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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A renewed mission for ‘TV Patrol Tacloban’

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

(Life after Yolanda, Log 5)

TACLOBAN CITY–How do journalists cover the news when they themselves were directly affected by it?

Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) did not spare local media outlets in Eastern Visayas. The worst hit were radio stations whose announcers were on the air as the typhoon hit.

For the news team of ABS-CBN’s regional station in Tacloban City, the biggest story they covered cost them their homes and nearly them and their families’ lives.

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On the part of the Senate: Closing time at the 15th Congress

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

ABS-CBN video monitor showing scenes at the Senate during Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile's speech resigning the Senate Presidency. (Shot June 5, 2013 by Anjo Bagaoisan)

(Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

The last stretch of regular sessions at the Philippine Congress each year are  largely unremarkable. Even their schedule is nondescript–two weekdays snuck in at the end of summer vacation. And every three years, it comes just after the winners of the incoming Congress have been proclaimed.

This routine resumption avails little for the news media attuned more to clashes, exposés and sensational investigations. But it was different when the Senate briefly returned to session on June 5, 2013.

Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile opened the plenary with a privilege speech blasting the critics among his colleagues, ruing over his son Jack’s failed Senate run, and finally, tendering his resignation as Senate President. He then left the session hall, no longer to return till the next Congress.

Broadcast outlets, some of whom got wind of Enrile’s apparent bombshell a day before, came early that day to set up control booths for airing the speech live.

What Enrile would say was expected to be hot copy after days of news about the impending change of the guard in the Senate once the administration-heavy lineup of winning solons took their seats in July.

Few foreknew that he would resign.

Before the session began, a Senate staff member expressed hopes that the speech would avoid controversy. It would only divert attention—and precious time—from the pile of last-minute legislative work.

The speech indeed did its work, and the session was paralyzed for the rest of the day. Yet not all of Enrile’s opponents were present to hear his attacks.

Sen. Franklin Drilon making a phone call at the Senate floor after Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile walks out folllowing his resignation as Senate President (Shot June 5, 2013 by Anjo Bagaoisan)

Drilon making a call after the walkout. (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

A TV news producer got the text and scanned it quickly, circling any references to other senators. He then told the live feed director near him whose reaction to show next: Senators Antonio Trillanes, Pia Cayetano, or Franklin Drilon. The two men, seated apart, were caught smiling during key points in the speech.

Sen. Alan Peter Cayetano, who engaged Enrile in a personal debate months back, only showed up after Enrile walked out.

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Thoughts of a first-time media absentee voter

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Members of Philippine media vote during the last day of the local absentee voting period, April 30, 2013 (Shot by Edgar Soberano, ABS-CBN News)

Last day of absentee voting (Shot by Edgar Soberano, ABS-CBN News)

I stared at the list I jotted down on a sheet of grade-school-ruled pad, asking myself if I was ready to take the plunge.

I had a nagging feeling–second thoughts even–to be sure. I was casting my vote for the first time, and this list of candidates for senator and party-list was my assurance that my first time was being done right.

The list was a digital one at first–a rough draft sitting on my laptop. When I learned in February that media workers like me could vote earlier, I hurriedly listed names that had the best chance of getting my vote.

I only went back to the list the day before, April 28. The three-day period of local absentee voting (LAV) for soldiers, police officers, civil servants and the media had already begun.

This mini-Election Day felt like a final exam. I went through a review, scanning the profiles of the 34 senatorial bets on the Halalan 2013 web sites of ABS-CBN News and of the University of the Philippines.

I watched the final leg of the Harapan TV debates. I shuffled my digital list as the candidates faced the nation. I thought I wouldn’t complete my Magic 12. But after Harapan, I was already weighing who to retain or replace in an already-full lineup.

ABS-CBN News field producer Andrew Jonathan Anjo Bagaoisan voting at the Comelec NCR during the local absentee voting period, April 29, 2013 (Shot by Chito Concepcion)

(Shot by Chito Concepcion)

I had already covered a national election in 2010. Assigned out of town, I, like most of my colleagues could not vote. Thankfully, my registration remained active when the Comelec approved a petition to include members of media in the absentee vote.

This time, I had to grab the chance. Voting was one right—and duty—I did not miss out on, even as a student voting for the school council or for national candidates in mock university polls.

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Losses and look-backs—PinoyJourn’s 2012 top posts

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Anjo solo editing PC Cateel - Shot by MelThe year 2012 was one big nostalgia trip in ways both fun and tragic.

As seen in the stories covered by this blogger, our nation dealt with death many times over, the lot of them persons of influence.

Their passing inadvertently brought us back pleasant memories of their heyday years. For one loss, we mused what might have been in the future.

2012 was also a good year for one personality, Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile. His role in the biggest political event of the year paved the way for many to revisit his controversial life.

But as a student and practitioner of media, the biggest commemoration of the year is the silver anniversary of the country’s longest-running primetime newscast, TV Patrol.

It’s a program I have been privileged to contribute to on a daily basis in the field. TV Patrol’s 25th year also allowed me a rare glimpse of the show’s evolving look and recent history as it was covered.

Among those historic events were calamities, which again began and ended 2012.

A little showbiz intrigue added to the visits to this blog, which jumped to the thousands per month. People came searching for Umagang Kay Ganda hosts Andrei Felix and Venus Raj, who went public with their relationship this year.

And as in 2011, a quaint book review also brought in visitors interested in a fictional Belgian detective.

But still, the big events and characters of the year—and also some scene-stealers—were what riveted PinoyJourn readers.

Again, with the fervent wish for more meaningful stories to tell, I hope for opportunities to write other pieces that go beyond behind the scenes.

A big thanks to the readers who help keep this blog running.

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That epic ABS-CBN News music video (Because journalists also dream of singing stardom)

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Composite screenshot of ABS-CBN journalists in video cover of I Want It That Way

“Slow news day?” was the query of the pleasantly surprised.

For how in the middle of a plane crash, fleeting low pressure areas, and robberies caught on CCTV did journalists manage to make a potentially viral music video?

Well, it is as easy as facing the camera atop the PC. Or employing an iPad app that can record and edit in shots to a song.

It took a few days last week of shadowing and persuading a cast to join. Yes, a mini-shoot. Post-work and TV shows, of course.

Jenny (Reyes) cut up the song parts to sing, Chiara (Zambrano) “booked” whoever was willing to sing, and Jeff (Canoy) shot with his iPad.

Jeff was the consummate director who was sold-out to his opus.

He even poked all the way to Eastern Samar where Atom Araullo and our team were wondering if we still had any post-earthquake stories left to report.

“You’re missing out on the best video of all time!” Jeff messaged us. Atom and I got on Skype and Jeff showed us the video so far. And he wanted Atom to perform one part via web cam.

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Meet the Robredos

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Naga Students line up to see Jesse Robredo's casket (Shot August 23, 2012 by Anjo Bagaoisan)

(Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

“Salamat, Jesse Robredo” coverage log 2

NAGA CITY, CAMARINES SUR– For a week, this city became, in the words of Sec. Manuel Quezon III, the capital of the country.

The top stories centered here, just after Manila and its neighbors closed their ordeal with the Habagat floods.

While the stories focused on the man, the late Sec. Jesse Robredo, the spotlight also turned to the city and to the lives most connected to him.

They long lived in Robredo’s shadow. But the secretary’s life and death bagged Naga and his family a greater appreciation from many who met them by this tragedy.

The casket was no longer opened. Still, hundreds continued to come.

The casket soon had to be moved from a cramped corner of the chapel of the Archbishop’s Palace to the wider covered driveway outside.

There and later at the Basilica Minore, many noticed how orderly the Nagueños lined up and occupied the place.

ABS-CBN reporter Jorge Cariño reports from near the casket of Jesse Robredo in Naga (Shot August 23, 2012 by Anjo Bagaoisan)

A couple visits the coffin of Jesse Robredo (Shot August 24, 2012 by Anjo Bagaoisan) (Shots by Anjo Bagaoisan)

Local businesses kept sending in food and drinks, to the point that organizers asked them to stop for the meantime.

Even for packed meals the locals quietly lined up for their share.

Reporters and anchors repeatedly hailed Naga’s rise from municipality to first-class city as a legacy of its former mayor.

More remarkable than that though is the discipline of the Nagueños formed not from fear or force, but from example.

Aika

Like his stint as mayor, Jesse Robredo worked below the radar as DILG secretary. He didn’t even bring his family to Manila.

Only during Robredo’s search and wake did the public and the media begin to get acquainted with his wife and three daughters.

Our news teams were assigned to get and prepare for a guest on the night Sec Jesse’s casket arrived at Naga.

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The night Dolphy died

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Sol Aragones breaking news of Dolphy's death on ABS-CBN News Patrol, July 10, 2012 (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

Sol Aragones breaking Dolphy’s death on ABS-CBN News Patrol. (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

I will remember where I was when I learned we lost Dolphy.

The big story that day was the extreme traffic wrought by keeping the Metro Manila buses along one lane of EDSA. Our van was at a concrete island on the turn to Quezon Avenue from EDSA.

After we aired a live report for TV Patrol, the news desk told us to stay put while deciding if we would do another for the 11 p.m. newscast.

It was nearly 9 and raining. A crew mate and I were already settling down from dinner, shut in our crew cab.

The desk editor on duty called. “Who’s on standby at Makati Med?”

I gave the name. “Okay. You get ready too,” he said, and hanged up. I called our guy at Makati Medical Center.

“Nag-tweet na si Ruffa,” he said. “Nag-aabangan na dito.”

We read Ruffa Gutierrez’s post via a workmate’s Blackberry: “R.I.P Ninong Dolphy.”

The Net was already abuzz, but no one was yet confirming it.

Commentators on DZMM radio were still bantering about the traffic, cryptically telling listeners who texted queries, “Please wait. We still don’t know.”

TV monitors at the ABS-CBN Newsroom showing GMA and TV5 coverage of Dolphy's death, July 10, 2012  (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

ABS-CBN Newsroom monitoring breaking news on Dolphy's death, July 10, 2012 (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan) At the ABS-CBN newsroom: Monitoring TV channels covering Dolphy. (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

By then, we were told to pack up, pick up some hardware at the base, and proceed to Makati Med. Another crew watching traffic elsewhere in EDSA was diverted there too.

The TV news break greeted us when we got to ABS-CBN. Dolphy’s partner, Zsa Zsa Padilla, confirmed that Dolphy had indeed passed away.

And just like that, our headlines quickly shifted gears from commuting to the loss of a showbiz great.

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