When a train speeds off-track

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

The news day of August 13 was already slowing down and winding up. At 3 p.m., the lineup for that night’s TV Patrol was already set, and there were hardly any big stories.

The so-called “Butcher”, Jovito Palparan, years at large, was quietly under NBI custody. Food costs were rising again, and I was getting ready to leave the office for a live price watch at the Commonwealth wet market.

Then at 4, my boss said, “Cancel that. You’re going to EDSA Taft.”

People in the newsroom were now standing up, clumped around desktop PCs, and hurrying about. They were saying a carriage of the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) plying EDSA had derailed.

Was it true? Everyone looked for proof on social media.

They soon found one, a picture posted by a Twitter user, @ryandgreat. The shot was greeted with gasps. It seemed like the movie “Speed” come to life–minus an explosion. The train had run off in a barrage of debris past the EDSA-Pasay Taft station and onto the asphalt of the Pasay Rotonda.


Writers at the ABS-CBN News Channel (ANC) scrambled to break the incident in their ongoing newscast with the shot, while crews from the network hadn’t arrived. The pic was being re-tweeted by other news orgs. But a breaking news producer shouted, “Huwag gamitin si @ryandgreat! Taga-TV5 siya!

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The 2014 SONA in HD

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Pres. Benigno Aquino III delivering his fifth State of the Nation Address (Courtesy: Radio TV Malacanang)

(Courtesy: Radio Television Malacanang)

Only tech-versed viewers who habitually flip channels might have noticed. The fifth State of the Nation Address (SONA) of Pres. Benigno Aquino III also goes down as the first to be shot in high definition (HD).

There’s little fanfare for the Presidential Broadcast Staff – Radio Television Malacañang (PBS-RTVM), which bags the credit for this long-overdue upgrade. They’ve always handled the SONA pool feed, being charged after all with documenting the chief executive’s speeches and activities.

At these events, the SOP for network live news crews is to hook up with RTVM’s feed since they have more camera angles, and more importantly, prime access to the president. However, the RTVM feed was at times of lower quality than that of the networks’ own cameras and fell prey to technical glitches that made it risky to air.

RTVM stayed in the technical cellar for years, as the privately-owned networks bulked up on the latest equipment. Moves to update their tech capabilities went gradually, going only as far as the government’s budget could allow.

Then in 2012, the Philippines was picked to host the 2014 World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia.

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‘Patrol ng Pilipino’ no more?

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

ABS-CBN News reporter Adrian Ayalin preparing for a live report at the Ombudsman (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

ABS-CBN News reporter Adrian Ayalin preparing for a live report at the Ombudsman (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

It was a small switch—just a handful of words. But it made some people do a double take on their TV sets. At first, they thought that a story for another show might have wandered into the May 19 line-up of “TV Patrol”.

Then in report after report, they heard it again. The tag line “Patrol ng Pilipino” with which ABS-CBN reporters closed their stories for almost a decade was now taking a rest.

And it was not just on “TV Patrol.” Later that night, viewers heard the same new extro on “News Plus” in Channel 23 and on “Bandila”: the reporter’s name, followed by “ABS-CBN News”. Come “Umagang KayGanda” the next morning, it was clear this was no slip or experiment.

It was a small switch that reflected big, gradual changes in the news organization.

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10 events that made headlines on a weekend

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

TV Patrol Weekend's first and current logos 2004 & 2014

TV Patrol Weekend’s first and current logos

Before “TV Patrol Linggo” debuted on the air on May 9, 2004, TV news on weekends was usually relegated to short, late-night rundowns of the day’s events or the week’s top stories.

Today, the weekend newscast is a mainstay in a 24/7 news environment. While manned by smaller teams, aired on tighter time slots, and watched by lesser viewers, they provide a needed avenue for public service–especially when the breaking event strikes.

Watch the opening to TVP Linggo’s first newscast here:

As TV Patrol’s weekend edition marks its 10th year, here are 10 of the country’s biggest stories that broke under its watch, proving that patrolling the news never stops:

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When Filipinos last saw Pope John Paul II

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Pope John Paul II waves a final goodbye to Filipinos in Manila during his 1995 visit before boarding his plane. (Screengrab courtesy of ABS-CBN / TV Patrol)

Pope John Paul II waves a final goodbye to Manila during his 1995 visit. (Screen grab courtesy of ABS-CBN / TV Patrol)

Rare are the saints of the Catholic church who have been seen, encountered, or heard by so many people. And on April 27, Pope Francis canonized the man who could be the most-met saint yet.

Filipino Catholics count two countrymen among the church’s thousands of saints. But many of them will probably relate more to St. John Paul II, who led the church for more than half a century, visiting almost every country and being exposed to the most media coverage.

It is the former pope’s two visits to Manila that stand out in Filipinos’ memories. He first came here in 1981–three years after becoming pope–during the waning days of strongman Pres. Ferdinand Marcos. Pope John Paul II’s trip was soon followed by Marcos’s purported lifting of martial law.

The 10th World Youth Day in January 1995 became the pontiff’s last trip to the Philippines and his most remembered.

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ABS-CBN gets 5 nominations at 2014 New York Festivals

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

(First published on ABS-CBNnews.com as “5 ABS-CBN entries at New York Festivals”)

Graphic design for "Agosto Beinte Uno" and ABS-CBN CCM's "Sprout" plug.

Graphic design for “Agosto Beinte Uno” and ABS-CBN CCM’s “Sprout” plug.

(UPDATED) Five television entries from ABS-CBN are vying for medals among the “World’s Best” as finalists in the 2014 New York Festivals (NYF) International Television and Film Awards.

Leading the pack are programs by the network’s Integrated News division.

The investigative documentary “Agosto Beinte Uno: Ang Pagpatay Kay Ninoy Aquino” by ABS-CBN Docu Central earned two nominations in separate categories.

The Jaime Fabregas-narrated special, which revisited the still-unsolved Aquino assassination case and the people involved in time for the 30th anniversary of the shooting, is a contender for the Biography/Profiles category.

Last year, the full-length profile of Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile entitled “Johnny” won the ABS-CBN documentary team a Silver World Medal in the same category.

“Agosto Beinte Uno” was also recognized for its opening billboard and graphic design, which was produced by The Acid House for ABS-CBN.

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As ‘TV Patrol’ turns 27

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Collage of TV Patrol logos from 1987 to 2014

TV Patrol’s logos from 1987 to 2014

For most Filipinos, it is TV Patrol that has been their window to recent history for the longest time.

It has chronicled the ups and downs of the Fifth Republic, some of them coinciding with its own. Its headlines have shown scandals in the halls of power and brawls in obscure barangay corners. And its subjects have ranged from the ordinary to the influential.

The past 12 months were no exception to big news.

TV Patrol’s crews, reporters, and anchors took their cameras to the farthest and the worst, to the best and the most awe-striking. They were at the fringes of two border disputes and at the crossfire of a downtown skirmish. They uncovered schemes of greed and deceit and covered the outrage that followed.

They saw white smoke signal change in a centuries’ old institution, welcomed another countryman to the pantheon of saints, and celebrated the victories of other Pinoys in the global community.

They braved an earthquake, monsoons, and typhoons, including the deadliest where some of them barely escaped with their lives. And they carried the worldwide call for help and helped bring it there.

If 2013 was any indication, it’s that there are always new experiences for an old-timer, especially in news.

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ABS-CBN reaps most trophies at 10th USTv awards

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

(This is an updated version of an article first published on ABS-CBNnews.com on Feb. 20, 2014. I was at the UST that night to help mount TV Patrol’s live coverage from the university’s Plaza Mayor, where anchors Korina Sanchez and Noli De Castro came to receive awards. As we finished transmitting live footage of the event, I put together the winners and some quips from the recipients into a story that was e-mailed to base before my tech team left UST.)

"TV Patrol" anchors Korina Sanchez and Noli De Castro received the newscast's "Student's Choice of News Program" award from the 10th USTv Awards. (Grab c/o UST Tomasian Cable)

“TV Patrol” anchors Korina Sanchez and Noli De Castro receive the newscast’s award from USTv. (Grab c/o UST Tomasian Cable)

ABS-CBN took home the most awards at the 10th USTv Students’ Choice Awards held at the University of Santo Tomas on Thursday.

The Kapamilya network was recognized by the Tomasian student leaders as their choice of TV network.

Its public service arm, the ABS-CBN Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc., was among those picked student leaders’ choice of network foundation.

ABS-CBN flagship newscast “TV Patrol” led the winners in the news and public affairs category as students’ choice of news program.

Anchors Noli De Castro and Korina Sanchez received the award, which “TV Patrol” also won in 2013.

“Sa araw-araw, gabi-gabi, binabalita lang namin ang nangyayari. Ang mga artista po diyan ay kung sino ang involved sa mga balita. Ang kinatutuwa po namin ay pinahahalagahan ninyo ang mga balita,” De Castro said.

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How Boy Abunda interviewed Vhong Navarro

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

(Also published on ABS-CBNnews.com as “What didn’t air from Boy’s interview with Vhong”)

Boy Abunda interviews Vhong Navarro at his hospital bed (Screen grab from Buzz ng Bayan, ABS-CBN)

Boy Abunda and Vhong Navarro. (Screen grab from ABS-CBN’s “Buzz ng Bayan”)

Vhong Navarro’s televised tell-all interview with TV host Boy Abunda from the actor’s hospital bed on January 26 set off a week-long scandal that hogged the national headlines and dominated Filipinos’ conversations.

At a college forum nearly a week later, Abunda revealed that Navarro’s camp was hesitant about letting the actor speak out until minutes before they began what the host called a “tough” exchange.

“Both (Vhong’s) lawyers were in front of me. They were debating: ‘Ano ba, papayag ba tayo dito?’” Abunda said as he detailed to mass communication students at the University of the Philippines – Diliman how he handled the interview.

He recalled Navarro’s lawyers, Atty. Alma Mallonga and Atty. Dennis Manalo warning the actor: “Kasi, Vhong, ‘pag magsalita ka rito, this is coming out later. Lalabas din ang video. Your life is going to change, you may not be able to come back to your career.”

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Replays: PinoyJourn’s 2013 top posts

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

TACLOBAN CITY–Another storm, another scandal, another switch of leaders. We faced familiar events this 2013, only bigger in scale and more sobering in the lessons that came with them.

We survived the déjà vus of the year, but they were not all shakeups. We also turned back time as we marked milestones in our long-time relationships. Among them, a replay of the first journey my parents took together.

This year, my adventures with the news team landed me in new places and let me revisit old ones to see different scenes. Unfortunately, some of those trips did not bring good news.

I’m glad to say though that I’ve been able to keep writing despite the rigorous field production assignments. This year, an expanded story of an emotional tribute I got to cover helped PinoyJourn top its record for most hits in a day.

Anjo Bagaoisan speaking at Bayan Mo iPatrol Mo bloggers conference in ABS-CBN (Screen grab from TV Patrol)

Sometimes, I get pulled to share some thoughts in our blogger con. (Screen grab from TV Patrol)

Also, I was able to brush up on doing some enterprise stories for this blog—those fueled by interest rather than my daily deployments. I only added two installments to my “The Bookshelf” series: for another Agatha Christie mystery and for a sci-fi novel by Robert J. Sawyer.

The untimely death of ABS-CBN Cagayan Valley reporter Julius Camba this year had some revisit a 2011 blog entry about my sole coverage with him—chasing a typhoon up north.

I am also thankful for some of my posts getting replayed in outlets like photo blog Shoot.PH and the Lopez Group publication LopezLink.

I’m bringing into the new year a bucket list of unfinished business—long-planned stories that still lack the sides of needed sources. Being on the field before and beyond office hours is not exactly ideal for booking and doing interviews.

Here’s hoping that gets to improve this 2014. For now, allow me to replay the posts that brought the most readers to PinoyJourn this 2013.

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