I COULD HAVE BEEN A DIPLOMAT: Memoir Of An Agri Journalist

I finished a Foreign Service course at the University of the Philippines and in 1965, I passed the government exams for Cultural Attache. At that time I was already agriculture editor of the Manila Chronicle.

When the result of the civil service exams for Cultural Attache was published in our newspaper and my name was there, our Foreign Affairs reporter, Francisco de Leon, approached me and said:

“Zac, choose the foreign assignment you’d like and I will take care of that with Secretary Mauro Mendez.”

I am sure, Kiko de Leon was capable of doing what he told me. But I just smiled and simply dismissed his suggestion. I was young, a bachelor, covering the least glamorous beat that no other reporter wanted. Why then did I not consider Kiko’s offer?

What was the most compelling reason? I was immensely enjoying the Saturday night dancing parties held right at Chronicle Building. Tuding Guinto, our Entertainment editor, brought some of the sexiest movie stars as our dancing partners, including the buxom Divina Valencia, Miriam Jurado and many others.

Thinking about that now, I don’t have any regrets for not joining the Foreign Service. I have learned to love and enjoy writing about agriculture.

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