In the serene solitude of his residence, surrounded by artifacts of life deeply experienced and ardently lived, Romulo “Mang Romy” P. Mariñas passed away at 74, leaving behind a legacy that speaks volumes of an existential journey marked by resilience, intelligence, and unwavering spirit. Despite his later years being shadowed by illness, his demeanor remained unyieldingly optimistic, a beacon of cheer in the face of hardships.
On a particularly poignant Saturday afternoon, the sun gently shining through the windows of his home, Mang Romy shared moments of reflection and joy. The sweetness of a fresh pineapple became a simple yet profound pleasure, savored amidst conversations that meandered through memories and the silent acknowledgment of time’s inexorable march. His hands, once adept and nimble, now bore the weight of his battles, a physical testament to the challenges he faced with a heart ailment left too long unattended.
The living room, a sanctuary of memories, housed not just the tangible remnants of his woodworking hobby but also the frozen smiles of his family, far away in Canada yet ever close in his heart. The photographs, gathering dust on a wooden shelf, were silent witnesses to the bonds that distance could not diminish.
Shelves laden with books, their pages yellowed with time, spoke of Mang Romy’s insatiable quest for knowledge and his journey from a chemical engineering graduate of Mapua Institute of Technology to a revered figure in Philippine journalism.
His career in the press was distinguished not just by the articles he perfected or the compelling headlines he crafted, but by his role as a mentor and advocate for journalistic integrity. His editing and writing skills, honed over years of dedication, were emblematic of a bygone era, the old guards of journalism, whose commitment to truth and integrity remained unassailable.
Mang Romy’s legacy was not just in the articles he refined or the headlines he crafted with an expertise that few could rival. It was in the mentorship and friendship he offered freely, his belief in the enduring power of human storytelling challenged by technological advancements. A silent warrior in the newsroom, he was a beacon of excellence and a guardian of credibility, whose contributions, though often unheralded, were integral to the narrative of the nation’s oldest newspaper.
His work, often behind the scenes, was instrumental in shaping the discourse of The Manila Times, where he served as an unseen guardian of truth and quality, challenging even the brightest minds with his insight and dedication to the craft.
His belief in the power of human narrative despite advancing technology served as a guiding light for many who came after him, a reminder that the essence of journalism transcends the medium through which it is conveyed.
Mang Romy was not just an editor; he was a mentor, a friend, and a pillar of the journalistic community, whose influence will be felt for generations to come.
As we bid farewell to Mang Romy, we are reminded of the fleeting nature of life and the lasting impact of the lives we touch. His passing leaves a void where once there was wisdom, laughter, and the warmth of a shared humanity.
Yet, in our mourning, there is also solace in knowing that Mang Romy has embarked on a new journey, one where the stories of his lifetime will resonate forever, and where he finds the peace he so richly deserves among the stars.
His legacy endures a narrative woven into the fabric of our collective memory, inspiring those who follow to pursue truth, integrity, and the art of storytelling with the same fervor and dedication he exemplified throughout his life.
Interment details for Romulo P. Mariñas: Room 111, St Peter Memorial Chapels, Quezon Avenue, Quezon City, Feb. 12-15; cremation on Feb. 16, Friday, 11 am.