Loyalty is rare these days. And lucky for Manila Standard Today, not a few have remained fiercely devoted to their work and the company despite the challenges.
For its 27th year, MST is once again recognizing the people who have dedicated their time and efforts to help the paper reach its goals through the years.
We’ve talked to some of them.
Dinna Chan Vasquez, 10 Years
The lifestyle assistant editor was working for a Japanese TV network before joining Manila Standard Today as sports deskman in 1994.
“I wanted to work under then sports editor Tony Siddayao,” explains Vasquez, also known as the resident makeup expert.
After a while, Vasquez moved to Savvy magazine (MST's erstwhile lifestyle magazine) as senior writer under Chit Lijauco. After the magazine folded, Vasquez tried her hand in the world of public relations before returning to MST's fold as a deskman under Jullie Yap Daza, more popularly known as JYD, in 2004.
“I went back to MST because I wanted to work in a newspaper again after being away from the industry for so long,” says Vasquez.
Vasquez finds the paper independent in terms of views and opinions.
“What I like about MST is that I have learned so much from the people I work with. Being here has given me the opportunity to work with some of the best editors in the business. I also love working with people I have known for so long, for decades,” says Vasquez.
Ray Eñano, 10 years
One can say the business editor has seen it all, having worked for various media outfits throughout his career before settling down with Manila Standard Today.
One gets tired, too, he says.
“I felt I was not earning points for my eventual retirement,” admits Eñano. “MST presented me an opportunity to 'stay put' after wandering in several newspapers.”
Eñano’s journalism career spans more than three decades. His storied past includes working at publications like Expressweek, Focus, Financial Post, Daily Globe, Manila Chronicle, among other papers. He also spent a considerable number of years as business reporter and editor at Manila Bulletin (5 years), Manila Times (5 years), and ABS-CBNNews.com (2 years).
Albeit more than challenging, according to Eñano, Standard Today is home.
“It gave me more independence in my work and most importantly, it was and it is my second home,” concludes Eñano.
Safe to say, this once “prodigal” journalist is not straying too far from the nest anytime soon.
Roberto Cabrera, 25 years
The chief photographer had been a government employee and an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) before working in Manila Standard Today.
Cabrera worked as a photographer at the National Media Production Center, under the Office of the President, for six to seven years. Lured by the promise of a better life abroad, he flew to Saudi Arabia to work as photographer for a furniture company. Two years later, he went back to the Philippines. He eventurally landed a job in MST through the recommendation of former officemate Ed Usapdin.
It was Cabrera's first time to work in print media. Suffice to say, he fell in love with the job and the company. He never looked back.
“I like it here,” says Cabrera. “I feel attached to the people. They've become more than just officemates to me.”
Leonilo Reyes, 25 years
The senior collector was recommended by former MST comptroller Adelio Domingo, who was one of his wedding sponsors. Reyes was then working as one of the factory assistants at the Andres Soriano Corporation (ANSCOR).
Reyes quickly fit right in at Manila Standard Today, adapting well to the company's work environment and its people. Grateful for the opportunity to work in the paper, he dedicated himself to his work as a collector.
Reyes is currently the president of the Manila Standard Employees Association (MSEA).
“I stayed this long because I've grown to love the people I'm working with,” says Reyes.
Maria Victoria R. Ayeng, 15 years
The 38-year-old layout artist came to Manila Standard Today through a cousin’s recommendation. At that time, Ayeng, a graduate of computer secretarial education at National Teacher’s College (NTC), was looking for work that will allow her to spend time with her 1-year-old baby. Not to mention, she was no longer enjoying her work as an office clerk at a huge pharmaceutical company. Standard Today opened new doors for her, helping her realize skills that she never thought she could ever do.
She was an encoder for a year before becoming a layout artist.
“The first few days I started working here, I felt happy in a long time. I loved the work schedule, the people around and the generous editors,” says Ayeng.
Ayeng adds, she is learning beyond layouting of a newspaper. She handles some of the pages of the business section, allowing her to learn about the stock market, gross domestic product (GDP), real estate, among others. She admits though cccshe has yet to apply those learnings. Maybe someday.
“For 15 years, MST has been my God’s channel of blessings,” says Ayeng.
Edelyn Elamparo, 15 years
Bumping into Jullie Yap Daza, the popular and then editor-in-chief of the paper, in the ladies’ room of the former office of Manila Standard Today was what did it for the website administrator.
“I was at MST for a job interview that day. After the exam, I went to the ladies’ room," narrates Elamparo. "There, I bumped into JYD making me realize I wanted to be part of the company."
Before MST, Elamparo worked part-time at a popular fast-food chain while studying at La Salle Dasmarinas. She eventually joined the staff of then senator Gloria Macapagal Arroyo for a year. When Arroyo was elected Vice President, she had to let go of some people including Elamparo.
“I didn’t know about MST until my friend told me that they were hiring. So I applied,” says Elamparo.
She never regretted her decision. “I love working with the people here. You get promoted. Plus, I get to do the kind of work that I want and I am always updated on the latest technology out there.”
Joyce Pangco Pañares, 10 years
The Malacañang ace reporter was only 19 when she joined the company. She was then working as a correspondent for another broadsheet, covering the education beat when former Standard Today nation editor Ignacio Dee mentioned that Jullie Yap Daza, then editor-in-chief, wanted her to be part of the company.
“Without hesitation, I joined Manila Standard Today first as a correspondent and a few months later, as a regular reporter,” recalls Pañares.
Pañares says she had always wanted to work for the publication even when she was still taking up journalism at the University of the Philippines.
“Even when I was still in college, I already loved the way the stories were written in MST. They seemed to be livelier, more colorful but without being too sensational. I also liked the layout of the newspaper. It was very easy to read –not too text-heavy and with just the right amount of white spaces,” enthuses Pañares.
Pañares adds she was planning to do her on-the-job training at MST during college. But for some personal reasons, she ended up serving her OJT at another media outfit. “It was almost serendipitous,” says Pañares.
The current Malacanang Press Corps (MPC) president considers the company her second family. Her editors can be very demanding at times, she says, but they helped hone her skills as a reporter. She recalls one incident that really tested her patience and mettle as a journalist.
“I remember one editor who asked me to produce the photos of the Tiamson couple, said to be the leaders of the New People’s Army. I thought it was a next to impossible task that I would bet my month’s salary that most soldiers and policemen didn’t know how they looked. But the editor kept calling me that day. With the help of contacts in the intelligence community, I was able to come up with photos of the couple that also made headlines in the paper,” shares Pañares.
The support of her editors has also made a great impact on Pañares. They were behind her all the way when she took up her post-graduate studies at the Ateneo de Manila University as well as a non-diploma course at the Asian Institute of Management (AIM). Through MST, she has been invited to join trainings and workshops in the Philippines and abroad. In November last year, she was selected as a finalist, with honorable mention award, at Developing Asia Journalism Awards of the Asian Development Bank for a regional integration story she wrote from Myanmar.
"MST has been very giving to me," says Pañares.
Anita Fidelson-Grefal, 25 years
The treasury manager started out as a general accountant in the company, rising from the ranks to become one of its big bosses today.
Grefal remembers going to an office with no aircon and with only 10 computers for all its employees more than two decades ago.
“Only one computer belonged to the accounting department. We had to take turns using it,” amusingly recalls Grefal.
Grefal says time flies when you’re enjoying your work.
“It’s not as if I had no invites to transfer to another company. But after working with then Manila Standard for five years, getting promoted, gaining experience and being able to mold newbies… I never noticed it’s been 25 years already,” says Grefal.
She never had any regrets.
“I stayed on with now Manila Standard Today because I feel that this is where I belong,” says Grefal. “For me, it’s enough that you get the respect and love of your co-employees. More so, lasting 25 years makes you feel that you are part of the company’s success.”
Winefreda Ermino, 20 years
The layout artist loves working at Manila Standard Today because of the schedule.
"It is practical for moms like me," says Ermino.
A mother of two teens, Ermino feels she will be staying with the company “until the end.”
“It’s a joy to work in the newsroom. The editors are fun to be with. Plus, I learn everyday especially since I am one of those doing the layout of the business section. I learn about ‘blue chips,’ the stock market,” says Ermino.
Ermino has been working for MST since she was still in college. She used to be a part-time encoder before becoming one of the company’s regular layout artists.
“My work is challenging especially when you have to encode the changes in the stock market. But I’m happy here,” says Ermino.
Paula Marie Reynoso, 10 years
The senior account executive had just graduated from the Pamantasan ng Lungsod ng Maynila (PLM) when she joined Standard Today.
Then a rookie in the advertising world, Reynoso admits to have encountered challenges she thought she would never overcome. She learned the ropes as she went along.
“I learned not only to sell but also to write; to build rapport with clients,” says Reynoso.
The 31-year-old considers Manila Standard Today a good stepping stone especially for those starting out. She cites supportive mentors and editors as among the advantages of working for the company.
“Everyday is always a challenge especially when you are up against the top three newspapers. But despite that, if you believe in your product, in MST, you will be encouraged and eventually succeed. Plus, you have good editors to back you up,” says Reynoso.
She concludes, “I will stay with MST as long as I’m needed here.”
For its 27th year, Manila Standard Today recognizes the following employees for their years of commitment and loyalty to the company:
Cabrera, Roberto S.
Grefal, Anita F.
Reyes, Leonilo C.
Alanguilan, Guillerson R.
Aragon, Baby Diana P.
Belarmino, Reynaldo B.
Ermino, Winefreda G.
Estrella, Alicia V.
Punzalan, Flaridel D.
Araullo, Laurence Eva L.
Ayeng, Maria Victoria R.
Barcelo Jr., Vito E.
Campos, Rochelle V.
Clarete, Elvin D.
Cordovez, Rogelio M.
Diaz, Roger J.
Elamparo, Edelyn R.
Fabella, Ferdinand P.
Flores, Alena Mae S.
Jetomo, Menandro U.
Jimenez, Luzviminda E.
Magtangob, Rolan G.
Ortega, Christopher P.
Sison, Charlie E.
Vidad, Candelario Wendyll D.
Eñano, Ray S.
Floralde, Leo S.
Pañares, Joyce Babe P.
Picardal, Florentino Jr. R.
Placido, Ryan V.
Rada, Julito G.
Reynoso, Paula Marie A.
Vasquez, Maria Dinna C.