HAVING served as publications adviser for 18 years, Felix Bautista certaily was instrumental in the training of the many journalists and writers from the Varsitarian who later made a mark in the Philippine media. For this and so much more, the Varsitarian honored him with a posthumous Lifetime Achievement Award last January 19 during the Valik-Varsi at 80, the Varsitarian’s general alumni homecoming party.

Bautista was a born writer, said his wife, Lourdes S. Bautista, who accepted the award for him. “He had a unique gift, which was the ability to write his articles straight on his typewriter without corrections or revisions,” she said. “He would come out with a perfect clean copy every time.”

Bautista’s writing began when he was a freshman at the Pampanga High School. As early as then, an essay he wrote was published in the Graphic Magazine.

By the end of World War II, he enrolled at the UST Faculty of Philosophy and Letters (now Faculty of Arts and Letters.) He joined the Varsitarian in 1946, where he became a contributing editor.

After graduating in 1948, he became news editor of the Philippines Herald. He was editor-in-chief of the Evening News from 1960 to 1965.

In 1958, he became publications adviser. He returned to the job in 1964-1967, and in 1970-198.

Three of his children became Varsitarian editors-in-chief–Maria Angelica Bautista-Rapadas, Maria Regina Bautista-Navarrete and Noel Martin Bautista.

He also taught newswriting and feature writing at UST, where he was the head of the Journalism Department in 1968 to 1972.

When Jaime L. Sin became Archbishop of Manila in 1974, Bautista was recruited as his political adviser and speechwriter. He also became the media director of the Archdiocese of Manila and editor of its official publication, Cor Manila.

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When Ninoy Aquino was assassinated in 1983 and the controlled press hardly reported the assassination and the funeral of the national martyr, the Bishops-Businessmen’s Conference put up Veritas with Bautista as editor in chief. The news magazine became part of the alternative press that challenged Marcos and created the critical mass that became the people power revolution of 1986.

Bautista was awarded the Gold Medal of Press Freedom by the Union Catholique International de la Presse for his courage in editing Veritas.

In 1989, he received the Catholic Author Award.

Under the Aquino administration, Bautista served as undersecretary for public information.

Bautista died in 1991 due to kidney failure.

Bautista is now remembered for his courage and integrity. He serves as an icon of press freedom.

His children remember his wisdom.

“(He taught us that writing) should be done to express and not to impress,” said Maria Angelica, his eighth child in a brood of 12. “Writing is done for the benefit of the reader, and not of the writer. Style and elegance can be achieved even with the simplest of words.”

His wife summarized his life very simply: “Writing was his life.” Tanya Justine R. Baldovino

1 COMMENT

  1. Thank you, sir Felix. I’m one of those former V staffer who was given a break at campus journalism. when i took the qualifiying exam back in 1971 for a reporter position, I did so without the benefit of any journalistic experience in high school but rather, sumubok lang. kasi Mrs. Lourdes Bautista was my english Lit 101 professor. she game encouragement.
    Now, I have a blog. And i have published 5 collection of orginal Tagalog poems being sold on the internet.
    Thank you Sir Felix.’

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