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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

IMG_20151209_231347

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

IMG_20151209_230051

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?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

A patch of buried dreams

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Life after Yolanda, Log 4

The mass grave in Barangay San Joaquin, Palo, Leyte, with the barangay chapel in the background.

(Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

PALO, LEYTE—Walk through this lot of makeshift graves and read the stories written on each mound and marker.

They are rolls of names etched by felt-tip pens on boards fastened to sticks. The lists number from two to ten to twenty, some too long to fit. Their surnames, often the same: spouses, children, and in-laws bound together in their last hours and in their final rest.

Beside the names, just dates of birth. Everyone here knows when all these people died. Many of the birth years are only past 2000.

Lit candles litter the mounds. Among them are keepsakes of the departed and offerings to the missed. Flowers—some real, some plastic. Rosaries. Stuffed animals. Watches. Bracelets. Portraits. Canned sardines. Biscuits. Containers of coffee and chocolate milk. Soda in half-empty bottles. Rice and pansit in aluminum foil.

Memorial markers in Palo, Leyte of people killed  during Typhoon Yolanda. (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

(Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

A statue of Jesus Christ of the Sacred Heart towers over the graves—one arm outstretched, the other broken off. An eerie fit to this sudden cemetery along the highway of Palo, Leyte.

But the kids here say this was once a grass yard, the de facto plaza of the church of Barangay San Joaquin. Youth groups would practice hip-hop dances here.

Then came Yolanda.

Continue reading

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.

Continue reading

Defying destruction: Christmas in Cateel

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

After Pablo Log 3

St. James the Apostle Parish in Cateel, Davao Oriental at night - Christmas 2012 with Christmas tree (Shot by Mel Estallo)

CATEEL, DAVAO ORIENTAL (Dec. 25)– The brightest lights around did not shine when this town welcomed Christmas.

The temporary generator powering the parish’s tree of Christmas lights along with Cateel’s rebuilt street lamps had broken down a few days earlier.

With the streets dark, the St. James Church had to call off the customary Misa de Aginaldo.

But the night before Christmas was not silent in the town plaza.

It actually seemed more like New Year’s Eve. The plaza rang with jolting pops and blasts every other minute as children set off small firecrackers to the ground. Some squealed and ran away as the pellets went off.

The town’s youth lounged around the still-littered plaza, taking advantage of the first dry night in days.

Other kids played with soldiers from Davao City who had camped out at the plaza after they responded to the onslaught of Typhoon Pablo.

Children in Cateel plaza playing with firecrackers on Christmas eve 2012 (Shots by Bernie Mallari & Anjo Bagaoisan)

(Shots by Bernie Mallari & Anjo Bagaoisan)

The soldiers have been here for nearly a month, and they only found out days before they would spend Christmas here.

They only hold on to the prospect that they’ll be back at their base by December 31st.

Nearby, some police officers celebrated in the dark over drinks. They blared pop songs from their patrol car and shone their flashlights onto some of the kids who danced along.

Still, duty called for some of the police, who stood guard at a checkpoint.

Mixed commemorations

Our news team here had just finished live reports for TV Patrol and Bandila, where Niko Baua reported that not all families in Cateel would get relief packs from the social welfare department in time for Christmas dinner.

The team was also nearing the one-month mark out of town. They were among the first to meet the storm as it reached the east coast in Leyte, then moved here.

Some cooks on the team tried their best to whip up some dishes: some ham, canned fruit salad, and spaghetti. Just for a familiar taste of Christmas without family.

Before midnight, Niko and reporter Rodney Ray Salas of ABS-CBN RNG Davao went around with their crews to find how residents in other parts of town were spending Noche Buena.

Continue reading

Christmas duty in CDO

CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY, MISAMIS ORIENTAL–Hours before midnight of December 25, some guests at a high-end local hotel dropped by the bar to mark the holiday.

For most, the night out was a long-awaited respite from the circumstances that faced them that week in this typhoon-hit city.

A combo of two was there singing a repertoire of Standard tunes, mostly English and the occasional Latin.

On the keyboard was a lanky man wearing a luau polo. A virtual all-in-one band, he alternated piano and trumpet leads to the customized beats from his synthesizer.

Dodong, the pianist, alternated and harmonized tunes with his partner Rose, who was in a party dress.

The guests were impressed and called for encores. One of them approached the duo and said he wanted to sing.

Dodong said yes. “But first, I need a volunteer to play these.” And he pointed to the unused bongo drums nearby.

The clock struck 12 as the guest belted out another song.

Dec 24 Cagayan De Oro hotel bar singers by Rodrigo Tapales

(Shot by Rodrigo Tapales)

Fireworks could be seen from the window overlooking the city. Various areas of CDO answered each other in colorful outbursts of light.

The guests watched, some wondering if the calendar had already turned, and some marveling that one of the cities ravaged by the Philippines’ deadliest typhoon in over 10 years found cause to celebrate.

Seated near the piano was a middle-aged woman browsing a laptop while taking sips at a cocktail and glances at the performers.

“My wife,” Dodong said later as he introduced her. “She’s my manager too.”

As they packed up the microphones and turned off the amps, Rose, the singer said, “We’ll be returning to our flooded houses.”

One of the CDO villages ravaged by Sendong. (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

One of the affected CDO villages. (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

Dodong resided at a higher area of CDO. But the house his children lived in was not spared from the high waters of typhoon Sendong (a.k.a. Washi).

“All my instruments there were ruined–two guitars, my keyboard, my amplifiers. Even my studio,” he said.

“I think God is reminding us with tragedies like this to remember and return to Him.”

Continue reading

On the tube: MMFF 2009 Parade

Video editing can test patience and take long. Especially if you work with 5 tapes covering a trip, 7 floats, hundreds of fans, and a galaxy of stars.

Still, our piece on the parade of stars in the 2009 Metro Manila Film Festival captures the glamour, intrigue, avid, and personal that is Pinoy showbiz.

And it’s on my first Christmas as a Kapamilya.

Gretchen Fullido reports live for Patrol.