Veteran journalist Nestor Mata passed away on Thursday at the age of 92 at the Cardinal Santos Memorial Hospital.
Famous for being the lone survivor of the 1957 crash that killed President Ramon Magsaysay in Cebu, Mata was also well-known for his reporting on politics and foreign affairs for the Philippines Herald which closed in 1972 due to martial law.
He was a columnist for the Philippines Daily Express until 1986, then at Manila Standard in 1987. He went over to Malaya where he continued writing a column until recently. He was also editor-in-chief of Lifestyle Asia Magazine.
His five children, Jan, Mike, Joy, Julia and Francis and grandsons were with him when Mata expired. His wake starts tomorrow at the St. Peter’s Memorial in Commonwealth Avenue.
A Philets graduate at the University of Santo Tomas, Mata later became an associate professor, handling mostly political science subjects, drawing on his masteral studies on foreign affairs and experience covering foreign affairs, especially the Sabah talks and the creation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. He taught until 1972.
Mata began in government radio and later transferred to the Herald where he covered labor and the Politburo trials. He was transferred to Malacañang when Magsaysay became president in 1957.
The Philippine Free Press recounted how Mata, with burns on his body, managed to dictate a few words to the Herald before being treated in a Cebu hospital. His book, One Came Back, chronicled the Magsaysay presidency and that episode.
Aside from singing lieder, a passion was chess where Mata won executive chess events in the 1970s. He later became a board member of the defunct Philippine Chess Federation and captained the Philippine Olympiad team to Moscow in 1994.
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