My last conversation with Booma, probably a few weeks before I left GMA in October 2022, was an emotional goodbye.
He asked for confirmation about my departure from the network. Before ending that call, I told him: “Basta, Booma, mahal kita. Alam mo 'yan. Basta kahit saan tayo makarating, alam mo 'yan.”
“Mahal din kita, Marissa. Alam mo rin 'yan,” he said.
We were never emotional in our conversations—in all of the years I worked with him. Our talks frequently centered on problem-solving for the newscast. Mistakes always upset him, and rightly so. I appreciated that he would give me his perspective of things. It did help us do things better.
Booma put great value in his work; he did not like being away from work. Even when he had health issues, he would push himself to go, such that we had to tell him to just take a leave and rest. Kung may small chance na puwedeng pumasok, papasok siya talaga.
Even before Booma was assigned to do the news, he fancied himself as a TV news reader. He loved mimicking Peter Jennings or Dan Rather. He would stand in the middle of the newsroom—delivering a make-believe English news story a la Jennings, down to make-believe banters with reporters. News staff would snicker and wonder, "Anong ginagawa niya?" Eventually, everyone took serious notice. It was not long after he was given an anchoring job at Saksi.
He gave Saksi his own flavor, that fast delivery which was not typical at that time, introing reports with the word, “Pasok!” No niceties there. Just impactful and direct to the point.
He was a DJ before he was recruited into news, so music was probably second language to him. It’s not too known that Booma chose the first music theme of Saksi, with a beat that resembled galloping, to match the newscast’s fast pace.
He loved being in the middle of the action and was a real trooper about difficult assignments: He was our one-man team who covered Kuwait for news. He was also part of a bigger team we sent to Baghdad for news and a public affairs special.
He was also SVP for News and Public Affairs for some time and was my boss. He demanded results but was also a cool, funny boss, when he chose to be one—joking with staff, particularly cameramen.
He would come to the rescue of staff who had family emergencies. I remember that he helped purchase a memorial lot—I’m not sure now if that was for a staff member, or one’s family member. Siya na ang nagpuno ng kulang.
He was at the receiving end of the staff’s chants for “pizza, pizza” when there were big ratings wins.
My own family only has kind words from him. He was one of the first to visit me at the hospital when I had surgery, and would always call when I got sick. He was also one of the first anchors to go to the wake of my mom even if he was already undergoing dialysis at that time.
He looked at his staff, colleagues—all of us—as more than just co-workers, but family members na pinagmamalasakitan, tinutulungan. It was a culture he helped propagate.
Our Booma was a complete package. Multi-talented—a newsman, a DJ, an action man na “hindi tayo tatantanan,” a boss, sometimes a comic relief. He was masungit 'pag gustong magsungit, pero sweet naman talaga.
He was one you couldn’t help, but just love.