Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Glimpse of Nick Joaquin

Nicomedes Marquez Joaquin was born in May 4, 1917 in Paco, Manila as the son of Leocadio Y. Joaquin, a lawyer and a colonel of the Philippine Revolution, and Salome Marquez. Despite the fact that his mother was a school teacher, he dropped out of high school as he got bored with classroom work. He continued his studies by browsing at his father's own library and going to the National Library to read books, mainly fictional.

He started as a proofreader at the Philippine Free Press and then rose to contributing editor and essayist. He had the pen name 'Quijano de Manila' (Manila Old Timer). His journalism was markedly both intellectual and provocative, an unknown genre in the Philippines at that time, raising the level of reportage in the country. He left the Free Press in 1970 and transferred to Asia-Philippine Leader as an editor. Nick Joaquin was suspended in 1972 when martial law was declared by President Marcos, and then became the editor of the Philippine Graphic magazine and publisher of the Women’s Weekly.

During his younger years, he started to write short stories, poems, and essays in 1934. n 1947 his essay on the defeat of a Dutch fleet by the Spaniards off the Philippines in 1646 earned him a scholarship to study in Hong Kong at the Albert College, founded by the Dominicans. Joaquin's studies for priesthood explains part the Christian setting of his stories and constant attention to the practices and superstitions of his characters. However, he left the seminary in 1950, finding it impossible for him to adjust to rigid rules.

After years of writing quality journalism and literature, Joaquin died of cardiac arrest in the early morning of April 29, 2004. He died in his home in San Juan, Metro Manila. At the time of his death, Nick JoaquĆ­n was editor of Philippine Graphic magazine and publisher of its sister publication, Mirror Weekly, a women’s magazine. He also wrote columns (“Small Beer”) for the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Isyu, an opinion tabloid.