With great sorrow, we started this year with the loss of the creator of the original Sagunto Star and one of the most notable citizens of Sagunto, Bernardo G. Castillo.
To his family, friends and all whose lives he touched, it would be inadequate to summarize a life well lived in just a few paragraphs. For a miniscule glimpse into the life of this complex man, in his own words, below is a letter he wrote to promote Sagunto’s first newsletter, the Sagunto Star.
In this one letter one can get a sense of what was important to him, his plans, his family, his wit and his unfailing intuitiveness and perception – what he loved and what he was most passionate about.
“It gives us joy to know that we have someone in the states who appreciates our humble effort to be of service to our barrio. Than you for your encouragement and the money which will be of help in our putting out the third issue of our very own community paper.
Here are some copies of our June-July issue. We hope to have our August-September issue on time. Materials are now collected and edited. You are all invited to send in your articles, ideas, write-ups, anything which you think should be included in our newspaper.
How we wish to have a list of our Sagunto folks who are scattered in all the corners of the globe – that we may be able to reach them all with news from home through the “Sagunto Star”. We are happy to share news, information and the dramatic happenings that are always bursting everyday in our barangay – events and experiences which make living in Sagunto always fresh and exciting.
Our Sagunto is a breathing, living community. Frustrating at times, impossibly naive, blustering and amusingly pretentious, it bewilders the outsider or visitor who is unlucky enough to set foot on it. Say anything you want against this bedlam of a barangay but never say it is dull. Everything and everybody is here – the good, the bad, the beautiful, the ugly, the sinner, the saint, the wise, the foolish, the humble the proud, the educated, the moron, the know-it-all and the know-nothing. Name it and Sagunto has it. Our Sagunto is the most exciting, the most impossible place to live in.
It is this bittersweet taste of life in our thrilling barrio that we hope to portray, to capture and explore and delineate in the pages of the “Star”. We want our barrio folks to feel proud and loyal to our community, and the outsider friends to know that Sagunto is, for us her sons and daughters, the one and only of its kinds, worthy of nothing less than our love and lasting affection.
Hello, Manang, are you still there? Pardon if I sounded like an old-fashioned patriot in the previous lines. You know how it is sometimes with us budding journalists.
Now, on the personal side, yes manang, I am already married. Namee of the lucky girl who married me (ehem!) – Esther Gallao from San Emilio, Ilocos Sure, a fellow high school teacher. Our 3 children – Edil Bliss (6 years), Bernard (4), & Bernadette (2). My 8th year of teaching, her 10th. This may be our last year of teaching at the Tirad View Academy in Quirino, Ilocos Sur. I plan to take off one week each month from my teaching job to attend to the publication of our Sagunto Star.
Auntie Dora is getting more cranky as she gets older, Uncle Ireneo gets more reasonable and understanding everyday. You may not believe this but Uncle Ireneo is my favorite uncle while Auntie Dora is not my favorite aunt. Of course, I like both of them. How I love the glow in the face of Auntie Dora the Sunday morning I delivered a sermon in church. I could feel her pride as she looked around the congregation for all the members to see that I am her very own nephew, and that I was standing there acting the pastor for the day. Nothing gives a person more joy than the knowledge that his relatives are rooting for him, giving him support and encouragement in a mission he believes in.
We end the letter here. No more space, besides you’re raring to read issue No. 2. Give my regards to your hubby and to our Sagunto folks over there.
Ading mo Nardo
Bernardo G. Castillo
A letter to his cousin, Jean, regarding the Sagunto Star