Friday, January 23, 2015

VIDEO: Be Vigilant Against Kidnappers

San Carlos City, Pangasinan: Parents here are warned to strictly monitor the whereabouts of their children going to school, even after classes. With the latest report of alleged kidnapping of a 10-year-old, grade four pupil, who happened to escape from three perpetrators, fears mounted among parents and authorities. Thus, vigilance and precautionary measures are strongly advised.

You may watch the complete details here: VIDEO 24 ORAS NCL

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Balitang Amianan now 24 Oras North Central Luzon

Part of GMA News and Public Affairs’ move to fortify its stance as the most trusted news organization in the Philippines, all its regional stations nationwide will adopt the title of the national newscast ‘24 Oras’ plus the name of the coverage area.
Thus, Balitang Amianan, the undisputed regional news program in North Central Luzon for more than six straight years since its first airing in 2008, has followed suit and carried 24 Oras North and Central Luzon as its new title!
24 Oras Logo taken at 24 NCL Facebook Page

This major re-branding is part of 24 Oras' re-launch last Nov. 10, with veteran broadcasters Mike Enriquez and Mel Tianco welcoming Vicky Morales as their newest co-anchor.
For 24 Oras North Central Luzon, CJ Torida and Joyce Segui remain as main anchors, backed up by its new roster of field reporters.
24 Oras North Central Luzon News Team
Photo from 24 Oras NCL Facebook Page
"We are re-introducing our regional newscasts not only to give our audience an improved visual experience but more importantly to also make a clear statement that GMA's regional newscasts and the nationwide '24 Oras' share the same identity and mission which is to deliver balanced, unbiased news and without vested interest whatsoever. As we say it in Filipino, 'walang kinikilingan, walang pinoprotektahan, Serbisyong Totoo lamang,'" says Cel Amores, Assistant Vice-President and Head for GMA Regional News and Public Affairs.
From Monday to Friday, catch the all-new 24 Oras newscasts over seven GMA regional stations in Dagupan, Cebu, Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, Ilocos and Bicol. 

Article first published HERE. #

Friday, January 03, 2014

Amazing 2013, Welcome 2014! Praise the Lord

"Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations." (Psalm 100:1-5, NIV)

There are many things to thank God for this 2013. I could say that God is indeed good all the time, despite all the trials, sufferings, and lack I experienced last year. I decided to count my blessings and triumphs instead of being frustrated with the things that did not materialize or plans unfulfilled last year. With a grateful heart, I thank God for 2013.

January 2013, I was awarded by Tagnawa Media Awards (University of Pangasinan, Dagupan City) as the Best Male TV Field Reporter. It was the second award I received after Dap-ay Awards in Baguio City had given me the same recognition for 2012. Such recognitions inspire me to work even harder, always aiming for integrity and excellence, all for God’s glory.

Best Male TV Field Reporter,
2nd Tagnawa Media Awards, Lingayen, Pangasinan
First quarter of 2013 was also filled with God’s grace and strength. I was able to pursue my graduate studies in language and literature, and am now in the serious and tedious process of writing my research proposal, and hopefully, the research itself. I pray that I will be able to complete the graduate program this 2014.

I prayed for a relationship and God granted my prayers in May. My girlfriend Ida becomes my best answered prayer for 2013. I hope and pray that our relationship will grow, as we continue to seek God’s will for us. We covet your prayers.

:) Mt. Pulag, Benguet, Philippines
I also thanked God for my parents’ vacation in Boracay for their wedding anniversary last year. I served as their tour guideJ. I look forward to be travelling with them every year, so I pray for more provisions and favor.

The Lord never fails to give strength, protection and favor in my work. With all the different disaster and calamity coverage, crimes, politics, and human interest stories I covered last year, I believe the Lord saw me through. PTL!

Last year was also a challenging year for volunteer work and ministry. I thanked God for every opportunity that I was able to minister to students. I thanked God for the time we spent in prayer, bible study and fellowship. I also thanked God for my support group in the church. I pray that I will be more passionate in the ministry, loving “them” as Jesus loves me so much that He died for my sins.

I prayed for promotion last year, but the Lord granted me position and favor. I thanked God that He knows what’s best for me, and there will always be time for learning, patience and reflection. I saw it as a test of patience and humility. I thank God because I believe he will grant my heart’s desire.

Baguio Flower Festival/Panagbenga 2013 hosts 

Primera Balita 
Before 2013 had ended, I grabbed the opportunity for online learning offered by an international media training provider in Netherlands. For more than six weeks, I have learned new things that I could use in my work. I am praying for more exciting and challenging learning opportunities abroad this 2014.

I thank God for my family, my mentors, my friends, workmates and even the strangers I met along the way. These were the people I value and treasure so much. They are significant people contributory to my journey towards maturity, discipline and character. I speak blessings for all of them.

With a grateful heart and faith, 2014 is definitely the Year of the Lord.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Race for Life, Run for Scholars

Race for Life! Run for the benefit of the scholars!

Run for a cause has become widespread. It is being employed not only by running enthusiasts but also by companies or organizations with purpose and cause in mind. And there’s really nothing bad in joining one, unless it’s illegal. By running for a cause, you not only get to be physically fit, you also help in generating funds to achieve one’s goal.

People have varied reasons in joining fun run. I, myself, have personal motivations too. Whether you run to lose weight, gain friends, sweat like hell, or just want to help, running per se far outweighs the disadvantages that you can think of.

And so I run.

Race for LIFE 2013 buddy fun run is a great venue for the entire running community. I believe in the cause of the run, being initiated by the Real LIFE Foundation which is "passionate about providing a better future for underprivileged Filipinos by giving them access to a good education and transforming their communities through community service." 

Proceeds of the fun run will help their scholars go to college as reflected in their motto “Be a buddy, help somebuddy.” That’s why even I was coughing and suffering from colds a day before the buddy fun run, I still join the run to show my support!

Here’s my Buddy, Marco Stephen Abarabar, one of our victory group leaders. I think we just jogged all throughout the 5K distance, and we had fruitful conversations along the way.

The Tuesday Group! 

The Crowd! Aside from Victory members, police force, whole family and some friends joined the fun run too!

Thanks to all the organizers, logistics, runners, even those who were assigned to man the traffic, water station and baggage area. Your labor is not in vain. The Lord be glorified!

You want to run and help? Check this outRace for LIFE 2013

Friday, May 10, 2013

Five Years in the 5th Worst Job in the World, and I have no regrets!

Five years of God’s faithfulness and goodness in the workplace. Five years of testing, trial and triumph. Five years of enduring, enjoying and engaging with people, with facts, with stories. Five years of both heart-warming and heart-breaking realities of events, of lives. Five years of unwavering hope, inspiration and public service. Five years, and counting.

This is the job that I prayed for and wanted to do. Initially, I just wanted to write. But I was given the rare opportunity not only to write, but also to be heard and seen, through the audio-visual medium. I am a broadcast journalist, and I love being one.
 A survey by CareerCast in 2012 ranked being a journalist as the fifth-worst job to have and become. The stress, the irregular working hours, the not-so-high compensation, the excruciating waiting discipline requirement, and yes, the pressures from the management! These and all other points may be true. But seeing the other side of the coin, becoming a journalist, at least on my part, proves to be one of the most fulfilling, rewarding and challenging jobs to have, ever!

I have experienced amazing and countless moments of “first times” because of my job. All these were free of charge, only guts to pay. For the first time, I was able to ride in a helicopter during my extensive marijuana eradication coverage in the hinterlands of Cordillera. After touching almost the clouds and the heavens, I then submerged myself somewhere at the bottom of the sea for an underwater coverage. It was my first time then to scuba dive, and I always get excited whenever there’s a chance for an underwater coverage. Work should be fun!
I get to eat foods I have never tasted before. I get to travel to places I have never imagined to discover. I get to meet and greet celebrities and high-profiled personalities. So? Well, I have never earned and received money from them, but we call it psychological income! And all these boost our confidence!

It was my first time to be bribed by people of hidden interest. But through God’s grace, He preserved me, and still is preserving me to have clean hands. One can live right and clean in this industry marred also by lies and corruption. We also have to police our very ranks.

It will take some pages to put into details all my first times. But definitely, these first times were repository of lessons and knowledge, of experience and realities, of hope and joy, of courage and discipline. More importantly, these first times were springboard for the second, third and countless times of new learning. Not only the unfolded events that grant insights but also the various stories and pleas of people I have come to meet along the way.

Street sweepers have their stories to tell. They earn from our trashes, but they despise our garbage. Beggars wander night and day, but they remain homeless and voiceless. Prostituted men and women hide from the shadow of immorality because there is lack of covering and comfort, of opportunity to earn through a decent job. They need real love and respect. Corruption still exists, injustice still prevails, but only a few stands straight and principled. Poverty issues are favorite topics, yet there is not much action being taken to address it. Or actions are just too slow .

Accidents, crime, victims of abuses, and yes, disasters! These fall under the category of hard news. Sometimes, these are indeed hard to swallow. These are difficult to cover. You need to be immersed; you need to be there on-site to contextualize your stories. I need to be sensitive and responsible even more. I need a heart to empathize and a mind to comprehend the real score of the story. I need to be really human in dealing with people. They, too, are humans with feelings and emotions, with soul and spirit.
In journalism, particularly in broadcast media, I am challenged to exercise the responsibility and power it holds. In the Philippines where media is considered to be the “Fourth State,” my role as a member of that imperfect yet influential institution is very vital. Whatever stories that I report, people generally believe them to be true and factual. Therefore, I consider my job as an expression, not only of my passion, but also of my high regard towards truth, good governance, transparency, and other significant advocacies.

Journalists are heralds, both of good and bad news. As a media practitioner for five years, I wish and hope that I have become a herald of TRUTH, good or bad news that might be.


Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Teasers for Past Travels

I will try to revive blogging! 

If it's not too late, maybe I could just write something about my previous travels. Besides, memories are still fresh when I traveled to Singapore, Korea and Mt. Pulag in Benguet last year. Those were amazing moments, my travel highlights last year! Without any bragging rights, really, I just want to write again, loving this free space, making known what's inside my thoughts. I'll just utilize my previous travels as springboards for me to be back on writing. Wish me well... 

Teasers 1, 2, 3! 


Seoul, South Korea

Mt. Pulag, Benguet
Promise, I'll be back! :)

Sunday, September 02, 2012

A Celebration to Bridge the Gap between Generations

It was an extraordinary birthday celebration for the president of IVCF Regional Advisory Council in Northern Luzon. Aside from surpassing another year of being a senior citizen, Tita Helen Monta, now 61, testified how faithful and good God is in and through her life. Her celebration was not only filled with gratitude and worship to God; it has become an event to bridge the gap between generations of IVCF graduates and students who seldom meet and have a good time together as one corporate body of Christ.

Tita Helen acknowledged that there was indeed a gap from their generation and ours (naks!). That’s why RAC decided to conduct their meetings to be joined by both graduates and students.

In our midst were the members of the first batch of SVCF in Baguio sometime before and after 1970s. It was also joined by former staff workers Tita Amor Hallowell, Tita Bing Roncesvalles, pioneering and Graduate Team members, and other successful “nobodies” before they knew Christ, but now occupy positions in their sphere of strategic influences. It was also a time to pray for Tita Anavic Bagamaspad who will be returning to California, USA few days after the meeting.

Majority of the “first” members of IVCF  in Baguio told stories about the height of activism, and the flourishing Christian movement at the same time during the Marcos regime. Madams Vicky Rico-Costina, Beth Calinawagan, Anavic Bagamaspad and Tito Ruffy Chungalao recalled how fervent they were in proclaiming Christ despite the pressuring student activism in the campus. They were challenged to be excellent in their studies and at the same time, to proclaim that the revolution of the heart through Christ, not through arm struggle, would effect change in the community.

About 30 IVCFers celebrate God's faithfulness and love
at Tita Helen's place, Baguio City
Pastor Mario Bildan, an IVCFer from SLU, evoked the presence of an evangelical organization inside the catholic university. During his time, the university recognized an evangelical group, him speaking at various student retreats and working hand in hand with the school’s officials.

Dr. Mario Abuan, an outstanding alumnus of UP Baguio, described himself as nothing and nobody after realizing that his religiosity and righteousness are void and futile without Christ in his life. He is thankful for the people who “discipled” him despite his canny ways of avoidance. “I saw something different in the lives of these people,” Dr. Abuan recalls, referring to the discipleship efforts made by Tito Ruffy and SVCFers of his time. He now maintains a clinic in La Trinidad, Benguet, and very willing to conduct rural health services.

These are just some of the old stories ringing so fresh in the hearts of the younger generation. Indeed, we are surrounded by great people, enough sources of inspiration and testimonies of God’s faithfulness and love.

After sharing stories and member’s profile, IVCF students rendered birthday songs for Tita Helen. Then Arabelle Morales, IVCF NL staff worker, presented major updates from the 2012 Corporation Meeting. By consensus and appointment, Dr. Mario Abuan is now the vice-president of IVCF RAC-NL, to fill in the position left by Tita June Falancy, who went to heaven last July 29. 

We ended the fellowship forming a circle with the traditional right-over-left hand position. It was a wonderful connection, a cycle that fuels everyone vigor and power by the Holy Spirit. It was a bond beyond generation, a link to the missing harmony, and a union of a diverse community, all glued by the lordship of Jesus Christ. To God be the glory and honor! Hallelujah!

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Lessons of Running

I quickly went to bed upon arrival from Baguio City last night to get enough sleep for the next day run. My running clothes and ionic drinks were all ready. I just needed to wake up at 4am to chase the 5am time for the 10K Category of the 36th National Milo Marathon, Dagupan City leg.

I didn’t have in mind the goal of topping the race. I’ll leave that to the professional runners who have gone miles running all their lives. I just wanted to run, or to jog and walk when exhausted, and enjoy the lively and healthy spirit of the running community. It makes one young and fit anyway, so it really should be fun.

Oats and two bananas completed my light breakfast. Afterwards, I proceeded to the race venue trying to be on time. Funny thing, I ran with my messenger bag strapped on my chest because I failed to deposit my things in the baggage tent, otherwise, I’d be late for the race.

Lesson # 1: Come to the race venue at least 30 minutes ahead of time. Hundreds of runners would blur your familiarity of the place and most of your time will be wasted on asking the other “where’s.” J Anyway, since my bag distracted my running pace, I’ve found a way to leave it at one of the water stations. Yahoo! I felt like running with freedom, no baggage, no burden, as if my soul wanders in tranquility and solace of being so light.

The last time I ran in a Milo event was in 2010 under the same category. Indeed, I could say that Milo Marathon is still the longest, biggest and grandest running event in the Philippines. It has found its niche of fostering camaraderie among running enthusiasts, promoting fitness, wellness and discipline, and ‘building champions in life.’ I took so much delight of seeing people, young and old, run the best way they can, carrying that “kaya-ko-to” attitude to finish the race. After all, it’s not really how fast you finish the race, but how you run the race itself. Lesson # 2: Stick to your goal. You will still get your valued prices: fulfillment and peace of mind.

The hydration station was very helpful for runners. That’s where people could drink and cool down. Passing the 5K category, I thought all along that things have changed when it comes to cleanliness. But when we met the other runners on our way back, disposable cups were scattered at the hydration station. The proper disposal of trash was neglected by multitude of runners, most of them young people. I could see how the volunteers impressively served the runners by way of offering them water. There were even garbage aides around the area to pick up the used cups. But some of the careless runners just threw the cups everywhere. They might have forgotten one aspect of discipline, that is, to throw their garbage properly. Lesson #3: Value the volunteers, and don't make their lives miserable. Don't treat them as janitors. You are a runner, but please don't run away with your trash, okay? :)

After more than an hour of running, jogging, and a bit of walking, I finished the race and got another 10K certificate. I was the 81st from the 132 runners under 10K category with an official Gun Time of 01:11:05 and Chip Time of 01:10:58. See the complete 10K results here during the Milo Marathon in Dagupan City last July 8, 2012.

But the highlight of my running story was my acquaintance with Mr. Alex Garcia, a father who lost his one leg after an accident more than a decade ago, and his eight-year-old daughter, Kristine. I found out that Kristine lost her bib number, and so the father decided to give his bib number to her daughter so she could officially join the race. Together, they finished the 3-kilometer run!

Mr. Alex Garcia and his 8-year-old daughter Kristine
 finishing 3K together

It was a touching story of multiple LESSONS to learn from:

4. Never allow physical handicap, sickness, or infirmities hinder you from continuing life and achieving your goal.
5. Who you are is what you should be. If you are a father, then by all means, act like one.
6. Running becomes meaningful if seasoned with vision and purpose.
7. Sacrifice is a mark of love. Remember the Cross.
8. And lastly, as they say, life is a journey. Run LIFE the best way you can.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Backpacker: Experience in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

It’s my second time to travel alone in a country I’ve never been into. I chose Vietnam for its simplicity and historical richness. But purposely, I just wanted to explore new culture and test my faith in travelling by solitude. With my backpack, I travelled with just enough resources but believing in the limitless grace and abundance of God. I carried in my heart the hope and excitement of discovering the mystery of what they call the “unknown,” unlocking the secrets of uncertainty which somehow scares those who live in comfort zones, like I do.

I have zero knowledge of the place aside from the information I rushed surfing over the internet. With less than three hours of flying in the dark sky, our arrival was a total relief. I made it! I landed into a place so strange and promising I could hardly express my feeling. I went on the usual process of queuing my passport to the immigration section. No questions asked, no problem encountered, so far so good, I thought.

But the worst thing happened to me! I was about to fall in line at the airport’s money changer when I discovered something’s missing. I lost my wallet! I was hundred percent sure it was just on the pocket of my cargo pants, but I couldn’t find it. I felt numb, and began to panic. I have just arrived but I wanted to go back home! Lord, help me! I couldn’t remember how many times I prayed to the Lord for rescue. The feeling was indescribable. Everything was in my wallet. I felt so poor.

I proceeded to the lost and found section and asked for assistance. Language barrier came in but I tried to communicate in the best way I can to relay my concern. The lady staff was kind enough to assist me and told me to just wait while she’s coordinating with the airport’s security. While waiting, I remembered Dr. Son, a friend I met at EAGC in Hong Kong. We were in constant communication via email prior to my travel, and I decided to call him even at unholy hour. Dr. Son was accommodating enough to listen to me, but I could sense he didn’t know what to do as well. While talking to him, somebody from the airport security came in with my wallet in his hand! Praised God! They found it inside the aircraft. I literally uttered halleluiahs many times. I thanked Dr. Son for accepting my call and told him I’d love to see him the next day. I thanked the staff, the airport security. I found a friend in Ho Chi Minh City. God remains my confidence.

I exchanged my money for Vietnam Dong. I rode a taxi and went on to a decent hotel where I could rest. It was about 2am, one hour behind Philippine time. Rest mode!

I woke up early, excited to explore the city. I started my day communing with God. It was almost a thanksgiving prayer, with some petitions for safety and enjoyment. This time, I learned my lesson. I left some money at the hotel room, just expecting the worse, and roamed around the city with just my camera bag strapped in me. And I began my journey in full liberty and thrill.

(Dian ako sumakay :) )
Like a usual traveler, I went to war museums, the old seat of government, statues, restaurants, old temples, parks, market, shopping area and other outskirts of Ho Chi Minh City in one day. I haven’t really explored the entirety of Saigon, but I guess that’s enough for the meantime. I said to myself, I would go back soon to explore other parts of Vietnam, particularly the countryside where natural wonders are located. It would be happier if I have companyJ

Two thumbs up for the food in Vietnam! I’m not into using chopstick, but tried my best as their food were just irresistible. Aside from being delicious, I bet most native foods are good for the healthJ

It’s good thing I found delight in walking. Thanks for the map as well, it complemented my instinct to locate where I stayed. I also enjoyed the night walk, like what I always do in Baguio City, Philippines. Saigon at night was generally safe and peaceful, except for the thought of being bumped by the reigning motorcycles almost everywhereJ

Sleeping is another self delight. But it was a cold night for me, literally. I could hardly sleep, thinking the peculiarity of the adventure I got into. In my heart, I was convinced to believe that finding solace in solitude was possible. Although I also believed that there’s no greater comfort if accompanied by people closest to your heart. And God is my comforter after all. The words in Psalms 71: 20-21 affirmed this truth, “Though you made me see troubles, many and bitter, you will restore my life again; from the depths of the earth you will again bring me up. You will increase my honor and comfort me once again.”

The next day was intended for corporate worship. I decided to attend the service in Dr. Son’s church. He was very kind to fetch me at the hotel, and we travelled for more than 30 minutes thru a motorcycle.

I didn’t understand the service since there’s no translation. But Doctor Son tried his best to provide keywords for me to grasp what the pastor was teaching. The message was about being careful with SIN. Indeed, there is no foreign language that God cannot understand, and there’s no other gospel other than that of Christ (Gal. 1:8-9) which I couldn’t relate to.

 After the service, we ate together in a Vietamese restaurant. There I tried to taste their fried spring roll, their usual food. For my whole Vietnam tour, I survived eating noodles, noodles, and noodlesJ Aside from the food, I was also blessed to see Dr. Son’s wonderful family. I was inspired to witness their simple living. I just smiled when he asked me when I would get marriedJ. I just said I would let him know. I praised God for the time we’ve met. Thanks for the friendshipJ.

After which, I did my last itinerary! I went to Ben Thanh Market to buy some stuff for pasalubong. I went back to the busy and lively place of Pha Ga Num to buy a jacket, the only item I bought for myself. Everything else was reserved for family and friends back home. I tried my best to haggle for the best priceJ

My energy was consumed exhaustively by walking and walking and walking. I went back to the hotel for short sleep. But I found myself watching HBO instead. I even tuned in to my cell phone for background music but couldn’t help either. I was prompted to pray, give thanks to the Lord for everything that He has done. I praised God for the scariest moment I have ever experienced (lost and found wallet), and the simplest opportunity of being reunited with a friend I met almost two years ago. Somehow, I felt guilty for being insensitive to the calling of my Creator for intimate communion. But I still praised God because He showed me his love, grace and mercy afresh.  

In my prayer, I realized it is good to travel alone. Solitude brings focus, sense of purpose, and independence. But I also believe that I’d be happier if I travel with a company: family, friend, or a special someone. I cherished moments with myself and with God, and I am looking forward to lavishing moments with someone someday.

I wish I could have more time to stay and visit other places in Vietnam. I haven’t seen the half of it. And I desire to be back someday, and that time I’ll be more prepared and excited to bless others and be blessed as wellJ