Carlo J. Caparas

I have always admired story-tellers -- maybe because much as I would like to, writing a novel or a short story isn't something I'm very comfortable with. Short entries for a blog, a poem here and there, a longish essay once a year -- those I can do.

It is with that background that I read with immense interest the story of Carlos J. Caparas which appeared in the Philippine Daily Inquirer today. The National Commission for Culture and Arts had given him the Gawad ng Komisyon sa Wika -- for championing the Filipino language through his numerous komiks novels. The article stated that it was the very first such award given to someone outside of the academe.

Caparas is the creator of such stories as Panday, Bakekang, Zuma, etc. I have not read a single komiks made by him but have seen some of the stories/movies on TV. It was interesting for me to find out that Caparas started out dirt poor. He belonged to a poor family with nine children and dropped out of first year high school. He worked as a security guard at a publishing house and it was there that he stayed awake all night reading all the books that the company had printed. Reading on the job!

One time, during a violent strike at the publishing house, Caparas got hit with a stray bullet in his heel. He could not walk for a time and that's when he wrote his first komiks novel, Citadel and the rest is history. Several komiks stories and years later, Caparas now is a millionaire, lives in Alabang, and rides a Porsche. He says that when he first started to earn money, he didn't know what to do as he wasn't used to having money. Today, he supports the schooling of thousands of children in Pasig and is looking forward to having his novels translated into English. A US publisher had already contacted him for the latter.

Unbelievable story right? Parang pang-komiks. It is truly inspiring though. Poverty really shouldn't stop anyone from doing anything. If someone with hardly anything can accomplish such a feat, what more people who already start with something? Then again, adversity may have a way of bringing out the best in people more than a comfortable life where you seem to have everything.

So, think about it. We can't all be like Carlo J. Caparas but we can all choose the way we write the novels of our lives. There may be a 101 ways to get rich or to reach your ultimate goal but Carlo Caparas shows us what made him succeed: Read, write, and make people dream.

May all our dreams come true. =)

[By Angelica Viloria | Wednesday, August 2, 2006]


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