An Unpublished Book and some Throwback “Thank Yous…”

I took part in writing a biography a few years ago. It was about the longest serving town mayor of San Pedro Laguna, Calixto Cataquiz, an unpretentious local politician who became a friend during the course of the project.

I would have not agreed to write the bio if my friend, Pepe Alas, was not on board. I was a supervisor at a BPO in Alabang; Pepe, a Spanish speaking agent under my program. I assumed the writing task would be easier working with someone I knew personally. We often times wrote while we’re both in the office.

We had a great time writing. Of course, there were a few bumps and misses but nothing we couldn’t handle. The only frustration was that the book remained unpublished.

The last time I caught up with Mayor Cataquiz was during Pepe’s wedding. He told me of a few political issues that made him decide to shelve the project. The Mayor was abruptly disqualified a week before the last election—his wife took over and won.

So, that’s that for me writing for politicians. I’ll stick writing here—for now.

Pepe still believes that the book would get published. He’s still working at it, putting the finishing touches. He became a close supporter of the Cataquizs. The latter aided him during the perilous and costly medical emergency brought about by his wife’s pregnancy.

Often time’s failure gives us more than success.

During our time writing, we met several cultural workers in San Pedro. Like this friendly chap, Sonny Ordonez, author of a book dedicated to San Pedro’s miraculous Lolo Uweng, a Santo Sepulcro enshrined in Landayan. He cheered us to continue, gave helpful tips on how to write.

And there were other strangers whom we have never personally known but did us favors. Like Gemma Cruz Araneta who wrote about our small book project in her Manila Bulletin column. I never got to thank her personally but I appreciate what she did for us.

You don’t always get what you want—but you’re getting something. That’s for sure. You’ll just have to learn to appreciate the little things, the friends you make, the invisible hands that comes out of nowhere to help.

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One response to “An Unpublished Book and some Throwback “Thank Yous…”

  • Pepe

    Reblogged this on FILIPINO eSCRIBBLES and commented:
    It was nice to hear former Mayor Calixto Catáquiz’s friendly voice again.

    This charismatic political veteran, now known as San Pedro Tunasán’s “Living Legend”, was the man who helped put my trust back into politics. I haven’t seen nor talked to him for months because I’ve been busy trying to sort out financial problems brought about by Yeyette’s delicate and life-threatening childbirth. This afternoon, I received a phone call from him. The line was terrible, but his reassuring voice still went through. From what little I understood, he said something about going to Ángeles City tomorrow to check out some rare wood carving or something like that. I would have agreed to go with him but I couldn’t because I accompany my daughter Krystal every Saturday afternoon to her flamenco class in Rockwell under the tutelage of the great Señor Gómez (tomorrow’s only her sixth session, yet she has already learned three dances!).

    Although Mayor Calex is a family friend for years, I only started to learn more about him and his life’s work back in 2008 when Arnaldo and I started to work on his biography in the hopes of breaking it into the publishing scene (every writer’s dream). But Mayor Calex’s biography still remains in developmental hell — due to personal reasons, Arnaldo completely left the project to me; Mayor Calex faced several political controversies which led to his unjust disqualification from the mayoralty race last year; and I, for years, have been struggling to keep awake every day just to read and write because I my nightly corporate appointments. Sad.

    Anyway, I’m glad that Mayor Calex called because he also reminded me about the book project. He is still keen on having it published. And I’m 90% done with it. 90%, because I have to add the recent events that had transpired in his life as an effective public servant which catapulted a once obscure Lagunense town into one of CALABARZON’s strongest cities today. I am now reblogging Arnaldo’s recent post wherein he published Gemma Cruz Araneta’s brief review of the book’s first few chapters. The ageless Gemma, a fellow hispanista, had our manuscript reviewed and was kind enough to publish it in her Manila Bulletin column.

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