DAVAO CITY (MindaNews / 15 September) — From “Coffee and Dreams on a Late Afternoon: Tales of Despair and Deliverance in Mindanao” in 2005 to “Mindanao on My Mind and Other Musings” in 2013, Davao City-based writer Rafael Miguel “Nikki” Rivera Gomez in 2019 takes us to a journey still within Davao and Mindanao but more on his reflections about life in his third book published by the University of the Philippines (UP) Press, “Through the Years Gently.”
The book was released early last month and is available for 550 pesos at the bookshop at the UP Press Building in Diliman, Quezon City and at the Upper Shelf, the UP Press’ outlet at the UP Town Center along Katipunan in the same city.
Arrangements are still being made to make the book available in Mindanao.
The UP Press noted that in “Coffee Dreams,” Gomez, a communications counselor, “takes us to a Mindanao tempered by the winds of national change, from the romance of revolutions past to the euphoria of People Power, from the giddiness of globalization, to the tragedy of plunder and debasement.”
“Mindanao on My Mind” on the other hand features “nearly three decades of the author’s insights, from a quieter Davao to today’s unrelenting progress, from college theater to threatened watersheds, from old poems to unyielding Baby Boomers, from the romance of yore to the quest for peace.”
“This book is as much the Mindanawon’s gaze into his eventful past as it is a journey into his hopeful future,” the blurb on the book says.
“Through the Years, Gently,” according to its blurb, is “an excursion into the author’s mind.”
Gomez, it adds, “tells his readers about how it was when the progressive Church was under attack and when small entrepreneurs dared to dream despite the uncertain times.”
But the anthology “offers more intimacy as he shares the tenderness of family and the empathy in conversations.”
In one of his recent Facebook postings, Gomez said he doesn’t’ have much to share anymore and thinks he has said enough.
“Writing is such a solitary thing. But I do owe this bent on my grandfather, the late, eminent Godofredo Rivera, considered the Father of Opinion Columnists in pre-war Manila. And to my aunt, Gilda Cordero-Fernando, avant-garde publisher, author, and artist. And of course, I’d always been enamored of the Martial Law women writers, e.g. Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc, Arlene Babst, Ceres Doyo, Sheila Coronel, Malou Mangahas, etc. On the pages of Panorama and WHO magazines, they’d always written the finest, bravest stories. I wish I could have had even a modicum of their literary gifts, or those of the likes of Mac Tiu, a true wordsmith, or Freddie Salanga and Pete Lacaba, who gave creative non-fiction a new meaning.”
Gomez, a graduate of MA in Peace and Development at the Ateneo de Davao University, has worked in civil society, government and the private sector.
He lives and works in Davao City, and is married Aurea “Neng” Hernandez, with whom he has three children: Karla Kristina, Kevin Mikhail, and Paulo Miguel.
The Gomezes spent a few years in Manila. In 1987, he joined the technical staff of the Bureau of National and Foreign Information, eventually running the office’s special operations division.
Back in Davao, he worked briefly at the Office of the Deputy Ombudsman for Mindanao before moving to the Office of the President – Mindanao where he worked as senior aide to Paul Dominguez, and headed the office’s Communications and Public Affairs Unit from 1993 to 1996.
After OPAMIN, he joined the USAID‐supported Growth with Equity in Mindanao program as its information center operations manager.
In 1999, Gomez was senior editor of an Internet‐based news service jointly sponsored by Business World, the UNESCO, and the Philippine Press Institute while concurrently serving as communications adviser at the Office of the Presidential Adviser on the Peace Process.
As communications counselor, Gomez has provided strategic advise to large corporations such as the Southern Mindanao-based Sagittarius Mines, Inc. (2006 to 2011), and private sector-led organizations like the Philippine Business for Social Progress from 2001-2009.
Gomez also contributed to the public information and advocacy efforts for the World Bank’s Mindanao Social Assessment Project in 2001 and the Mindanao Rural Development Program of the Department of Agriculture in 2002.
In 2004, he managed the peace and advocacy portfolio of the United Nations Multi Donor Programme and in 2009, joined Konsult Mindanao (Community Consultations and Dialogue), a project of the Mindanao-based Bishops-Ulama Conference. (Carolyn O. Arguillas / MindaNews)