Mar 202013

In memoriam: Chit Estella-Simbulan

Last Friday I received a text message that read: “Please pray for Ma’am Simbulan. She was in a car accident and died instantly.” The message left me in shock. Ma’am Simbulan was one of my favorite professors in college, so much so that I enrolled under her three times–for news writing, feature writing, and newsroom classes.


5She was known to her readers as Chit Estella. Among her peers and colleagues, as I was remindedfrom listening to the eulogies that were delivered, she was known to be a principled journalist who had a heart for those who were suffering. She was also known to be very gentle.

Gentleness. That’s what I admired most about her, and perhaps what made me want to enroll in her class again. She never raised her voice. She explained things clearly, inserting personal anecdotes and words of wisdom. I would often jot down her wise words, sometimes even nodding my head in approval.

On our third year in college, we were required to take Journalism 121 or the newsroom. Our final requirement was to produce a broadsheet. We were to do everything from conceptualization to writing to layout. We called the paper Iskolarium, and I was editor-in-chief. Ma’am Simbulan told us ”The EIC deals with the egos. He or she should be respected by the egos.” The egos were easy, even fun to deal with, and we found working on the paper quite enjoyable. We have Ma’am Simbulan to thank for that.

Below are some of the bits of journalistic wisdom and quotable quotes she passed on to us. (Thank you, Absie for taking these down and posting them on the net)

“Blessed are the pure in spirit because they won’t get any stories.”

On facing libel: “If you have decided to accept the punishment you’ve already won have the battle.”

“Tact isn’t one of the qualities of a good column.”

On dealing with the dead in news stories: “Even the dead have rights.”

“All offices are snake pits.” How encouraging.

On work ethic: “There’s nothing like showing up.”

“Life is a trial most of the time. Sometimes it’s an error.”

On the pursuit for truth and keeping your journalistic integrity: “Keep asking questions. Don’t settle for packed answers. Keep asking questions so that the person you become in the future is not different from the person you are today.”


J121 class under Prof. Chit Estella-Simbulan, 1st semester AY 2007-2008



Thanks goes to the following link for these very kind words by Majalya  (Home Page)




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