Today, Feb. 5, marks the fifth death anniversary of the late Saipan Tribune publisher John “JP” Pangelinan, and friends, family members, and former staff remember him for touching their lives in one way or another.
Pangelinan, who died at 70 after a long battle with lung cancer, continues to serve as an inspiration to colleagues and employees with whom he worked with for many years.
Eli Arago, senior vice president of Tan Holdings, said he lost a dear friend when Pangelinan died. Arago met Pangelinan in 1986 and they became good friends.
“For the 22 years I have known JP, no one can say he's not a good man because he truly was. He had a big heart and was ready to listen and help. People loved him because he showed that he really cared,” said Arago, who believes that Pangelinan's legacy will forever remain in the hearts of those who loved him.
If there's one character that he admired most in his friend, Arago said: “JP was a very humble man.”
Mirasol Dayao, Saipan Tribune accounting manager, remembers the goodness of her former “not-typical” boss whom she admired for his open-door policy. Pangelinan's effective management, she said, was a result of his hands-on supervision in all aspects of operations.
“He cared so much for his employees. As a boss, he always made sure that everybody was getting the proper attention and recognition.and that's something I really missed about him. I also admire his leadership's open-door policy and for being a good listener,” said Dayao, who worked with Pangelinan for six years since 2002.
During special occasions like Valentine's Day, Pangelinan never forgot to send red roses to all female staffers.
“He never missed that special occasion to show us how special we are! This is besides treating us to expensive restaurants during Administrative or Secretaries' Day!” said circulation supervisor Pauline Arurang, who is always grateful to Pangelinan for all the years they have worked together.
Merlyn Del Rosario also has special memories of her former boss, whom she described as someone who always had a big smile for everyone.
She recalled that Pangelinan always made sure employees would get together for special celebrations such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year, and would even host despedidas (farewell parties) for departing colleagues. “I missed making special coffee for my boss!” Del Rosario said.
Becky Tenorio, Pangelinan's niece, said the former Saipan Tribune publisher was one of the most loved and among her favorite uncles in the family. No special family occasion occurs without Pangelinan's name being mentioned and remembered.
“Uncle JP is a special family member that we will always remember in family celebrations. We considered him among the favorite uncles in the family because JP was loving, generous, and cheerful!” added Tenorio.
Before joining the Saipan Tribune, Pangelinan worked for Tan Holdings for 23 years in various capacities on both Saipan and Guam. He had also served as president of Unity International Corp. in Guam. Pangelinan was born on Saipan on Oct. 26, 1937.
Since his death, Tan Holdings has hosted annually a walkathon called “JP Walk” to honor his memory.