Archive for May, 2013

Last Tuesday, May 7th, we were invited to this press conference hosted by the Makati Medical Center College (MMCC). This school is kind of new to the ears, but is actually 38-years-old. It was formerly called Remedios T. Romualdez Memorial School and later on to Makati Medical Center College of Nursing. They called on a press conference to let the people know the “new direction” the school was taking, with its brand new set of administrators and new course offerings.

Anyway, I have to say, that in all of the press conferences I’ve attended so far, this one is the best (in my opinion, of course). Why? First of all, they’re very welcoming when it comes to interns. Others are not that accommodating upon knowing that we’re just trainees. Second, their snacks are just Nagaraya nuts, Tostiallas chips and a bar of Sugus. Regular snacks which I appreciate so much. Third, their press kit is awesome. It almost felt like I was a student there. The kit, other than press releases, contained an MMCC tumbler, MMCC notebook with pen, MMCC automatic umbrella and a big folder with brochures of Makati Medical Center inside. It was so cool. Fourth reason was the president and CEO of MMCC, Ms. Ofelia Odilao-Bisnar was very warm and friendly. Based on her presentation, one can say that she’s a very “hands on” president, and she does, at the very least, really care about the students. (Again, this is just my opinion.) Fifth, we got to be toured in their building, which is so cool. Fully air conditioned, new facilities and awesome vending machines that made me want to try buying stuff from it every time. And of course, the lunch was great. The best thing about this press conference is what happened afterwards. When the other reporters were on their way out, and only me, Trish and Mark (intern of Manila Bulletin) were still finishing our lunches, the president sat down and talked with us. Man, she’s so friendly. She reminds me of our Sociology professor, Ma’am Pepin, who sort of looks like her as well. When we finished talking, she took a few more minutes to pose for a picture with us. On our way out, she wished us good luck in our final year of schooling. Again, how kind is she.

After the press conference, we went to Starbucks just behind the Makati Medical Center to write the article. My siblings were all over the stuff I got from the press conference when I got home. Best press conference. Ever.

Last Monday, May 6th, was another lazy day. That morning, Trish and I went to the Makati Police Station to ask for updates on the John Herra case, but to no avail, Sir Reycon Garduque wasn’t there. And thus, we went to the MMDA office instead. But seriously, there was nothing really going on that day. We were monitoring the news via radio, but nothing (in our beat) came up. There’s this story about road safety or something in the MMDA, but Trish and I missed it. Really, we were just about to enter the General Manager’s office when the reporters came rushing out of the door—clearly indicating that the interview was over. I was thankful that Sir Mike didn’t seem to mind, or else we’d be in a lot of trouble. Like the first Lazy Day, we almost didn’t do anything today. Except maybe for a press release rewrite about the independent film “Grave Bandits”. The film was to be premiered in the prestigious Cannes International Film Festival in France.

Because there was nothing left to do that day, we went home before 4 pm. At least we got six hours. I guess that’s really how it works in the field. There will be days wherein you almost got nothing to do, and there will be days wherein you’ll be so busy you’ll wish you can make copies of yourself. Hmm.

Last Friday, May 3rd, we were at a press conference held at the Buddha Bar, Picar Place, Makati. It was a mistake to ride a taxi—whose driver doesn’t know where the hell Buddha Bar is—when you’re already at the BDO Tower in Makati Avenue, which happens to be about two to three blocks away from the venue. The taxi driver took me to C5 Kalayaan, which is quite far from where I’m supposed to go. I should’ve just walked, just like my mom said. Sigh. By some miracle, I arrived at the Buddha Bar. My first reaction was: wow. The place is fancy. The elevator was so cool; it had some lights that change color and everything. This place’s interior design is awesome. If I actually have money—and lots of it—I would consider going there again. They served iced tea while we wait for the press conference to begin. I glanced at the small menu placed near my plate. Whoa. Fine dining. To be honest, I’m not really fond of fine dining. The servings are quite small, there’s almost always no rice and you can’t use a damn spoon. But anyway, I just made the most out of it.

The press conference was hosted by a private risk and crisis management firm called Astrolabe. They released a content analysis that tells of the internet’s voice in the upcoming senatorial elections. Astrolabe gathered all mentions and comments of senatorial candidates in different social networking sites. The ones who got the most number of positive mentions are the internet’s top 12 candidates. These are the following:

–          Eddie Villanueva

–          Grace Poe-Llamanzares

–          Chiz Escudero

–          Loren Legarda

–          Dick Gordon

–          Risa Hontiveros

–          Bam Aquino

–          Koko Pimentel

–          Teddy Casino

–          JV Ejercito

–          Sonny Angara

Astrolabe also determined the issues that the internet alleges the candidates with, and the firm gave corresponding recommended responses. After Astrolabe head strategist Amor Maclang introduced the firm and revealed these results, she was open for questions. I did get the chance to ask her “What if the candidates use the responses that you recommended? Would you charge them?” She chuckled at my question, but still answered it. She said she didn’t mind if they use it.

It was almost 2 pm when Sir Mike decided that we all leave. It’s too bad we can’t stay for dessert. Haha. We went to Starbucks in Glorietta 5 to write the story. It was kind of difficult to do so, mainly because of the fact that Astrolabe didn’t specify which candidate is no. 1, no. 2, etc. But after a while, I managed to write an eight paragraph article.

The press conference was oaky. The food was great (though I still think it’s too bad we couldn’t stay for dessert), I have some good news to share to my churchmates and I came home with a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts from Astrolabe. Great.

Last Thursday, May 2, we took a trip to the Makati City Hall, well, we actually stayed in the public information office which is located at a building next to the city hall—but you get the point. But before that, we went to the Makati Central Police station to ask for some updates on the John Herra case. The sketch of the suspect might already be in the police’s hands. Because of some reasons, we didn’t get much updates on the case, and ended up asking and making an article about the Makati Police activities and preparations for the upcoming elections. According to Chief Lukban, the Makati police are to escort the delivery of machines and other materials to be used for the upcoming elections.

After debating where we would stay to write stories, we ended up in Makati City hall. Trish and I really preferred to stay in the MMDA office, since it was easier to go home from there, but Sir Mike insisted that we go there. After all, Trish and I have never set foot in that place before. So yeah, on the way, a news report came up on the radio. It’s about the nine vehicle collision that took place near the elevated U-turn in Kalayaan C5. I listed the reported details and was instructed by sir to call the Metrobase for the complete details once we arrive in our destination.

In the public information office, we got busy. While Trish was transcribing the interview earlier with Chief Lukban, I called the Metrobase as well as Makati Traffic for details. I realized it was kind of challenging to ask for plate numbers over the phone. It’s confusing when officers say something like, “alpha, delta, Charlie” instead of “ADC”. When I got all the necessary details, I made a write up and it got published. Yey.

Our trip to the Makati City Hall area was alright, the only irritating part was the trip home. We clocked out at 5 and normally, I would be home around 6. But that day, it was almost 6, and yet I still wasn’t in EDSA Guadalupe. Ugh. I sure wish next time, we would just stay somewhere more “accessible”.

Since it was May 1st, a holiday, we were supposed to have a day off. But because of the unpredictability of the job, we ended up going on duty despite the holiday. I guess I have to get used to this. Journalists basically do not have any holidays after all. We were to cover Team Lani Cayetano’s motorcade at 2 pm. (It actually starts at 4pm, but we were told by our mentor to be in the Taguig City Hall at 2.) It’s fine, I thought. At least it’s not so early in the morning. I still get to join the JIL DS motorcade for Bro. Eddie in the morning. But after the motorcade, I realized that I should’ve just used the half-day to rest. Sir Mike told us that we could be in Taguig till 10 in the evening. By the time that I was in the jeepney to Taguig City Hall, I was craving for a soft pillow and a comfy bed. I really needed a nap.

Taguig City Hall looked like a set in a post-apocalyptic movie. I’ve never seen it so isolated before. There were barely any cars in front and barely any living thing once you stepped inside the building. The silence was creepy. When Trish arrived, we met with the other reporters on the ground floor. Sir Francis and Ma’am Nina from the Inquirer were there too.

After a ride to the Cayetano Sports Complex, where a small sortie and where the starting point of the motorcade is, my adrenalin started to rise. TV host and sister of the President, Kris Aquino was going to arrive in a while. I’m not really a fan, but the idea of joining (more like bumping, elbowing and being pushed by) other reporters in an ambush interview get me so excited.

We were standing by near the entrance of the sports complex, waiting for Ms. Aquino to arrive. I got my camera ready, and the people beside me are doing the same. And in a little while, the ambience got lively. People were swooning and screaming as she descends from the car and walks toward the entrance. I was able to take a picture. Cool. All the reporters, including us of course, followed her to the stage. At that time, everyone was allowed to be at the very front, at the nearest point to the front stage. I made use of the opportunity to take pictures of Mayor Cayetano with Ms. Aquino, while recording Ms. Aquino’s speech of course.

      

 

I was multi-tasking, I was sweating, I was being repeatedly bumped and pushed and elbowed by fellow reporters—but I was enjoying every second of it. I prefer spontaneous and lively events than sit-down ones. This is definitely my type of coverage.

When the motorcade started, I got surprised when Sir Mike told us we’re not going to follow them. It got me confused. The day before, he told us we’re going to go home late as we were to observe how every barangay reacts to Cayetano. Ugh.

Sir Mike, Sir Francis, Ma’am Nina with her intern—all of us—got on a jeepney and got dropped off at the near end of Lakefront. We got settled in Jolibee and worked on the article, focusing on the fact that the President’s sister is endorsing Lani Cayetano to be the mayor of Taguig City again. In her speech earlier, what really caught my attention was when she said, “Parati kong binibida na if ever I will be a public servant, si Ate Lani ang role model ko.” That sure was something.

At around 6:30 pm, we were about to go home. That was when I received a call that there was a fire in our street. I have to rush back home. The only ones left in the house were my siblings. Mom, me, the maid and my youngest sibling are all out. When I got home, I thank God the firemen already declared a fire out. The fire was at the end of the street; there was a notable distance from our house. Which is great.

Last Tuesday, I was really looking forward to this press conference that involves a memorandum of agreement signing between McDonalds Philippines and the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA). It’s something about “Mcdo’s efforts to install advanced waste management systems in support to LLDA,” or so the text invitation stated. LLDA Chair Neric Acosta and McDonald’s president Kenneth Yang will be there. Now that’s exciting. I’m not usually the type of person who wants to take a picture with an official or a celebrity, but this time, I was sort of looking forward to taking a picture with the president of McDonalds. That’s something. I know I have weird preferences.  Haha.

I was already in the venue, McDonalds near Greenbelt 1, at 10:30. When I entered, there doesn’t seem to be any special room and a gathering crowd for a press conference. I guess I just arrived early, I thought. Since I didn’t get to eat a decent breakfast at home, I ordered some pancakes while I wait for 11 am, the time the press conference was to start. In the middle of enjoying pancakes, I received a text from Sir Mike that the press conference got cancelled. Apparently, Neric Acosta couldn’t make it. Bummer. I was looking forward to meeting the president of McDonalds and having a free lunch and all. Oh well. Life must go on. Haha.

Sir Mike picked us up after a while, and we all went to the Makati Police to ask for updates in the John Herra case and updates in the Rajiv Dargani case. We talked to Makati Chief of Police Manuel Lukban for the updates. After that, we saw Alex, an intern of The Philippine Inquirer who also has the same beat as us. We all had lunch and proceeded to the MMDA press office.

Alex was intrigued when she saw media vans parked in front of the MMDA office entrance. I personally didn’t mind. The last I checked, there was nothing new in the MMDA. The issue regarding the cement trucks and special licenses are done. The only thing going on was the conduction sticker thingy. The three of us—me, Trish and Alex—then went to MMDA Chairman Francis Tolentino’s office for an interview. Cool. I finally got to see him in person. From him, we got updates regarding the implementation of the number coding to newly-released cars. The MMDA is requiring dealers to provide and/or issue temporary plates that contain the car’s conduction sticker code, the name of the manufacturer and the branch where the car was acquired.

There was also a meeting going on at that time about the MMDA preparations for the Labor Day protests on May 1st. We got to attend the meeting and get the necessary figures. The MMDA deployed at least 231officers to assist the police.

After all that, we made write-ups. Okay, so maybe the press conference that I was looking forward to got cancelled, but going around the Makati Police and the MMDA office was fun too. So yeah.

That Monday, the 29th, we received a text from Sir Mike to go to the Makati Police to ask for details and updates on the John Herra case. (Take note, we’re already in the MMDA press office). At first, Trish and I were confused. We have no idea who John Herra was and whatever happened to him. After buying load for my broadband stick, we did a little research. John Herra, a former NBI agent and former body guard of Vizconde Massacre witness Jessica Alfaro, was shot dead on Saturday.

We came to the Makati Police to look for Chief Inspector Reycon Garduque, but since he was nowhere to be found for about 30 minutes, Trish and I went to the complaint desk to check for blotters. After a while, we got the chance to talk to him. We found out the TDPO (time, date, place and occurrence), status on the identity of the suspect, what was found on the crime scene, etc. The update that we got was the police are already in possession of a CCTV footage wherein the suspect can be seen along Malvar St, the place where the crime happened. We grabbed some lunch after we got all the information that we needed, and headed back to the MMDA.

It turns out Sir Mike already has details and the update. He just wanted us to have the experience of going down to the station and ask an inspector face-to-face. After we made a write up about the case, Sir Mike evaluated the article. His “mentoring session” that came after the article editing-slash-evaluation was about ballistics. He gave us a briefing on the types of guns, bullets, necessary questions to ask when a gun is involved in the crime, different types of murder, difference of murder and homicide, different techniques in asking investigators and some analytical situations.

It was cool. I needed a heads-up on guns, ballistics and murder. It’s been a while since I’ve actually hang out with my dad—who is the one person I know who could go on and on about these sorts of things.