Sangil: Adversities are part of my life

Max Sangil

Many of my friends, most of them media persons like me have been encouraging me to write a second book.

Jun Sula, the top honcho of SunStar, Joe Cortez, Vot Vitug, Bong Lacson, Dick Pascual, Abel Cruz, Ernie Tolentino and other colleagues at the Capampangan Media Inc. (CAMI) keep on urging me to put in print my gathered knowledge about events and persons who played important roles that helped shape the history of Central Luzon and particularly Pampanga.

In my first published book “Somewhere in Central Luzon,” the introduction written by Ram Mercado, one of the best essayists among Capampangans wrote and concluded that I preempted my peers in coming out with a book with unique sketch of my recollections of events.

“To those who know Max Sangil as a newspaper columnist in over two decades (now four), one is familiar with the tools of his trade- -axe that opens Pandora’s box; dagger insinuations, a cleaver of sarcasm, poniards of innuendos, provocative lances, and for those he had hurt and wounded, a shoeshine rag and gypsy violin, the first to wipe their tears and the second to salve their indignation,” wrote Mercado.

In the same book, and I quote myself as saying, “I attempted a serviceable sketch of my life, certain events, and some people involved in a drama which is a slice of life in Central Luzon. Another purpose is to share to the readers, particularly the millennials, my experience starting as a struggling newsman and was caught in a maze of social conflict and ideological struggle.”

As it was observed by Mercado, my knowledge of events and my reservoir of information are results of by being a reporter for several national newspapers, columnist, radio broadcaster-commentator and publisher and editor of several provincial weeklies among other things.

I was born during World War II. My grandfather on my maternal side, Severino Lumanlan owned hundreds of hectares in Sitio Sabanilla of barrio Hacienda Dolores in Porac, and that’s where we temporarily made home while war was raging.

My father, whose name is Pedro and called by friends and kin as Pete, was a guerrilla fighting the Japanese and was one among those captured and only able to escape the death march in Lubao town and rejoined us in Sabanilla.

It must have been the stress of the war that adversely that I came into this world too small for a normal baby. Living in adversities and in dangerous situations could have been part of my life since I was conceived. But my mother Beatriz, known to friends and kin as Apung Batik, was such a loving mother that even so weak herself did all what good mother has to do and that is to nurse her baby to health.

When war ended in 1945, my father decided to take the family back to town and with free labor (sugo) built two-room sawali and nipa thatched house. Later my father soon engaged in the trading of surplus war materials left abundant after the war. That small enterprise supported us until mid-fifties. When his nephew, Higinio Gopez was elected mayor of the town he appointed him the town police chief.

It was during this period when the dissident group, HMB led by Ka Luis Taruc was on the rise and roving bands established their lairs in many areas on the fringes of Zambales mountain ranges.

There were periodic clashes between the Huks and Constabulary troopers just at the outskirts of the town. Once, a Huk band ambushed a jeep load of town policemen near the public cemetery and my father the town police chief led a posse in pursuing the ambushers. I remember my mother praying the rosary while we were all huddled in the dug-out below our house with sounds of gunfire in the distance.