Thursday, September 10, 2009

My First Stamps

ABS-CBN Cebu's Mark Mayol asked me a question that I recalled nobody asked for a long time. "What was you first stamp?" The words floated in my mind. Such a very basic question but no one ever thought of asking me!

I started collecting when I was in high school. The death of my grandfather Uy Kieng San (Charles Uy) led me to start collecting stamps. Weeks after he died, I happen to open his steel cabinet. What I saw amazed me! Before my very eyes were hundreds and hundreds of envelopes from China and Taiwan. In the later part of his life, my grandfather started an import/export business and communicated frequently with Taiwanese and Chinese companies and corporations.

The envelopes bore beautiful stamps from the two countries. Instinctively, I started cutting the stamps from the envelopes and was able to amass several boxes of these stamps. Soon, I saw myself exchanging the doubles to my friends and acquaintances.

The more stamps I exchanged, the more new stamps I accumulated. It was then that I started to segregate the stamps by countries and topics.

It was in 1994 that I started buying mint Philippine stamps and first day covers in the post offices. From that time on, my collection widened. My specialization would include different era in Philippine history. Spanish Dominion, Aguinaldo Period, American Occupation, Philippine Commonwealth, Japanese Occupation and the Republic Period.
I soon found myself collecting Canada Year sets, United Nations year issues, American Presidents on stamps, Popes on stamps, birds, fishes, butterflies, scouting on stamps, dinosaur, Kings and Queens of England, and Princess Diana.

Who would ever thought that those first China and Taiwan stamps I had would lead me to found Cebu Stamp Club, Incorporated, write about stamps in my regular column in the Freeman newspaper, write stamp articles in Sun Star Daily Cebu, win awards in National, Regional and local stamp competitions, create different publications featuring stamps, and design, maintain and publish philatelic websites.

Those stamps made me who I am and I thank God for introducing me to this very wonderful hobby called "the hobby of kings, and the king of all hobbies."

To me "stamps will never die, they just fade."

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