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Domini M. Torrevillas (1940-2020)

“The last time I saw Domini was in one of those big fraternity and sorority gatherings held before 15 March this year.

Victor Avecilla

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Veteran newspaper columnist Domini M. Torrevillas passed away last Thursday, 28 December 2020 at her native Gingoog City in Misamis Oriental. She was 80.

At the time of her passing, Domini maintained a column called “From the Stands” which was published every Tuesday and Thursday in The Philippine Star. Her topics dealt with politics, political personalities, historical anthologies and human interest.

The variety in her subjects made her column a popular choice for young and old alike.

Domini obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree, major in English, from Silliman University in 1961.

She also took some subjects at the Northwestern University Medill School of Journalism in 1967.
Right after college in 1961, Domini began her career as a journalist by joining the Manila Bulletin Publishing Corporation, which ran the weekly Philippine Panorama magazine.

She started as one of the magazine’s feature editors and eventually became its editor.

Together with some famous lady journalists of her time, Domini experienced being under the watchful eyes of government censors during the years when the country was under martial law.
In 1987, Domini left Panorama and joined The Philippine Star, where she found her niche.

Domini soon found herself creating life-long friendships with many alumni of the University of the Philippines (UP), including the Star’s founder, Betty Go-Belmonte, and a prominent benefactress of numerous charitable causes, Nene Santos Leonor.

Belmonte and Leonor are alumnae of UP’s famous Sigma Delta Phi sorority.

She also became good friends with alumni members of UP’s prestigious Upsilon Sigma Phi fraternity, including Senators Richard Gordon and Joker Arroyo, Representatives Martin Romualdez and Roman Romulo, and UP Regents Gari Tiongco, Ponciano Rivera Jr., and Ramon Maronilla.

Her husband, now her widower, Saeed A. Daof, is also a prominent alumnus of the Upsilon.

Daof is an advocate of peace and development in Mindanao and is a mainstay in many fraternity festivities.

Domini graced many gatherings of Upsilonians and Sigma Deltans and wrote extensively about the fraternity and the sorority in her column in The Philippine Star.
The Upsilonians close to Domini are, of course, saddened by her passing.

They recall the time in 2018 when Domini wrote extensively about the centennial of the Upsilon, which is the oldest Greek-letter fraternity in the Philippines and in Asia.

Senator Gordon once quipped that Domini was always welcome in the big gatherings of the fraternity, so much so that unlike the Upsilonians, Domini did not need to register at the reception table in each of those festivities.

In one fraternity gathering held in the years before Covid-19, UP Regent Maronilla thanked Domini for her continuing support both for UP and the Upsilon, and jested that Domini is, to all intents and purposes, a de facto member of the fraternity.

A few years ago, also in the years before the coronavirus pandemic, Domini’s friends organized a birthday party for her at a friend’s mansion in the old, quaint sector of Pasay City. Because of the many vehicles headed to the affair, traffic along Taft Avenue got snarled for hours.

It was also reported that it took Domini more than an hour just to greet each of her many well-wishers that evening.
One of the biggest compliments ever paid to me by someone of prominence in the media industry came from Domini when, on at least two of those fraternity functions, she told me that she always made it a point to read my columns, both when I was still writing for The Manila Standard (2014-2018) and when I began writing for the Daily Tribune (beginning in 2018).

The last time I saw Domini was in one of those big fraternity and sorority gatherings held before 15 March this year, the date the nationwide quarantine took effect.

Since everyone had spent almost all of 2020 at home, Upsilonians and their friends were looking forward to less health-threatening times in 2021, when we can all have gatherings again. That is why I was saddened to learn that Domini passed away, and without her being able to see the light at the end of everyone’s long coronavirus tunnel.

Domini’s passing will certainly leave a void in the hearts of her friends and readers.

My condolences to her family.

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