Save 20% off! Join our newsletter and get 20% off right away!
Cartoonist Edd Aragon
Cartoonist Edd Aragon

Edd Aragon, thanks for the memories

eddcover01 (300x220)BY JAIME K. PIMENTEL   Allow me these few moments to pay my respects to a dear friend and member of the Filipino Press Group of Sydney. Edd Aragon passed away on Tuesday, October 13, 2015. 

A remarkable human being when he walked among us, Edd was my kind of man: A journalist, award-winning newspaper caricaturist, radio broadcaster, musician, martial artist, and a green thumb. 

Edd spent as many hours sharing his talent to anyone who would ask as he did embellishing his creative passions in life.

I count myself as one of a thousand with whom Edd shared moments of his valuable time to show me some something that would make me better at what I did.
Edd, remember how we first met in 1980 when you accepted a request to create a regular cartoon strip, Jep Sa Ostralya, for the Philippine Balita which I edited under managing editor Tony Dedal as the first Filipino community monthly newspaper in Australia?

Some time later you collected the cartoon strips and published a coffee-table book of Jep.

In 1984, you supported my original stage play, Final Bell, by setting up a stall in the theatre’s foyer to draw caricatures for patrons who’d care to sit with you for five minutes at a time.

In 1986, you designed the stage backdrop for the grand final of the Hamon Sa Kampeon, a singing contest co-produced by Joe Cruz and myself in Blacktown.

You returned to contribute Jep Sa Ostralya again when I published another newspaper, Sandigan, when Balita discontinued.

All this time, you shared your talent with no remuneration while holding a job as editorial cartoonist – first for The Australian daily newspaper and then the Sydney Morning Herald.

You were named Australia’s best editorial caricaturist and best newspaper illustrator in 1988 and was presented with the trophies at the annual Black & White Artists’ Awards in Melbourne’s Hilton Hotel.

A story on this achievement featured on the front page of Sandigan (see picture) in December 1988.

You became an exponent of the Filipino martial arts of Arnis (baton-fighting), and of Bakbakan, a Filipino version of Japanese Karate.

Some time in 1990, you turned to radio journalism, broadcasting the news part-time on the Filipino language program of SBS Radio.

You led a group of Filipino visual artists, your peer and good friend Ding Roces among them, to monthly art sessions of drawing live nudes at a community centre in Kirribilli, on Sydney’s lower north shore.

My visits to your room at the old Sydney Morning Herald building on Broadway in the city were both entertaining a fruitful for me.

At each visit you give me pointers on sketching with ink, pencil, the airbrush, and your latest medium: ultra violet light.

My visits to your home – first at Doonside then at Kings Park in Sydney’s west – were just as fruitful to me.

At one such trip to Kings Park, you started to paint a large portrait of me in your garage and promised to give it to me when completed.

It was your third portrait of me, the first being a caricature in in 1984, then another in 2010, and then this in 2013.

You were a true lover of nature, loved to care nurse plants in particular. When Emma de Vera led a vegetable garden project at the Schofields site of the Filipino Multipurpose Centre, you asked if you could join the planting project.

You were so excited about the newly planted vegetable seedlings that you put on your gumboots to inspect the 2.5-acre garden.

You were one of the original members of the Filipino Press Group of Sydney, or Filpressyd for short. Twice you conducted workshops for members on editorial cartooning.

You attended most of the Group’s important activities and contributed ideas through Filpressyd’s exclusive email loop.

To sure, your being a member alone lent true credibility to the Filipino press in Sydney because most of us measured our work according to your high standards of journalism.

My friend, you were the ultimate example of a human being who shared his God-given gifts without question or reward. Truly a man for others.

You are now leaving a big void in my life, and in the lives of not only Filipinos in our community but also in the lives of Australians in the media and their audiences.

By the way, thank you again for handing over the completed portrait of me, just days before you headed to the Philippines with Menchie for a “one-year sabbatical”.

Little did I know that it would be the last time I would see you.

Vale, Edd, my friend and inspiration.