Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘news’

Tindog Tacloban!

Me and my cameraman arriving at the Daniel Romualdez Airport at Tacloban City. Photo by Sherwin Castillo

Me and my cameraman arriving at the Daniel Romualdez Airport at Tacloban City. Photo by Sherwin Castillo

“Tindog Tacloban!”

This is the message that was written almost everywhere in the city where much attention and focus has been given after Typhoon Yolanda’s wrath. From the native tongue of Taclobanon, this phrase means, “Rise up, Tacloban!”

It is already past three weeks ago since I came to Tacloban, Leyte for a one day coverage of Yolanda’s aftermath. But the memory of a recovering city never fades away. A day is not enough for me take up every truth behind the lens.

For the first time, I’ve landed in Visayas. From the airport itself, I can’t help but be appalled, as the workers struggled back to normalcy. The city was being cleaned, and it’s good to see that no more bodies were scattered when we came. Still, there are much to recover and many are still homeless.

I was anticipating for this visit, but catching up with a day’s coverage left me dissatisfied much. I wanted to know much more, to talk to every people in Tacloban and if given the chance, the whole Leyte. I’d wish to capture everything — as in everything — the emotions and the reality behind the camera.

I felt like a wolf ravaging for a good story in a limited time. As a journalist, I wanted to feel the very heart and soul of

My interview with a Yolanda survivor, Kristine. She is a delightful soul, as she kept a light spirit despite of tears as she recalled the horrors of the storm surge rushing into the evacuation center where she and her children stayed. Photo by Sherwin Castillo

My interview with a Yolanda survivor, Kristine. She is a delightful soul, as she kept a light spirit despite of tears as she recalled the horrors of the storm surge rushing into the evacuation center where she and her children stayed. Photo by Sherwin Castillo

these people and digest every stories they wanted to share. I wanted to take time and leave them with great love, too. But the constraint at work limited my soul into a corner. In order to fulfill my mission, I had to complete it emotionlessly.

Despite of these limits, I caught a glimpse of the hope that glimmers after the storm. From the glint in the eyes of the survivors I interviewed, the smiles that welcomed us from the broken houses and ruins, and messages of hope sprawled in the broken walls, hope overcomes the trodden structures around us. I may not have seen the storm itself, and yet I am — until now — fascinated with the resilience that my fellowmen kept in their spirits all these times.

I tried to dismiss the heartbreak as I saw the ravaged cities in my one day stay. But what I would never like to forget is the strength these people kept, that caused them to stand admist the ruins. Before the day ended, I swore deep inside my heart that I will return. Perhaps, by then, it is not the devastated city struggling to rise, but it is a new city teeming with much life that sprouted from this glint of hope I’ve seen.

Now is the time. Tindog Tacloban!

Work Freak

Papers flying
Keyboards raging
Connections struggling right away

While I’m panting
Lost in thinking
News stories in disarray

Still I’m trying
Never panicking
Ensuring to fulfill my day

Soon I’m running
While I’m shouting
“Sir, I got an update here to break!”

Then comes laughing
While some giggling
“What’s wrong with you, anyway?”

Soon realizing
Just exaggerating
I’m excited for the coverage the next day

A Look Back at My 2012

After all that grueling news yearender that we’ve done for our news, it’s time that I take a breather and reflect at my 2012. It has been an exciting year, not only in my beat, but also in my seasons.

Unforgettable coverages: 

Now, most of these I did not include in my blogs. Since they are memorable to me, I’ll share some of my experiences in these covereges in bits and pieces 😀

Jeremy Renner while waiting for President Aquino at "The Bourne Legacy" Courtesy Call in Malacanang last February 22, 2012

Jeremy Renner while waiting for President Aquino at “The Bourne Legacy” Courtesy Call in Malacanang last February 22, 2012

“The Bourne Legacy” in the palace: Yes, Jeremy Renner and some of the film’s executive producers made that courtesy call with the president after their Manila film shooting that lasted for more or less a month. As a protocol, Renner has to wear barong and yet matched it with light brown cargo pants (which was not much obvious). It was a short meeting, just like any other courtesy calls with the president, and he and his team immediately left as the president has to attend to other matters.

Sec. Jesse Robredo's remains carried into the Kalayaan Grounds in Malacanang on August 24, 2012

Sec. Jesse Robredo’s remains carried into the Kalayaan Grounds in Malacanang on August 24, 2012

 Sec. Robredo’s death: Just like the rest of the nation, I was dismayed at the death of such a humble public servant. I’m always comfortable meeting him personally, as he would take time to talk with mediamen without intimidation. At the day the piper seneca he rode crashed into Masbate waters, I hoped along with thousands that he and his missing companions would miraculously be retrieved alive. But two days later, the miracle did not happen.

As an honor to this humble-mayor-turned-cabinet-secretary, the palace grounds let his remains stay for two days at the Kalayaan Hall. Wakes in Malacanang Palace are only given to men of honor.

In honor of this man who served the nation humbly, I will not erase his number from my phone…just please don’t text back, sir…

Children playing at the flooded Recto Underpass. Taken on August 9, 2012

Children playing at the flooded Recto Underpass. Taken on August 9, 2012

Post-habagat monitoring: Once again, Manila was devastated not because of floods, but because of a phenomenon called “habagat” or monsoon rains. After intense raining for days, it flooded much of Luzon, mostly the National Capital Region (NCR). Because it was no typhoon, it was nicknamed as “Habagat”. The incident was said to be a replay of Typhoon Ondoy. Upon interviewing one local government unit (LGU) leader, they remarked that the damages were a bit lesser than that of Ondoy’s. He told me how they learned to be prepared for such a flooding after Ondoy damaged much of NCR last 2009.

We thought that such a tragedy ended here…until this November, Typhoon Pablo came and greatly damaged much of Mindanao and some parts of the Visayas area. President Aquino, though he did not blame our weather system for not giving the exact location of typhoons (as it is understood that such weather disturbances are unpredictable), hoped that we’ll learn from these tragedies until a zero-casualty is reached when another typhoon comes. Until now, let’s pray for the continuous recovery of the residents there who

Dolphy's final resting place before his remains were brought here. He was laid to rest July 15, 2012

Dolphy’s final resting place before his remains were brought here. He was laid to rest July 15, 2012

were greatly affected.

Dolphy’s Passing: As one who grew up in Dolphy films and antics, I’ve loved the man. Well, not as one of his ladies, but as one of his admirers. Although I was not an exact ardent fan of his, I gave him a hats off when he gave the curtain call at his burial. But what amazed me was how Pinoys in a number of generations were emotionally moved with the passing of one man, who had influenced so much of our consciousness though they don’t know him personally.

Queen Sophia of Spain, upon her visit to the Escuala Taller in Intramuros, July 3, 2012

Queen Sophia of Spain, upon her visit to the Escuala Taller in Intramuros, July 3, 2012

State visits of Foreign Dignities: President Aquino have had a number of visits from foreign dignities this year — for the administration, this is a sign of increased trust from our foreign partners. One of those I’ve missed was the visit of Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra. I was looking forward to see her personally but couldn’t because I had a scheduled leave. My most unforgettable was that of Queen Sophia of Spain. Though she had been here in the Philippines a number of times, it was in one of her photo opportunities that I almost had been up-close and personal with her…yes, believe me, I was awestruck with her because she was a real queen.

Last Days of the Corona Impeachment Trial: From it’s prologue up to its epilogue, I did not dare to miss the Corona chronicles…much more the emotional heights at the Supreme Court. I was really convinced of the strong support he garnered from the SC people as they’ve staged a number of masses and interfaith

Former CJ Renato Corona with some of the religious representatives at the interfaith prayer rally on May 22, 2012

Former CJ Renato Corona with some of the religious representatives at the interfaith prayer rally on May 22, 2012

Corona supporters don in red at the interfaith prayer rally at SC Compound last  May 22, 2012

Corona supporters don in red at the interfaith prayer rally at SC Compound last May 22, 2012

prayer movements for the former chief justice who was accused of misdeclaration of SALN and other cases. When the “guilty” verdict was given by a vote of 20-3 in the senate last May, the whole rukus in the SC seem to die out suddenly. I wondered how these same people who backed-up the former CJ now looks at its new CJ, Ma. Lourdes Sereno.

West Philippine Sea: Much of my stories this year focused on the drama over the West Philippine Sea. I’ve never missed out a beat when talks of the disputed islands would be raised in the palace briefings. From the height of the standoff at Scarborough Shoal to its continuous diplomatic moves, they filled much of my paperwork. This segment was one of the most detailed in my news yearender. But beside the transparency this administration gives on this issue, still this is a very sensitive topic. It revolves around differences of territorial principles, arguments for the inclusion of international laws are being raised. Though this has been raised in ASEAN summits, even by President Aquino himself, solving the dispute is never easy, for a country’s difference in law and culture can never be easily construed into a polished solution.

So much for national issues. With these, I’ve only realized for now how my year had been an exciting one. Now, let’s turn to personal issues.

My Life’s Minor Look Back Portion:

I cannot detail some of my own grueling emotions, disappointments, pains, and questionings. These I keep in my own personal itinerary. But here’s my word for the season, since last year:

Romans 5:3-5 (ESV), “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

Only lately, have I received revelation that these rejoicings is to worship the Lord and be joyful because of my fullness in Him. I am His daughter and I have nothing to worry, for He has blessed me much. Because of Jesus’ blood, I am set free and I have eternal life! I have nothing on earth to fret on, for this is just temporary…why should I complain?

I saw my weaknesses. There are many of them. Yes, the Lord is teaching me to worship but I did not heed Him. I warred with the world in my own terms. I rebelled deeply against authority. I countered attacks of “smallness” in a way that does not glorify my Father. Yet, I did not know He was already teaching me that I should never complain, but rejoice in Him. It took me to turn this verse into a prayer…and such is the power of His Word when as a prayer, it turned out to be a rhema into my life.

From my perspective to the “smallness”, it was shifted to the rejoicing of my Father’s greatness. And yet, He needs to refine more of my character, I need to learn so much more.

Declaration for next year:

With this look back, I’ll join it with an expectation of looking forward.

I declare new things, new life, new season, new borders and territories, and new breakthroughs in my life and the path where the Lord is leading me. I expect that more fire and testing will come into my life, but just like Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego I will stand in it strong with the Lord. And when I come out of the fire, the glory of the Lord will shine through me, and my character will be like His. 🙂

I continually pursue my dreams. I claim the nations! My true identity is revealed to me. I will not go on wandering anymore, for I will have found my purpose, destiny, identity and revelation in Christ who continually changes me. I declare I will continually die to myself, I will continually lay down and not rebel, I will sow the culture of love and honor in this secular society and reap righteousness for His Kingdom.

With this 2013, I am ready to face new challenges. Because the Lord is my light, my salvation, my refuge and my strength, I shall not be put to shame! 😀

Let’s go, fellow sojourners! A blessed, prosperous New Year to everyone! 😀

Reviewing the Creed

I’d never thought my teacher’s assignment would haunt me again.

Well, one, at least. When my first journalism teacher asked us to recite Walter William’s “The Journalist’s Creed”, I did not know its purpose.

I thought I’d recite it just like any other recital piece: memorize it, perform it, then forget it. By performing it, as usual, I got a standing ovation because of my acting talent. But the purpose of this creed is not to be a declamation piece.

I only realized it after a year of being in broadcasting.

For the second time, I’ve encountered “hao shiao” or our term for fake media personnel.

It was only yesterday that I got to talk to some of them for the first time.

I’ve heard that hao shiao are not there to cover but to ask for favors and freebies from hosts who request for media coverages for events like a city’s foundation day or a national forum. As a complement, these hosts would give lunch or snacks to media men while we cover their events. However, some politicians dare to give more than that to media people. And that’s where the hao shiaos are for.

Yup, they come in IDs complete with an affliation, usually from print or radio. Others pretend as photographers. I sensed that it was dangerous to deal with them. They asked me if I can invite them to any media conference I know and they’d invite me everytime they got a scoop.

Here’s the strangest part: none of those who talked with me interviewed the personality I interviewed, except for one. Usually media people, when one interviews a prominent personality, they would push one another to join along the interview. That fella did stick with my team to ask questions but he has no recorder nor did take notes along!

That’s proof that they are not there to get a story, but was hoping to get favors from that personality.

It’s sad how they use the profession of journalism just to get what they want. This also got the real professionals in trouble, in which we’re falsely accused as fakes.

But I would admit I’ve just seen an overview of this profession’s tragic instance. As I thought about this instance, I thought of reviewing The Journalist’s Creed after years.

Now, I understand why we are made to memorize it.

In this way, the principle attached to this creed will stick to my mind and soon enough to my heart.

A journalist’s profession is a public service not a gold mine.

We should take heart to inform not to gain.

I am young and inexperienced but with the Lord, I pray that I am one of those to take broadcasting to its honest self, once more.

And I am here in this job to spread out facts, not to sensationalize or distort a personality.

And there’s so much more to learn from this profession.

I just hope I’ll always remember this creed with all my heart.

And I hope I won’t use it as a declamation piece again. 🙂

So, here’s the creed that I’m talking about…

The Journalist’s Creed by Walter Williams

I believe in the profession of Journalism.

I believe that the public journal is a public trust; that all connected with it are, to the full measure of responsibility, trustees for the public; that all acceptance of lesser service than the public service is a betrayal of this trust.

I believe that clear thinking, clear statement, accuracy and fairness are fundamental to good journalism.
I believe that a journalist should write only what he holds in his heart to be true.

I believe that suppression of the news, for any consideration other than the welfare of society, is indefensible.

I believe that no one should write as a journalist what he would not say as a gentleman; that bribery by one’s own pocket book is as much to be avoided as bribery by the pocketbook of another; that individual responsibility may not be escaped by pleading another’s instructions or another’s dividends.

I believe that advertising, news and editorial columns should alike serve the best interests of readers; that a single standard of helpful truth and cleanness should prevail for all; that supreme test of good journalism is the measure of its public service.

I believe that the journalism which succeeds the best-and best deserves success-fears God and honors man; is stoutly independent; unmoved by pride of opinion or greed of power; constructive, tolerant but never careless, self-controlled, patient, always respectful of its readers but always unafraid, is quickly indignant at injustice; is unswayed by the appeal of the privilege or the clamor of the mob; seeks to give every man a chance, and as far as law, an honest wage and recognition of human brotherhood can make it so, an equal chance; is profoundly patriotic while sincerely promoting international good will and cementing world-comradeship, is a journalism of humanity, of and for today’s world

His Faithfulness for My Unfaithfulness

I love reading news. Somehow, I think I’ve quite become obsessive with it. My fingers always itch for my phone just to look at the latest tweets on what’s happening around the planet. Even when I’m very sleepy still tweeter wins the case! Ayayay! O.o

And because of my love for news I sometimes felt myself better than anyone else. I thought I was more intelligent than any of my contemporaries; politics was slowly becoming my game. And because of this mindset, I did not notice that was heart was drifting away from my Beloved’s heart. My glass was becoming empty. I was forgetting what it means to yearn His presence like an innocent child.

But my Beloved is so faithful, I’m always in His mind. You know what, He revealed Himself once again in one of the soaking songs, Misty Edwards’ “Beauty Arise”, that I’ve been listening to over and over again.

You say, “I’ll take that harlot,”
You say, “I’ll make her My Bride,”
You say, “I’ll take that pauper,”
You say, “I’ll make him My king…”

Until now, I don’t understand how a holy God desires a poor, wretched girl like me. I’ve been impulsive and very proud. I have been faithless, ready to give myself to the world. Oh, that You would refine me still more! I don’t want to face You with soiled clothes. It’s scary when you try to come to His throne because His holiness can burn you inside and out…but…there He is, inviting me to sit by His side.

I am His creation. I am His beloved. I might not understand His deep, deep love for me for a thousand years. Can I just stay even at Your doorposts for one day? This is better than getting the biggest scoop in human history!!

The Tragedy of Being a News Hunter

Sometimes, there are things you can’t simply let go. No matter how hard you try to scrub them off, the harder they cling to your skin. Goodness…

In my months as a reporter, I’ve learned to love news. I’m sick when I don’t read news in the weekends. I hate to stay clueless to the latest updates.

Even out of the office, I would check my twitter for breaking headlines. But I just realized I was getting too much of it. Therefore, I’m no 16-gig microchip. I’m your usual worker trying to be one.

I tried to stay away from news at the end of the day but goodness, no. Even in the bus, the television is open to Manila’s one of the most comprehensive news stations. And while I tried to turn my full attention to the Bible (which I really want to know more), the news attracted much of my attention. Can’t just they turn off that TV? Deep inside I blamed the driver and the conductor for keeping an unsatisfying 5-minute devotion on the road.

Darn…I need to go deeper with the Good News of my Abba. This is better than world news. God, help me. I don’t want to be lost…I’d rather be tuned in to Your freshest revelations more than at the latest news. Bring me to Your secret place…I just need to be back…O.o

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