Loreto “Loy” Monceda Palapos takes pride in being a Boholano by marrying a Boholana, Maria Guadalupe “Marie” Borja Estoque. He was born in Tapon, Dalaguete, Cebu on October 17, 1942 (Official record is October 20), while evacuating to Casay, another barrio fifteen kilometers away. That same day two of his uncles, Mercurio and Exequel, were captured by the Japanese and had perished without a trace.
There was a time when, crossing the sea from his hometown to Maribojoc, to fled from the Japanese pursuing his father, the family of five children (the sixth was born after World War II) were fired on by a Japanese boat. Luck was with them – their small “bilos” was favored by the wind as it slithered through the nipa swamp up to Abatan River. He was only seven months old.
“Eto” had to walk (in bakya or slippers) three kilometers to and from the Dalaguete Central Elementary School for his early education, and half that distance to the Dalaguete Provincial High School, where he graduated Valedictorian. It was only in his third year in high school when he started to alternate his two long pants. He also changed his nickname to Toots.
His father enrolled him at Colegio de San Jose-Recoletos (University of San Jose-Recoletos) for his Bachelor of Arts degree on a full scholarship grant. He thought he was smart, only to realize that in the big city he was always side swept by the more confident and bullish teen-agers. The promdi decided to learn more about the life his birthplace cannot offer. He went to Manila to know the ropes outside of the classroom. The probinsyano had his indoctrinization in Bagong Ilog, Baclaran, Paranaque, Rizal. There he was housed with taxi drivers, utility workers, and motel boys – all from his hometown. It was a one-year sojourn in a life without care that changed him upside down.
Back to CSJ-R, he acquired another nickname, Loy, and reconnected with his former classmates, this time more assured of every move he made. Still enjoying the scholarship grant, he did the household chores of an uncle in exchange of board and lodging. Most of his friends were well-off; there was no problem with outings and drinking. Aware that his classmates were a year ahead of the academic requirements, he went to the office of the DECS (Department of Education Culture and Sports) Regional Director and asked that he be allowed to take overload subjects. It was granted, on condition that he maintained his excellent grades.
His average grade qualified him for a Magna Cum Laude honors but, because of his grade of 3.0 in Chemistry, he graduated Cum Laude, the only honor graduate of the CSJ-R College of Liberal Arts in 1963. And his classmates were caught by surprise when he marched with them.
Wanting to take up Law or Medicine, but deprived of the financial capability, he went to Dipolog, Zamboanga del Norte and became a College Instructor at Andres Bonifacio College. He was 20 and willing to explore. And fall in love with teaching English. After a couple of years he packed for Dumaguete City, and landed at Foundation University. In the evening he took up Master of Arts in English at Silliman University. His love for writing was rekindled by Dr. Edilberto Tiempo and his wife, Dr. Edith Tiempo.
Manila beckoned again three years later, and he tried his hand at salesmanship, which he found beyond his liking. Nor did the big metropolis appeal to him. So, he went back to Cebu City.
He applied at Southwestern University, and was the Adviser/Consultant of The Quill, while teaching English. Meeting an on-and-off girlfriend, he decided it was time for another change. He got married and made Bohol his home.
For one semester and one summer term Loy taught at the University of Bohol, through Dr. Victoriano B. Tirol, Jr. whom he met at Silliman. He was taken in by Divine Word College (Holy Name University). While teaching, advising The Word and Golden Harvest, organizing and directing stage plays, manning YCAP (Youth Countryside Action for Progress) he finished his MA in English (Magna Cum Laude) and took up MSBA at UB; and ferried during weekends to Cebu for a PhD at the University of San Carlos.
While at USC (he was elected President of the Graduate School Association) he was offered the job of Provincial Coordinator of MYSD (Ministry of Youth and Sports Development), representing Bohol. Receptive of the novelty of the job, he accepted it. Less than a year later, he was promoted to Assistant Regional Director, and had to transfer to Cebu City. The new assignment turned out beneficial for his doctorate studies. At the same time he was teaching partime at Southwestern University and later at the University of San Carlos.
His job at MYSD included promoting 17 sports during the Marcos administration, with the end view of separating the sports functions from DECS. This brought him to all the four provinces of Central Visayas and other places all over the country as the situation demanded. He headed the 350-athlete delegation from Region VII for the 1979 Palarong Pambansa in Marikina City.
Youth development could be viewed from the historical perspective; thus, in 1979 MYSD spearheaded the first re-enactment of the Battle of Mactan, which had the full support of the Lapu-Lapu City government. Loy Palapos wrote the Project Design of “Bahug-Bahug sa Mactan,” envisioned to celebrate the victory of Lapu-Lapu over Magellan every April 27. The recent administration of Lapu-Lapu City has changed it to “Kadaugan sa Mactan.
In 1980 he collaborated with Dr. Resil Mojares in writing the Project Design of “Sinulog sa Sugbo,” to celebrate the Christianization of the Cebuanos. This is dedicated to El Señor Santo Niño, the Child Jesus, whose image Ferdinand Magellan gave to Queen Juana and King Humabon when he arrived in Sugbo. This black image of the Nazarene which was made in Africa, was lost and was found in the ruins after a conflagration, when Miguel Lopez de Legaspi traced the route of Magellan to Cebu 65 years later. The Sinulog refers to the synchronized movement of bodies of the devotees, which resembles a strong current (sulog) towards one direction in venerating the Son of God through dance and chants of “Pit Senyor!” The word “Pit” is a contraction of “Sangpit,” and means a plea to El Niño for blessings and the cure of illnesses.
The first Sinulog had only 7 school-participants and, to emphasize that it is actually a religious ceremony with barefoot devotees (This was what Bishop Dormiendo of the Basilica del Santo Niño emphasized during the planning stage), all dancers danced with the bare feet around the Basilica for more than three hours, resulting to swollen and blistered feet. The first Sinulog was won by Southwestern University under the tutelage of Mike Gonzales.
The following year, Mayor Florentino Solon of Cebu City got the nod of the MYSD Regional Director David Odilao, Jr. to make Sinulog an annual project of the City. Now on its 32nd year, only a few know that the Father of Sinulog, Customs Collector Odilao, is not from Cebu but from Leyte.
MYSD was short-live. Loy Palapos went back to Divine Word College. In 1986, after the EDSA People Power, and the ascension of Corazon Aquino to the Presidency, the various big-name-officials, including the Provincial, City, and Town Chief Executives, were considered resigned. Atty. Dan Neri Lim and Atty. Victor de la Serna took over the reins of the City and Province.
Loy got a phone call (There were no cellphones yet) from the Provincial Capitol, for him to see the Governor. It turned out there were some vacancies that needed to be filled up. Governor de la Serna appointed him his Confidential Executive Assistant. The neophyte government employee gave himself one year for the job, after which he resigned, and went back to DWC.
Then came OIC Mayor Jose Torralba and OIC Governor Constancio Torralba. A call from the Provincial Capitol reached him. He had a brief audience with the Governor, who appointed him Consultant on Special Projects and Studies. He was one of those the local media mocked as the “Seven Dwarfs,” which amused him, because he cannot imagine himself being branded a dwarf literally and figuratively.
This was the time when the idea of constructing an Airport and a Seaport in Panglao was tabled in the Governor’s Office. Mr. Palapos worked with Atty. Juanito Cambangay of the Provincial Planning and Development Office (PPDO) in the making of the two Feasibility Studies. It was unfortunate that Governor Torralba did not make in that election year.
One day Governor Torralba called Loy to his office to propose an event in Bohol which could be celebrated annually, as a part of “Fiesta Islands,” a tourism brainchild of President Aquino. There was no need for him to think twice…there is only one that could qualify both in significance and in scope: Sandugo, the Blood Compact between Datu Sikatuna and Miguel Lopez de Legaspi.
The first Sandugo Festival was held in July 1988, mainly because this is vacation month for students in America, the Charter Day month of the City and Province, and the schools are open for sourcing of participants in the Street Dancing. The first Sandugo Festival commenced with the Charter Day of the City of Tagbilaran in July 1 and ended with the Street Dancing in July 22, the Charter Day of the Province of Bohol. The Street Dancing had 21 contingents participating, headed by the Municipal Mayors and Heads of Offices, most of them with elaborate Floats.
A year earlier, he left his consultancy at the Provincial Governor’s Office and was hired as Resident Manager of Bohol Beach Club. Mayor Benedicto Alcala asked Loy to propose a project that would help enliven his town’s annual fiesta Celebration. “Hudyaka sa Panglao” was born, participated in by all the 10 barangays of the municipality. Although religious in purpose, in as much as it is for the veneration of Senyor San Agustin, the Patron Saint of the Parish, the celebration is festive. “Hudyaka sa Panglao,” which is still a tourist attraction in the month of August, is a year ahead of “Sandugo,” which started in 1988.
After the first Sandugo celebration, Mr. Palapos got an offer from Msgr. Miguel Cinchez, SVD, DD, the Bishop of the Diocese of Surigao, to manage the diocesan radio station DXSN as its Station Manager. He also hosted “One-ON-One” in TV 12, interviewing local and national personalities, like Senator Narciso Pimentel, and Christopher de Leon.
He stayed in the Bishop’s House for almost three years, hosted a one-hour commentary, “Sultihi ang Katawhan,” which became the most popular prime time program, especially when he sporadically made constructive critiques on the Ecleo governance of the Province of Surigao del Norte. It was his first time to experience death threats, which concerned the Bishop more than the target. He also taught English at Saint Nicolas College, now Saint Paul University. Being service-oriented, he affiliated with civic organizations, like the Rotary Club, and became a regular presence in most of the City’s big affairs.
Mr. Palapos went back to Tagbilaran City and started to organize the HRD (Human Resource Development) Department of Alturas Supermarket Corporation in 1991. The office of the Public Relations Department was created, which he manages until today.
Loy M. Palapos is an organization man, an administrator rather than a businessman. He was with the Bohol Jaycees for several years in the 70s, in varied positions. He was Secretary and later Director of the Kiwanis Club of Tagbilaran, Vice President of the Mt. Banat-I Lions Club, Director of the Rotary Club of Tagbilaran, Chairman of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Chairman of Small and Medium Enterprises Development Council, Founding Chairman of the City Cooperative Development Council, and with the BCBP (Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals), he used to be the Breakfast Fellowship Head and Editor of Agape.
Representing Governor Erico Aumentado, he was Chairman of TIPC (Tripartite Industrial Peace Council) for three years, with a token salary of One Peso. Anxious to have a more unified group of media men in the Province, he founded and became the first President of BTMA (Bohol Tri-Media Association). In the late 90s the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry was “dying,” with only 2 or 3 attending the regular Board Meetings. He took the reins of BCCI, hosted the Visayas Business Conference, inducted more members, initiated reforms; and BCCI and was awarded Most Outstanding Chapter in the Visayas, composed of Regions VI, VII, and VIII and more than thirty Chapters.
His being a print and broadcast enthusiast started in high school when he topped his classes from first to fourth year. Unfortunately, he had no access to a school which catered to his passion. It was at Silliman University where this passion was rekindled; but it was in Bohol when the exposure he needed became a reality. In the early 70s he was Associate Editor of Midweek Star, published by Inday de la Serna. While attending to his duties as Resident Manager of Bohol Beach Club he met Chito Fuentes, his former student at DWC, who was then the editor of Bohol Express. Loy started his weekly column, “Sashimi.” When he arrived back in Tagbilaran and worked with Alturas, he continued writing “Sashimi” at Bohol Times.
Then he thought of featuring Boholano achievers. The write-ups were syndicated in the four newspapers of the Province, entitled “The Boholano Today” in Bohol Times, Bohol Standard, and Sunday Post, and “Bohol’s Choice Cuts” in the Bohol Chronicle. For the past couple of years, it is only the Bohol Chronicle that the author has given the privilege to publish his feature articles on accomplished Boholanos.
Loy Palapos will be a septuagenarian on October 17, 2012. His job as Public Relations Manager of the Alturas Group of Companies takes most of his time. But he still does many other things, aside from writing his 3 weekly columns. He teaches every Saturday in the Graduate School of BIT International College, handling subjects like Organization and Management, Marketing, Human Behavior in Organization, and Public Administration. He hosts a daily 30-minute radio commentary, “Nangutana Lang,” at DYRD/ZD and interviews/anchors “Chamberline,” an advocacy project of the Bohol Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc., aired also at DYRD/ZD on Wednesdays.
He lives a busy life and, despite his failing eyesight, this Cebuano-by-birth and Boholano-by-choice mentor for 50 years cannot imagine life doing nothing.