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How a book turned a frenemy into a BFF

Cropped from the invite of the book's launch

A frenemy made me do it.

Yes, a frenemy: someone I hadn’t seen, heard from, let alone hung out with in the past three years; a period in which I switched civil statuses, apartments, and jobs (in that order).

From out of nowhere, the guy called me up, asked me how I was, and offered me to become a part of something worthwhile.

At that time, more than a year ago, I wasn’t in a good place, career-wise. I had just quit my job and I was up for anything—short-term or long-haul, part-time or permanent,

So I immediately took the offer, even though it came from a frenemy, a guy whom I’ve had serious disagreements with. (We’re fine now—I’ve been more patient and he’s become more charitable since he treats me to the occasional beer. Yes, we’re doing great; we’re your regular Abbott and Costello, Seinfeld and Costanza, Dolphy and Panchito.)

When I took the project, I felt I was due for a psychic reset, one that would uplift my spirits, brighten my outlook, and help me get over negative vibes in general.

I made the right choice.

I was able to work again with two former co-workers at the Manila Times—Dennis Estopace and Arnold Tenorio and I also was introduced to Dana Batnag, Julie Santos-Javellana, and Ramoncito Cruz, the last being the owner and general manager of Mediawise Communications Inc.

A year after agreeing to be part of a writing team, the coffeetable book  we worked on—published by Mediawise with Fr. Joaquin Bernas and Ateneo Law School Dean Cesar L. Villanueva—won a Quill award for 2011.

The guy who became my friend, frenemy, and now BFF, sent me a press release this week indicating the good news.

“Veritas Integritas Justitia: 75 Years of the Ateneo Law School, a 300-page coffeetable book won the Quill Award for Excellence in Communications Skills,” the press statement said, adding that the award is given by the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC).

The book “offers a visual experience of the Ateneo Law School’s legacy through compelling stories and old and contemporary photographs of the people, events, and places that brought and continue to raise the institution’s excellence in legal education.”

The book is being distributed mainly by the Ateneo Law School, The Ateneo University Press and is available at Fully Booked Bonifacio High Street, Rockwell, Greenbelt 5, and Greenhills.

Like every project, this one had its share of hitches.

Except that they are so minuscule that they outweigh the benefits of working with a cheerful, dedicated team that always got together because the meetings generally involved hanging out and eating free dinners and beers.

This same book project not only has spawned other projects but has also enhanced our friendships that I don’t even know how my frenemy became my frenemy anymore.

Free beer always had the tendency to blur the memory. (Which probably explains why I always forget to pay. But that’s another story.)

In any case, to my friends and frenemies, both past and present, I say thanks. (So how about paying for the next round? Monch?)

6 comments
Nick Nichols
Nick Nichols

Congrats Robert. Hey we never had that coffee. Now I've moved CDROM Malumanay. But not too far away - on Mapang-akit.

Robert JA Basilio Jr.
Robert JA Basilio Jr.

Thanks for reading. Just tweet me or send me a direct message anytime you're in UP Village.