I.P. Soliongco (Indalencio P. Soliongco), editorial writer and columnist of the Manila Chronicle from 1949 to 1971 and journalism professor at the University of the Philippines Diliman in the 1950s-1960s, was one of the most literate journalists and essayists of his -time — perhaps to this day. Here’s a column he wrote in 1949 in response to Manila Times society page editor Jim Austria (Soliongco Today edited by Renato Constantino):
(I.P. Soliongco with Bertrand Russell, photo rightclicked from the public site, the I.P. Soliongco FB account maintained by the Soliongco family and friends, used here non-commercially for academic purposes)
“Jim Austria, who does her work competently and interestingly, wrote something about us. She said, among other things that we do “very little crusading.” The remark, we like to think, was made kindly but it is, just the same, rather inaccurate. We have never done and we shall never do any crusading. To us, crusading is a futile occupation and most of those who are engaged in it end up in a lunatic asylum, in a monastery or as a member of a fanatical organization.
“We admit that we might conceivably end up in one of these places but it would not be because of even the slightest particle of the crusading spirit but because of some tragic mischance or some very powerful personal compulsions which will have nothing to do with the propagation of our convictions and beliefs.
(photo from the same source, I.P. Soliongco with Ramon Magsaysay and friends)
“If we write at all – that is, if the stuff we turn out can be called writing – it is only for reasons known to us and to very, very few persons close to us. For the sake of the record, however, we must say that writing is a very pleasant way of earning a living and because of this, we keep at our typewriter, even with the certain knowledge that only a handful will miss us if ever we should decide to shut up and rest.
“There are very few things in this world which amazes us. We have lost the capacity to be shocked or impressed long ago. We hold very little hope for mankind and up to now we are still unshaken in our belief that one thousand years from today, the world will still have its share of politicians, diplomats and footpads. In the same token, it will have the same number of artists, poets and scientists.
“We don’t give a hoot if nobody subscribes to our way of life. We even think that the fewer there are who believe with us, the better it is and the happier we shall feel about it. We have never nursed any ambition to reform the world, for as currently constituted and populated, we derive immense satisfaction from it.” (7-20-49)