30, 5, 3, 1

Happy New Year, everyone!

I am writing this while seated outside the emergency department of East Avenue Medical Center (and posting this several hours later while waiting for my live report here at the NLEX command center). Thankfully, there are no cases of firecracker related injuries so I have the time to write a short blog post about this eventful year.

Looks like I’ll be greeting 2019 here, alongside devoted colleagues who have accepted the fact that media practitioners spend the holidays on the job.

***

30, 5, 3, 1 – these are milestones in my life.

This year, I turned 30.

I used to dread growing old…to the point of declaring that I only want to live until the age of 40. But here I am at 30 and I feel like I am on top of the world, despite various setbacks.

bday

At 30, I finally accepted the fact that I cannot please everyone, that I do not have to feel bad about people who don’t care about me (or worse, hate me). I feel like I am going through another cycle of adulthood as I try to set my priorities straight again. Hopefully, I finish my MA next year and then I can decide what to do with the rest of my life.

This year, I celebrated my 5th year in media.

I am a late bloomer. It took me 4 years after college before having the courage to try journalism. And it has been the best decision I ever made. Being a journalist has given me purpose in life. It has kept me on my toes and has made me want to improve myself so I may better serve the people.

Five years is actually not that long and at times I regret not going into media earlier but my past work with cause-oriented groups has also helped me become the journalist I am right now. Since I consider myself a young journalist, I am able to remain humble and be open to learning from others.

report

This year, Ivan and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary.

It was without fanfare. We did not even go on a date because we were too busy working on our little project (which I hope to write about next time). But I did not feel bad about it. I have learned to let go of rituals and expectations that do not really serve me any purpose.

To both of us, three years feels like not enough time. What I do know is that I have spent the best years with him. No other person has made me this happy. Everything feels just right. And I am excited to spend the rest of my years with him.

And finally, this year, I celebrated my first year with ABS-CBN.

In college, I told myself that I will never do TV work. I was (still am) an awkward kid who did not know how to behave in front of the camera or with a large group of people. But I’ve taught myself to be more outgoing and confident. I am a work-in-progress. There are days when I would feel awfully insecure but focusing on the story helps me forget about trivial things.

I decided to try TV because I believe that video is king and that through broadcast (plus online) I am able to reach the widest audience. It has not been easy. And until now I am still adjusting but I am happy with the stories that I do and the people that I’ve met along the way.

To all of you who have helped me in my stories, went out of their way to agree to an interview or introduce me to a friend who served as my source, THANK YOU SO MUCH! Everlasting gratitude also to my media friends and my family, who have comforted me during trying times. I would not have survived 2018 without you guys. Indeed, it takes a village (the Universe, rather) to raise a young journo like me.

Despite my frustrations with society in general, 2018 has been good to me. I am very hopeful for next year. Now, if only humans can reverse climate change…

Going on adventures with Dad

I guess you could call me a Daddy’s girl.

While I spent most of my infancy with my Mom, it was my Dad who had more time in his hands when I started going to school. He would help me get ready every morning by tying my hair into pigtails, a cute memory that would later make me think if it was his decision to have my hair chopped off so I can sport the then trendy (but ugly) “apple haircut.”

On weekends or during vacations, I would remember having short walks with him — to the nearby store or club house. Sometimes, he would carry me on his bike (One day we both fell off and I had a nasty wound on my knee, which was also the reason why I have vowed never to ride a bicycle again).

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7 reasons why I enjoy flying (despite incessant thoughts of a plane crash)

PR1815 bound for Davao City — (12:25 nn) I am tens of thousands of feet above ground as I write this. The flight has been turbulent despite the good weather (Yes Mr. pilot, this is a shout out to you) but I don’t mind. Here, above cumulus clouds and blue waters, I am at peace.

Usually, when I ride an airplane, I brace myself for a crash. It’s because I believe that the more I travel, the higher the probability that I will figure in an accident. I am like that when I ride almost all forms of transportation (except trains, which are my favorite). I am fatalistic and I consider death an inevitability. But I digress. Continue reading

What’s it like to be a strong woman’s daughter

My mom and I have a complicated relationship. We love each other very much but keep us in one room and sooner or later we’ll find something to disagree on or quarrel about.

I tell her that I acquired my quick temper (which I am able to manage when we’re kilometers away from each other) from her. Or perhaps I’m just less patient with her. You see, my mom, like every other concerned mother in the planet, can be overbearing at times.

This is one of the reasons why I choose to live away from home. We definitely have a better relationship when we’re away from each other and our interactions are reduced to concerned text messages and calls. After all, doesn’t absence make the heart grow fonder?

(As a manager though, she’s had very good relations with her agents. I guess she’s just overbearing with her children :p)

The truth is, people are probably right in saying that we have the same personality and that’s the reason why we often clash.

I can imagine my mom reading this and shaking her head. Isn’t this supposed to be a tribute to her? But it is. Despite everything that we have been through, at the end of every emotional struggle in my life, I would have to say that “mother knows best.”

My mom has kept our family together. She has provided for us, done a lot to keep us happy during challenging times.

I might see her as overbearing at times, but instead of pushing us away, she scoops me and my brother back into the family circle.

She is the most rational person I have ever met and that trait of hers has kept me afloat. She also thought me not to be judgmental and instead be more caring towards other people.

She is the epitome of sacrifice. She has given a lot up for my father, me and my brother. She is the most non-materialistic person I have ever known. Isusubo na lang, ibibigay pa sa amin. She waives her share whenever we buy treats, just to satisfy our own cravings. Such simple gestures remind me that she loves us so much.

And so despite our clashing personalities, my mom remains my biggest fan, supporter and benefactor. I feel at ease knowing that when the going gets tough I can always go home and rely on her…to remind me that even if the rest of the world hates me, rejects me, I will always be loved by her and our family.

Thank you ma for loving me unconditionally and teaching me to become a strong woman like you. Happy birthday ma!

momandme

Saying goodbye

More than a year ago, my grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. His body and mind started to weaken. We didn’t understand what was happening. As a septuagenarian, he was a relatively strong man and had managed to leave the house on his own to regularly visit relatives in Metro Manila. But that was before his illness caught up with him. By 2014, he couldn’t walk anymore. One of his doctors said he had Parkinson’s disease as well.

Exactly a week ago, he passed away, at age 78, leaving behind my loving grandmother, my mother and the rest of our close-knit family. His death certificate says the immediate cause of death was cardiopulmonary arrest aspiration pneumonia. We didn’t expect it. Just days before his death, my uncle bought him a mattress pad to prevent bed sores.

Needless to say, the past week had been tough for all of us. Up until the very end, my grandmother couldn’t let go of him. I had trouble concentrating on work and would cry at the littlest of things.

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Uncovering Asia

Digging data, digging graves

Christmas came early for me this year when I was given the opportunity to participate in “Uncovering Asia,” the first investigative journalism conference in the continent.

Team INQUIRER.net at Uncovering Asia. (L-R) Me, Editor-in-Chief John Nery, NewsLab Lead Matikas Santos, and reporter Julliane Love De Jesus.

Team INQUIRER.net at Uncovering Asia. (L-R) Me, Editor-in-Chief John Nery, NewsLab Lead Matikas Santos, and reporter Julliane Love De Jesus.

For two days in November, our team attended lectures on investigative reporting, security and data journalism. During coffee and lunch breaks we were able to chat with fellow journalists from different parts of the region.

While Asia is known for its diversity, the conference showed that journalists from various nations face similar challenges. It made us realize that we can learn a lot from the experiences of our colleagues.

Uncovering Asia reminded me to think outside the box, to dig deeper for data, and to maximize opportunities for collaboration.

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7 events that made my first year as a reporter memorable

When I was in college, I told myself that while I wanted a career in journalism, I  didn’t have the quick wit and intellectual stamina needed to become a reporter. That and the fact that I was afraid to fail. I was afraid of being rejected. I was afraid of so many things that even if the world of breaking news piqued my curiosity, I shunned it. I quit before I even started.

But a couple of years passed and I found myself wondering a lot about how it would be like to work in media, the stories I would write, the lessons I would learn. I wanted to see and understand the world…how the concepts of power and money transformed it. I wanted to talk to people — to leaders and men on the street alike. I wanted first-row seats and backstage passes to history’s episodic plays.

I left my job, moved back home and sent in my application. After an agonizing wait, I found myself inside a newsroom, learning the daily news grind. But it was outside the newsroom – on the streets and inside the halls of government – that I learned the most.

Last August 4 marked my first year as a reporter. I thought the best way to commemorate it would be to list down the seven events that made my first 12 months worthwhile:

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