First published in 1927, the Graphic has survived two global cataclysms—the Second World War and the COVID-19 pandemic. It underwent a third resurrection of sorts, 18 years after the declaration of Martial Law in 1972.
As a magazine, the Graphic has, over time, experienced a changing of owners and names; although the name adjustments did not reach a point where the magazine could no longer be recognized by its readers.
The internet is the coolest place to search for the Graphic’s beginnings. History buffs and curious folk should thank the Roces family for putting up a website that chronicles the period when the Graphic first arrived in 1927, then 1947, until 1972.
The website: https://rocesfamily.com/sm2002/rocesphils/contemporary.htm regales readers with the History of Journalism in the Philippines.
According to the Roces website, the magazine’s first name was The Graphic and it was founded in 1927 by Ramon Roces.
Current readers of the magazine will be surprised to find that during its first incarnation in the far-and-away 1920s, The Graphic “set aside most of its pages for a Tagalog Literary Section.”
An Online Museum of the Country’s Storied Press Past website states that the 1927 magazine was edited by Vicente Pacis and was often pitted against the Tagalog Liwayway.
As reported in the website, The Graphic “gained popularity because of its pictorial pages and literary sections, a big portion of which was dedicated to Tagalog literature.”
KISLAP, KISLAP-GRAPHIC, GRAPHIC
During the Japanese Occupation, The Graphic ceased publication. It resumed on May 25, 1948 but was relaunched as Kislap, later becoming Kislap-Graphic, before it became known as simply, Graphic.
When it was revived in 1948, the magazine was run by Alfredo Guerrero, a grandson of Don Ramon Roces.
Renamed as Kislap-Graphic, the magazine had Tagalog and English short stories written by Filipino authors.
In the 70s, the magazine became purely an English magazine featuring Philippine literature in English.
But with the declaration of Martial Law on Sept. 21, 1972, the Graphic was closed again, together with majority of the newspapers, tabloids, and magazines during that period.
PHILIPPINE, PHILIPPINES GRAPHIC
It took media mogul-philanthropist Antonio L. Cabangon Chua to revive the Graphic, some 18 years after it ceased publication for the third time.
National Artist for Literature Nick Joaquin became its first Editor-in-Chief, with Juan P. Dayang as its first publisher.
In the time of Nick Joaquin, the magazine was known as Philippine Graphic, until it was changed to Philippines Graphic (with an “s” after Graphic) in 2007, as suggested by the late Graphic columnist and noted essayist Adrian Cristobal.
Throughout its history, the Graphic has given awards for exemplary short story contributions that it published in the course of a year.
And with the demise of National Artist Nick Joaquin on April 29, 2004, the Graphic Literary Awards was transformed to the increasingly prestigious Nick Joaquin Literary Awards (NJLA) in honor of Nick Joaquin.
TWO YEARS AFTER COVID
The COVID-19 pandemic took a huge toll on the life and operations of Philippines Graphic.
The magazine lost most of its staff and got converted into a monthly, instead of a weekly magazine.
Fortunately, as the COVID-19 pandemic waned, the magazine regained its footing to the point that it managed to come up with the Philippines Graphic Reader, a monthly companion magazine purely devoted to Philippine fiction and poetry in English.