Willing to be Illuminated and Pierced

Posts tagged ‘President Aquino’

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! 😀

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Let the Bosses Evaluate

President Aquino giving his SONA while Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile (left side of the picture) and House Speaker Sonny Belmonte (on the right) listens. Photo courtesy of pcoo.gov.ph

After one and a half hour, 8,890 words, and a three-year review of the present administration, the nation listened to President Aquino’s third State of the Nation Address (SONA). For once again, we were able to look back at his accomplishments, expect new expectations, and evaluate what transpired in our nation under his government.

It was no extraordinary SONA. Most of what Pres. Aquino mentioned were a rehash of some of his past speeches from different occasions, especially the review of figures and promises hopes just like our ability to export rice and end of classroom and textbook backlogs in schools by next year. And one of them was the comparison of his administration to that of his predecessor.

I would agree that his SONA was a very comprehensive report. Thirty-three pages for that one and a half speech. I can say that most were facts, yet the promises are the ones to watch out.

Every president’s SONA is more than words. It just takes one to more than listening to it. Just like a spoken (and a written) contract, the public should be more careful to check and see if the government are still in the right track. If you would take time to ask the common people what they think about the government and his SONA, most of them would say, “We don’t want to mingle in politics.”

I must admit, it’s a hard thing to give your attention to serious things especially government stuff. In fact, knowing issues would make one even more aware on what’s happening – even causing us to think on the how’s and why’s of everything around. When I first covered Pres. Aquino’s SONA last year, I was very confused – one reason was because I was not following the daily issues and news. It was information overload and it almost blew my mind.

A year after, I was more able to watch out and know the should be’s and should not have been’s from his SONA. It’s not a hodge-podge of words. And we have to watch out his promises – especially the ones he said would happen next year.

A year after, I can’t tell was it good or bad? All I have to know if his speeches are more than words. He must remember that his bosses are on the watch.

As his bosses, the public must always watch out on his administration’s actions.  We are not called bosses for no apparent reason. If the president was flattering for calling us his bosses, then we should realize that we are originally having that privilege and position guaranteed by the Constitution:

Art. 2, Sec. 1: The Philippines is a democratic and republican State. Sovereignty resides in the people and all government authority emanates from them.

This is not only our right but our privilege. Not knowing and remaining neutral and complacent will not only leave us ignorant, but our rights and freedom slowly abused by those in power. With this right, we can voice our thoughts, take action, and cause those in authority to think, rethink, and perhaps change for our cause.

I have but a very small evaluation of his SONA. One year is too small for my observation of his three-year tenure. Another year to go…I’ll make sure I’ll make a better review of this year’s SONA. And I hope the public will view it was more than words.

For the rest who has been following his SONA since he was elected, your evaluation?

Looking Back at my 2011

Before the year ends, I want to have a glimpse on the significant events that I’ve been through this 2011. Summing up all the joys and the pains, I can see how the Lord has been faithful to me. Before every firecrackers in Bocaue has exploded, before every pasta and round fruits on our media noche dish is consumed, perhaps I would be given the right to take a review on how my life was this year…with the expectation of getting on deeper waters with Him in the coming year.

At JIL Calamba for the Laguna JRev Night. Before I got into full-time media work, I would tag along JRev ministry work for God's glory. Photo courtesy of Riz Olaguer

With tons of what I’ve gone through in the past 365 days, I never thought only a year has passed. I’ve experienced great shifts at the first part of 2011. With almost a year of being jobless, I only understood the word that the Lord has been telling me on Matthew 6:33, “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” The moment I learned how to trust the Father regardless of my situation then, the moment He opened new doors. From February to the first half of March, I became a part-time Korean English teacher and then on April, I took the reporter’s job in a Christian station.

At the TESDA MOA signing at Makati on Oct. 2011

With an overly bubbly but shy personality, I would never expect to land in such a job. I was a masscomm student, I love the mass media, but I only thought that I was fit for a quiet office job. But I have this free-spirited character deep within that gets easily bored on the same-old routines and locations – just as I had in my first job in the BPO industry. What’s more shocking was my beat: although a cub reporter, I was assigned as a presidential reporter.

So everywhere the president goes, I would tag along (expect for far-off locations). It’s an exciting and yet a stressful beat. I hated politics, but soon enough, it was slowly being instilled in me. I began to understand the technicalities of the law a bit…but I know I have still a long way to go.

It’s been an exciting year for me. Somehow, I was becoming a part of my country’s history as I witness some of the biggest events in the nation: Perhaps the most significant ones for me would be:

  • Pres. Aquino’s visit to the flooded areas of Calumpit, Bulacan
  • State visit of foreign dignitaries like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and South Korean President Lee Myung-Bak
  • Courtesy Call of the Phil. Dragon Boat Team (as the president fearlessly announced not to mix politics into sports anymore)
  • First out-of-town coverage at Albay, Bicol for the President’s visit at the 1st Climate Change Media Conference
  • Former President and now Pampanga Representative Gloria Arroyo’s transfer from St. Luke’s to VMMC (although we were not able to get a shot of her leaving the hospital and were late to catch up her convoy)
  • And my favorite: the clash between the President and the Supreme Court Chief Justice Renato Corona. Twice, I’ve witnessed how the president criticized the chief justice. It is my fellow reporter who witnessed Corona’s speech against the executive head of the nation. Also, I was in the Senate to witness the senator’s oathtaking on the impeachment trial.

Being a reporter is very exciting. But these events are not something to brag about. I would love to share the stories and even the bloopers in our news team. The one thing I love and have been learning on being a reporter is the importance of communication and connection. I have not mastered this yet, but I can see how the Lord is breaking me out of my shell to reach out, not only make friends, but for territories to be enlarged for His glory!

Waiting for President Aquino at Calumpit, Bulacan for his visit to the flood victims on Oct. 5, 2011. Behind me was the truck that he rode to inspect a small piece of the flooded area.

But I also have a lot of failures and refining sessions on-going in my life. I need to value authorities in my life. I need to lessen my happy-go-lucky attitude and my complacency that hinders me from growing in skill and in my prayer times. I need to accelerate in my writing skills (as I always have a hard time in Filipino news writing – ack! The irony of living in my own language!), my communication skills, and my competency as a media person. I want to learn more and I want to be trained more. Enough is not enough.

But the thing I’m after for is my intimacy with the Lord. I want to have a deeper relationship with Him. It’s not enough that I pray, read the Bible, go to church like tradition. Living in and with Christ is no tradition! It’s a lifestyle! I want to hear His voice, see His face, and know His heart. What is a life without Him? One day, my career in media will be gone, but let my love for my Beloved remain in eternity!

I’ve received a lot of material blessings. I’ve gained favor. My family experienced open heaven – not only because our home’s storehouse was filled with sacks of rice – but we let the blessings flow to others. I was touched on how my mother’s prayers were answered.

Photo ops with the Philippine Dragon Boat Team! Taken on Aug. 12, 2011

What do I expect in this coming year? I believe there will be a new shift in 2012. My prayer is that I will be more refined than now, braver and bolder than I’ve ever been and will be a Daniel for His glory. I pray it is Jesus who will be seen in my life and I ask nothing else but to see His Kingdom come in my beat, in my church, in my nation, and in my life.

A few hours to go! I believe I will be going into unknown waters. Am I ready? I will only be ready if the Lord holds me close. One thing I am always reminded: It’s not by might, nor by power, but only by His Spirit that I can face the future with Christ who strengthens me.

May the heavens open over all of us! God bless everyone. Let His Spirit flow to us this 2012. Happy New Year! 😀

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