‘Harapan Na!’ A primer to the PiliPinas town hall debate

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

PiliPinas Debates 2016 logo (courtesy ABS-CBN)

DAGUPAN CITY, PANGASINAN–For one last day, all roads in the 2016 race for Malacañang will converge here.

At a basketball-court-sized covered quadrangle in the center of the Phinma University of Pangasinan, lights, columns, speakers and streamers have risen over the stage that will bring together Jejomar Binay, Miriam Defensor-Santiago, Rodrigo Duterte, Grace Poe and Mar Roxas for a final appeal to voters.

ABS-CBN technicians and set assembly crews were the first at the campus early Thursday, selecting and securing spots for their set-ups in Sunday’s big event.

Students at the U-Pang continued on with their classes, occasionally sneaking glances at the court and casually passing through the piles of equipment as if no hauling was going on.

Venue of the PiliPinas 2016 Town Hall debate (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

The venue. (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

Still absent are the touches of politics that will pervade this area during the weekend. No colors, posters or supporters.

But the school residents know all eyes will be on their school when all these arrive, more so the objects of all this support.

At a stairway, one student watches snippets of the last Comelec-sponsored debate on his phone. A duo of communication majors go around the school’s food court asking people they could interview their expectations on how the presidential candidates will perform.

Much indeed hangs on the April 24 debate hosted by ABS-CBN and the Manila Bulletin.

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‘A newsman’s newsman’: Colleagues pay tribute to Rod T. Reyes

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Former ABS-CBN News chief Rod T. Reyes (Grab from TV Patrol)

Rod T. Reyes (Grab from TV Patrol)

Down-to-earth. Cool-headed. Simple. Soft-spoken. A coach. Role model. Inspiration. A newsman’s newsman.

These were how journalists and former co-workers saluted veteran reporter, editor, news director and press secretary Rodolfo “Rod” T. Reyes, who died on April 14 at the age of 80.

People who knew him in various capacities throughout a five-decade career that spanned print, broadcast and public media honored his impact as a daring investigative journalist.

But more so, they reminisced about Reyes’s unassuming and laid-back qualities in a relentless and tough profession.

Coach leadership

At ABS-CBN, where Rod Reyes headed its news and public affairs division both before and after Martial Law, his former employees recalled how “RTR” (their monicker for him based on his initials) embodied the news organization’s slogan “malasakit”.

“Here was a small man with a soft voice who told us, ‘Good morning guys, I’m your new coach!’ I won’t forget that because it embodied RTR’s style of leadership,” recalled current ABS-CBN News chief Ging Reyes of their first time meeting her predecessor when he took over the reins of the  back in 1990.

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The 3 stages of falling in love with your job according to Charo Santos

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

My moment with the execs. (Shot by Joseph Jacob)

My moment with the execs. (Shot by Joseph Jacob)

In the time of “walang forever”, staying in the same company or line of work for more than 5 years is already a prize.

It may be due to the scarcity of tenured posts, the allure of shifting workplaces for better offers or simply the impatience often ascribed to today’s Millennials.

Whatever the reason, loyalty to a job or an organization these days remains the unheeded advice from the older generation. Many of them grew up seeing ascent in the corporate ladder as the main evidence of success.

But there are professions like journalism and media whose hold on their practitioners is for more than bread and butter. And there are companies whose opportunities can span a spectrum of careers one could explore without leaving their backyard.

Getting to last long in these places is encouraged and in some, rewarded.

At ABS-CBN, they call it the “Kapamilya Awards”, a gala to recognize employees who reached 5-year milestones in their service with the company. They are treated to dinner, performances by ABS-CBN artists and receive a personalized token along with a moment with the executives.
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Beneath Lando’s clouds

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

PinoyJourn’s 2015 year-end series, Log 1

Landfall of Typhoon Lando as seen from the town landmark of Baler, Aurora (Shot by Brian Pimentel, ABS-CBN News)

(Shot by Brian Pimentel, ABS-CBN News)

(Note: In a succession of stories, this blog revisits major events and trends witnessed by this writer, all of which made 2015 a year for the books.)

BALER, AURORA–We were prepared for the worst.

Our news team in Baler had met the night before. Everyone had to know what we expected from the typhoon and from each other in those crucial first hours, and what to do if the unfortunate happened.

But what caught us all by surprise was the arrival of Typhoon Lando (internationally Koppu) 7 hours before the time weather bureau PAGASA first predicted it would reach land.

Our 3 news gathering teams would take their posts in different vantage points around Baler before the supposed landfall time of 8 a.m. We had agreed to be up as early as 3 a.m. that Sunday morning to give them time to leave our hotel.

Our technical team would stay the fort at our lodgings and make sure our means of broadcasting the aftermath to the world would survive the typhoon’s onslaught.

We heard the town would switch off power as early as 10:30 p.m., but most of us had already gone to sleep when the lights did go out past 1 a.m.

It would be shorter sleep than expected for most of us.

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All ABS-CBN Newsers want for Christmas

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Covering the biggest events of 2015 did not keep the men and women of ABS-CBN News from spreading some Christmas cheer with a little fun and lip-syncing.

The assignment: a simple music video to cap the 2015 Integrated News Christmas party.

The outcome: a happy project that went beyond the journalists behind it.

News logistics head Mitchelle Tan recruited reporter Jeff Canoy to direct. Jeff then drafted me to the team to help shoot and form the final cut. We wanted to deliver a piece that would represent all departments in the news division.

Jeff–along with fellow reporters Jenny Reyes and Chiara Zambrano—had also directed the 2012 viral video of Kapamilya anchors and reporters singing along to the Backstreet Boys tune “I Want It That Way”.

(READ: The story and bigger picture behind that video)

A sequel to the “I Want It” video was hinted at back then–long before Dubsmash trended among Filipinos. But none came through until now.

Tina Monzon-Palma with ANC's The World Tonight team (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

Tina Monzon-Palma with ANC’s The World Tonight team. (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

This time, American pop diva Mariah Carey’s “All I Want For Christmas” was the dubbing pick. And it would not just be the on-air personalities singing, but also the drivers, technicians, cameramen, production assistants, researchers, writers, editors, producers, bosses and support employees who keep ABS-CBN’s news platforms up and running.

‘Energy! Energy!’

Jeff wanted to up the ante. The iPad he used to shoot in 2012 now became just the music player. We had a DSLR and a laptop for the rest.

There were only a few days before the division party. So, in between coverages of the worsening holiday traffic (one of which included a bike ride along EDSA), Jeff and I shot the takes at the broadcast center with Mitchelle and some co-workers who tagged along.

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We hauled any reporter who was around, picked their lines and paired them with the available members of a news department. We also visited the anchors of our main platforms TV Patrol, Bandila, ANC and DZMM in their studios and convinced them to sing.

Jeff lugged the camera. I borrowed his to shoot when he was preparing reports. News courier Michael Bagtas at times brought his own cam. Fellow field producers July Cruz, Rommel Manimbo acted as “audio people” with me to play music from the iPad.

Reporters Francis Faulve and Jobert Navallo joined us in pitching in lights from our phones, while Mitchelle, July and reporters Zen Hernandez and Chiara Zambrano became floor directors, motivating the “talents” with their own gyrations and shouts of “Energy! Energy!”

Carolyn Bonquin's take with the field ops team. (Shot by Bernie Mallari)

Carolyn Bonquin’s take with the field ops team. (Shot by Bernie Mallari)

Many took heartily to the shoot, like the Field Operations boys who even brought out their LED lights to the ENG truck parking area at dusk. Illuminated by the lights, no less than our big boss Ging Reyes kicked off the video from there.

There were the current affairs staff and make-up artists who dusted off Christmas decorations to use for their parts. Employees who grabbed—wait, borrowed—actual corporate gifts as props. And execs like Futures, Investigative and Research Group head Chi Almario who choreographed steps for her team.

Previewing the shoot at Studio 7. (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

Previewing the shoot at Studio 7. (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

The units’ names can be a mouthful, like News Systems and Technology Management (a.k.a. our studio, field, editing, graphics and technical operations), and they aren’t all identified in the video. But they along with others like the Central News Desk, News Library, Human Resources and Business Development provide the fuel for what you see on the air and online.

Across the globe

The video gradually took shape, but we felt it could grow in scope and tuck in some surprises.

Jeff chatted up our bureaus and reporters overseas if they could send videos. Locally, we also tried getting shots from a station in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao to stand for the over 20 affiliates making up our regional team all over the Philippines.

Paul Henson and the North America news bureau (Shot from ABS-CBN North America)

(Shot from ABS-CBN North America)

And those who sent theirs in the limited time did not disappoint. One even uploaded a well produced shot just a couple of hours before the music video was finished.

The unexpected appearance of the North America news team led by bureau chief Paul Henson drew the biggest cheers when the video finally premiered at the middle of the News Christmas Party.

Jeff and I were still editing and exporting the video even as the party program had already begun. Hearing the final piece on loudspeakers amid the cheers and laughs of our colleagues gave us a sigh of relief.

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Anchors Karen Davila and Ces Drilon lead in laughter at the Bandila set (Shots by Anjo Bagaoisan)

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Delighted with the video, Ms. Ging also had it shown to Kapamilya employees at the corporate Christmas party the following week, and then cleared it for sharing on social media after.

It took three years, but “ain’t nothing but a heartache” finally found a happier Christmas sequel.

The sight of our icons jamming with our behind-the-scenes personnel expressed the spirit of what our news organization has faced and overcome together in 2015.

It’s our way of sharing the unity and hope that we pray for our country in the coming crucial year.

Aren’t those what we all want this Christmas?

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Déjà vu of thanks

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(Shot by Michael Bagtas)

On my first News Christmas party in ABS-CBN, my former boss Rupert Ambil was among those given the 20/20 Merit Award. The 20/20 is our division’s way of recognizing groups or individuals who gave “consistent and exceptional work that went beyond the call of duty” during the past year or years.

After he received the award, Sir Rupert called me to the front without warning, gave me the mic and went back to his seat. I was just a few months as an employee/ field producer and was surprised to face the whole News team. I fumbled and mumbled a nervous, perfunctory thank you before returning red-faced to my seat.

I always thought I could have given a much better speech if I did it over again.

Receiving the award from news central desk head Francis Toral, news operations head Concon Dumo (my immediate boss), and Integrated News head Ging Reyes (Shot by Michael Bagtas)

Receiving the award from news central desk head Francis Toral, news operations head Concon Dumo (my immediate boss), and Integrated News head Ging Reyes (Shot by Michael Bagtas)

 

After 6 years, I again found myself red-faced in front of the News division Christmas party, surprised to be among those given the award my boss once got. And while I wasn’t able to speak last night, the words I should have said in 2009 gained a new relevance for me:

“This award is not just for (Sir Rupert), but for all the field producers and the technicians of the RDU/Field Operations team and the unrecognized work they do.”

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Ice cream this week with my fellow field producers (now called remote broadcast specialists)

For the daily location tambays and the routine live shots, for the adrenaline rush breaking events and the once-in-a-lifetime coverages (like Pope Francis and APEC this year), for the hours spent in traffic and waiting in-base, for the kick start of my career and for all the little nudges, reminders and ‘kantiyaws’ of support in between, I will always be grateful to my first family in ABS-CBN.

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Christmas party pic with the field operations boys and our news gathering head Dindo Amparo.

Thank you to the older reporters, editors, cameramen and producers who in one way or another encouraged me and given me advise on this journey. Marami pa po akong kakaining bigas.

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Thanks goes as well to my batch mates in the company, some of whom were also among the 20/20 awardees.

When these batch mates like Michelle Ong and Sam Lim of ANC and Kelvin Paulino of “Mukha” were receiving their personal and team awards, I mused to my friend Shie Reyes that we were all probably getting older since our batch was already becoming “eligible” for awards like this.

Little did I know I would join their ranks in a while.

Thank you too, to my colleagues in ABS-CBN News Digital and their editors who also accommodated my growth and exploration of journ beyond broadcast.

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Friends from News Digital–Dharel Placido, Shiela Reyes, and Abe Baladad. (Photo from Shie)

I’ve long learned that frustration or fatigue will always come in fields of passion after months of giving and giving.

Thank you so much, ABS-CBN News for showing me that good work sometimes gets recognized even in this life. As part of those who “set the agenda, raise the bar of excellence and inspire their colleagues,” you’ve given me inspiration to continue doing more.

And thank you, Lord, for Your faithfulness all these years. This award is for you the most. May I follow Your dreams for me and may You shine all the more because of this small glint.

#intheservice #ThankYouForTheLove

With fellow 20/20 Awardees Dennis Datu and Jeff Canoy, who were also my teammates this year during Typhoon Lando. (Shot by Chiara Zambrano)

With fellow 20/20 Awardees Dennis Datu and Jeff Canoy, who were also my teammates this year during Typhoon Lando. Our team’s story in a later blog. (Shot by Chiara Zambrano)

Surviving Casiguran’s worst storm yet

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

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(Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

CASIGURAN, AURORA–The black sky gradually breaks into a swirl of orange and purple.

Pockets of smoke rise in the distance, from wood– debris or fallen branches –being burnt in piles throughout town.

All is awake–a new day for Aurora’s northern town of Casiguran, still reeling from the super typhoon it first welcomed to the Philippines early this week.

The days are now dry, the run-up to sundown again climbing to stinging hot–evidence of the upside-down turn of climate.

It’s a far cry from the hours of what the locals say was their worst and longest ordeal under a storm since they could remember.

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(Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

They haven’t gone past the after-effects of it–eating breakfast in candlelight, settling for the radio during lunch instead of the usual noontime TV habit, and rushing home before darkness once again envelopes their power-less town.

But they’re thankful to have at least survived Lando.

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New shows, new look to mark ANC relaunch on October 26

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

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ANC 2010 and 2015 logos

A better look, new faces, same quality broadcast journalism.

A new programming lineup and a new overall broadcast design will greet viewers of ANC, the ABS-CBN News Channel, as it relaunches on Monday, October 26.

In the run-up to its 20th year of operation, the 24/7 news channel calls the move a means to “solidify its leadership” among the country’s growing number of news channels and to “better serve its viewers with top of the hour news and in-depth analysis of issues,” for which ANC has made its name.

Leading the rebrand is the relaunch of ANC’s flagship morning show, “Mornings@ANC”, the inclusion of area-focused shows in the channel’s retooled AM grid and a joint design and color scheme to go with all of ANC’s news shows.

“What viewers will see is a newer and stronger ANC with a more robust and relevant lineup of programs covering politics, business, economy, lifestyle and entertainment,” said ABS-CBN Integrated News chief and ANC managing director Ging Reyes in a statement. “These shows will be more visually attractive as well–better form and better substance.”

ANC’s signature rhombus logo will now feature “refreshed” colors which the channel said will “highlight ANC’s expertise in presenting stories with context amid an ever growing deluge of media information.” 

The channel’s title cards and designs will also prominently display a red-and-blue scheme that promises a “cleaner, unified” look to represent a holistic news experience for ANC viewers. 

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