Sunday, July 3, 2011

Hanging By A Thread

"Together, they published the tabloid until Sonny died of hypertension. The family of Sonny took over the newspaper but, not knowing anything about the publishing business, the tabloid didn’t last very long. The publication became intermittent until one day I heard Mabilangan finally took over the tabloid."

Dante Ang
The Manila Times, 2010

All it took was just one paragraph to remember how life was in those days.

The Real Masters
Fullmetal Dreams
April 17, 2005

I am humbled by their dedication. Their sacrifice.

I went to the office this afternoon. Ever since I took over the responsibilities of running the business, I try to make it a point to oversee its operations, even though in my heart I still doubt the point of continuing it without any assurance that it would last long.

The economic situation is indeed very grim. Since our market are the masa, we are severely affected by their unwillingness to buy extra things... like newspaper - like tabloids.

So far, things are relatively stable this past two weeks, yet the constant threat of cash deficit forces me to hold on dearly to whatever extra money I have saved. The general manager, who is my aunt already told me that I am the last line of defense of the company whenever we get cash-strapped. But I really don't know if my money would hold on to such assault. After all, I don't earn a single peso in this business.

That is why, I simply prefer to acknowledge myself as the "caretaker" rather than the "boss" of the company. We are in no position to demand to our staff, since we can't pay their full salary anyways. The truth is, seeing them makes me brokenhearted and full of guilt. I can't simply accept the fact that they endure such conditions, with so much sacrifices they surrender just to keep the show running.

I think that is what you call "labor of love." I won't dare sacrifice myself in those conditions, if I am in their shoes.


Lately, I've been thinking whether I should completely integrate myself with the business. After what I saw as an act of sacrifice this evening, after two of our layout artist and the editor stayed until 9 pm to ensure that there will no page that will be left out when they are printed, I've realized that I should be more serious and committed in leading them towards our intended objectives.

In my heart, my only wish is to see them happy and financially satisfied with the company they are working. I wish that we won't have to worry again on where we will get the next 19 thousand whenever we are short of money to buy the newsprint. It doesn't really matter if I earn or not.

I just want my people to be happy and secured with their work.

I will never ask for more.

It's almost seven in the evening and the editorial department is about to put the newspaper to bed. Another night, another cash-flow nightmare. Two months after dad passed away, the newspaper is still running, albeit its existence hangs by a thread.  Having no capital to rely on, no credit line to pull the company from the gutter, no help coming from outside, we survive the days by guts alone.

I would sneak out of the newsroom to fall in line at a nearby ATM Machine. With barely enough money to last me until the next payday, I would withdraw 800 pesos from my account. I would then return with a heavy heart, and wordlessly, divide the money among my 8 employees.

"Cash advance muna ha, pasensya na..."

Being used to hardships even during my father's time, they would go home uncertain whether the company will still be around when they return to work the next day.

Meanwhile, between worries of unpaid loans and holding the family assets together, I spend the night thinking, when wound our misery end.


Anonymous said...

Heartrending to papa joms, naluha ako.

Pag-aralan natin ang newspaper business. Gusto mo pasukin natin.

- Rain Darwin

Pepe said...

indeed, your people are the real masters. kudos to you too for holding on.

(naiyak ako sa P800 CA na kelangan pa nila paghati-hatian. waaa)

this is a prayer in itself. salamat at nai-share mo.

^travis said...

u really have to have very deep pockets to be able to sustain a newspaper business. even the leading broadsheets now are hard up - rising costs and the trend to go online.

curious ako on how u handled ur being a media mogul.

Nate said...

sad.. but inspriring..

Mugen said...


Life was different when I was your age. The responsibilities I handled before is just half of what I'm carrying now. Hehehe.


At that time, Social Media wasn't yet around. There are forums and Friendster, but those things are not yet a threat.

I will grant your wish. Since my stint as a media mogul (the descent part) was part of my old blog. I'd lift the entries for you to read. :)

Mugen said...


Never lost that part of me. I still regard my people (in my new work) in high esteem. Minsan naspo-spoil pa sila sa akin.

Papa Rain Darwin:

Nasabi ko nga kay JC kagabi na kung nakilala na kita noon, baka iba ang naging takbo ng mga negosyo namin. Hehehe.

Pero buhay pa yung tabloid. Iba na nga lang ang may-ari.

Spiral Prince said...

This is how things are for my right now kuya joms, as I've been facing the same situation since february. It's one reason why I haven't gone around the blogosphere much lately.

Is this a prelude to another work-related post? Will you push through with your resignation?

Mugen said...

Spiral Prince:

I have no plans yet. Actually, the article triggered some purging I have to do, hopefully before I turn thirty.

JohnM said...

This is the perfect post to cap what I heard kanina during the mass.."To carry one's cross..." I didn't know your cross was bigger than ours; I read the full article of Dante Ang (so, ganun pala ang nangyari...)
Hats off to you Mu[g]en for being so responsible and steadfast despite this predicament. I sincerely hope that you find your way through all this. You (and your employees) are an inspiration. God Bless!

Spiral Prince said...

Good luck, kuya joms. May you reach catharsis. :)