Nelson Navarro memoir to launch Jan. 16 at Philippine Center

The international launch of Nelson A. Navarro’s memoir, “The Half-Remembered Past,” will be held at the Philippine Center on Fifth Avenue on January 16th at 7 p.m.

Journalist, biographer and TV talk show host Navarro is now based in Manila, but he lived in New York for 17 years as a political exile from the Marcos regime. He co-founded the anti-martial law Ningas magazine with now business leader Loida Nicolas-Lewis and served as editor-in-chief. He returned to Manila after the 1986 fall of Marcos Dictatorship and resumed his career in journalism. The book launch will be sponsored by Nicolas-Lewis and the Alpha Phi Beta Fraternity Alumni Association of the East Coast.

With 11 biographies to his credit, Navarro counts as one of the Philippines’ most prolific writers. Among his recent publications are biographies of former Vice President Emmanuel Pelaez, and journalism legend Maximo Soliven. He edited the best-selling and very controversial 2012 memoir of Juan Ponce Enrile. Due for release is “Maverick: The Rise of Jejomar C. Binay,” on the nation’s second in command who is a frontrunner in the 2016 presidential elections.

“The Half-Remembered Past” consists of autobiographical essays on the author’s growing-up years in Mindanao, his tumultuous years in the University of the Philippines Diliman during the Golden Sixties as editor-in-chief of the Philippine Collegian, his high-profile role in the First Quarter Storm of 1970 which led to subversion charges and extended U.S. exile as well as post-EDSA coverage of Philippine and international affairs as a Manila columnist and TV commentator. He was particularly active during the Cory Aquino, Fidel Ramos and Joseph Estrada years, covering state visits, serving in public affairs panels and political analyst for CNN, BBC, and NBC News.

Photo by Ging Reyes

Photo by Ging Reyes

A passage from the book describes how he found his liberation through the First Quarter Storm.

“The FQS turned me into an exile,” writes Navarro. “It forced me to the kind of life I wanted—to remain true to my values and to be a man of the 20th and 21st centuries. I was a concerned individual who would fight for a good cause but who also loved life. (In America), I fell in love with music and literature. For the first time, I was free. I felt good about Marcos and reviled him at the same time. Accidentally, he gave me my freedom from my own country and its parochialism. Living in New York, earning a living, spending money, making choices and mistakes, I moved on. How could have I gotten this education? I met wonderful people and went to wonderful places. Those have forever changed me.”

Born in Manila and raised in Malaybalay, Bukidnon, he has a B.S. in Business Administration from UP and an M.A. in International Affairs from Columbia University. He was a reporter for the Trenton Times, a New Jersey newspaper, and covered the international social development programs of the United Methodist Church in the USA during his years in exile.

Published by Alphan Publishers, Inc. of Makati, the memoir was given a “soft launch” in Manila in ceremonies headed by National Artist for Literature F. Sionil Jose, who also wrote the book’s introduction. The book is exclusively distributed by ABS-CBN Publishing and is available internationally through Amazon Kindle and the ABS-CBN Newsstand.

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