Established in 1898, the history of The Manila Times is the history of the Philippines in the modern age as well.
It has gone through various ownerships until Dr. Dante Arevalo Ang took over its reins in 2001. Since then, the country’s pioneering newspaper has regained its footing among respected media entities. In fact, it already ranks third among the country’s national broadsheets and the undisputed number one in editorials and opinion, reasserting its simple but powerful slogan, “Trusted since 1898.”
As such, The Manila Times’ 119th anniversary as the country’s oldest English newspaper on October 11 was a time to count both the paper’s many achievements, which the Ang Family and the rest of the team regard as blessings.
Serving as the countdown to the milestone 120th year, a grand celebration was held at the historic Manila Hotel’s Maynila Ballroom, which incidentally marked its 105th anniversary the following day.
“Just like those who celebrate birthdays, we find ourselves counting our blessings. Truth be told, it has not been easy to reach this juncture, both for the newspaper itself and for the family that manages it,” The Manila Times President and Chief Executive Officer Dante “Klink” Ang 2nd said in his welcome remarks.
“The Times was founded in 1898, an auspicious but troubled year for our people. It was at that time when Philippine independence was proclaimed, only to be snatched away soon after. And as with any downturn in life, there were opportunities on the other side of the proverbial coin to be seized. A Britton living in Manila noticed a need for an English newspaper, and thus The Times was born,” Ang 2nd looked back at the paper’s rich history.
He then briefly noted how The Manila Times came under several changes in management until publication stopped for a decade before World War 2. The Roces Family revived the paper at the end of an era only to close it once again at its zenith when Martial Law was declared in 1972.
After a few more change of hands, the Angs cannot forget the day they acquired the legacy that is The Manila Times. For despite shortage of resources, they relied on audacity, ambition and fighting spirit to see the paper through.
“And so we marched onward with orders from our Chairman Dante Arevalo Ang to restore the old glory of The Manila Times,” continued his younger namesake, and it has been 16 memorable years since.
“To be clear, today is not about the past. We recall the past only to remind ourselves that we are still around, battered by storms but still standing resolute, even proud of the recognitions we have earned—Newspaper of the Year, our third award from Volunteers Against Crime and Corruption; Publisher of the Year, also three times from the Public Attorney’s Office, and from our readers, No. 1 in Opinion,” The Times President and CEO noted.
He determinedly added that The Times is ready for the challenges in the industry itself, including the threats posed by social media today.
Ang 2nd related how the shift from printed paper to content has The Times employing a number of modern delivery mechanisms—website, digital edition, electronic newsletter, mobile app on iOS and Android, and social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Viber among others.
“And soon, we will launch The Manila Times TV, an internet-streaming service project being developed in collaboration with The Manila Times College. This will complement the video content and live streaming coverage that we currently offer,” he rounded up.
Most importantly, Ang 2nd declared how the content of The Manila Times will remain as faithful as ever to the core values of the company in the midst of technology, to be of service to the Filipino and readers around the world.
“With your continued friendship and support, there is no limit to how far we can reach. We will own tomorrow. As William Shakespeare said, ‘The best is yet to come’,” he said to resounding applause from the evening’s special guests.
As in previous years, Lifestyle and Entertainment editor Tessa Mauricio-Arriola hosted the anniversary program, which also saw musical numbers provided by GMA Network’s talented belter Maricris Garcia, World Championship of the Performing Arts (WCOPA) gold medalist Geca Morales, and ABS-CBN’s “Tawag Ng Tanghalan sa Showtime” first grand winner Noven Belleza.
Sharing its blessings, The Manila Times spent most of the night raffling off prizes that thrilled guests until the end of the evening, with the grand finale of a Turkish Airline ticket to any European destination given to the luckiest well-wisher in the room.
PHOTOS BY RENE DILAN AND JM SEBASTIAN