‘Luis General Jr: A Centennial Memorial’ is UNC Press’ 1st book

A book on Luis General, Jr. (1921-2021): A Centennial Memorial has become the first book published by the new University of Nueva Caceres (UNC) Press. UNC and its new publishing house is launching [or has just launched, as the case may be] the book this November 27 in appropriate ceremonies at the UNC Pavillion. The book which was compiled and edited by Judge Soliman M. Santos, Jr. of the Regional Trial Court of Naga City features selected writings of the late veteran lawyer and journalist Luis General Jr. on the Bikol Martyrs (Quince Martires), on constitutional reforms, on his “guerrilla” election campaign experience in 1970, and on martial law and human rights lawyering, culled from his column pieces, editorials and special series in the now-defunct local weekly newspapers Naga Times and Balalong.

General was the editor of Naga Times in 1971 when it was the lone awardee as “Most Outstanding Provincial Newspaper” conferred by the Federation of National Press Clubs of the Philippines. The renowned writer and once UNC English and Literature Professor Bienvenido N. Santos considered General “the best essay writer in the land.” General’s Cursillo movement and Free Legal Assistance Group (FLAG) human rights lawyer buddy J. Antonio M. Carpio considered him “the conscience of our community. This is shown specially by his editorials. For an editor bares his soul in the values he and his paper uphold.”


The book’s editor Judge Santos considers General “one of the great minds and hearts of Naga City,” which he dubbed “The Heart of Bikol.” Santos describes him as a “Renaissance Man of his time.” General was a soldier, lawyer, teacher, writer, old-fashioned singer, community leader, Bikol historian and culturist, and peryodista par excellence, all rolled into one. The wide range of topics in history, Bikol culture, religion, political science, law, sports, and current events that he covered in his prodigious writing of newspaper pieces, including in a third local newspaper Handiong, would easily amount to a good number of volumes, if fuller justice would be done to this written legacy, not to mention his non-written work like teaching and court hearings.


Santos says that the admittedly limited time that those behind the book had to meet the General centennial (2021) time frame militated in favor of the best possible sampler of his writings. In honoring General on his centennial, Santos hopes that the book’s selections, though of more limited scope, would serve as a good introduction to “General, A Century Hence,” especially for young senior high school and college students. They have so much to learn and also to enjoy in reading through his relatively short, well-written, and insightful pieces. Hopefully, these choice pieces will spark interest in learning more from General and his times. Santos considers the book’s sections on constitutional reforms, electoral campaigning, and martial law to be actually relevant to the coming May 2022 national and local elections.


UNC President Dr. Fay Lea Patria M. Lauraya, in her Foreword of the book, describes General as “a hidden treasure of the Bicolano heritage” and the book as “a major interdisciplinary contribution to the Bikol history studies, if not also illustrating important sections of Philippine history. With the grace and accessibility we have come to expect, [the book] leads us on a whirlwind journey into various unnoticed significant elements of Bikol history… We are very proud of our distinguished alumnus, Atty. Luis General, Jr… He was awarded as Outstanding Alumnus and Faculty Member of the UNC during its Recognition Day in 1969… More than the vital documentation of historical events and Atty. Luis General, Jr.’s perspectives on these events, UNC is honored to publish his works as a testimonial to our pride of his living the UNC’s philosophy of gaining knowledge not as an end but using such to live a purposeful life. We are undertaking the publication of this work to inspire the present day generation to learn from his take on life -- to push further from the shore, and learn not from the books but from the lessons of experiencing life itself.”


Thus, with this book of lessons from lived history, not only is Luis General, Jr. given due commemoration on his centennial but also UNC continues its stepping up as a university in the fuller sense with this baptism, as it were, of its own publishing house, the University of Nueva Caceres Press. As the General family representative, the old man’s remaining lawyer son Luis Ruben M. General, put it in at the end of his Acknowledgements for the book, “Without doubt, this book will be followed by numerous others that would further enrich everything that are ‘not of school, but of life’.”


Copies of the book are sold at Php 500.00 each and are available through the UNC Press at Tel. (054) 4726100, Cel. No. 09071566898, and uncpress@unc.edu.ph.