by Kattryn Erryc Sayo

Maybe it sounds ridiculous, but there are just some people who seem to project absolute happiness and optimism. The late Maria Bundoc- Ocampo, “Ka Nene” to family, friends and even strangers, was unquestionably one of them.

Probably one of the most good-natured people to meet, Ka Nene radiated heartfelt and comfortable affection to everyone, especially to her family and friends. A loyal friend, a devoted Christian, a patient mentor, a caring mother, and a trustworthy journalist, are just a few of the many trademarks on how people she was connected with see her.

Media and Motherhood Veteran

A long-time journalist in the province, Ka Nene is considered as one of the pillars of Bulacan journalism. In fact, she owned the local weekly Punla (Pulso ng Madla). She was an original newswriter of the Mabuhay publication (a Bulacan local weekly), a former editor of Pilipino Star Ngayon (PSN) and Philippine News Agency (PNA). She was also an active member of the National Union of Journalists in the Philippines (NUJP) and Philippine Press Institute (PPI).

Family and close friends stated that Journalism isn’t just a profession for Ka Nene, it was her life. By heart and by soul, she was a journalist.

As a veteran in the industry, co-journalists and young aspiring media men in the province look up to her as a mentor. She had the enthusiasm to teach students who are interested in Journalism. She had served as a trainer in different Journalism training workshops as well.

Edric del Rosario, a marketing officer of Punla shared what it’s like to have Ka Nene as a mentor, “As a mentor, si Ka Nene ibibigay lahat para matuto ka. Kahit wala kang alam, matiyaga kang tuturuan. Nagbibigay siya ng time kahit marami siyang ginagawa.”

Ka Nene was also without a doubt an attentive mother to her four children namely Robert Jr., Nico Diwa, Ana Hiyas and Buhay Isaias. In 1992, he sacrificed her career as an editor of PSN to provide better attention to her children and family.

Aside from being the light of their family, Ka Nene also served as a mother to every person she knew. She did not handle her employees as employees nor did she treat her fellow journalists as journalists. Instead, she acted towards them as her real family.

“Hindi niya kami tinuring na ka-mamamahayag o ka-empleyado. Tinuring niya kaming mga anak, kapamilya,” said Shane Frias Velasco, a staff of Philippine Information Agency (PIA) and a writer of Punla.

Angel in Disguise

From being a stranger to being a journalist, Ka Nene never chose on whom to help. As long as she could and as long as she has something to share, she would, without hesitation, help people.

“Napakaraming naitulong sa’kin ni Ka Nene. Dapat talaga magpapatulong lang ako sa kanya para makapasok sa TESDA. Ayon tinulungan niya ko, nakapasok ako. Tapos kapag may kailangan pa ‘ko sa pag-aaral ko binibigay niya rin,” said Edric.

“Kahit walang-wala na siya, bibigyan ka pa rin. Basta makatulong gagawin niya lahat,” he added. 

Ka Nene extended her generosity even to people she does not know. Edric recalled one of the unforgettable acts of kindness he’d seen on her.

“Meron siyang binibilhan ng gulay araw-araw. Kahit nabubulok na ‘yong gulay sa ref niya, bili pa rin siya ng bili makatulong lang,” Edric said.

That is one of the lessons Edric absorbed from being with Ka Nene, “Huwag tayong mamimili ng tutulungan.”

 Herald of Faith

May it be during the good times or unpleasant moments, Ka Nene never forgets to praise the Almighty Father, which proves her deep faith in God. Even during simple conversations with people close to her, she will always say, “Purihin ang Diyos!” which depicts how optimistic she is in life.

Ka Nene’s only daughter, Ana Hiyas Ocampo said, “Lagi niyang sinasabi ‘yong “Purihin ang Diyos!” kasi iyon ang gusto talaga niyang i-share, ‘yong faith.”

Edric is one of the people who have been spiritually uplifted by Ka Nene. He confessed that he did not really attend masses before but because of her, that changed. He also said he was encouraged by her to join the Brotherhood of Christian Businessmen and Professionals (BCBP), where she was an active member.

“Sa espiritwal kong pagkatao, malaki ang natulong sa’kin ni Ka Nene. Hindi ako marunong magsimba pero dahil sa kanya nabago ‘yon. Napasama rin ako sa BCBP,” he said.

“Si Ka Nene, hindi lang kaibigan o mentor. Isa siyang buhay na halimbawa na ang Diyos ay nandito lang lagi para sa atin,” said Carmela Reyes-Estrope, a friend of Ka Nene and owner of Newscore Publication (a Bulacan local weekly).

Unexpected Goodbye

It was in the evening of September 17, 2012 when the shocking news about Ka Nene erupted. No one expected her death, even her family. Her family said it was because of sudden and concurrent incidents of health problems that caused her death- a cardiovascular disease which was triggered by hypertension and fever.

“Nagulat kaming lahat, walang nag-i-expect. Nando’n ‘yong gulat pero tinanggap namin. Wala kaming panghihinayang, walang regrets. Tuloy ang buhay. Actually thankful pa ako kasi hindi siya nahirapan,” shared Ka Nene's daughter, Ana Hiyas.

People who know her, especially those who felt her compassion expressed their agony and bereavement with regards to the unexpected departure of the beloved Ka Nene.

Rio Rabaya, a goddaughter of Ka Nene recalled, “She was always there. Para akong part ng family. She’s also very engaging and very lively.”

She also voiced out how painful it was to lose her favorite godmother, “I’m still mourning. But we need to celebrate her life, touching the people not only in Journalism but also in her other organizations.”

Rommel Ramos, a reporter from Radyo Bulacan believes that Ka Nene is a great loss in the media industry, “Si Ka Nene po ay isa sa haligi ng pamamahayag sa Bulacan. Isa siyang malaking kawalan sa industriya.”

These words are enough evidences that Ka Nene truly lived a fulfilled and meaningful life. In her 59 years of living, he had filled her life with benevolence and commitment, not only for herself but for other people as well. 

Though Ka Nene had already joined the Almighty Father, there is no way that people related to her won’t remember her. A woman of pure heart, faith and optimism, they will surely never forget her smile and laughter, her common expression, “Purihin ang Diyos!”, and her kindheartedness.

Ana Hiyas Ocampo
9/27/2012 02:00:03 am

Our heartfelt gratitude to all of you who loved and regarded our Mama Nene Bundoc Ocampo.
Her being a Journalist is her life.
To all Journalist, our Mama's memories will continue as a legacy of passion for writing and the desire to evangelize the Good News through your works inspired by her way of praising God.
Purihin ang Diyos!

10/31/2012 08:43:32 pm

Purihin and Diyos!


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