Grateful journalist who found success treats fellow newsmen
By Manly M. Ugalde LEGAZPI CITY --- It was a big surprise for every member of the media profession here during a grand fellowship night hosted by their fellow journalist at the Legazpi Convention Center here last April 28. All those who registered their attendance automatically received P5,000 cash each even before the big raffle draws began. Dubbed as SND Media Fellowship Night, the event was attended by over 250 media practitioners and their spouses, mostly those from Albay and this city. The host’s friends from Camarines Sur and Naga City also came to lend support, excluding themselves from the raffle draws, “so as to dedicate the night exclusively to the Albay newsmen and their host who happened to be our colleague in Naga City for a long time.” SND stands for Noel de Luna, with “Sir” fondly affixed to his name by grateful beneficiaries of his kindheartedness, charity and assistance. In fact, his foundation meant for charity also adopts such initials – SND Foundation – which he established since he hit it big in Manila. Noel, who is being tossed as a strong bet for vice governor of Albay, has revealed the more noble purpose of gathering his fellow newsmen in a joyful celebration. During his keynote message, Noel enjoined the broadcasters and news reporters present not to indulge in black propaganda and character assassination in the practice of their profession, especially that the next local election is coming nearer. “We should refrain from destroying any man’s honor and reputation with lies and mud raking because by doing so we may have deprived the people from choosing the right candidates because of false news and propaganda being concocted by black-hearted election operators,” De Luna told his audience while not confirming that he was indeed interested to run in next year’s local elections. Apart from the P5,000 cash giveaways, 33 more of the lucky media practitioners here won major cash prizes during the raffle draws with 3 winning P100,000 each; 10 newsmen/newshen for P50,000 each, and 20 more for P25,000 each. Overall attendance during the fellowship night was placed at 2,000 all provided with raffle tickets. Prof. Salvador Flor (72), president of the Bicol Reporters Association said that although he was not invited and was not aware of the planned fellowship, learning about it only on the following day, had good words for host and sponsor Mr. De Luna. He expressed surprise, however, that Bicol media has already ballooned to 300 practitioners based on the night’s attendance and the prizes they received. Bicolano celebrities Rez Cortez and Aldrin Anson, younger brother of Bicolana actress Boots Anson-Roa, provided entertainment along with comedian Amay Bisaya. Also on hand to add noise and dance and music to the grand night were the One Voice Band led by Camarines Sur local artists Joey Piano and CamSur Gov. Ato Pena, Angel – a transgender singer from Manila, and a rock band, also from Manila. Struggling newsman Noel was a struggling news practitioner in various radio stations in Naga City before trying his luck in Manila. It was while working in Congress that he earned a journalism scholarship in The Netherlands. He became a publisher of a news weekly on Bicol politics and development when he returned back in Manila where he widened his network of policy makers, contractors, and even movie stars and event organizers. An enterprising young man, one can say that he took the rough road to success, making pauses and detours, always looking for new challenges. But even with his success, Noel did not forget his colleagues, especially those needing help, materially and otherwise. He has lent them money for their children’s tuition, for a small business capital, and a not-so-small amount to send his ailing friends to the hospitals in Manila for serious ailment. During Mayon’s eruption early this year, Noel donated truckloads of rice and thousands of dressed chicken to various evacuation centers in the province. Legazpi-based block time broadcaster Bobby Ala was among the three lucky media winners who won the P100,000 prize in the raffle draw, while freelance journalist Emmanuel Solis of the Office of the Legazpi mayor was among those who won the P50,000 prize. Ala and Solis said they were so happy to win a prize they never expected saying it would be a big help for the tuition fees of their children. De Luna said the media fellowship night was his gesture of being thankful for the blessings that he received while reminiscing his difficult days as a struggling local community journalist. Although he spent most of his growing years in Camarines Sur, Noel’s mother, Crispina Nicoleta, is a pure Albayana. Crispina was the daughter of Sotero Nacion Nicoleta and Irenea Lucis who were from Camalig and Bgy. Lakag in Daraga, Albay. Irenea, on the other hand, was the daughter of Jose Lodena and Isidora Lucis, also of the towns of Camalig and Daraga, Albay.