Choose the better between the two best (Summer Love Story special)

“You can’t serve two masters.” Heard from an anonymous person somewhere out there.It was a bit hard for me to believe that line above until I myself went through an exact situation wherein reality hits the transparent meaning of it like a werewolf trying to divide hisself into half to show a fair and square treatment towards two different things.

I know I could..

I thought I could..

School’s out. I was in the process of making myself ready for the summer vacation but Internship comes my way. So no more happiness. LOL! Wait, let me revise it — no more summer love. Yeah, right summer love.

I called it summer love ’cause you know as a very busy and competitive student (LOL! I use the word competitive for comedy’s sake only thus, competitive in a way like for an example an extrovert meets an introvert then he also becomes introvert. Something like that) I can’t have time to hang out with my opposite sex so I only could have the so-called love life when vacation came.

So here we go. The summer love story began when I met a guy whom I wasn’t attract with initially and I seriously didn’t feel any exotic feeling towards him that’s why I kept on telling myself to get rid of him ’cause I didn’t like him. But my stupid girl friends kept on insisting me to give him a chance to prove hisself to me. (Well ang ganda ko noh? Hahaha!) And so I did.

Two weeks had passed when I started to appreciate him, his efforts, his kindness, his everything. He proved me chivalry isn’t dead yet. Then I found myself liking him to the point that I even told myself, I love this creature.

Being in a relationship isn’t very easy for me. Maybe because of not being good at this thing. Not an expert you know.

Then here it goes. OJT came. We became the so called long distance relationship cause I’m in Venus while he’s in Earth. That’s the estimated exaggerating distance. Hahaha.

I love him but I also love my study. I can’t manage to be with them both. So I have to make a resolution to this. One word to solve it, choose. Who to choose?

If I choose him, I’ll definitely lose time for my study especially after OJT, thesis will be there.

But if I choose my study, I’ll be broken. He’s my first real boyfriend so I don’t want to end it up like that. 

This was the hardest decision to make. I act impulsively before and I don’t want to do that again.

Then I suddenly remember what I heard from an anonymous human out there, you can’t serve two masters. 

Now, I started to believe it.

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AN ANALYSIS ON PINOCCHIO AND THE STRINGS OF LIES MUSICAL PLAY

In line with the semester ending month, fourth year students of Bulacan State University (BulSU) under College of Arts And Letters (CAL) with the major of Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts (BATA) produced a remake musical play of one of the most popular fairy tales entitled Pinocchio and the strings of lies as their exit production last March 10-11 at BulSU Valencia Hall. 

Pinocchio and the Strings of Lies has no difference from the original story of Pinocchio which is about a boy crafted by woods aimed to be a real man. For him the only solution to achieve his goal is to be a liar. 

CONCEPT: 

I put my two thumbs up for the amazing remake of the story wherein the antagonists of different fairy tales such as Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Peter Pan, Aladdin, Little Mermaid and Alice and Wonderland had a big part on the play thinking that they became the antagonists of their own stories and did lousy acts towards their protagonists just because of Pinocchio’s lies. Two words to describe the concept, well-written!

CHARACTERS:

From the very beginning until the end, the characters of the play became consistent and such a wonderful actors and singers as well since it is a musical play. Two words to describe the characters, perfectly portrayed!

SETTING:

Whenever you try to visualize the real setting of those different stories, it is somehow close to what the Theater Arts did. The Stage became very flexible for putting three different locations altogether like the tower of Rapunzel, the part where Snow White’s step mother’s room located and the mansion of Cinderella. The disappointment part of the setting was that I was looking for more when it comes to the ocean setting. Yeah, they were good in building the ship and Ursula’s hall but where’s the water? I suggest to put at least blue curtains on the floor or what ever that can make the floor oceanic looking. 

TECHNICALS: 

The characters are very good singers. However, they sometimes sang obscurely because of the microphones’s fault maybe and even the way they speak. Audiences were asking each other if what does the character said because they can’t hear words coming out from them clearly. The lightings are also noticeable or is it just me noticing sometimes the inconsistent dazzling of lights? Two words to describe the technicals, Inconsistently fading. 

Highlights of 2015 up to present: Anonymous people go viral in social media sites by the help of Millennials

Some people on different social media sites attempt to catch netizen’s attention just to make their names go popular online. I don’t seriously know the reason behind those but if you are going to think deeper, facebook becomes one of the hottest existing social media account which is its “likes, shares and comments” are very relevant for some strange people and some strange reason as well. However, there are few lucky people that caught netizen’s attention whole-heartedly.

“THE DUBSMASH QUEEN”

Way back April 2015 when the Dubsmash application became in demand for android and apple users in a sense that 9 out of 10 millennials ought to upload their dubsmash videos online. 

So there is this one pretty cool young lady dubsmasher who is setting the lights up of social media lately. She is Nico Maine Mendoza or also known as the dubsmash queen.

Her dubsmash videos on her facebook has garnered hundreds of thousands of views, likes and shares as well. She was discovered by the noon time show Eat Bulaga for their new segment entitled Kalyeserye and now became the most trendy celebrity of 2015. If you don’t know her nor watch old videos of her, I bet you must see this if you are having a bad day. It will surely makes your eyes teary because of too much fun. 

“THE LITTLE DRUMMER BOY”

“Kung gusto may paraan, kung ayaw may dahilan.” This was proven by Raven Guzman of Sudipen, La Union or also known as the Little Drummer Boy for making his dream become feasible to achieve despite the indigence they are encountering.

According to Cristina, Raven’s mother, she discovered her son’s ability in playing drums at the age of 2. She said that she always scold him for picking the cans across the street and play with it pretending it’s a drum set. 

In spite of being an only child, Nemecio, Raven’s father admits he couldn’t afford his son’s dream because it is too much expensive. So that he decided to create a mini improvised drum set using old tumbler, lumber, cans, woods and etc. 

Raven’s parents upload his video on youtube playing with his improvised drum set and it has garnered hundreds of views and likes. Raven was discovered by the Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho and became their guest. He played with it live together with his idol Maine Mendoza, the dubsmash queen and a female drummer of Eat Bulaga. Here is a piece of Raven’s video playing with his improvised drum set together with Maine Mendoza.

“THE CARROT MAN” 

Recently, one guy took the heart of the netizens instantly because of his captivating looks. Edwina Bandong, a netizen girl who became paparazzi to this guy and stole photos of his and were posted online as the man was carrying the basket full of carrots in the farm where he works. 

This anonymous awesome man’s name is Jeyrick Sigmaton, a native Igorot who works in the carrot farm in Bauko, Monamon Sur, Mountain Province. 

Edwina uploaded Jeyrick’s stolen photos immediately on facebook and it abruptly became viral before she noticed. Then from a simple farmer, Jeyrick now became a hearth throb in every social media sites. He was featured again in Kapuso Mo Jessica Soho and was guest to late afternoon show, Wowowin who’s host is Willie Revillame. Try to click and watch the link below and you will see how the heart throb carrot man become emotional because of the hardships he suffers. 

The beat of one’s memoir

“Dancing is not my innate talent but every time I dance I turned automatically into a better version of me.” -Cj Garcia

When and where did you discover your potential in dancing?

I started dancing when I was still in 1st year Highschool. Where did I learn to dance? YOUTUBE IS MY BEST FRIEND but I’m not the same dancer like before. I was lame, no I mean the worst. Nobody taught me the fundamentals of dancing, I just watched tutorial videos of people doing isolations.

Who encouraged you to enhance your skills? 

Jabbawockeez. They are the first group that inspired me to be better in dancing, no dancing is not my innate talent, I surround myself with my friends whom for some strange reason got hooked in the America’s Best Dance Crew hype. We were copying them, “biting” their steps.

Can you tell me some achievements of yours with your passion? 

1st year I tried to auditioned to my High School Dance Club fortunately I got in, but I’m placed in the Group B (in other words the “not so good” group) so I quit and focused myself freestyling to different dance styles. I didn’t have a focused style, that’s why I call it freestyling. 

I tried to record myself dancing so I can watch it and also I thought I was good back then. After a few videos, I realized that I have to be a member of our Highschool dance club so, 3rd year Highschool I was supposed to sign up but the slots were full so there you go, bye bye dancing. 

Around october 2010 there was a program that we, the science club members held and we the members need to perform a dance number. So I led them and practiced, after the performance the Dance Club president asked me if I want to join, I said yes. 

3rd I was the rookie, the newbie, also I was lined up to perform outside the school. Yes, Group A. Then 2011 went by, I became the president of dance club, then graduation came.

Pre-college:

My friend asked me to join a summer dance workshop hosted by Hyper Dynamics Dance Troupe, so I participated and collected some awards “most improved and best male dancer”. Then I went to UST to start my college life. 

Engineering! Yay! Entered engineering dance troupe. I have improved a lot, freestyle became choreography. Then I joined another group, Engineering Science Dance Troupe. We were composed only with 1st and 2nd year Engineering Students. So we joined the dance competition held during our Engineering General Assembly. We won, 1st place.

Then I met Juvenile Dance Crew, and auditioned. I went in, and they taught me everything I know about dancing, disicipline, and basic things I needed to know as a dancer. 

But I forgot to prioritize my studies, so I got failing grades and sent back to Bulacan.

Bulacan State University, Auditioned in Hyper Dynamics Dance Troupe, never learned anything new, they were corrupt. And full of ego, a year has passed and I quit. After a year I will joined Elusive, and now I’m a graduating student, still a member of Elusive, and I will never forget my roots, Juvenile, where I officially started dancing as a passion. 

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Elusive Dance Crew performed at Bulacan State University activity Center. (From left Janielle Mendoza, Arrel Millares, Elger Garovillo, Cj Garcia, Dian Peralta, JuanRyan Laloon, Eiron Pingol, Cerck Zeus Cailipan and Macko Bernardo) Photo by Jockie Berog

 

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Cj Garcia as he sits in the BulSU Activity Center’s bench, holding a book. Photo by Jockie Berog

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Cj Garcia as he reads his book at the BulSU AC. Photo by Jockie Berog

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“Before dancing, stretching is indeed.” -Cj Garcia Photo by Jockie Berog

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Cj Garcia makes his move as he finished his warm up. Photo by Jockie Berog

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Close up to Cj Garcia’s side view shot. Photo by Jockie Berog

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Cj Garcia with his crew mate Markus Mendoza at his left dance pose. Photo by Jockie Berog

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From left Markus Mendoza, harvey Ejaus, and Cj Garcia as they practice their piece for their upcoming dance event. Photo By Jockie Berog

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Cj Garcia as he removes the sweat in his face during their water break of the practice. Photo By Jockie Berog

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Cj Garcia puts his hands above his knee while looking at his crew. Photo By Jockie Berog

 

PhotoJournalism: Patterns

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Quezon City Memorial Circle ー two citizens run and walk around the QC circle.


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Two girls walking through the horizontal line of the boxy floor.

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Group of students waving flags as a starting point of their practice performance.


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Group of dancers raising hands all together as they are practicing their piece.

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Two girls are being lifted as a practice preparation for their cheer dance competition.

The Life of a Transgender

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Facebook photo of Jennifer Laude

As of the moment, murder of Filipina transwoman Jennifer Laude is deemed as the worst LGBT discrimination act in the Philippines. LGBT activists condemned the act, and it prompted them to conduct a series of awareness campaigns in hopes of making this world a safer place for their kind.

Members of the LGBT community still find it hard to mingle in a homophobic society. Life has been so harsh on them to the point they learned how to eat bullying and death threats for breakfast.

It’s even harsher for Filipino LGBT’s. The Philippine society, being predominantly Roman Catholic, does not tolerate anything which strays from the heteronormative.

But it’s the hardest for those in the transgender category. How can a woman stuck inside a man’s body can act the way they want in a society which labels them as delusional? Among their common struggles are debating on what comfort room to use, allegedly violating dress code policies, being discriminated on job applications, etc.

This interview with Vhal Manansala, a journalism student and a pageant consultant, and AJ de Leon, a political science student and a gay rights activist, shall shed light into the issue. What is the feeling of being a transgender in a religious country?


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From left to right: Charisse Mercado, Vhal Manansala and Jockie Bed Berog

Give us a background about yourself, and the time you first had self-awareness about your gender identity/sexuality.

I’m Vhal Manansala. I’m a freshman student from [Bulacan State University’s] College of Arts and Letters, belonging in the journalism department.
In terms of sexuality, I consider myself a transsexual. Ever since I was young, I felt that there’s a girl inside me and there’s something wrong. I felt different. When I grew up, it dawned on me that I really wanted to become a girl.

I consider myself a pre-oppose transgender in the LBGT community. Actually, sexuality [is complex and] there are many definitions associated with it.
Right now, I’m undergoing hormonal therapy (HRT) so as to develop those [organs] I want to develop. I’m planning to undergo a [sex change] surgical operation some time after college.

I grew up in the USA and finished my studies there up until middle school. After that, I went to the Philippines and finished my high school degree here. I didn’t immediately enter college because I had a job. But when I felt that I need channels, I found Bulacan State University and decided to come back at school.

Will clarify the concept of pre-oppose/post-oppose/non-oppose transgender?

A transgender falls under the pre-oppose category when she still has a male genitalia. None-oppose transgender are those who are content with their biological sex. Those who undergo operations to change their genitalia fall under the post-oppose category.

As a member of the LGBT community, can you tell us stories about the struggles you’ve experienced (e.g bullying, parents are against it, discriminated by teachers, etc)?

I’m from a very different culture [coming from the USA]. So I experienced culture shock, especially when the school guards asked me to stop and asked “Why are you dressed like that? Why is your hair long? Are you a girl?”

You have to explain yourself to them. And as a transgender, are you willing to actually do it? Because are delicate and sensitive to such questions. We feel awkward when someone asks something like, “Have you undergo surgery?”

Another struggle is about entering male comfort rooms. At school, they have to know your whole story before they give you permission. Not all school staff understands us so we have to explain it to them. That’s why gender development seminars are so important.

I don’t have a problem with my family. They wholeheartedly accept who I am. [They respect that] it’s my life. They gave me permission to live my life freely since I ran away from home at the age of 14. I manage to leave [the comforts of my home] to be independent at a young age. They didn’t question the path I’ve chosen because after all, I am being responsible since day one.

Has there been a time when you feel had doubts about our decision? Any regrets?

No. I have no regrets because this is what I’ve wanted since I was young. I want to come out with my body [for the sake of gender expression]. I really like my transition, and I hope it’d be successful in the near future. I’ll really pursue it.
On bullying, while it’s true that I had bullies, there are also people who love me. I commend our college’s dean for understanding the transition that happens in one’s body.

I’m a working student, a pageant consultant, so I need to look the way I look. How can I teach beauty queens if I look like a man? They will not believe me if I do look like one.

How do you cope with a conservative society which tends to be homophobic?

It’s hard because you have to prove yourself every day. But on the brighter side, [you don’t have to be discouraged because] when people who judge you come to actually know you and realize that you’re an okay and capable person, they will eventually accept you. But it’s a [step-by-step] process.

Gay marriage hasn’t been legalized in the Philippines. What can you say about it?

For me, it has to be legalized because it’s not an issue about morality. It’s about human rights. I don’t have to argue with the Catholic Church because while I do believe in Jesus Christ, it doesn’t mean I believe the Bible in its entirety. Don’t get in the way of two people who are in-love with each other because it’s love [after all.]

What can you say about the Jennifer Laude case?

Jennifer Laude’s case is saddening because [it’s an example of an incident where] the trans community is being stereotyped as prostitutes, especially here in the Philippines. But it’s not exactly true because people have different mind sets. We have dignity. For example, I want to finish my studies. I have friends from other universities who also undergo transition [as a transsexual] and on the same boat as mine.

Jennifer Laude is our sister. She being a prostitute doesn’t justify murder. Pemberton has to pay for what he’s done.

Have you watched “My Husband’s Lover” or “The Rich Man’s Daughter?” What can you say about it?

I haven’t watched much of My Husband’s Lover and The Rich Man’s Daughter, but I did watch Destiny Rose. It is a perfect show for the trans community. Destiny Rose is a good example of a dignified trans, and an embodied message for those who disrespect the community, Jennifer Laude being a victim by those people. You can be beautiful, simple, smart and famous even if you’re a trans.

I do commend the existence of TV series such as My Husband’s Lover and The Rich Man’s Daughter because it proves that we’re one step ahead towards accepting these kind of shows. During the past, LGBT people had always been depicted as comic relief characters, so it’s good that writers and producers come up with a show which shows the other side of LGBT’s- their capability to love.

Do you have a message for the LGBT members who haven’t “come out of their closet?”

If it’s their decision to remain a “closeta” and if they are actually happy with that, it’s fine as long as they don’t do something wrong. You will never wish to step in our shoes because it’s really hard [to be an LGBT member]. But the greatest thing in this life is to be free so they need to be proud of who they are. If they can contribute something meaningful to the community, is there any reason to not come out? And we need to prove to ourselves that every member of the LGBT community has capabilities and can contribute something good to the society.

In what ways do you think the government or other sectors of the society may help you?

Elections are coming near, and we want a leader who will support the LGBT community. But we tend to be skeptic about certain candidates who said they support us. What if they’re only using us to gain votes? Do they really plan on supporting us?
This is according to the gender sensitivity group led by Filipina Geena Rocero, the first transgender model who became successful in America.

Whoever becomes the next leader must pass an anti-discrimination law which will protect us and cater to our needs. For instance, let the transgender wear female uniforms and allowed to enter female comfort rooms.

How can you use your talents or writing skills as a journalism student for the sake of the LGBT community?

I manage to express myself more beauty pageants, especially during the Q&A portions. I haven’t been defeated and I always bring home titles even if I don’t consider myself beautiful because of the way I express myself during the Q&A’s. There, I tell people about how much I love the LGBT community.

At the same time, I support them as a journalism student through simply posting related content on Facebook and on blog sites. Through that, little by little we can orient people about us.

Professors ask me during recitations, “What are the things your community fights for?” I answer to orient them and my classmates. I also write about the LGBT in my college essays [to deepen my professor’s understanding].

Any message for those who hate the LGBT community?

Don’t hate what you do not understand. That’s what I can say for them. All of us want to be happy with our lives. We just want to contribute something for the goodness of other people. So if you don’t understand [us], make it a point to know more about the members of the LGBT [community]. There are bad people but there are also good people. It’s okay to have opinions, but it’s never right to discriminate people. I hope that a day will come when all of us have unity. Let’s love each other because we are one race and one country. Give love and help each other regardless of one’s gender preference.

What can you say about Caitlyn Jenner?

It takes a lot of courage for a girl like her to come out. She’s so great. She proved that one’s life status shouldn’t hinder you [from expressing yourself]. She broke the rules [of the society] even if she has a family. We’re happy for her because she kept it all to herself for a very long time and it must have been hard on her. She will not come out if not for Filipino transwoman Geena Rocero, the one who inspired Caitlyn to come out.


Interview with AJ De Leon via Facebook

Give us a background about yourself, and the time you first had self-awareness about your gender identity/sexuality.

AJ De Leon, 18, political science major. I’ve been made aware of my sexual orientation (heteroromantic, heteroerotic, straight) since grade school, my gender identity (transgender) since high school. Just a primer: sexual orientation is whom I am attracted sexually to. Gender identity is my innate sense of self. Gender marker is the reproductive organ I have since birth. I am a transgender woman who is attracted to men.

(Note: Transgender people don’t have to go through gender confirmation surgery to be called “transgender”)

Further info: https://www.apa.org/pi/lgbt/resources/sexuality-definitions.pdf

As a member of the LGBT community, can you tell us stories about the struggles you’ve experienced (e.g bullying, parents are against it, discriminated by teachers, etc)?

I have received implicit abuse from teachers since elementary especially because DepEd has always been following a strict heteronormative standard. It’s only recently that DepEd has changed its policy in favor of transgender and gender nonconforming individuals as regards its decision on gendered uniforms and hairstyle policies. I would say that schools are the most abusive places for people like me who fall outside the traditional gender binary. Even though schools are expected to uphold a more proper code of standard behavior, they are still very disrespectful towards the LGBTQIA* community.

At home, though, there are still persistent microaggressions albeit somehow “toned down”. To this day, I still experience hostility as a non cis-passing, pre-operational transgender woman. But since transferring to UP, I have noticed that UP students are more accepting, more tolerating, and far less abusive. My current school is something I’d consider a “safe space”.

Gay marriage hasn’t been legalized in the Philippines. What can you say about it?

It’s largely due to the fact that majority of the public figures that we elect to hold government offices are helping in shaping a Philippine jurisprudence that divests LGBT people from being married. The Philippines is very much ripe for marriage equality but for so long as the electorate puts people like Sotto to hold public office, the longer is the road to making it happen.

How do you cope with a conservative society which tends to be homophobic?

Educate people. You really can’t cope. There are tiny aggressions and suggestive remarks received by LGBT every day, it’s exhausting. To educate one person is already a huge feat in diminishing daily abuse.

Do you have a message for the LGBT members who haven’t “come out of their closet?”

I would tell them to come out, but never at the expense of their safety. Being LGBT comes packaged with a lot of safety threats. At home, there’s a threat of familial disownment. At work, gender-based discrimination is still rampant. In school, despite school guidelines that protect LGBT people from discrimination, there’s a threat of bullying. So my message for closeted LGBT is for them to come out *only* if they feel safe in doing so.

What can you say about the Jennifer Laude case?

The Jennifer Laude case is an inexcusable crime that happens when transgender people are forced to categorize themselves with inaccurate depictions of their identity. There’s little justice served when even the decision against Pemberton implied that there’s “non-disclosure” from Laude’s party. Being a transgender woman is not in itself a deception. This convoluted understanding of trans identity is dangerous and a byproduct of a transphobic law and environment that we have in the Philippines.

In what ways do you think the government or other sectors of the society may help you?

By passing laws that equally benefit all identities of the LGBT community, not just the L or the G. Bigger fines and punishments who harass, physically or otherwise, people within the community.

Have you watched My Husband’s Lover, The Rich Man’s Daughter, or Destiny Rose? What can you say about it?

These shows give us fresh recipes amid the stale ones. Although there are still problems that need to be given exposure to when tackling issues of underprivileged sectors of society, these shows are unusual and timely. With Destiny Rose, though, there’s mischaracterization of the role of Ken Chan. When narrating transgender experiences, either you hire real trans women to play the role or you hire cisgender women (straight women) to do so in order to prevent the normative trope that transgender women are “men”.

Any message for those who hate the LGBT community?

Go to school.


 

Interview with a Philippine Daily Inquirer Correspondent on Photojournalism

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From left to right: Columnist JZ Reyes, Carmela Reyes-Estrope of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, and Bulacan State University journalism students Jockie Berog and Charisse Mercado. Photo by Jockie Berog.

“I’ve dreamed of becoming a journalist since I was a child, at about the time when I was seven years old. I was so happy whenever I was able to write phrases with rhyming words. Then I would shout because I was overjoyed. I’d tell my friends, ‘You know, I successfully wrote this poem.’ I always love writing. When I was in high school, my sulating pormal or sulating impormal always received high marks, whether it’s written in English or Filipino,” narrated Mrs. Carmela Reyes-Estrope as she reminisced her beginnings in the field of writing.

As a correspondent of The Philippine Daily Inquirer or PDI (one of the largest news sources in the Philippines) assigned in Bulacan since 1998, she had undergone trainings and workshop in photojournalism as required by her company. Her vast experience in the media industry gave her a treasury of unforgettable experiences and useful pieces of advice for rookie photojournalists, which she shared with us.

For Estrope, a good photojournalist has the eye to spot the best angle for the photo, just like how a good news writer knows what angle of the story sparks the interest of the reader. Multi-awarded photojournalists usually go on the same coverage with other photojournalists, but according to her, what sets them apart from others is the way they choose their angle. They can see the “things” which others cannot see.

But before they become experts, photojournalists must first know the basics. For her, these are the three basic rules that must be remembered by every photojournalist: (1) against the light law, which means one must not take a photo with an overly bright background (2) do not use your camera’s flash if there’s another source of light and (3) make sure that the spaces are maximized; delete the photo that has many useless spaces.

The more complex part of the interview comes with a narrative of her actual experiences in the field and the ethical and safety tips a photojournalist must practice for the sake of professionalism.

Front Page Photos and a Competition

If there’s one thing she considers as her most unforgettable experience in the field of photojournalism, it would be that time in December 2015 when she took photos of flooded areas in Calumpit and Hagonoy- two of the most low-lying and flood-prone areas in Bulacan. It was that time when Angat Dam had to release volumes of water as its water levels elevated beyond the spilling point due to runoff water from the Sierra Madre mountains.

The story goes like this: “I had to submerge myself into the flood so I can take photos of the residents. One of them was chosen to be in the front page of an Inquirer issue. It was about a man who carried his dog, holding it tightly, as he treaded the deep flood. It was as if he was trying to save it.

“I had other photos which were also published in PDI. One was a photo the flooded Calumpit church’s façade. This caused the cancellation of the simbang gabi ceremonies. The inside was dry and there are about three relocated families there. ”

She also deems the experience as the most heart-breaking one she had as a photojournalist. “It’s because it’s drama. It’s dramatic to see how people struggle to survive during those calamities and how they bravely walked through harmful waters trying to save their properties and animals. [How come] a man would hold his dog instead of a blanket, a chair, or a child or young member of their family.”

Other than that, another photo of hers that was bannered on PDI’s front page was about the longest pastillas candy made in the Philippines during the Singkaban Festival 2008.

She also shared with us the time when she won a photography competition in Bulacan. “This photo is related to the Earth hour. I turned off the lights so only the silhouette of the candles can be seen.”

On Ethical Issues and Safety Tips

Estrope also talked about the ethical issues a photojournalist may face on the course of his career.

One of the things she emphasized as a “major no no” is when a photojournalist fabricates through giving instructions to the subject about how should he pose for a particular photo. “There should be no such thing as ‘please come nearer’ or ‘fix your hair.’ If you’re a [photojournalist], you must capture the action, the life and the drama [in its rawness and reality.]”

Another photojournalism law she discussed with us was about the photos which “must not be taken.”

She said that one doesn’t have to take ethically and morally improper photos even if they hold journalistic value. Those kinds of photos are either gory or sexually suggestive. One example she shared with us is when a media practitioner captured a photo of the late RTC Bulacan judge Wilfredo Nieves when he was ambushed on Malolos last November 11. In the photo, which was uploaded in Facebook, Nieves was shown lifeless. “Lawyers, other judges, and the family of the victim requested to delete that photo because it’s ethically and morally not right,” she said. “You disrespect the deceased when you do something like that.” She also remembered a particular situation when a couple was making out in the middle of her coverage, another good example of a photo which “must not be taken.”

Lastly, every photojournalist must ask permission from the subject or the owner of the subject before he gets to take a picture, even if he has to go through lengths just to ask for it. One instance she gave is when she wrote a story about the haunted house Ilusorio Mansion, popularly known as Bahay na Pula, in San Ildefonso, Bulacan. “Before I get to take a picture, I had to ask permission from the municipal officials and the owners themselves. But it’s not easy because the Ilusorio clan doesn’t live in Bulacan. I had to use my channels so I can contact the mansion’s caretaker to ask permission.”

As for the safety tips, she said that one must take care of the camera because it’s expensive. But ultimately, one must take care of his life the most because no amount of money can revive the dead.

She told us a story about a shabu laboratory raid in which she was one of the back-up media man. During that time, she had double thoughts about whether or not she would take photographs because there was a closed car near the scene. She was thinking that there might be druglords inside who would eventually follow her to claim her life.

The interview concluded with that answer, and after that we took a selfie with columnist JZ Reyes inside the Bulacan Press Club office on Wednesday, January 13. If there’s something we consider as the best advice for photojournalists which encompasses all the aspects she had discussed, it would be: “It’s not enough that a photojournalist is good in technicalities. He must also have the heart.”

About Carmela Reyes-Estrope and her Affliations

Carmela Reyes-Estrope graduated from Central Escolar University with a bachelor degree in journalism in 1990. She applied for Masters Degree in Philippine History and Master Degree in Journalism at U.P. Diliman, and a degree in Law at San Sebastian College of Law, but unfortunately she wasn’t able to finish them due to her busy schedule.

She previously worked in Manila Standard, Manila Tribune and Philcom as a correspondent and in Marcelo H. del Pilar National High School as an English and Journalism teacher.

She currently works in The Philippine Daily Inquirer as a correspondent assigned in Bulacan since 1998 and a part-time journalism professor in Bulacan State University since 2010. She’s also the owner and editor-in-chief of weekly Bulacan newspaper News Core.

She’s the current president of both Bulacan Press Club and Camp Alejo Santos Press Core, and a member of the National Union of Philippines Journalists and The Philippine Daily Inquirer Correspondents Guild. She’s listed among the top 20 PDI correspondents in terms of income.

PHOTOJOURNALISM: “Perfect Strangers”

Candid photo of a girl as she plays her hair by the wind blows. Photo by Jockie Berog

It was wednesday when we went to La Consolation University of the Philippines to fetch my cousin when this unknown lady caught my eyes for playing with her beautiful lively hair through the wind blows.

 Photo of a father taking care of his baby. Photo by Jockie Berog

Same location where I went to capture the first pic, La Consolation, I also saw a father and son moments and it really hooked me thinking that it’s really good to see a father who is proud silently shouting to the world that he loves his son so much.

 Two Strangers who are using their phones. Photo by Jockie Berog

I was sitting in the federizo hall’s park waiting for the freedom run to start when the two girls on my left start talking to each other. I was eavesdropping to their conversation and I heard that the girl wearing black borrowed the phone of the other girl to text her friend and the girl with a red ribbon on her hand agreed.

OBLATION RUN: A FORM OF INSTITUTIONALIZED SPECTACLE

How can the people understand the naked truth behind the annual tradition of the Alpha Phi Omega (APO) freedom run or the so-called Oblation run if their acts of expressing protests against the system brought different meaning and ambiguous message to most of its viewers and as the public looks at it as run just for fun or just an expression of insanity?
The oblation run started at the University of the Philippines (U.P) Diliman main campus which has been emulated by other of its campuses and various universities in the country including Bulacan State University (BulSU). It is an annual tradition done by the members of the APO, one of the prominent and influential U.P fraternities inspired by the Oblation, a statue of a naked man offering himself to the nation sculpted by Guillermo Tolentino. Members of the fraternity run around the campus naked with a purpose, to protest their sentiments about a current political or economic situation.

It was last Wednesday December 9 when the APO freedom run held at BulSU with advocacies, katarungan para sa lahat i-upo ang nararapat, no to commercial education, junk education act of 1982, no to budget cut and justice for lumads. Different reactions from people watching it either BulSUan or not was incurred. 

As Janyca Estabillo from De la Salle College of St. Benilde stated, “I am one of those who are originally anti-annual oblation run because I don’t see any depth of doing this kind of activity all for the thought of expressing freedom through nudity. UP calls it Ritual Dance of the Brave and I see it in another form of art which reveals the souls of our fellow men.” “But to me, there are much better ways for them to convey the main purpose as to why they include themselves in this annual event,” she added.

The factual reactions of people together with the government watching this kind of annual tradition is that they just ignore the signs and advocacies they are promulgating. Mostly, they considered it as a form of frenzied spectacle happened yearly. According to Coco Pimentel, this inexorable practice was nothing more than a blatant display of the male genitalia and a wanton disregarded of the rules of a descent society and of the country’s anti-obscenity laws.

It is said that the freedom and unquestionable power of bare truth will only understand by those who are liberated and active thinkers. But it is also said that naked or not, it will not decide whether your advocacy will magnified.