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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When did ABS-CBN first use ‘Kapamilya’?

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

ABS-CBN 60 years of Philippine Television logoContrary to popular belief, way back in 2000. Back then, ABS-CBN Channel 2 was solidly number one in the Mega Manila ratings. When asked to comment then about his station’s rivalry with GMA 7, CEO Eugenio Gabriel “Gabby” Lopez III quipped, “What network war?”

On New Year’s day that year, the network unveiled a new logo: Its iconic three rings in a bigger, transparent, 3D box, its initials transformed to modern Malayan typeface and joined together below.

Soon, ABS-CBN aired interstitials (plugs aired during commercial breaks) introducing its personalities to speak for the network. At the end of the spiels, the network’s voiceover Peter Musngi said:

“Ka-pamilya namin.
Ka-pamilya ninyo.
Ka-pamilya ng bawat Pilipino.”

The series of plugs also included Dolphy and Noli De Castro and ran up until early 2001 during the height of EDSA Dos.

Here’s one featuring then “Balitang K” anchor Korina Sanchez:

The idea was revolutionary–using a term of familiarity, even endearment, to describe the relationship of a television station to its audience. It would set the tone for the brewing network war of years to come. It would set off the likes of Kapuso, Kabarkada, Kabisyo, and Kapatid.

But it was only three years after, during the 50th year of Philippine TV in 2003, that ABS-CBN officially adopted Kapamilya as its slogan and moniker for its viewers and talents.

A rainy week of ‘diverts’

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Rosario, Cavite - ABS-CBN's ENG 2 wades through the floods (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

Rosario, Cavite – ABS-CBN’s ENG 2 wades through the floods (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

The requirements start early in the morning and end near midnight. Two to three hours of sleep—in a bed if you’re lucky—and it’s back to the setup for another cycle of live shots upon live shots. All the while you’re stuck in the middle of rising and pouring water. There is little leeway to move around and take a break. And every so often, a call comes instructing you and your team to move to another location.

There is hardly time to digest the extent of the calamities in each stop. All you can do is take the requirements as they come, knowing that airing them can pave the way for responses and solutions.

The week was supposed to begin with follow-ups to two big news coverages. First was the pork barrel funds scandal and the yet-unfruitful hunt for its suspected culprit, Janet Lim-Napoles. The second was miles south in Cebu, where rescue teams scoured for passengers cast to sea by a collision of ships.

An unrelenting torrent of rains the weekend before that changed the tone of the entire week.

Las Piñas City - The stretch of the Alabang-Zapote road leading to Coastal is waist-deep in habagat floods. Cars are submerged. (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

Las Piñas City – The stretch of the Alabang-Zapote road leading to Coastal waist-deep in floods. Cars were left stranded. (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

Our news field operations team had been keeping vigil at the offices of the Department of Justice (DOJ) and the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) the week before in case Napoles & Co. were caught. In Cebu, a satellite team prepared to air TV Patrol’s live reports of the sea tragedy with anchor Noli De Castro and newsgathering crews from ABS-CBN Manila and Cebu.

That and a few live features for morning show Umagang Kayganda (UKG) made up our initial location assignments for Monday, August 19.

But as the day progressed, waters rose throughout Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces. Classes were already suspended the night before. Residents in the worst-hit scrambled to the roofs of their homes. Others trickled to evacuation centers. Cars were stranded in submerged expressways.

EDSA -- Francis Faulve and crew drive through the floods (Shot c/o Francis Faulve)

EDSA — Francis Faulve and crew drive through the floods (Shot c/o Francis Faulve)

Typhoon Maring lounged way up north but was too far to directly cause havoc. It became clear that the growing story was the comeback of the southwest monsoon that inundated Luzon last year. Now, Maring had made Habagat stronger.

ENG vans on standby at the DOJ and NBI were moved to flooded spots in Laguna and Bataan. A team that aired a feature for UKG in Quezon City was supposed to transfer to the Maritime Industry Authority office for updates on the Cebu collision. Instead it proceeded southward to Kawit, Cavite, where the strong currents already reached chests.

Kawit, Cavite - Chest deep floods passable by boat (Shot by William Natividad, ABS-CBN News)

Kawit, Cavite – Chest deep floods passable by boat as seen in Atom Araullo’s TVP report. Click to watch. (Shot by William Natividad, ABS-CBN News)

A team from TV Patrol’s production staff followed there. Already less some of its staff due to Noli De Castro’s anchoring duties in Cebu, TV Patrol dispatched another team bringing audio, lights, and a teleprompter. From Cavite, Korina Sanchez would lead-in the newscast’s live and taped reports on the Habagat.

The floods slowly receded that Monday night, but the rains repeatedly turned on and off. By then, the news desk in Quezon City decided to fix the deployed teams for the night in their locations. Hardly any of the crews would be relieved.

They were advised to look for lodging. Some however, like those in Dinalupihan, Bataan, could find none that was open. Getting food was another thing—many ended up eating takeout.

Kawit, Cavite - A makeshift  breakfast area for the ENG team amid the floods. The meal--rice and sardines. (Shot c/o Chito Concepcion)

Kawit, Cavite – A makeshift breakfast area for the ENG team amid the floods. The meal: rice and sardines, all donated. (Shot c/o Chito Concepcion)

At 3 a.m. Tuesday, our team staying at a hotel in Biñan, Laguna was told to move to Noveleta, Cavite. The flooded town could finally be reached by vehicles, and the news crew that got there first found strewn garbage and mud all over.

‘Diverts’, as we called them, were the order of the next few days. One team started the day with a live feature in the FPJ Studios for Fernando Poe Jr.’s birthday. By lunchtime they were airing shots of a flooded Araneta Avenue. But for TV Patrol, they moved to the Marikina River banks for Niña Corpuz’s live report on the river level.

Noveleta, Cavite--An SUV parked by the subsided floods. Garbage surrounds it. (Shot by Filemon Rocamora)

Noveleta, Cavite–An SUV parked by the subsided floods. Garbage surrounds it. (Shot by Filemon Rocamora)

The Noveleta team found themselves rushing back to San Pedro, Laguna to air President Benigno Aquino III’s quick visit to an evacuation center there. The next day, they returned to Cavite for another P-Noy stop.

TV Patrol continued its remote anchoring. Korina Sanchez and team next visited Bataan. And after two more days in Cebu, Noli De Castro waded the floods of Pampanga and Bulacan.

Malolos, Bulacan--Noli De Castro anchors TV Patrol from MacArthur Highway. Click to watch his report. (Shot c/o Bert Apostol)

Malolos, Bulacan–Noli De Castro anchors TV Patrol from MacArthur Highway. Click to watch his report. (Shot c/o Bert Apostol)

The key to a live anchoring or reporter standup in the floods is finding a dry, elevated spot for the ENG van or satellite truck safely nearby. Once the crucial electronics are secured, the camera and the anchor can approach the water.

As the week drew to a close, the videos of destruction gradually gave way to residents huddling in evacuation centers and others trying to return home. A cameraman transmitting by broadband was sent to Manila to cover the siphoning of water from the submerged Lagusnilad underpass.

Sto. Tomas, Pampanga-- Karen Davila and ABS-CBN Pampanga's Jayvie Dizon report live. (Shot by Irish Vidal)

Sto. Tomas, Pampanga– Karen Davila and ABS-CBN Pampanga’s Jayvie Dizon report live. Click to watch the video. (Shot by Irish Vidal)

The stories moved on to aid and the lighter side Filipinos mustered up amidst the calamity. An ENG van was diverted to Sagip Kapamilya’s warehouse in Examiner Street in Quezon City to cover the influx and packing of relief goods.

One by one, the ENG teams were allowed to return to base. It was a relief for one team that had been braving winds in Aurora Province from an earlier typhoon since August 12.

By Saturday, only one remained—the team in Bulacan which was put on standby in Malolos for the weekend, in case the approaching Low Pressure Area turned rogue.

At least, at last, sunshine took the place of rain.

Marikina--Sagip Kapamilya's relief operations in H. Bautista Elementary School (Shot c/o Irish Vidal)

Balagtas, Bulacan - Evacuees on their fifth day unable to return home. (Shot by Gani Taoatao)Top: Marikina–Sagip Kapamilya’s relief operations in H. Bautista Elementary School (Shot c/o Irish Vidal); Bottom: Balagtas, Bulacan – Evacuees on their fifth day unable to return home. Click to watch Jorge Carino’s TVP story. (Shot by Gani Taoatao)

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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TV Patrol’s big day

By Andrew Jonathan S. Bagaoisan

Aeta men setting up TV Patrol 25 marker in Floridablanca, Pampanga, 4 March 2012 (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

(Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

High up a mountain in Nabuclod, Floridablanca, Pampanga on the night of March 4, six Aeta men mixed cement to fill the foundation where a slab of hardened lahar would stand.

The wind chilled, and the only light came from a blue-head lamp started up by the ABS-CBN technical crew that was also setting up on this upland eco-tourism park.

The 5-foot tall slab lay beside a shallow pit. Embossed on it: “TV Patrol 25,” followed by rows of commemorative text.

“Good thing it took us till night to bring this up here,” said Mae Purificacion, one of two women from ABS-CBN News’ business group who were supervising the work.

“Otherwise, other people here would be taking shots of it way too early.”

The tech crew had already mobbed the slab with photo-ops after it was brought out from a crew cab. But no posting on Facebook yet, they were warned.

They only hoped the cement would harden by morning.

Such was the subtle flurry of activity in the hours counting down to the celebration of TV Patrol’s 25th birthday.

Umagang Kay Ganda hosts Andrei Felix & Venus Raj shooting live in Pampanga. (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

Andrei Felix & Venus Raj (Shot by Anjo Bagaoisan)

The tech team prepped for Umagang Kay Ganda, where hosts Andrei Felix and Venus Raj would ride the park’s zip line and cable car live.

In Manila that night, the people at post-production outfit Acid House ran overtime rendering the new opening billboard (OBB) and segment intros for the special March 5 telecast.

Acee Vitangcol, an ABS-CBN digital strategist put the finishing touches on the timeline of TV Patrol’s Facebook page. It would go public at midnight with photos of the show’s past sets, logos, and reporting moments.

The network was pulling out all the stops for this milestone. After all, TV Patrol was one of the driving forces that propelled ABS-CBN back to ratings leadership in 1988.

On its silver anniversary, the groundbreaking newscast was giving back to the public.

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In Bilibid, BF: A wait ends, a wait goes on

Part 2 of “Awaiting freedom, awaiting justice.” Read it here.

Jail bars at the National Bilibid Prison (Shot by Thomas Carpio, ABS-CBN News)

(Shot by Thomas Carpio, ABS-CBN News)

Two layers of jail bars separate the detainees of Bilibid from the outside world. This basement entrance marks the boundary between the facade of the Bureau of Corrections and the sprawling prison compound.

There, Sir Jorge and four of our cameramen waited for any stir. From the lull, he reported live for ANC. We had our cameraman pan around for live shots. My MacBook recorded the feed, for later use and should anything happen.

A few minutes into the report, the camera caught an orange-shirted Hubert Webb enter the holding area.

Sir Shadow directed, while I was on the phone to our ANC coordinator Mnemo. “Tell Sir Jorge to keep talking!” she shouted. The people at the ANC control room were squealing at Webb’s first ever shots in years.

First image of Hubert Webb after acquittal (Shot by Thomas Carpio, ABS-CBN News)

(Shot by Thomas Carpio, ABS-CBN News)

As before, so today. ANC had first dibs on the first verdict, and it had come full circle in this decisive one.

As the other convicts exited the same gate, we were asking each other who each person was. First time I heard of the other characters in this high-profile case.

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Strictly politics*

Orange bottles of mineral water branded with Manny Villar's name and face given in Las Pinas.

Branded mineral water bottles from your favorite candidate

Before the campaign period for the national elections, there was the pre-campaign period. Emphasis on “campaign.”

And why not? Philippine politics seems to be an eternal operation to stay in power or go higher.

Thus you find the prevalent tarps of smiling faces greeting every occasion from the fiesta to the funeral. Plus the same strain of posters with their forced acronyms and subliminal messages.

A little girl in Filipiniana attracts the camera hours before the Mar Roxas - Korina Sanchez weddingGuests arrive for the wedding of the election season in Sto. Domingo Church.

Plus these events perfectly timed for the season.

And thus we all know that this person is vying for this position before he or she even says it or files papers at the Comelec.

Only a few weeks before the filing deadline did we see prospective candidates affirm or dismiss speculations on their running.

Joseph Estrada, Jejomar Binay, Juan Ponce Enrile and Jinggoy Estrada pose for the media before they proclaim their 2010 candidacies. Joseph Estrada finally declares his 2010 wish for "the last performance of my life" in Tondo Manila

Including a former president bent to continue his unfinished business.

The ride all started with the passing of the late great Cory Aquino that changed the political destinies of some. Soon the leading was left off, the nonviable now probable. Swiftly the tides turned and the rabbits jumped fences.

I’ve often mused about how the many considerable choices for 2010 came about due to who ran and won in 2004. Potential presidents are only now coming into the fray.

Today I still can’t pick among my top four bets.

Our field operations teams met this preview of campaign 2010 by covering the proclamations live.

Seats at the Lakas-Kampi-CMD convention with its predetermined presidential bethttps://i2.wp.com/images.pinoyjourn.multiply.com/image/1/photos/44/400x400/71/Lakas-Kampi-convention-Gibo-6.jpg

One of the biggest was by the country's biggest political party, with its already-determined presidential bet.

Those minute to hour-long airings mask the early call times, ocular inspections and intensive coordination needed for a crew of ten to twenty to set up and air. Here you learn the power of anticipating programs and making connections.

And amid the hustle and bustle for Halalan 2010, we also see the twilight days of a president and her government cramming to claim history’s verdict.

Department of Energy Secretary Angelo Reyes with UP economics professor Winnie Monsod after debating oil priceshttps://i0.wp.com/images.pinoyjourn.multiply.com/image/1/photos/44/400x400/86/Duque-DOH-preps-for-New-Year-2010-4.jpg

And cramming, as well, for another run of office.

It was in one such coverage that I smiled at President Arroyo and got to shake her hand–not in Malacanang, but in one of the few areas I guess she was at her proudest best.

We could not air live her second final economic update in a Makati hotel. I could only check on our reporters and on the event.

There I found a childhood friend with the Foreign Affairs Department on duty as an usher.

President Gloria Arroyo, officials and PSG walk the red carpet out of the Philippine Economic Briefing in Makati

PGMA just a few feet away.

Soon the Presidential entourage walked out of the forum hall on the red carpet. My friend and the ushers lined up to greet them. Unsure what to do, I stood beside her at the end.

As President Arroyo shook hands with the ushers, I knew she would end with me before they proceeded to the photo op area.

Somehow we were not both sure how to greet each other, I wearing a red collared shirt and jeans in a place where dark corporate attires ruled.

Our hands and gazes awkwardly, silently met, and then left off.

Telling the encounter to my workmates, one asked why I was cordial when I came from a school supposedly angry with the President.

I answered, “Wala namang personalan (It’s nothing personal).”

Much as our politics should be.

See all shots from the topsy-turvy turns in politics taken during the daily grind at this pinoyjourn Multiply album.

*Apologies, of course, to the long-running ANC public affairs show.