STERLING names in Philippine journalism and literature paid tribute to Varsitarian’s “greatest” adviser, Felix Bautista, who passed away two decades ago.

Bautista, who was a journalism professor at the Faculty of Arts and Letters and the adviser of ‘V’ for 18 years, had his death anniversary celebrated last Sept. 7 at the Mt. Carmel Church in Quezon City, where his achievements as a pedagogue were remembered.

“For practicing the journalism profession without fear, but with fervor, Felix Bautista honestly reported the truth, making him a real journalist,” Fr. Rolando de la Rosa, O.P., Rector of UST, told the Varsitarian in a chance interview.

The Rector, who was the Witness editor of ‘V’ from 1978 to 1979, said his former publications adviser has been a “great man.”

“He touched our lives with his intelligence and real strength,” De la Rosa said. “He is an inspiration.”

Born on July 19, 1922, Bautista, started his writing career in his hometown at Pampanga High School. His essays, at an early age, were published in the Graphic Magazine.

In 1946, he became a contributing editor of the Varsitarian, and in 1948, he finished his degree in Political Science at the old Faculty of Philosophy and Letters (now Artlets).

His wife, Lourdes, said that God has listened to her prayers when she wanted to have an intelligent husband-to-be.

“Felix is the most intelligent man I’ve ever met in my life,” Lourdes said. “He was a man full of wisdom.”

Lourdes added that though her husband’s father wanted him to take up Engineering, Felix went into the arts.

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“He just pursued what he love, and that was writing,” Lourdes said.

Bautista eventually delved into the field of journalism right after he earned his degree and became the news editor of the Philippines Herald, the leading daily at that time. Twelve years later, he took the helm of being the editor in chief of the Evening News, where he stayed until 1965.

He taught newswriting and feature writing in UST, where he was the head of the Journalism department from 1968 to 1972. He became the publications adviser of the Varsitarian in 1958, and made a comeback from 1964 to 1967. For the third time, he was the adviser of the Varsitarian for 12 years (1970-1982).

Rina Jimenez-David, a columnist of Philippine Daily Inquirer and was editor in chief of the Varsitarian from 1974-1975, remembered her “very good adviser,” saying that he was a manifestation of true journalism.

“He showed discipline in writing in his work attitude,” David told the Varsitarian. “He always empowers us, as he always reminds us the virtue of humility.”

National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose, who was Bautista’s batchmate in ‘V’ said: “His first work did not need any editing; that’s how brilliant he was.”

The commemoration of his death was also attended by former ‘V’ staff members, like Manila Bulletin associate editor Julie-Yap Daza, former correspondent to the New York Times Alice Colet-Villadolid, Manila Bulletin entertainment editor, Nestor Cuartero, and six-decade veteran journalist Nestor Mata of Malaya, among others.

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