Max Soliven

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Máximo Villaflor Soliven
Max Soliven grave.jpg
The tomb of Max Soliven at the Libingan ng mga Bayani
Born (1929-09-04)September 4, 1929
Philippine General Hospital, Manila, Philippines
Died November 24, 2006(2006-11-24) (aged 77)
Tokyo, Japan
Nationality Filipino
Other names Max Soliven
Occupation jurnalist and newspaper publisher
Known for co-founder of the Philippine Star

Máximo Villaflor Soliven (September 4, 1929 – November 24, 2006) was a prominent Filipino journalist and newspaper publisher. In a career that spanned six decades, he attained his greatest peak and influence with the Philippine Star, which he co-founded in 1986, and where he served as publisher until his death. His daily column published in the Star, titled "By The Way", was one of the most widely read newspaper columns in the Philippines.


Soliven was born on September 4, 1929 at the Philippine General Hospital in Manila, Philippines. His father Benito, who died from the after effects of the Bataan Death March and eventual imprisonment in Capas, Tarlac during World War II, was elected to serve in the pre-war National Assembly. Soliven himself spent his undergraduate years at the Ateneo de Manila University, where he received the OZANAM award for writing. Soliven received a Master of Arts from Fordham University and Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced and International Studies

Soliven was also proficient in Spanish, as it was also one of the languages used by his Ilocano grandparents who influenced him.

His youngest sister, Ethel Soliven Timbol, is also a journalist. She was a writer and Lifestyle Editor of the Manila Bulletin from 1964, retiring in 2007.

Journalism career[edit]

Soliven began his career at 20 as associate editor of the Catholic newspaper The Sentinel, as police and political reporter for the Manila Chronicle at 25, then business editor of The Manila Times from 1957 to 1960.

In 1960, at the age of 27, Soliven became the publisher and editor of the now-defunct The Evening News, which rose in 1960 from sixth to second highest in daily circulation in the Philippines. Soliven's work led to him becoming a Chevalier (knight) of the National Order of Merit of the French Republic; this was presented to him in 1991 by French President François Mitterrand. Nine years later, Soliven was conferred one of Spain's most coveted decorations, the rank of Encomendero de la Orden Isabel la Católica, from King Juan Carlos. He has also been named Journalist of the Year by the National Press Club; the award was presented by his former teacher Henry Kissinger.[citation needed] Kissinger once remarked: "Max has walked with more heroes than Romulus and more heels than Adidas."[citation needed]

Spending more than twelve years as a foreign correspondent, Soliven traveled to many of the notable global hotspots during the 1960s, such as the Vietnam War and the 1968 Tet Offensive therein; and the Gestapu Coup in Indonesia in 1965, in which half a million people were massacred. Soliven also earned an exclusive when he watched the detonation of the first atomic bomb in the People's Republic of China, where he also interviewed Premier Zhou Enlai on the matter.

Soliven, together with Betty Go-Belmonte (wife of Quezon City Congressman Feliciano "Sonny" Belmonte) established the broadsheet The Philippine Star, which currently ranks second in the Philippines in readership, circulation, and advertising. They were also the co-founders of the Philippine Daily Inquirer the preceding year with Eugenia Duran-Apostol until differences forced the two to bolt the Inquirer and form The Star.

Martial Law Era[edit]

By 1972, Max Soliven was one of the two most influential columnists at the Manila Times. When President Ferdinand Marcos declared martial law, Soliven was arrested at two o'clock in the morning of September 23, 1972.

He was jailed, then released on probation after three months, and was banned from leaving the capital for three years, and from leaving the country and from writing for seven years.

He describes the press as "our last best hope" for combating a tyrannical government. Thus, during the waning years of the Marcos rule, Soliven co-founded the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which immediately became a prominent voice in the fight the Marcos dictatorship in the Philippines. Shortly after the assumption into office of Corazón Aquino, Soliven left the Inquirer to co-found the Philippine Star, where he remained until his death.


Soliven monument, Roxas Boulevard baywalk.

After garnering many accolades in Philippine journalism, Soliven died at age 77 in Tokyo, Japan on November 24, 2006. He suffered a fatal cardiac arrest at the Narita airport. He was officially pronounced dead at 11:26AM (Tokyo Time) 24 November 2006, at the Narita Red Cross Hospital. [1] [2] [3] [4]

After his death was confirmed, the Philippine Flag at O.B. Montessori Center, the school founded by his wife Preciosa, was on half-mast. His remains were cremated in Tokyo, Japan, and were brought home to Manila by his wife Preciosa on November 28 (The Philippine Star, Nov. 29), with full military honors (in recognition of his military service during World War II). He was buried in Libingan Ng Mga Bayani on January 10, 2007. Soliven was posthumously awarded the Order of Lakandula (rank of Grand Officer) by President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. [5]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]