Saturday, November 25, 2006

MANONG MAX, PAALAM

Philippine Star Publisher and columnist Maximo "Max" Soliven passed away today, November 24, 2006 after suffering a massive stroke at the Narita International Airport in Japan as he was preparing to fly back to his beloved motherland. I best remember Manong Max for his hard-hitting, no nonsense style of writing. He was neither pro-government nor anti-government. He calls a spade a spade and his witty articles and narratives truly capture the essence of his chosen topics. His trademark sanamagan will sorely be missed by his daily readers. I myself prefer to read Manong Max because of the way he sends and manages to get his messages across. As a fellow Filipino, it makes me very proud to know that someone as patently Filipino as Manong Max is well respected by his international peers.

I will always remember him best as a cellmate of the late great Benigno Aquino Jr. in Fort Bonifacio during the dark days of martial law. Max Soliven was imprisoned because he spoke the truth, and that the truth, media men know as gospel truth, is the most dangerous thing one can possess during the dark days of martial law.

After the fall of the dictatorship, he continued on with his mission of truth through information: first with the Inquirer, and then through The Philippine Star. Like it or not, he is well respected by his fellow publishers and columnists, no matter how much his opinions may differ from theirs.

As they say, and as I like to quote every now and then, if one has done something worthy of remembrance, that deed will be his monument. If not, no monument can ever preserve his memeory. I wish now to paraphrase and dedicate the last line of Manong Max's biographical essay Goodbye, Superboy (a Fond Farewell to the Last Romantic) to his memory: Goodbye, Manong Max. I am proud to have known you. And happy to have known you well.


Manong Max
By Rodel C. Banares

Armas Mong Hawak Ay Pluma
Katotohanan ang iyong tinta
Na isinulat sa pahina ng Kasaysayan
At nakauikit sa aming kamalayan.

Sa iyong pagkawala
Hindi matutuyo ang pluma!
Ipagpapatuloy ng bawat Pilipino
Ang sinimulan mong kabanata.

Katotohanan ang pinuhunan
Katotohanan siyang patuloy na ipaglalaban
Sapagkat ang aral ng iyong paglisan
Ang katotohanan ang siyang nakapagpapalaya!