I will never forget the first time I met Orly Punzalan. Our Dean, Doctor Amelita Gaerlan told us that our Broadcasting Professor was waiting for us at the conference hall. Being a member of She told us to be very nice because our professor was the famous Orly Punzalan. Of course i knew who Orly was, but my classmates didn't. They only know him as the father of actress Princess Punzalan. Orly Punzalan, or Tatang, as we fondly call him, was more than that.
Tatang was one of the original Radyo Patrol reporters during a time when radio was more popular than television. He was a trained radio man, he has one of the most sought-after voices on radio at the time, and he was the manager of Radio Veritas Asia as well as the domestic news director of Radio Vertias Philippines during the pre- and post- Martial law era. He was also the first person to broadcast freely over Channel 4 during the EDSA revolution. He had a calm but solid voice and he talked very clearly during our lessons with him. He directed our first news program at the newly constructed Television Studio of Angelicum College.
Tatang was very encouraging as well. When i was offered by the Rector of Angelicum to be acting head of their PR office (I was in second or third year college then), I asked him if i should take on such a big responsibility. He told me to go for it. He said that, after all, i practically ran the office when my former boss went AWOL. He was the one who told me not to be afraid of taking on big responsibilities. Because of his encouragement, i became head of the PR Office of Angelicum and remained so for 8 years. From then on, it was in my office where we held most of our classes (we were a small class and my office's conference table was big enough to accommodate us).
For the rest of the school year, we got to know Tatang's family as well. We used to have lunch at their cantina near Siena College in Quezon City. and it was there that we met his wife Tita Baby and daughter Meg. Meg was then studying at the Collegio de Santa Rosa in Makati. Tatang's family was very accommodating, so we didin't pass up on his invitation to visit their home in Cavite. It was well worth the trip. We were received very warmly and we stayed until the wee hours. This, I think, solidified our friendship and admiration for Tatang and his family.
Tatang also had a radio program on Radyo Vertias then. Some of his students, including myself, were fortunate to have been "regular guests" of his show "Touching Lives". I remember that during the Edsa Tres march towards Malacanang, my friend Nigel and I were reporting for Veritas over the phone about the happenings in Mendiola. This was a couple of hours before the mayhem began.
Years passed, and our ties with Tatang and his family remained strong. The time he had a heart attack came as a shock to us. I had lost my father to lung cancer just months before Tatang passed away on January 7, 2005. Both Tatang and my father died at the National Kidney and Transplant Institute. We went to his wake and we delivered our eulogies. Tatang was like a second father to most of our barkada, and his passing has left us with a void in our hearts.
To this day, I cannot forget the day Tatang came and touched our lives. He was more than just a great professor, but he was more importantly a good father to his children, a loving husband to his wife, and a patient mentor to all of us. I remain in touch with his family because they are now a part of mine. Tatang, wherever you are, Salamat, Maraming Salamat.
>Click here< for sa feature on Tatang Orly in "The Lance" (Letran Publications)
Orly Punzalan signs off; 70.
Byline: Marinel R. Cruz
VETERAN broadcast journalist Orlando "Orly" Punzalan, father of dramatic actress Princess, died of cardiac arrest on Friday at the National Kidney Institute. He was 70.
Punzalan was brought to the hospital on Jan. 6 after he complained of severe chest pains the night before, according to his son Paolo.
"It turned out he had minor heart attacks days before," Paolo told the Inquirer in a phone interview. "He probably didn't notice, or just ignored them. The doctor said a blockage in his arteries had caused the attacks."
One such attack on Thursday was particularly damaging, said Paolo. "This enlarged his heart, and caused two-thirds of it to stop functioning."
The last one, yesterday at 11:55 a.m., killed Punzalan.
Paolo and Princess were Punzalan's children with the late broadcaster and actress Helen Vela.
Punzalan's remains lie at the Loyola Chapel in Guadalupe, Makati.
Interment will be on Tuesday at the Manila Memorial Park in Paranaque City.