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Post-dictatorship ABS-CBN host, local journo passes on

FULL DISCLOSURE: The writer was a reporter under Nick Lizares when Lizares became news chief in the 90s of Church-owned radio station dyAF-Radyo Bacolod.

BACOLOD CITY, Negros Occidental, Philippines – Post-Marcos broadcast journalist Nicolas Gerardo M. Lizares died yesterday of an illness.

He turned 60 only two months ago.

Popularly known as “Nick” to family, friends, and the TV audience of the local ABS-CBN, he was the third among nine children.

Nick Lizares, third from left, with his eight other siblings among them Larry, second from right, in a photo taken  last year in a pub in Metro Manila. | Photo by Issa Lizares used with permission
Nick Lizares, third from left, with his eight other siblings among them Larry, second from right, in a photo taken last year in a pub in Metro Manila. | Photo by Issa Lizares used with permission

Nick became an almost household name when the local ABS-CBN affiliate reopened in 1998 and launched TV Patrol, its flagship newscast.

Maria Luisa “Bing” Ascalon became the first post-Marcos station manager of ABS-CBN Bacolod.

She was Assistant Vice-President for the Visayas when she retired.

The giant TV network owned by the Lopez family was ordered shut by then President Ferdinand Marcos Sr. in 1972 when he declared Martial Law.

Nick Lizarea, standing with media vest, with ABS CBN Bacolod talents, among them Rodolfo Alvarez (right) , the first host of Pulso Sa Kwatro, and Harold Limbo seated next to Alvarez. | Photo courtesy of Harold Limbo used with permission
Nick Lizarea, standing with media vest, with ABS CBN Bacolod talents, among them Rodolfo Alvarez (right) , the first host of Pulso Sa Kwatro, and Harold Limbo seated next to Alvarez. | Photo courtesy of Harold Limbo used with permission

It reopened in the mid 1980s after Corazon Aquino was swept to power through a civilian-backed military take over.

August this year, the Philippine Congress denied the franchise renewal of ABS-CBN.

At least 80 employees here lost their jobs.

Nick was one of the earlier co-anchors of TV Patrol along with Harold Limbo, a veteran radioman before becoming ABS-CBN anchor, Leilanie Salem-Alba and Agnes Lira-Jundos.

Alba and Jundos both headed the local ABS-CBN affiliate.

Nick Lizares, left, with pioneer hosts of TV Patrol 4. | Photo courtesy of Harold Limbo used with permission
Nick Lizares, left, with pioneer hosts of TV Patrol 4. | Photo courtesy of Harold Limbo used with permission

Nick told DNX in a 2020 August interview that among those who trained him were Frank Evangelista and Angelo Castro Jr., both widely considered as titans of Philippine TV.

“He was the life of the party, the life of the family,” Nick’s younger brother, Larry, told DNX.

Messages of sympathy for the family poured out on the Facebook wall Limbo from ABS CBN employees belonging to new and old generations.

Nick Lizares video

Issa, one of Nick’s children, posted a message on her Facebook wall thanking her dad:

“Thank you for everything, DADDY! Thank you for your sacrifices and for always spoiling us. I know you’re in a better place now with Lolo and Lola. Please watch over us, especially Mommy.”

Julius D. Mariveles
Julius D. Mariveles
An amateur cook who has a mean version of humba, the author has recently tried to make mole negra, the Mexican sauce he learned by watching shows of master chef Rick Bayless. A journalist since 19, he has worked in the newsrooms of radio, local papers, and Manila-based news organizations. A stroke survivor, he now serves as executive editor of DNX.

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