Lydia V. Solis
Public Relations Officer
She came from a family of educators: her father was a public school district supervisor; her mother, a first grade and remedial reading teacher. With her parents as her role models, naturally, she wanted to be a teacher. In fact, she has a BA degree in Child Psychology (cum laude from the Philippine Women’s University, Manila) and an MA in Counseling Psychology.
She graduated valedictorian from Our Lady of Caysasay Academy in Taal, Batangas, and was among the first eleven 15-year-olds granted a one-year scholarship to the United States under the American Field Service Student Exchange Program. She graduated with honors from Oak Ridge High School, Oak Ridge, Tenn.
However, fate has been known to chart other paths than the ones you have mapped out for yourself. And so, it was with Lydia V. Solis, whose writing career was inspired and greatly influenced by daughter Louinn, former print and broadcast editor, Associated Press.
She and her husband immigrated to the U.S. in 1969; children followed a year later. She was a young wife and a mother, who juggled her time raising five children and attending church and school activities while working full time in the City of Los Angeles, LAPD Narcotics Division, and later, Dept. of Public Works/Bureau of Engineering.
It was not until the ‘80s that she started writing media-related articles for organizations like the Taaleños of Southern California, Batangas Circle of California, United Batangueños of Southern California, Los Angeles Filipino Association of City Employees, and Federation of Filipino Rosary Groups, to name a few. In the succeeding years she did not only write press releases, but also feature articles about her hometown Taal, a history-and culture-rich ‘Heritage’ town, which were published in the Philippine News.
She was a recipient of a journalism scholarship to UCLA from a Santa Monica, Calif.-based organization, the Philippine American Women Writers and Artists, where she served as newsletter editor. She wrote about Taal Volcano, the smallest-crater volcano, but most terrible when it erupts; the Basilica of San Martin de Tours, the oldest and largest Catholic church in Asia; and about Taal, its industry, its legacy, its culture, its people.
Lydia contributed so many articles that were published in the Philippine News that, in the late 80s, publisher Alex Esclamado asked her to work for the paper. In 1993, Lydia officially became a Philippine News correspondent.
Soon after, PNEWS editor baptized a column for her, Overview. She said it was difficult – not being a schooled journalist – to go from straight news as a correspondent to being chatty as a columnist.
For her outstanding job, Lydia received two awards from Philippine News: Contributor of the Year, and later, Correspondent of the Year. For her ethical practices, she was also honored by the Filipino American Library in Los Angeles as their first Spirit Awardee, Community Building in Journalism, with Denise Dador of ABC Channel 7, receiving the same award the following year.
Lydia’s experiences were as dramatic, poignant, and interesting as the personalities, events and issues she had encountered, covered, interviewed, and written about.
In 2002, she retired after 31 years of service from the City of L.A. Her last job was as Training Manager, Bureau of Engineering. She also retired as Philippine News correspondent and columnist after almost 15 years of chasing stories. Her retirement, however, paved way for more activities – both community and media-related
In 2003, she was appointed as West Covina’s Senior Citizens Commissioner, a post from which she retired in 2007. She had been involved in community, church, alumni, and veteran organizations. She never actually “retired” from her work as a writer/journalist as she continued to be a freelance journalist, a member of two Filipino American press clubs, serving as President of the Philippine Press Club International (2005-2007), serving as treasurer of the 30-year-old Filipino American Press Club of Los Angeles, and maintaining a regular column with the weekly Taliba Publications.
In 2011, she returned to her Philippine News Overview column, and was also promoted Chief Correspondent, Southern California.
She was President of Kalayaan Incorporated (2020); PRO of the Philippine Disaster Relief Organization; and past president of the Philippine Women’s University Alumni Assoc. of Southern California.
Over the years, Lydia has been recognized for her achievements, and for her exemplary work as an ethical journalist and community leader from city, county, state and federal government, church organizations, as well as from community, religious, civic and veteran organizations, including one from the late Tony Vizmonte, publisher of Celebrity Chronicle, as Outstanding Professional in the Field of Journalism and Person of the Year. She was honored by the Philippine Heritage Institute Intl., a private foundation, with the President’s Award as an Outstanding Journalist in their “Profiles in Courage, Pillars of the Community” tribute, a millennium initiative by the Clintons. She was also the first awardee as Outstanding Journalist of the newly formed Filipino American Press Club of California.
Despite the many interesting personalities she had the rare opportunity of interviewing, there were notable individuals she would have wanted to have a one-on-one interview with – had it been possible.
“I would have wanted to interview Mark Twain and Bob Hope, and French author Honore de Balzac, who wrote 85 novels in 20 years, and only earned about $1,800 a year.”
Currently, Lydia is Associate Editor of digital Philippine Post and a contributor for Balita’s US Asian Post and Weekend Balita.
For all the colorful, sometimes disappointing (like giving up her maze to a security guard during then Pres. Clinton’s visit to Los Angeles), but interesting life a journalist leads, Lydia maintains that her priority will always be her family, which includes her late second husband Clark.
And she knows when to slow down, too.
“When Clark asked for my picture so, he said, he won’t forget how I look like, or when he requested a recording of my voice, so he said, he won’t forget what I sound like, I get the hint! Destination: Our cabin in Lake Arrowhead.”
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