net now replacing .com) will serve Ilocanos in better and bigger ways. Expect breaking news, more interesting features, and even more incisive editorials and opinion. Also, the website is linked up with social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter which will allow readers, not only to access, but share information as well. The Ilocos Times Facebook page, which took off barely three weeks ago, now has a weekly reach of over 10,000 netizens. So, it’s Ilocos Sometimes no more, but Ilocos now, Ilocos always, Ilocos all-the-time with the new website.

But it’s not all technology, dear karikna, the paper’s biggest asset remains its rich human resource. Continue reading “Our Ilocos, Our Time: The new Ilocos Times”

Thank you, Ramos Family

THE ILOCOS TIMES turns half a century plus two years in the service of the Ilocano, and it is fitting that we thank the family behind the institution.

While this paper is a family business, I don’t think its continuous operation is driven by profit.  Community newspapers are not known as big earners.  Truth to tell, many local newspapers in different provinces have folded up into oblivion on account of financial woes.  In Ilocos Norte alone, a couple of weeklies have come and gone, and only The Ilocos Times remains legitimate and strong.

Members of the Ramos Family, I’m sure, make sacrifices to let this paper thrive.  I assume there are issues when advertisements do not suffice to cover the cost of printing, even as the paper is sold at only seven pesos a copy, one of the cheapest in the Milky Way galaxy. Continue reading “Thank you, Ramos Family”

Portrait of a writer as Ilocano:A tribute to Sozimo Ma. Pablico (1938-2009)

(Sosimo Ma. Pablico, agriculture columnist of The Ilocos Times, passed away last April 22 at age 70. Survived by his wife Barbie and son Paul Ethelbert, his remains lie in state in San Fernando, La Union.)

I FIRST knew about SMAP (read as ismap, by which he was fondly called) when I was doing research as a graduate student in Sociology. I came across an article he wrote about Ilocano rituals and practices for the dead, which was published in a national daily. Short but instructive, his article was of great help to my study.

When I applied for a teaching post in MMSU, I was excited to meet the man, to tell him how much he has inspired me as a writer and social researcher. Thrilled I was to be assigned to the Social Sciences Department of the College of Arts and Sciences where he belonged, only to find out that he had retired a few years earlier. I had to be content with looking at his face in a group picture (which proudly adorns a wall in our office) with other “pillars” of the department.

Later on, SMAP and I would cross paths, albeit only in the pages of The Ilocos Times where I write an opinion column, and where he was the agriculture columnist. Having no agricultural background, I must admit that I could not fully understand most of his articles. Behind the technical jargon, however, I could sense his intense desire to uplift the life of farmers, and to promote efficient and sustainable farming methods and strategies. In his writings, I felt the energy of a man many decades younger his age. Continue reading “Portrait of a writer as Ilocano:A tribute to Sozimo Ma. Pablico (1938-2009)”