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A customs messenger who ‘delivers’

/ 10:21 PM April 11, 2012

I mourn the passing on of my friend and contemporary, Angelo Castro Jr., broadcaster par excellence.

Angelo and I worked for the Manila Broadcasting Company (MBC) in 1970.

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We saw each other again after the Edsa I revolution when ABS-CBN was about to make a comeback after it was closed down during the Marcos dictatorship.

Angelo tried to recruit me to join TV Patrol as a commentator, but I told him that viewers might laugh at me because I had a thick Visayan accent whenever I speak Tagalog.

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He laughed.

During our stint in radio in the 1970s, the medium of communication of announcers to their listeners was mostly English.

Nowadays, one hardly encounters broadcasters speaking English; if he did so, he would lose his listeners fast.

Radio listeners and TV viewers now, Angelo used to say, are much different from those in the 1950s, 60s and 70s who were more concerned with form rather than substance.

“Mon, viewers and listeners now don’t care about how you sound as long as you talk intelligently,” Angelo said.

My thick regional accent, he said, would endear me to many viewers in Metro Manila who trace their roots to provinces in the Visayas.

Still, I dilly-dallied in joining ABS-CBN because I didn’t believe my Visayan accent was an asset rather than a liability.

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It was years later, when I joined Radyo Veritas in 1991 that I realized Angelo was right after all.

My “Isumbong Mo Kay Tulfo” program became an instant hit in spite of—or because of—my Visayan accent.

I owe my return to the broadcast medium to Angelo Castro Jr.

* * *

An acting customs examiner, whose illicit relationship with his boss is widely known in the Bureau of Customs, is said to frequent the casinos and cockpits and loses hundreds of thousands of pesos every time.

His boss, a married woman, reportedly lets him have his way, extorting money from importers and brokers and getting “choice” shipments where importers and brokers pay huge amounts for their release.

I said the guy is an “acting customs examiner” because his position is that of a messenger.

At the customs bureau, there is no difference between a messenger and an examiner, as long as one can deliver.

* * *

Philippine Airlines, the nation’s flag carrier, is now 49 percent owned by food conglomerate San Miguel Corp. (SMC).

If Ramon Ang, SMC president and chief executive officer, brings his brand of management and leadership to PAL, the airline will regain its former prestige as among Asia’s finest.

But it’s going to be rough voyage for Ang.

* * *

A congressman from the Visayas was barred from the plenary session recently because he was wearing a barong Tagalog and jogging pants.

Abuse of methamphetamine hydrochloride or “shabu” probably got into this congressman’s head.

The congressman seldom goes to his office, if at all.

The few times he drops by, his staff complains about his cranky ways, and vents his anger them when he’s “dry.”

During dry spells, he allegedly asks one of his staff members to buy shabu.

This congressman is reportedly the only one left in the House completely hooked on drugs.

* * *

If you want a stress-free lifestyle, far from the madding crowd in Metro Manila, think of owning property at Sandari Batulao in Nasugbu, Batangas province.

The site is about 600 feet above sea level, complete with a rainforest and nature reserve.

The air is fresh at Sandari Batulao where a clean river and streams flow from the mountains.

I bought myself a piece of land in Batulao and I wish to share with you my delight over the purchase.

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TAGS: Angelo Castro Jr., Batangas, broadcasting career, Bureau of Customs, Manila Broadcasting Company, Marcos dictatorship, Philippine Airlines, radio, real estate, San Miguel Corp., TV Patrol, Visayan accent
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