At the onset of this year, I was hired in Manila as a journalist for APN Educational Media, where I write for the Australian magazines Campus Review, Education Review, Insite, Nursing Review and TechGuide.

Before I blog about the perks and rewards of the new job, I would like to say thanks again to all the people from my previous job as editor in IRRI and in Singapore. I’ve been getting praises in my current work and I guess it’s only wise to attribute my skills to the kind of training I received from my former bosses and colleagues.


Thanks, first of all, to the kind team of Communication and Publication Services at IRRI, headed by the legendary Gene Hettel who can whip a clever title up in a few seconds during pressworks. One thing about Gene I’d really admire, aside from his funny side comments, is he knows his stuff. Really dedicated both to the world of rice science and the art of communication. He’s also the dream boss that anyone could wish for because of his management style–relaxed but output driven. Billion thanks for inviting me to CPS trips and lunch at your lovely house that sits atop Mt Makiling.


In terms of grammar and stylistics, Bill Hardy taught me the most, I think. He’s the copy editor of Rice Today and every journal/book/poster/whatever has letters that comes out of IRRI passes through the senior and superior hands of Bill. IRRI scientists hold him in high regard, I was told. He’s like the principal of English Grammar School and writers obey his edit marks. He’s very vocal about how he feels toward a wrong preposition or wrong information or wrong subject-verb agreement and he wouldn’t hide his frustration when confronted with ugly writing or wordy sentences. What I like about Bill is his dedication to standard English usage, his loyalty to Merriam Webster Dictionary (the tome! not the online one), and his name–just because I read Hardy Boys when I was younger (plus, it sounds rock n roll). Oh, and his office full of books from Art to Literature to Rice Science.


Thanks to my co-editor Lanie Reyes with whom I shared stories about world events, history, politics, economics, fashion, travel, food, beauty, health, family, grammar, plant genetics, rice hybrids, cross-fertilization, climate change, carbon credits, and more.


Many thanks also go to her boss, Sophie Clayton–PR head and “IRRI’s finest.” Her politeness that I’ve observed among other Australians comes out naturally and genuinely. What I’d like to pick up from her is the ability to stay cool, calm, and collected amid tension and pressure. Her decisions are quick and wise, and like Gene Hettel, her approach has this Filipino kindness with a dash of elegant strictness. What I like about her is her outgoing personality and healthy lifestyle (yoga, cycling, walking).


Thanks, too, to all the guys of the Creative Department who made the stressful days bearable because of their nonstop antics and lovable personalities. Such a clown some of them could be like Kuya Boyet and Kuya Manny. And of course, I’ll never forget Gatty. I think in any magazine, the relationship between the editor and the layout artist is important because the word (written content) is as significant as the appearance in print. I liked working with Gatty not because he agrees to all my layout suggestions (actually he disagrees half the time), but because our conflicting perspectives in design can sometimes generate better ideas.

A word of thanks also to the rest of CPS team: beautiful Tita Tess, brainy and stylish Leah Baroña, and the childlike Sherri and Grace. (and the list goes on)

Gatty, thanks for helping organize the RIde for Justice


The Rice Trader and International Commodity Institute CEO, Jeremy Zwinger is also on my top list of people to thank.

There have been challenges and issues during my employment under him, but I understand how Jeremy works hard to build a global reputation in rice markets. He did push all of us to be the best we can be–actually to even outperform our best. All I can is I was happy to leave the company in good terms with him. Thanks for wishing me success in my career–I sure learned a lot from you, Boss.


Last but never the least, thank you very, very, very much Subra. TRT Vice President V. Subramanian is one

Singaporean I will never ever forget. He’s a cool dude, beer buddy, lunch mate, boss, and friend. If there’s one guy who taught me most on professionalism and working under extreme, deadly pressure, that has to be Subra. I like everything about him whether he was scolding me in a five-star hotel in Saigon or he’s chattering over lunch in Singapore or discussing work in a Manila restaurant, he’s always the kind-hearted, sweet guy who could be fierce at times. I’m sorry you had to deal with my then lack of experience and thanks for believing in me, man. Cheers!


Thanks, TRT and IRRI for a wonderful year and a half.

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