January 17, 2016, four years after reaching my Diamond Year when I celebrated it with my children, friends and colleagues in the media at Lantawa Hall of the Royal Mandaya Hotel, I thought my life will also stop there. Weird, but yes, I’m not kidding!
I didn’t expect to still reached that long because after I met my compulsory retirement age of 60 from employment I asked Him to still give me five more years to live, to enjoy whatever blessings my children and I were enjoying. Then, He can decide on me.
My wife Virgie died two years before my Diamond Year.
HE not only heard my wish but even let me lived until today and continue to enjoy life. And the greatest gift even in my dreams never dreamt of was when I experienced living with my children abroad and eventually, became a permanent resident of USA.
Let’s go back in 1960 when I started my life in this city after I moved away from the hardships of living in Pasay City where I was born 79 years ago and decided to find opportunities for myself here.
This article was published in the TIMES during my Diamond Year celebration then:
“This is where his story truly begins – as he became a pillar of journalism when he joined the Mindanao Times, the oldest postwar newspaper in Mindanao as a member of the first generation of Timesmen, led by Atty. Guillermo E. Torres, Sr.
“Loreto joined the TIMES through the late Josefina C. San Pedro as circulation in-charge and janitor at the editorial office. This was when he was finishing high school at night.
“He married Virginia Mercado Milan, a teacher from Balamban, Cebu to whom he has five children – Jojo, Kokoy, Jeckjeck, and Tala. Jin Lorenz came later. Virginia died in Nov. 9, 2014 at the age of 72.
“Loreto took up AB Political Science at the University of Mindanao, called Mindanao Colleges then.
“During those times, Loreto also served as an elected barangay official of Barangay 1-A in Bolton Ice Plant during the early years of martial law.
“Loreto was a “jack of all trades,” as he worked in various capacities as a reporter covering police beat, ads solicitor, and managing editor of the then weekly paper.
“His biggest opportunity came when the late Atty. Torres asked him to take over the management of the paper when its editor-in-chief, Atty. Cesar “Chuck” Nunez left and joined the city government. Atty. Jesus Dureza, then the city editor, also resigned and joined politics.
“For almost 10 years, Loreto was editor-in-chief of the paper until young, aggressive and talented staff joined in running the oldest newspaper in Mindanao. This was also when he was promoted as general manager of the corporation up to his retirement in January 2000.
“From a weekly paper, the Mindanao Times started releasing issues twice a week and then started coming out thrice a week when the Torres brothers, Willie and Nicky took over the management of the corporation. Loreto, as project manager, was also responsible for the putting up the first printing press of UM, which now exclusively printed the Mindanao Times and the printing jobs for the university.
“On September 1997, 41 years into Loreto’s service to the paper, the TIMES became a daily newspaper.
“Of his dedicated service to the company, UM President Guillermo P. Torres Jr. wrote: “In behalf of the majority stockholders of the Mindanao Times Corporation, allow me to express its sincerest appreciation and gratitude for the services you have rendered for the past 41 years. You are considered as one of the pillars of this newspaper as well as the newspaper industry in Davao City together with the great Timesmen, such as Chuck Nunez and Dodong Loyola.”
“Loreto, to this day, has since written a column for the Mindanao Times.
“Along the way, Loreto would juggle operating a sari-sari store, being an elected official, and being a member of several organizations, such as the Davao Press Club, Boys Scout, Knights of Columbus, Jr. Jaycees and the Knight-hawk, a volunteer rescue that assists local government in time of calamities and food assistance to the victims.
“Four of Loreto’s children are now professionals, except for Jin Lorenz who is now in Junior High School at Ateneo de Davao University. ( Jin Lorenz is now on his second year in college taking up AB Political Science at Ateneo).
“Over the years, Loreto was able to save up from his earnings as well as remittances from daughter Tala who was living abroad (USA), to invest at Damosa Fairlane, a high-end residence of Damosa Land, Inc. in Lanang.
“This is where Loreto intends to spend the rest of his retirement years to enjoy the fruits of his sacrifices for the last 56 years and 75 years of his life.
“Loreto’s life story may not be one that is award winning, but his life has become a model for his family and for the other lives he has touched.
“For a man like the Timesman, love for family and loyalty for the job are inevitably the measure of a man.”
At 79, I will continue writing for my readers while still enjoying the life only God can bring to an end. Happy birthday to me!