It was almost midnight when my phone buzzed in an SMS from Sir Tony Ajero. It said ‘’Good pm Adi, why don’t you resume writing. What do you want to write about?’’
That wiped off the sleep from my eyes and I instantly replied to him. I said yes, I want to write about my journey from traditional media to new media, and how I had to learn writing for technology working for a US property technology firm.
That was the first week of June and by July I had yet to send in my first story as a comeback columnist for Edge Davao. My older brother Willy had passed in June, derailing my personal timelines so I didn’t get the chance to write a good article. But when news of AMA passing away came a few days ago, I was so jolted with the loss of such a respected media personality, that I also felt bad for not being able to send him my first piece while he was still around.
So here it is, AMA. I’m writing my first story, just as you wanted. This is my tribute to you.
I wanted to call him Tito Tony when he signed off his SMS years back with ‘’Si Tito Tony ito.’’ But out of my deep respect for AMA, I just couldn’t be casual and felt it was more appropriate to call him Sir Tony.
One of the poignant encounters I had with AMA was in 2006 during the ASEAN Tourism Forum (ATF) in Davao, where I led the media management for the city government side. I saw Sir Tony come into the Media Room but nobody could attend to him immediately with all the foreign press and media people from Manila demanding everyone’s attention. After handing over a foreign journalist to one of my colleagues, I went over to AMA to attend to his needs. I didn’t want him to think we prioritized the visiting journalists over our very own in Davao.
He did not know me then but I knew his stature in Davao media. We met again several times after that in media events and when I started writing as a contributing columnist for other local newspapers. When he offered me a column in The Edge Davao, I did not hesitate and grabbed the opportunity to write for the newspaper he had founded.
He had always been supportive of my writing, and I was always careful of the stories I sent in, knowing he would read it with a discerning eye. But much as I wanted to continue as a columnist years back, I eventually stopped when it got overwhelming, having to deal with a demanding job and consultancy, as well as being mom, wife, homemaker, dog parent, wannabe baker, part-time gardener, and everything else I wanted to be at that time.
But the desire to tell stories of my encounters and journeys the past years had always been there. So that when AMA sent that providential SMS in June, I felt it was the right time to write again. And I thank him profusely for this opportunity to have a voice and a platform to share my insights and learning as I cope as a writer within the fast-paced world of tech we live in today.
So thank you, Sir Tony, for believing in me. Most of all, thank you for being a bastion of journalism, for upholding its principles and being an example for the rest of us. May you rest in peace po.