As I sit down to type this I am shaking… I am shaking because I know as soon as you mention “Media” here in the Philippines a lot of Filipinos will throw up negativity, anger, fear, and bad vibes. I will never forget the first time media approached me here in the Philippines. I was excited! I was excited at the thought of getting a platform to share things that I believed were important with the world around me… it was an exhilarating feeling.
I remember sitting in the park in Cagayan de Oro with a reporter from Abs-Cbn sharing my thoughts and feelings, while being interviewed. It was an amazing feeling. Up until that point in my life I had never understood anything about the media industry, let alone the media industry in the Philippines. When that interview was done I remember writing about it and just feeling awesome! I remember sharing about it with friends, family and all over the internet! It was just amazing that people in media would care about what I believed in…
But then I started to get messages…
“Watch Out! The media industry is all about business, and will look at you as money.”
“Media here in the Philippines will use you!”
“Don’t ever get to involved with media in the Philippines Kulas! They don’t care about you.”
I got flooded with negative messages. Messages that painted “media” here in the Philippines as a big scary monster that was ready to use you, chew you up, spit you out and then not care about you. That was the impression Filipinos were giving me. That was the impression everyone was giving me. Maybe people were just worried about me? I don’t know… but what I do know is there was a lot of “Hate” (ughhh I don’t like that word. But that is the only way I could describe it) associated to “media” here in the Philippines.
So why am I writing this?
Well… I think it is because of that word “hate” and its association to “media”. It seems to be something that has become more and more common on the internet. It makes me sad, I don’t think it is fair and I believe it isn’t representative of the people working in media here in the Philippines. When I first started interacting with media in this country I had this distinct fear of the people working in it because of the messages I was getting and reading. But as the years of my #BecomingFilipino journey have continued, and my experiences with people in media have occurred… I have nothing but admiration for those working in the industry. Especially here in the Philippines. I think it is about time I share with you a few stories of why I admire my media friends here in the Philippines. For what purpose? Well I don’t know really… but I have been reading so many messages of “hate” lately… It makes me feel sad.
Abs-Cbn Cagayan de Oro – Inspiration in a Newsroom
I will never forget the first time I ever went to Abs-Cbn in Cagayan de Oro. I was invited to the station because they wanted to learn more about me, and what I was doing. You know what happened that first day… I sat and I talked.
I talked and I talked and I talked. In fact I sat in the news room for three hours in a chair next to the desk of a guy name Joel who works in news and current affairs. This was July, 2014. There were reporters coming and going, people hard at work, and everyone looked crazy busy! It was the first time I had ever seen “behind the scenes” in a news room. I kid you not, I really did sit there for 3 hours just interacting, and sharing my thoughts and feelings with everyone. I can guarantee I was a massive distraction to everyone’s work.
But all of those people working there the news room, they were okay with it. They even took time to listen to me. It was then I realized something as well…
Not only were they listening to me. They were listening to people all over the country as well. They were running back and forth, making phone calls, driving off into the middle of nowhere, and dedicating long hours of their lives everyday just to listen. To listen and try to make a difference in the world around them. Since that day, I found myself becoming close friends with everyone at Abs-Cbn Cagayan de Oro. In fact… I call them “my barkada” when people ask me about our relationship. Since that first day in July, 2014, I have probably hangout and sat in that news room more then 100 times. The station manager even asked me one day “Why?”
“Because It is inspiring.”
It is inspiring to watch people dedicate their lives everyday for other people.
That is what happens. No sleep? Doesn’t matter. Personal issues in your life? Doesn’t matter. No holiday? Doesn’t matter. What matters? Other people, their stories, their lives and helping make a difference in them.
To this day. Whenever I am in Cagayan de Oro I try and invite myself over to Abs-Cbn to just “istambay” in the station. It inspires me. People working in media here deserve admiration for their service for others. You wouldn’t believe the personal battles people in media go through just to try and make a difference. It is beautiful, inspiring and something I admire.
I could kick off about my experiences with my friends in Abs-Cbn Davao and General Santos as well… but it would lead to a repeat of what I just wrote.
Thank YOU for the inspiration.
GMA State of the Nation – Your Story Before My Own Story
Back in July 2014, a guy named Serafin Gozon (not related to the owner) contacted me from GMA Manila. We talked about the Philippines, happiness, my #BecomingFilipino journey… and then nothing came of it. Over the course of that year I spontaneously kept in touch with him. From time to time we would send each other a text message. But again nothing ever came of it. Next thing I know it is December 2014, and we began messaging again. In fact that led to me having a Skype conversation with him and one of his work colleagues Lian.
What happened next?
They listened. For almost an hour they sat and listened to my story. They gave up their time for me. They put my story first and foremost before anything else in their lives that day. In the end they ended up airing my story on State of the Nation with Jessica Soho. Wow! What an amazing moment! They helped me share happiness, inspiration and love to the entire Philippines! They gave me a chance to have a bigger voice…
They did this while they were fighting for their own voice. Not even able to talk about their own story:
Both Serafin and Lian were going through immensely difficult battles in their lives. They were in the middle of a battle of under appreciation. Being beat down by what they truly loved doing. But never would it stop them from trying to make a difference and share the stories of others. Their story of under value as an employee was worthy of a national audience, a national audience they had at their fingertips… but they couldn’t even bring it up. Yet without hesitation, they would put their own battles in the background, to fight for others.
I was one of those others, and I am sure there were many more stories over the years that they have fought for and shared.
I still can’t believe it as I type this… There are probably so many people in media who have massive personal battles they are fighting. Yet they still dedicate their lives to helping people fight for theirs. That is selflessness, that is admirable and that is inspirational.
Thank YOU Serafin and Lian for inspiring my life.
The TV Industry – They Are People.
The past two years of my life in the Philippines and my experiences with media have been something I never could have imagined. Two years ago I had no clue how any media works. What I saw on TV was all I knew about the media industry. But over the past two years that has changed. I have become friends with station managers, have many good friends who produce, write, or research for local and national tv shows, have co-hosted a live morning show as well as radio show, have countless friends who are reporters for local and national news, and I even have friends now who are helping create a TV show with me.
I have found myself just hanging out In three regional Abs-Cbn stations as well as both National Abs-Cbn and GMA stations. Why? How? I don’t really know… it just happened.
I have met so many amazing people working for both Abs-Cbn, GMA, various media outlets and magazines… and that is the thing… they are people. Awesome, friendly, hard-working, caring… people. Over the past two years I have read so many negative attacks, and even more so lately about “media”. There have been some incredibly awful things put out about the “media” industry.
I think sometimes people forget… the “media industry”… it is made up of people. Tens of thousands of people who sacrifice so much just to try and make a difference.
Why did I write this?
I just wanted to praise those people. I just wanted to share something positive about those people. Because from what I have been reading… there has been so much “hate” thrown at many of those people… many of those who really dedicate their lives to try and make positive differences in the lives of others.
I was scared to write this. I don’t know why, but I just felt that because there was so much hate thrown at the media all the time… I would have hate thrown at me if I ever wrote anything about “the media”. I was scared. But now I realize… I shouldn’t be. Instead I should be proud to share something positive about those people who have inspired so much in my life.
I hope you choose to share something positive about them as well. Because they certainly deserve it.
Power On Media Friends. Thank YOU for inspiring my life and making such a difference in the lives of so many.