deadliest deadline

meandering thoughts on the beat

Monday, August 14, 2006

Hazel and Boyet

Good friends are really hard to find even in a profession like journalism where being personable really counts. I thank my lucky stars I came across such great people like Hazel Recheta and Boyet Aravilla.

The first time I met Hazel, I instantly liked her. I was then covering the PNP in Crame for my old Manila Times paper. I remember I had a quick lunch in Galleria with her and ABS-CBN reporter Gigi Grande. We all instantly bonded, moreso the two gals. We were all from UP, young and eager to make our mark in the journalism world.

I would meet Hazel later in certain coverages. I later found out she got married and had a child. The last time I saw her was a presscon in PCGG last month where with pride, she showed me a picture of her baby girl. She loved her family so much it was infectious.

She was a sweet, friendly, and charming gal and never said a terrible thing about anyone. I’ve always admired people like that. She was full of life and loved to banter about anything. Chika ever, is what I remember calling her once.

And she was dead serious about her job, fleshing out each and every detail of her report. She was a true professional who worked hard and had more substance than some reporters I know.

Words escape me at the moment. I can only wonder how she could ever leave this world at this time. But what God gives, He can also take away.

The blue funk resulting from news of Hazel’s death made me recall the death another friend, Boyet Aravilla of the Star.

Covering the Manila police beat, I also bonded with Boyet since we were the only young men covering the beat at that time. He was a playful bloke, always ready with a witty but piercing retort to the jocular teasing going around all the time in the press room. And he had a quiet, serious side, concerned about his future which certainly included his then girlfriend Karen.

When he and Karen split up, Boyet was never the same. I could literally feel the emptiness inside of him that was carved out when Karen was finally out of his life.

During his wake, I shed no tear, but it was so painful to say goodbye to him. He was about to join our paper, a new beginning that I thought could have been something good for him, something to make him forget and to dull the pain and to forge on. Now I would never know if this would be true. At his side, I told him silently that he could have hung on a little more because things might have turned out good. That he could have stayed awhile longer, because me and our friends needed him. We needed him to remind us that somehow life goes on despite the slings and arrows of our misfortunes. We needed him so we can forget the drudgery of our jobs and the ugliness we saw in this world.

But he went anyway. Maybe the emptiness might have weighed too heavy on him, or maybe it was really his time because he was good and true.

I would give anything to be able to share one more bottle of beer, one more word, one more laugh with Hazel and Boyet. So I can learn from them how to live, and how to love.


At 8/21/2006 11:47:00 PM, Blogger andrea's corner said...

hay grabe! you know, kuya, i couldnt even get myself to attend hazel's wake. until now, i feel so bad i dilly-dallied on seeing her. you see, two weeks before the accident we saw each other in aguinaldo. since she was covering, we only chatted for a few minutes -- kumustahan. hazel and i always had this bond. we used to attend the same church. that particular afternoon, she asked me for a copy of the purpose driven life (she knew i'm part of the purpose driven life ministries) and i promised i would drop by the press office to give her a copy. later that afternoon, she even called me on my cell to remind me of the book.

i was set to drop by the press office by monday. but sunday afternoon, gerry texted me what happened to hazel. grabe talaga! i really feel so bad. it's beyond words. i knew hazel badly needed that book, yet i allowed the busyness in life to come in the way. parang feeling ko, napakasama ko nang friend. hay!

At 8/26/2006 11:20:00 PM, Blogger Alcuin Papa said...


i have always believed that God gives us the people in our lives for a reason. In their deaths, we can reflect on the reasons why Hazel and Boyet were in our lives. Hopefully, this reflection will make us better people. Then their deaths were never trully in vain, because they shined their light our way.

shucks! your kids are so big na! :)



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