Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘media’

​Vacation Forever

My seatmate kept me awake on the bus by loudly talking on her phone. Smartly dressed in a light brown office coat, she assured authority as she kept on instructing her colleague to close an order because she was getting late to the office. She was almost slumped sadly on her seat while her young, tired face starred at the window longingly. She made a number of calls to her boss, clients and other VIPs. Her tone, which shifted from being demanding to apologetic to friendly and then strained, revealed that she was vexed out in her job. Her stressful aura made me think about my hierarchy in the office world. The first thing that popped up in my head was never go up the ladder. I did not want to become like her.
I never desired to be on top of the career niche all throughout the ten years I’ve been working. All I wanted was a decent job and a good pay. I had this fear that when I get to the executive position, I’d loose my freedom, my social life, and my sanity. 

I only had this ambition to get into heights when I took a job in a media company. I did get a high-end job as a segment producer in a huge media outlet. This was my chance to become a popular reporter! In the end, I was not able to handle the toxicity of this job. 

Every time I feel bored or jaded in a job, my initial thinking was to resign and leave this toxicity behind. I’d change gear in my life plans, believing I’d be able to survive by becoming a missionary, a YouTube star, a philanthropist, an artist, or a hobo. I envisioned myself living daily under a grove of coconut trees while drinking cocktails before a clear, blue sea in the Bahamas. I breathe the air of freedom every time I resign, waving my arms like a freed slave from a maximum institution. However, this season of paradise is being slapped down by the reality of being financially empty. 

I was struggling during the first time I’ve resigned. I tried venturing into agriculture but was not successful in culturing earthworms. I tried doing freelance jobs but I was too scared to face foreign clients. I thought of becoming a missionary but there was no confirmed calling. Being a bum made me a bit depressed for a while. My savings were almost gone. I had realized reality at its finest. I need to look for a real job.

This is a dilemma for most millennials like me. Unlike the former working class, our minds are not wired to survive in one industry alone. We have multiple choices to choose from and we want to try all of them. When we are forced into hard labor, we give up. There is a gap between the older workaholic bosses whose excessive hardwork was able to build empires and the young freedom-loving yuppies whose existence is fueled by an unrelentless sense of exploration, passion, and entitlement.

My mother always remind me, “A rolling stone cannot gather moss.” Perhaps we need consider well before taking an offer. We need to switch off our dreamy selves before we embark into a decision. We need to learn how to be patient, to persevere, to find joy in every circumstances. One day, we have to pass down every valuable legacy to the next generation. If we keep on escaping every defiance in life, the next generation would learn nothing but escape and the underestimation of reality. Life is not made of holidays and sandy beaches. I had learned this the hard way. I have learned that I would be able to pursue my dreams when I have the right resources and I am focused with an orderly life goal. But I hope every industry, every executive and every boss would learn how to value their own workers by not pushing them into toxicity. Besides, we don’t need pushy bosses and loads of work to prove our worth. We, human beings, are more valuable than the services or the products we could produce and deliver for this rueful world. 

Advertisements

The Ringing Crisis

​I yawned as I waited for someone to reply on the other line. It’s not a call center job, but I was required to make follow-up calls to overseas customers to confirm some missing information in the probate accounts I handled. It was 2 o’clock in the morning and it was just the middle of my shift.

An airy, ghostly voice answered on the other line, “Helloooooo…”

My heart jumped to my throat. In a matter of three milliseconds, I debated against myself whether I should hung up and forget this account. It was 2 o’clock in the morning and weird things happen in the middle of my shift.

Trying to hide the nervousness of my voice, I promptly asked, “My I speak with a relative of so-and-so?”

The mysterious caller cleared her voice which turned out to be a husky one, “I am her sister.”

I was relieved. This is why I hate taking calls.

Ever since the beginning, I have the fear of talking on the phone.

I don’t have any genetic or scientific explanation for that. Every time I make a call, receive a call or just have a phone over my face, it’s like facing the greatest nightmare of my life. Somehow, not seeing the person I’m talking distracts me. I’m a visual person, I could concentrate at what I hear when it is associated with what I see. Staring at a blank wall while hearing somebody babble on the other end would cause me to day dream, especially if my mind would be confused on what to say next.

We never had a landline at home. The old folks did not see the necessity of it. Owning a phone only happened once. That was when my sister ordered an internet phone line at her house where we used to stay while her husband was working abroad. But even that was not of much use unless we needed to call a government agency or book for a room for a Baguio vacation (which happened only once). Still, I hated the experience of taking a call because I believed every caller makes a weird, gargled frank at my ear (which really never happened).

Thank goodness for cellphones. Receiving and sending text messages were less frightening for me. I believe it gave me more time to think over what was written (although I would overlook at them like a dyslexic at times) and carefully compose what I want to say. More so, calls are more expensive are text messages. Not until those unli calls and postpaid mobile lines came into existence…

This I had to endure at my former media career. Calls, which were always a part of this seemingly-glorious industry, made me mortified until I became numb with it. But I couldn’t be numb forever. Calls can range from placidly dumb to unnecessarily urgent. Soon, such calls made me a nervous wreck. I shudder whenever I hear that shrill voice on the line…

“Where are you now? How come your subject has not agreed on the interview?”

“I have not received a reply from you and our ratings have fallen and the boss made a scruffy feedback!”

“Scrap that! We got more important stories to air.”

“Where’s the script you’re working at? I need that NOW!”

There goes the triggering point. I knew I had to change my job and my phone (as well as that alarmist ringtone). Calling me would never help – it never did. It’s because my mind would play when I receive calls.

I guess calls are for emergencies. I’d rather read silly shoutouts on my smartphone than get a call, whether it be nice or alarming.

I wonder if I would get over this fear of calls. I bet no hi-tech innovation could ever take that out of me…just yet. So, don’t call…ever.

Ending An Old Dream

I am beginning to cut myself from various organizations I’ve worked with a few years ago. For the last two weeks, I’ve been sending text messages and e-mails to their media officers to remove my name from their list of recipients. I have nothing to do with the press releases I have been receiving for a long time, now that I am not a part of any media body anymore.

I’ve come to a moment in time that I would want to completely turn away from a career I once esteemed highly: a reporter. For four years, I’ve been part of various coverage that had made their niche in history. I have witnessed newsworthy events that tingled my adrenaline to grab a good story, as well as having the privilege to brush elbows with the popular and even the notorious. But I have to leave that all behind now.

I guess I’m getting old. I have become tired of spending countless hours of staying up late just to finish a story. I am also tired of being ubiquitous wherever the desk or the executive producer demands. I want to work in peace. I want to live a normal life.

But it doesn’t mean I regret having this career.

I would always cherish this season in my life as memorable, not because of the prestige its label bring, but because of the lessons I’ve garnered and the character -refinement have undergone. I’m not as brave as I look, but it boosted my guts to go out and face silly questions like “Does anybody watch your station?” or try not to panic at a raging rally. It shifted my views from being apathetic to being sober to the things happening around me. But most of all, it humbled me to be the one to deliver the story and not to be the one the story centers at.

This season has ended. The moment I turned away from it, the moment I also turn away from the bitterness of being unrecognized for a long time. Being a reporter does not last forever anyway. What’s important is that I keep my focus to the God who carries me from season to season, His overwhelming love and grace washing away the disappointments I’ve received from the past.

Breathing Adventure: Walking On Dry Seas At Dalahican, Quezon

IMG_20151127_060116

The shores of Dalahican, Quezon in the morning

Doing out-of-town television production has always been a love-and-hate moment for me. I’d hate it whenever I had to be separated from my mom, my bed, and my cozy little space. But this little resentment vanishes whenever that fresh, provincial air refreshes my soul, and every tree, rock, and un-Manila matter reinvigorate my eyes.

IMG_20151128_061541

The Badjao community in Dalahican, Quezon

The quiet, little barrio of Dalahican at the province of Quezon was just like any seaside community. Most of those living here would have the sea and its riches as their source of living. Cramped in a portion of this shore was a little community of a tribe called the Badjao. It is their story and of a teacher’s everyday heroism that was what we were here for. Should you miss tomorrow’s episode of Tapatan Ni Tunying, you can watch it here.

IMG_20151127_062849

What the sea looks like at low-tide

I have this secret fancy of the sea and its mystery. For three days, I could get the chance to hear the sound of the soft, rolling waves on the shores. I even dared myself by diving into cool, salty waters along with the other Badjaos (who pushed me back into the boat because I was too heavy…waaaaah). All these are too priceless compared to what the city can offer.

IMG_20151127_060606 (2)

I can walk on water (when dry)

But the best thing for me was the freedom to walk on dry seas in the morning. When the waters are pushed back, amazing sea treasures are revealed. The first streaks of dawn reflected the skies upon the waterless sea. Starfishes and sea urchins peeked together through the growing seaweeds. Shells littered along the dunes lined upon the sand. These are simple joys that I’ll never find in Manila.

IMG_20151127_062409

Sea urchin and a starfish in a sea scramble

IMG_20151128_063319

Say hello to Mr. Starfish 🙂

If there’s something I’d like to take home, that would be the memories of once being here in this wonderful place. That’s why, I could not help taking pictures while sticking around with the cameramen. And oh, I couldn’t help also but pick up the prettiest shells I’d find. 🙂 If I could, I’d like to come back…just to see, breathe, hear, and feel that I am alive. 🙂

IMG_20151127_061534

 

 

 

Learning From the Power of the Pen and Paper

I once thought I could eliminate the use of pen and paper after school. Being a reporter for more than three years already, I’ve been used in jotting down my notes on my phone or laptop. But it’s just recently that I have to rely on the classic way of recording notes.

When I started to cover court hearings for the pork barrel scam case at the Sandiganbayan (the courts when public officials are tried for cases like graft and plunder), they required the media not to bring phones into the court room. Thus, I have to bring a pen and notebook. So, while I listen and take down notes, I wonder how I get to understand my writing which has turned steno.

But then, I realized there are more advantages in taking down notes by hand.

Taking aside the odd handwriting, having a hard copy of words is safer than those being recorded in electronic. There were a few times that my phone would delete all my notes before an ambush interview ends or my laptop shutting down at the end of the press briefing. Now, such instances devastates me…literally.

When writing down by hand, it’s easy to review the past notes and leave markings as I rewrite my story. Adding markings to my past notes in electric gadgets only complicates them and adds more time. Besides, I tend to remember them better by hand. I realized that by marking notes, I can remember more the significant words from a coverage.

Now compared to touch screens, I can get the right spelling of words when writing on paper. Oh, yes, I can get the words correct when I type on my laptop, but I can’t write there all the time when we run after interviewees in the middle of the street, right? Now when I thumb in the words unto the screen, I’d get 40% of the words wrong in spelling. This only confuses me. But when I take down my notes on paper, I tend to understand the words better.

It’s amazing how I understand my own handwriting when I review my notes. Maybe because my brain can remember what was discussed better when my hand writes them down.

I learned never to discriminate the power of the pen and paper. Our high-tech gadgets can help us in our everyday routines, but sometimes, it is the traditional way that saves us from the odd-balls of innovation.

Well, not unless the ink of your pen vanishes even before the court hearing has ended. O.o20131226-215922.jpg

From Selfies to Frontpages

I was caught in a surprise this morning when a fellow reporter tagged me with this frontpage photo from a prominent newspaper.
Miriam Selfie
This was when I was attempting to take my own selfie with Sen. Miriam Santiago. Right after her press conference, the reporters flocked around her for pictures. I thought of taking a chance to have my own memoir. Pushing through the crowd, I did not mind the photogs and the other journos who flocked for her attention (and were taking our photos!).
I have always looked up to Sen. Santiago as a respected, outspoken politician. Fearless, she’s never hesitant to criticize or to be criticized. And she made sure to remain as sharp as iron in mind and heart despite of her condition. Her announcement that she had stage 4 lung cancer was a shock to most. But despite of this, she appeared undaunted as she took her time to pose for a smile with the media.
I have always been careful to take pictures with popular personalities. I don’t usually ask for a pic with them though I personally interview them. I try to be discreet much as I can. Though it is not against ethics, I as a journalist should remain my distance to ensure that the image of fairness is not discredited. Pictures can betray even a group pic has no deep, background story.
But there are times when we journos can sense that taking pictures with them is ok. For me, it is to remember them, the respectable and interesting people who earned a reputation for who they are.
And one of them is this brave senator. She has made very rare public appearances nowadays. Right after the reporter in her left finished her own selfie with her, I took the chance to have my own selfie with the senator.
It’s a bit blurred though, but I’ll cherish it. I tried to take another but I became too shy because the other reporters wanted to take their turn.
Yes, even reporters can become shy when taking pictures. 🙂
IMG_20140702_120459

Love in the Midst of the Danger

At NLEX northbound: Braving the way home

At NLEX northbound: Braving the way home

I never learned. I guess this is how hard-headed journalists can be.

For the sake of duty, I braved my way through the strong, heavy rains this morning. Just like August last year, torrential rains caused by monsoon rains (or habagat in our Tagalog language) are causing floods in much of Metro Manila and the National Capital Region (NCR). Since Saturday, the rains did not stop. But I felt no fear as I took a van to work. Only discomfort because of the cold. I’m quite used to this though. For me, it’s not an obligation, but an honor to be part of a team who will bravely go out and witness history.

But due to lack of so many things, operations have to be cancelled. And just like last year, I received the announcement when I am already in the office. *Sigh*

On the positive note, I hitched a hike with people who are going the same way…unlike the last year when I was stranded for hours before getting a bus home.

Almost the same scenario but I never learned. I had this mindset that I have to move towards something unless it’s really impossible. Deep inside I have this fighting spirit that keeps me moving despite of storms or unkind circumstances.

It’s just too bad not to out into the field today. I don’t know why. I love danger. It’s not because I love to see humanity suffering. But I love to see how love is poured out from humanity when the danger sets in.

Marikina River yesterday at below critical level. However, due to continuous rains, the water rose up again

Marikina River yesterday at below critical level. However, due to continuous rains, the water rose up again

Volunteers at Marikina preparing food for evacuees. These guys were opening cans of sardines for lunch. (8/19/2013)

Volunteers at Marikina preparing food for evacuees. These guys were opening cans of sardines for lunch. (8/19/2013)

In my coverage yesterday, I saw a glimpse on how the Marikina government was looking after its people, especially the evacuees who had to flee their homes because of the rising river. The city administrator explained to me how 50 volunteers were able to serve breakfast, lunch, and maybe dinner for about 2,400 evacuees. Most are already leaving the evacuation centers as the waters were beginning to subside. Seeing the ratio of volunteers, I wonder how much grace and patience they have to give to serve more than a thousand.

But the weather seem to have gone worst today. I just haven’t seen how things have been now.

With memories flashing back, I will never actually forget the horror of being a stranded passenger last year. No other way to go home, I walked meters to find a ride that would at least make me come closer to home. I’ll never forget the regret and frustration I felt that made my head swirl a lot. I felt so embarrassed for looking so lost and drenched while being too well-dressed. And most of all, the fear of not knowing what’s next as the waters were rising.

But it is at these moments when strangers, who might because have this empathy of being lost too, would try to share a seat in the bus or spare a space for you. Some of them would even offer you their only bread — their lone meal for the day. I wanted to cry, because of the goodness I felt in the middle of a cruel situation. They don’t know how they have become heroes in their own small way.

Such is the heroism of humanity. With this, I salute my fellow workers who brave the torrential rains just to bring in fulfillment in their duties; the media who go into danger just to update the public on the latest news, the store owners and sellers who opened their stores to offer food and shelter to stranded passengers, the rescuers, military and those involved in disaster response management just to rescue thousands who are trapped in their own homes, and the unknown volunteers, just like those in Marikina, who are ready to leave their homes and families just to serve the needy and the lost.

Workers like me might never learn to stay at home in dangerous times in order to fulfill duties. But I hope we should never set aside to give sacrificial love for the sake of our fellowmen.

Tag Cloud