PDI celebrates 29th anniversary

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Then and now, more than ever, all over




Through the wonder years: 1985 - 2014 ON HISTORY’S FRONT LINES Just over two months after its first issue in December 1985, the newspaper conceived in the twilight of the Marcos dictatorship sees the new dawn it helped hasten: the Edsa People Power Revolution. The eye of the four-day political storm is captured in this shot taken on Feb. 23, 1986, by then chief photographer Johnny Villena. INQUIRER FILE PHOTOS

DEMOCRATIC SPACE President Cory Aquino graces the inauguration of the INQUIRER’s first office, formerly the Madrid restaurant on Edsa—finally an official address after its clandestine beginnings in Port Area, Manila—on June 27, 1986. The blessing was officiated by Msgr. Nico Bautista (right). At left is Jose Angel Honrado, then Ms Aquino’s security officer and now general manager of Manila International Airport Authority.

EARLY EDDIE IN THE EYE OF COMMITMENT The central news desk at the Romualdez Street office in Ermita, Manila, on Dec. 9, 1991, the year Letty JimenezMagsanoc (second from left) became editor in chief

Five months after being elected President, Fidel V. Ramos is the guest of honor during the 7th anniversary celebration in December 1992.

TRANSITION The torch is passed from Eggie Duran Apostol, INQUIRER founding chair, to present chair Marixi Rufino Prieto. Photo taken on Jan. 26, 1994.


CHARMED CIRCLE The not-yet-so-cluttered newsroom at the Chino Roces office inherits a prized fixture that has been the INQUIRER’s “lucky charm” since Day One: the round narra table originally from the office of founding chair Eggie Apostol. It was her table at the Mr & Ms office on Edsa, the INQUIRER’s forerunner.

AD-RENALINE RUSH A seemingly hushed but very busy day sometime in 1995 at the advertising department’s supplements section

NEWS HAS WINGS Christmas decor by Rachy Cuna that also happens to remind the news desk how time flies toward the deadline

In January 1995, what is now the country’s leading print media company moved to its fourth home on Chino Roces Avenue in Makati City (above), built next to the Louie R. Prieto building where the printing press is housed (at left).



Through the wonder years: 1985-2014

COURAGE AMID CRISIS Employees join a November 2000 rally in the Makati City central business district (left) against then President Joseph Estrada, who earlier instigated an ad boycott against the INQUIRER for its stories of graft involving him, his relatives and his cronies. The boycott, which ran from July to November 1999, drew an outpouring of public support for the paper, as shown in the flood of letters reaching the newsroom. INQUIRER PHOTOS

‘MR. Y’ DOTS THE I’S Then publisher Isagani Yambot presides over a session reviewing the paper’s various sections and other newsroom concerns. He passed on in March 2012.

KNOCKOUTS Long before he became an eight-division king, congressman and undisputed People’s Champ, Manny Pacquiao is cheered from a winning corner outside the boxing ring. Here with wife Jinkee and INQUIRER president Sandy Prieto-Romualdez and chair Marixi Prieto, The Pacman was the INQUIRER’s Filipino of the Year in 2003 and 2008 and is INQUIRER’s lone hall-of-famer.

INDUSTRIAL STRENGTH APPETITE FOR DISCUSSION One of the INQUIRER dinners with newsmakers, where inside and back stories and perchance a scoop often turn up on the menu. This evening’s guest is Sen. Loren Legarda (head of table, left).

FOUNDING chair Eggie Apostol delivers her response after receiving the first UP Gawad Plaridel in 2004. By then she was retired.

LIGHT UP FOR JUSTICE Employees hold a candlelight vigil to join the nation in mourning the November 2009 Maguindanao massacre while publisher Isagani Yambot (right) raises a fistful of rage.

Don Jaime Zobel de Ayala with editorial and business executives Magsanoc, Yambot and then INQUIRER president Ben Pangilinan (right).



Through the wonder years: 1985-2014 WINNING WAYS Another bountiful harvest of Catholic Mass Media Awards in 2009. From left: Reporters Jocelyn Uy, Tarra Quismundo, Nikko Dizon; Yambot, Apostol; artist Jess Abrera, photojournalist Niño Jesus Orbeta and reporter Marlon Ramos. INQUIRER PHOTOS

HELPING HAND Going beyond reporting calamities, the paper has been an active contributor to disaster relief efforts. In 2011, senior desk editor Totoy Sarmiento and assistant vice president for corporate affairs Connie Kalagayan (first and second from left) lead the turnover of donations for earthquake and tsunami victims in Japan.

THE FORGIVEN Managing editor Joey Nolasco welcomes deposed President Joseph Estrada, who hosted an I-am-sorry dinner for INQUIRER executives and editors in July 2011 at the paper’s Makati office to “clarify matters” regarding the 1999 ad boycott during his tenure.

MASCOT YOU CAN’T MISS Then Vice President Noli de Castro is shown a Guyito sculpture during the 21st anniversary celebration in December 2006.






Number of regular correspondents in the Visayas Bureau, the first INQUIRER bureau, when it was opened in August 1991. The correspondents reported mainly from Cebu, Negros Occidental and Leyte provinces.

12 Number of students who received grants from the INQUIRER Newsboy Foundation when it started offering college scholarships in June 1996


Cost of the Electronic Newsroom and Inquirer.net Classroom at the UP College of Mass Communication in Diliman, Quezon City. Located at Plaridel Hall, Rooms M209 and M211 underwent a multimedia makeover.

Price of the maiden issue


MILLION Number of daily readers, according to a study by Strategic Consumer and Media Incites Inc. (SCMI), a media and consumer research agency

Year the regular “Corrections” column began appearing on Page A4.






Date of first issue

Number of copies sold of the first issue

MILLION Number of Inquirer.net users

Number of entries drawn for the slogan contest, which ended on Jan. 24, 1986. The winning slogan:


“Balanced News, Fearless Views”

P3,000 Prize money shared by the two winners of the slogan contest. The winners were Palanca awardee Jesus S.M. Dimapilis and marketing practitioner Robert M. Friedlander.

Number of journalism scholars as of 2014


MILLION Number of Facebook followers

9.10.93 Date the Northern Luzon Bureau was organized in Baguio City. Rolando Fernandez was the one-man team set up in time for the Marcos burial in Batac, Ilocos Norte province.

AD 5 MONTHS Duration of the boycott of the newspaper led by movie producers and other big businessmen and government officials in Makati City in 1999, reportedly arising from a request by President Joseph Estrada

1997 The Year the Southern Luzon Bureau, the fourth INQUIRER bureau, was established in Legazpi City


1998 Year the newspaper started printing in full color. Originally a black-and-white daily, it began printing its front pages and Section A in full color in time for the centennial of Philippine independence.



Year the Sunday INQUIRER Magazine (SIM) was first published. On March 9, the first issue of SIM came out with then newly installed President Corazon Aquino and her late husband Ninoy on the cover.

Total audience of new platforms

2001 Year the maiden issue of INQUIRER Libre was first distributed to Metro Rail Transit and Light Rail Transit commuters



Year the INQUIRER opened its first bureau, the Visayas Bureau in Cebu City

First profit share received by employees in 1987.


MILLION Worth of the first Collective Bargaining Agreement package signed by the Philippine Daily Inquirer Employees Union and management

8 Number of pages in the maiden issue

1992 Year the Mindanao Bureau was set up in Davao City

14 Number of correspondents in the Mindanao Bureau when it was set up in Davao City in 1992


Number of telephones in the first newsroom




First rice subsidy received by regular employees

Number of awards received as of October 2014

77 40

Initial number of employees

Number of essays in the first Youngblood compilation published in 1998

20 Number of typewriters in the first newsroom




INQUIRERINNUMBERS 100,000 121,000,000 Circulation during Corazon Aquino’s presidential campaign in January 1986

6. 27.86 Date the INQUIRER transfers to a new office at what used to be the Madrid Restaurant on Edsa. President Corazon Aquino is guest of honor at the inauguration.

10.7.95 Date of the first issue of the weekly Junior INQUIRER

Highest number of page views achieved by INQUIRER.net from July 12 to Aug. 31, 2013, when it published a series of big news events, particularly the pork barrel scam

1992 Year the INQUIRER first honors a Filipino of the Year The late Raymundo Punongbayan, then the country's chief volcanologist, is the INQUIRER’s first Filipino of the Year awardee.


SQUARE METERS Size of the first INQUIRER newsroom

1994 Year Marixi R. Prieto became chair of the board

15 Number of restrooms in the INQUIRER building in 1995

12.10.85 Date of first salary of INQUIRER employees

Over 2,000 Number of runners in the INQUIRER's 25th anniversary fun run “25 for 25” at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig City held in February 2011

P50,000 Amount raised by the 28th anniversary fun run last year for survivors of the Bohol earthquake and Supertyphoon “Yolanda”

P5 Cost of the INQUIRER's Sunday issue in 1986

P350 Per diem given to INQUIRER reporters on out-of-town assignments in 1988 COMPILED BY INQUIRER RESEARCH INFOGRAPHIC BY ERNIE SAMBO


MEGABYTES Size of the INQUIRER's Molecular file server, which stored files of up to four INQUIRER issues, in 1988




Inquirer ‘anti-everything’ until MRP came along By Chelo Banal-Formoso Education Editor LIKE MOST STRONG WOMEN, the chair of the Philippine Daily Inquirer has a signature hairstyle. Marixi Rufino-Prieto wears her hair slightly teased on the crown and swept back into a knot or a ponytail with ends neatly tucked in. The effect is austere and corporate—a look that says she doesn’t want to be worrying about her hair the rest of the day because she has better things to do. And, really, what could be better than heading the board that runs the country’s largest circulated and most influential daily newspaper in the country? “I have a feeling that certain things come your way for a reason and it’s up to you to make a choice, whether or

not you want to accept,” says Mrs. Prieto, who is alternatively known as MRP around the INQUIRER. “But once you accept you have to see it full way.” That’s exactly what has happened. She has gone the whole nine yards, and so has the INQUIRER, in setting the news agenda in the country. Mrs. Prieto says she had bought into the paper to be the third force that would bring accord to the two squabbling factions in its ownership and management. As newsprint supplier, she was well aware that the in-fighting could kill the paper. She recalls that she didn’t even tell her husband about buying into the INQUIRER, even though Alex Prieto comes from a family that was actively involved with the pre-martial law Manila Times.

“I knew he was going to say no had I told him,” says MRP. “The INQUIRER was so ‘anti-everything’ . . . But then I could see what it had done in the political landscape. I could see that it was bringing out things that needed to be threshed out.” She thought that what the broadsheet needed most was help in balancing the news. She understood that it was in the nature of journalists as watchdogs for a nation still reeling from years of dictatorship to focus on the ugly realities, of which there was no short supply. “And yet one of the missions of the paper was nation-building,” she says. “You’re not going to build the nation if you’re just going to continually be against everybody. We needed to put more good news in the paper—stories about successes—without of course closing our eyes to the wrongs that

were happening around us.” So that was the reason the INQUIRER started coming out with a feel-good story every day, or whenever possible. Eventually, the paper also adopted a “radical” (her own word) Positive Sunday outlook. “They were saying that good news doesn’t sell and I was telling them yes it does,” says Mrs. Prieto. “You want to be able to attribute success to the people who are doing good and to share their stories with other people. Why would you want to read the paper if you know it’s all going to be bad news? You want to open it in the morning and see some daylight.” Keeping the contents of the INQUIRER balanced is an overriding concern for Mrs. Prieto, more so now that, at 74, INQUIRER / 3

THE GOOD NEWS Marixi R. Prieto’s mandate is to balance the bad with the good.



You’ve come a long way, Sandy

2 1

VERY PROPER (1 and 2) Direct from Assumption College, her high school alma mater, where she taught Community Development and Service (her BS Sociology degree she obtained from the College of Notre Dame in California; her master’s degree in Development Management from the Asian Institute of Management ), Alexandra “Sandy” Rufino Prieto (much later hyphenated with Romualdez), arrived in 1993 at the INQUIRER to become an executive assistant to the president for six years after stints at the library sharp scissors in hand to cut news clips and as an editorial assistant aside from tagging along with reporters, among other occupations too menial for a COO (Child of Owner). But having immersed herself with tribals in Kenya for six months, she was more than ready to adjust to the then primitive trappings of her new calling.

3 ENGAGED From biz talk with tycoons Jaime Augusto and Fernando Zobel (5) to chatting up first lady Loi Ejercito and Nora Aunor with mom Marixi (4 and 6) to role playing with older and only sister Tessa (3), Sandy cuts an arresting but heartwarming presence.

4 5




THE GLAMOUR GAME (8) She plays it sexy whenever the occasion calls for it as when the INQUIRER hosted the Ad Congress in CamSur in 2011.

10 TOP OF HER GAME (7 and 10) Manila Golf Club’s ladies champion several times over, she also led the PDI badminton team during the Sportshouse Corporate Celebrity Cup on July 15, 2003.

12 9 BIRTHDAY GIRL (9) Variations on the same theme: She’s admirable, loved.

11 IS THIS ANY WAY TO GET OLDER? (11) See photo 1. She gets even better.

THE FINEST HOUR for Sandy and the INQUIRER (12). At the general assembly for an update on the advertising boycott in 1999, Sandy assures the staff that no one would be retrenched and that management had decided to continue to publish even if the paper is down to a 12-page tabloid.


STAR OF THE MORNING Sandy was way out there for the 4th INQUIRER Read-Along Festival last November at the Cultural Center of the Philippines. She wore a star-shaped headgear she made herself. She read “Umaga sa Tala” or morning star.

Inquirer ‘anti-everything’ until MRP came along From page 1

she is often wont to think about retirement. She says that she has told her daughter Alexandra “Sandy” Romualdez, the paper’s president, to start weighing things. “The continuity of INQUIRER is up to her,” says Mrs. Prieto. “Because whether you like it or not, the INQUIRER will always need a leader. It is not enough to have the editorial doing what it does and the business side doing what it does; you must have someone there to keep the paper together. You need to keep the editorial content balanced because you cannot just keep hitting without suffering in some way. At the same time, you have to be profit-oriented in order to keep the paper alive.” The INQUIRER as a group of companies now has more than a thousand people on its payroll. Mrs. Prieto says she considers her employees as family. “They depend on us for their livelihood. That’s why we continually have to keep the paper vibrant. We have to keep looking for means of supporting it.”

No government contracts MRP looks back to the Estrada presidency as a particularly trying time. “My fear was never physical because I knew him well enough and he was not that kind of man,” she says. “What I feared was how long the ad boycott would continue and its effects on our employees.” Owning a newspaper can be a liability if you’re running other businesses, she agrees. People in power who feel they have been prejudiced by the paper take their anger out on the owners when given the opportunity. She says she has turned down invitations to join other businesses, especially those that might need protection from the media.

But the newspaper business also has its perks. “You feel so good when you bring wrongdoing out in the open, like in the pork barrel scam,” says MRP. She and her husband even joined the INQUIRER employees at Rizal Park last year for the “Million People March” to show indignation over the pork barrel scandal. Mrs. Prieto is aware that the publishing business is going to be even more difficult in the coming years because of the competition and the technology coming up. “But if you see your role clearly, then you have to find the means to keep going,” says Mrs. Prieto. “The INQUIRER’s role is clear to me, but I have to find a way to keep it balanced. It is important to know how to get to that end point without losing gas somewhere along the way that you cannot compete.” With Sandy at the helm of the INQUIRER, Mrs. Prieto only has to show up once or twice a month for the executive committee meeting or “do the things that Sandy has no time for, like social events.” She plays golf every Tuesday morning with a group of seniors who are all over 70 years old. She is looking forward to spending the holidays with the entire family now that her son Andrew, who is a cardiologist, is home for good with his family. Mrs. Prieto serves on the board of the Makati Medical Center Foundation where one of the projects is helping government hospitals professionalize their operations and give quality, competent and efficient care.


But it is to the Sisters of Mary (SOM) in Silang, Cavite, that her heart belongs. It is an advocacy that Mrs. Prieto has inherited from her husband’s family. The SOM runs Perks Girlstown, a boarding school for disadvan“Also, if you own a newspaper, you cannot taged girls, and its counterpart Boystown. have a government contract because you will The Prietos have donated a sacrifice the paper to ensure your contracts state-of-the-art auditorium to the school with government,” says Mrs. Prieto. and named it in honor of Louie R. Prieto, the eldest son who was the INQUIRER’s executive vice president when he died in a motorcyle accident in 1993. Mrs. Prieto is the biggest endorser of the Sisters of Mary, and of late has brought the likes of President Aquino, Vice President Jejomar Binay, US Ambassadors Harry K. Thomas and Kristie Anne Kenney, philanthropist Washington SyCip and San Miguel CEO Ramon Ang to see for themselves the high school kids there who are receiving free education, room and board, medical and PARTNERS ALL THE WAY MRP with husband Alex Prieto whose dental services, and family once owned the pre-martial law Manila Times. heaps of hope. “The best part about owning the INQUIRER,” Mrs. Prieto says, “is when I see things unraveling, like the pork barrel scam. The difficult part is keeping it balanced.”





Inquirer online’s multiplier effect inspires unexpected impact By John Nery Editor in Chief INQUIRER.net IT WAS ONE OF THE MOST unforgettable stories to emerge out of the “Yolanda” tragedy. INQUIRER reporter DJ Yap, who was in Tacloban City together with photographer Niño Jesus Orbeta when Yolanda came roaring in on Nov. 8, 2013, filed a harrowing story about one person’s survival. “High school teacher Bernadette Tenegra, 44, would never forget the last words of her daughter. “‘Ma, just let go. Save yourself,’ said the girl, whose body was pierced by wooden splinters from houses crushed by Supertyphoon ‘Yolanda.’ “‘I was holding her and I kept telling her to hang on, that I was going to bring her up. But she just gave up,’ said Tenegra, her face contorted in grief.” The story appeared in the newspaper on Monday, Nov. 11—and on INQUIRER.net several hours before, at 30 minutes after midnight. The headline alone captured both the human scale of the tragedy, and the absurd, upside-down world that Yolanda created: “Daughter’s last words: ‘Ma, just let go… Save yourself.’”

Single most read article Three days after the supertyphoon made landfall, two days after the true and unprecedented scope of the tragedy started to become clear, Yap’s story about Tenegra’s unbearable loss struck a nerve. It went on to become the single most read article in the last year and a half, generating over 1.88 million page views. If we assume that the newspaper has a base of anywhere between 600,000 and 1,200,000 readers, based on pass-on readership (let’s agree on the mid-point, or 900,000), and if we assume further that all 900,000 readers read the story, then the version published online drew a readership that was double the size of the print story’s audience. This is the multiplier effect that INQUIRER.net contributes to the INQUIRER Group of Companies; it allows stories that see print in the Philippine Daily Inquirer or break on dzIQ Radyo INQUIRER or begin as an item on an RSS feed managed by Megamobile to reach a new and often larger audience. In 2014, the monthly number of UVs or unique visitors (a measure of the number of devices that access INQUIRER.net) has averaged at over 7 million.

One million likes INQUIRER.net, the INQUIRER Group’s online operation, also helps run the Group’s main social media accounts on Facebook and Twitter. The Facebook account

reached a major milestone on Sept. 15, at 5:03 p.m. to be exact, when it broke the 1-million-likes barrier. Since “social” is a growing source of traffic for the website, and “liking” the INQUIRER account on Facebook gives the social network user the option to sign up for notifications from the INQUIRER, the million-likes mark was a real milestone.

Organic growth But as an INQUIRER.net story noted then: “We are not the first Philippine brand to reach this milestone, nor even the first media organization. (We are, however, the first newspaper group to do so. INQUIRER.net is the online operation of the Philippine Daily Inquirer, the country’s leading newspaper.) But we are happy that the growth of the audience in Facebook was organic—that is, done the old-fashioned way.” The growth in traffic to INQUIRER.net is also organic; the company does not use so-called click factories. Today, the website is among the Top 10 Philippine sites as measured by Alexa rankings (others on the list include tech giants Facebook, Google, and Yahoo, as well as TV network ABS-CBN), and both Google Analytics and Alexa measure its “time on site” (the average amount of time a website’s users spend accessing it) as by far the highest among Philippine news and information websites.

One million pesos Perhaps the most powerful (and unexpected) proof of the impact the INQUIRER online can make is the simple, stirring story of Ashley Nepomuceno. Reporter Kristine Angeli Sabillo (now INQUIRER.net’s chief of reporters) was riding the MRT last April when she chanced upon an unusual scene. The story she wrote the day after described it clearly. “When 54-year-old Cleofe Navarro boarded the Metro Rail Transit (MRT) carrying her granddaughter Ashley Anne Nepomuceno, there was a momentary silence among the passengers. “A couple of women stood up and gave up their seats. Nanay Cleofe, cradling the 6-year-old child, smiled shyly. “Pasensya na po kayo,” she said, seemingly embarrassed at her predicament. “In her arms was a child with limbs covered in bandages, head bleeding despite the gauze. “A visibly weak Ashley wailed in pain while Nanay Cleofe positioned her away from the heat of the sun. “Suddenly, a woman sitting across her handed over what seemed to be money. A couple of minutes later, one or two other good Samaritans did the same.”

STRANGERS ON THE TRAIN An online story of MRT passengers’ chance encounters with Ashley Anne Nepomuceno waiting in pain in the arms of her grandmother Cleofe started a fundraiser that is now at P1.4 million, and counting. INQUIRER PHOTO

A chance encounter, a simple story—and an almost casual mention of people spontaneously doing acts of charity. By some alchemy, “MRT passengers pass the hat for 6-year-

old Ashley” got people giving too. Immediately after publication, hundreds of people inquired, by e-mail or phone or on Facebook, about how to donate to a fund for Ashley. Two

days after the story broke, the INQUIRER published the details of the bank account to send donations to, and in less than a week, over P500,000 had been raised.

To date, donors large and small have given a total of almost P1.4 million to help Ashley. Unexpected, inspiring action, worth a million likes, or more.



In the Internet of things; have you heard? By Jake Maderazo dzIQ Anchor


“BANNER STORY” anchors Jake Maderazo and Arlyn de la Cruz give dzIQ listeners their morning fix of the day’s hottest issues.

DZIQ Radyo Inquirer: The battlecry is to go beyond radio By Bobby Ante

WHILE SIPPING A CUP of coffee in the morning, reading today’s edition of the Philippine Daily Inquirer and listening to dzIQ Radyo Inquirer, I ask my son, who is seated across me at the breakfast table, if he knew today’s news already. He answers me in the affirmative, stating that he saw it on Twitter and Facebook while chatting on-line with his orgmates. He doesn’t need to read the newspaper nor listen to the radio to be informed. I drive my two other kids to school early everyday and they listen to the radio only when they’re with me in the car and neither of them bother to read the newspaper either. They get the news, music, celebrity trivia, the weather report, etc. not from traditional media but from popular social media sites and other sources. Such is the reality now that traditional media faces in this age of the digital revolution. In this digital chaos, where the virtual population will very soon outnumber the world’s physical population, the Internet has ex-

ploded exponentially at such an alarming pace, much faster than that of all traditional media combined. They say, even the TV screen, is no longer, the primary screen now—it is the smartphone or tablet. Is dzIQ still being heard? Is our broadcast signal strong enough to reach a wide range of the populace? Maybe, that is no longer just our concern now. The Internet has changed all that—the way people get the news, information, music and other audio/video transmissions that traditional media used to dish out. The audience out there is no longer a bunch of “listeners.” We don’t just cater to a “listening” audience nowadays. They are now very different because their behavioral patterns have been revolutionized with the advent of smartphones. When they wake up in the morning and before they go to bed, they check their Facebook, then, Twitter, Instagram, Viber, and countless other sites and web streaming services. Listening to a radio station like dzIQ is just one among the many available options that

they can do to amuse or entertain themselves, and that is on demand, anywhere and any time. They are now more pampered, have a shorter attention span and need to be engaged all the time because of the many distractions that continuously bombard them.

Major ingredient Sounds like very difficult times for radio? What about dzIQ, that is still considered a baby compared to the giants in the industry that have been in the business for decades? Are we still up to the challenge to get noticed? The INQUIRER DNA is a major ingredient in helping boost listenership for dzIQ. Managing dzIQ is a balancing act between managing the huge operational costs of a radio station and sourcing out revenues from various revenue streams like the regular advertising agencies, direct clients, co-production shows and blocktimers. Go beyond radio is a battlecry for dzIQ in the coming months. The digital age has ,indeed, sent broadcast practitioners in a

panic mode. Not to fret because there is light at the end of the tunnel. We should change our mindset since advertisers and brands are now creating their own platforms to push their products. DZIQ, together with the IGC Group should continue pursuing projects that will use our platforms to help and collaborate with these brands in a creative way. It should constantly search for creative people who will serve as a pool that can help in the full convergence of the INQUIRER platforms. Since the audience doesn’t just listen now, a digital platform is very important, either linked to INQUIRER.net or by way of the massive use of other sites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube in promoting and disseminating the programs and news info that emanate from dzIQ. At the end of the day, content is still king—content that is found on dzIQ, as created by the news anchors, news reporters and writers, content that is relevant and fresh always. But dzIQ has to go beyond just being heard. DZIQ has to go beyond radio to survive.

Imagine the unimaginable By JV Rufino

THE ROUNDUP of daily morning papers on the Inquirer Plus Digital Newsstand is much, much more than just the Inquirer.

Director for Mobile

GET MORE FROM THE INQUIRER. That’s the promise behind the INQUIRER Plus Digital Newsstand, the INQUIRER Group’s premium digital product for INQUIRER subscribers, both online and offline. Imagine a product that combines the readability of a newspaper with the interactivity of a website and the portability of a tablet, phablet or smartphone—the best of both old and new. Imagine having articles read aloud to you while you have breakfast—with both hands. Imagine sharing articles on Twitter and Facebook and saving them on digital tools such as Instapaper and Evernote. Imagine reading the INQUIRER in Chinese, Japanese, Korean, German, Spanish and Italian and several other languages via on-the-fly translation. Imagine sharing your INQUIRER issue (no more fighting over the sports pages!) with everyone else in your family on up to five devices (Apple iOS, Google Android, Windows 8.1 or a web browser—it’s up to you). Imagine no more. INQUIRER Plus is real and it’s available as part of an INQUIRER subscription and as an online-only subscription product at

http://inq.ph/inqplus INQUIRER Plus gives its subscribers access to the full issue of the INQUIRER, not just the selection of articles picked up by the INQUIRER.net web portal, edited for search engine optimization and social media reach and posted at different times of the day. Every photo, advertisement and notice carried in the print edition is carried on INQUIRER Plus, just as it appears in print. But wait, there’s more. Not only do INQUIRER Plus subscribers have access to the INQUIRER, they also have access to all other magazines and books produced by the INQUIRER Group: Cebu Daily News, Bandera, INQUIRER Libre, Northern

Living, Southern Living, Cebu Living, Scout, Cocoon and Look, to name a few. Moreover, the INQUIRER Plus is also a book club with subscribers having access to ebooks such as “Youngblood 4,” “Northern Eats,” “Southern Eats,” and “Best Desserts” —with more books added over time. INQUIRER Plus also gives readers a perspective on Southeast Asia with bundled access to INQUIRER’s sister papers under the Asia News Network: The Jakarta Post in Indonesia, The Star of Malaysia and The Nation in Thailand—all providing a local, insider perspective of our Asean neighbors.

All this material a bit overwhelming? INQUIRER Plus also has you covered with e-mail alerts on topics you’re interested in and notifications on when a favorite publication has a new issue. Want to give it a try? Sign up at the INQUIRER Plus Digital Newsstand and download the PDI Digital apps on the Apple App Store, Google Play and Windows 8.1 for a free trial. INQUIRER Libre is also always free and can be downloaded even without a print or online subscription. And if you’re a print subscriber, you’re already an INQUIRER Plus subscriber, call 8966000 to activate your INQUIRER Plus account.

smartphones, super speed computers and gadgetry, the world is seeing a monumental shift of traditional media into digital media. Today, we have 44.2 million Pinoy Internet users and 29.8 million Facebook members according to the latest 2014 statistics. The numbers officially declare the “Online Web” or the Internet as the new dominant medium for Pinoys, at the expense of dropping viewership ratings for broadcast networks and decreased print media readerships. These new inclination of Pinoys towards the Internet as their source of news and other issues, sparked a ratings war among Philippine news websites. The latest buzz is that INQUIRER.net is the acknowledged leader, landing No. 10 on the list of the venerated Alexa.com ratings in September this year (ABS-CBN is No. 18/ GMA No. 20). This outstanding feat has been confirmed by Google Analytics and several other Web traffic statistics. In these digital wars, dzIQ 990 (Radyo INQUIRER), the radio arm of the Inquirer Group of Companies, plays a major role in continuously beating the competition. As early as 5 a.m., dzIQ never stops airing important and relevant information to all Pinoys via AM radio, or by tweeting, live blogging and Live-streaming. As frontliner for INQUIRER.net, dzIQ (Radyo INQUIRER) is the source of breaking news and flash reports 24/7 demanded by digital Filipino audiences on radio or on the Web.

David and Goliath A virtual David fighting the Goliaths of the local radio and TV industry of today, dzIQ works hand in hand with INQUIRER.net in keeping the public informed on developing news throughout the day. It has been confirmed that its closest competitors have been constantly monitoring dzIQ specifically for its breaking news items and substantive interviews. With a formidable radio news-anchor lineup, supported by professional reporters in their beats, dzIQ provides the Pinoy digital audience through INQUIRER.net with fast, reliable and necessary information via Twitter, Facebook and other social media. Instant images of breaking events and its details, are processed for broadcast and then uploaded to the online Web, resulting in a very updated and responsive PDI news website. INQUIRER newspaper headlines are pushed forward, and updated daily on dzIQ by guesting news personalities who are asked hard-hitting questions which broadcast an unbiased analysis of the news event or controversy. Leading the programs is “Banner Story” (6-9 a.m. weekdays), hosted by veteran journalist, film director and author Arlyn de la Cruz and this author. A direct to the point and no-holds-barred three-hour program covers the morning routine of Pinoys with specifics on national and local issues. This includes issues that affect them like the weather, traffic, public service, entertainment, world news and all others. News Director Den Macaranas and seasoned multimedia journalist Ira Panganiban follow with the very informative, “Good Morning Inquirer” (9-10:30 a.m. weekdays) a program focusing on developing news stories of the

day with a more grounded and lighter approach to issues. On an earlier timeslot, “Inquirer Breakfast Club” (5-6 a.m. weekdays), Macaranas also partners with entrepreneurproducer Brenda Arcangel for the early morning dzIQ news show.

Multi-awarded Daily public service begins with the multi-awarded “Bantay OCW program” (10:30 a.m.-12 noon) hosted by much acclaimed radio-TV host and columnist Ms Susan K. This show has been acknowledged as a Hall of Famer for outstanding public service radio program by KBP and other awards organization. “Partners,” (5:30-7 p.m.), with INQUIRER Libre editor in chief Chito de la Vega and seasoned broadcaster Jay Dones, tackles the major stories that arise during the day. Hard-hitting interviews and insightful analyses are dished out this very interesting late afternoon radio tandem on dzIQ. “DZIQ Radyo Inquirer Balita” (30 minutes newscasts weekdays) are aired 7-7:30 a.m. (Ira Panganiban as news presenter), 12 noon-12:30 p.m. (Jupiter Torres and Reysie Amado) and 5-5:30 p.m. (Reysie Amado). Hourly news breaks are also aired by the Radyo Inquirer News Desk all throughout the day.

Focus programs Focus programs on other public service, music and entertainment make listening to dzIQ a very informative experience. “Wow It’s Showbiz” (3-5 p.m. weekdays), hosted by Fernand de Guzman (Miss F), current president of the Philippine Movie Press Club (PMPC), provides a real picture of show biz, its highs and lows and is a handy source of entertainment news featured on INQUIRER, Bandera and Libre. Jupiter Torres’ “Kliq Music sa Hapon” (3-5 p.m. weekdays) is a great musical journey for AM radio listeners specifically Gen Xers and Millennials (80’s, 90’s, 2000 music) “Radyo Mediko,” “Lunas Kalusugan,” “Tinig ng mga Eksperto,” “Gabay ng mga Pamilyang Marino,” and other well-produced radio programs during weekends provide refreshing information for our listeners.

Facebook customized paper An interesting development that may further fuel online news wars among news organizations was the declaration of Facebook that they will soon launch their own online newspaper (customized). As I said, there are almost 30 million Filipinos on Facebook and based on recent research, they spend a minimum of 1-2 hours every day checking their accounts. Since Facebook will be localized, its content will be aggregated or curated from local news organizations, mainly INQUIRER.net. This, in turn, will trigger a difficult race for space in that Facebook newspaper for all media to reach the greater Filipino audience outside of traditional TV. And expectedly, the demand for breaking news in the field, scoops and also long or short form journalism (print or video) will boom. Rest assured that dzIQ 990 (Radyo INQUIRER), with the support of the INQUIRER family, will engage other broadcast giants in this new journalistic wars for supremacy in online news and information for Pinoys worldwide. Times have changed for news, whether print or broadcast, and in the prevailing “Internet of things,” anything can happen.



Present at the creation over ‘tapsilog’ By JP Fenix Former Inquirer reporter


the birth of the Philippine Daily Inquirer—or what I recall of it before years of drinking diet cola fries my brain. Here goes. The birth of PDI was a result of a crystal clear vision, unrelenting pursuit of a mission, impeccable timing, flexibility in leadership and a healthy dose of humor. Eugenia Duran-Apostol, PDI’s founding chair and Publisher, met with me in one of those lean coverage days of the Trial of the Century: the Aquino-Galman Double Murder Case in 1985. She had called me to join her in this Manila Bay restaurant. It was a small wooden pier for cheap bay cruises, between the pricier Harbor View seafood restaurant and then exclusive Army Navy Club, at the driveway to Quirino Grandstand in Manila. Tita Eggie (she was not officious and actually liked being called by her nickname, but I still used “Tita” as a form of respect. She was, after all, still The Boss) said the tapsilog was good there. She asked me how the trial was going and my thoughts on its progress. We could all see that the trial’s end was coming up, especially since I was working on a story that the original game plan of then President Ferdinand Marcos was to run the trial to appease people, then have the

court find everybody in the conspiracy innocent and thus putting an end to the case and protecting all against double jeopardy. I was focused on the exposé of the day: Malacañang’s deceit. But Tita Eggie was many steps ahead, just as she was in her numerous publishing projects. The business model she so admired, believe it or not, was MAD magazine. It had mass appeal, its issues and material was timely, and its content could be reused and recycled into thematic, author-based and various other types of books, magazines and merchandise. And so, in her publishing career Tita Eggie founded Mr. & Ms. Magazine, a general knowledge, lifestyle and entertainment magazine which, over time, spawned other books and publications like cookbooks, literary anthologies and the like. With the assassination of former Sen. Benigno S. Aquino in 1983 she responded with the need for information on the unfolding historical events with the Mr. & Ms. Special Edition, a black-and-white all newsprint weekly. Again these spawned other publications, like the book on the majority report of the Agrava Commission which had the full presentation of the assassination by lead investigator (and later Chief Justice) Andres Narvasa. In late 1984 the Aquino-Galman double murder case was set to move to its trial phase, and again Tita Eggie assembled her core staff at her Dasmariñas Village home—Editor Letty Jimenez

Magsanoc (now PDI Editor in Chief), staff writers Joey Nolasco (PDI Managing Editor), Fe Zamora (PDI staff), Candy Quimpo (now Gourlay, multi-awarded London children’s books author), Frankie Joaquin (now Drogin), J.R. Alibutud and myself to brainstorm on a vision she had. Marcos had said that the trial would be intense and may run on a daily basis and thus it would need a totally different publication than what weekly Mr. & Ms. SpeEd could do. The trial was too important and economically, the Mr. & Ms. SpeEd published every Friday would suffer losses from the additional pages without an adjustment in cover price, something that the market would not appreciate from a single publication. The solution: a new publication that would give the importance the Aquino assassination case deserved published every Monday. Two issues were then brought forward to the group: first, a name. It had to be catchy and reflective of its content and direction. Discussing this over macapuno ice cream (hey, we had to make do with what we were served) Candy and I proposed the Philippine Inquirer. It was, after all, the coverage of the “Inquiry of the Century” and we thought it was cool to be writing for something called the Inquirer since we were hanging out with a lot of foreign correspondents and parachute journalists anyway. (Mr. & Mrs. Special Edition editor Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc writes (above, right):




Prayers, note of thanks for those who left INQUIRER FOUNDING COCHAIR BETTY

Go-Belmonte resigned from the INQUIRER on May 24, 1986. Founding board member Max Soliven resigned days later, on May 28, 1986.

Art Borjal, who was a columnist of the INand another board member, wrote his last column for the INQUIRER on June 15, 1986. In July 1986, Go-Belmonte, Soliven and Borjal founded the Philippine Star with SoQUIRER

liven as lead columnist and publisher. The INQUIRER staff was reorganized on Feb. 3, 1987, when the INQUIRER board of directors asked Beltran to relinquish his post as editor in chief, but to continue as daily columnist and member of the board. The board appointed Federico Pascual as editor in chief.

Beltran wrote his last column, “Straight from the Shoulder,” on Feb. 2. His name last appeared on the staff box on Feb. 26, 1987. Go-Belmonte died of cancer in January 1994. She was president of The Philippine Star at the time of her death. Beltran died of a heart attack on Sept. 6, 1994.

Soliven died of cardiac and respiratory arrest in November 2006. He was 77. At the time of his death, Soliven was publisher and chair of the board of The Philippine Star, People Asia magazine and Mabuhay, the inflight magazine of Philippine Airlines. He was also chair of the OB Montessori Center.

Present at the creation over ‘tapsilog’ From page 3

Tita Eggie wasn’t convinced. She was worried that the newsboys would not be able to sell it on the streets. “They would say ‘In-queerer! In-querrer!’” she said, mimicking street kids running around holding up the paper. “It’s going to be queerer and queerer.” Her idea was “JAJA”, a takeoff from the Justice for Aquino, Justice for All movement that had been born from the assassination. It was clear and concise, she argued, it was associated with the words “justice” and “Aquino” and a movement growing in popularity. Most important of all, it was easy for newsboys to say. Somehow, as she again mimicked a newsboy strutting about in her living room, with an imaginary newspaper repeating “JAJA! JAJA!” Tita Eggie finally paused and said, “OK, Philippine Inquirer.” Second point: content. Outside the 360 degree trial coverage, Philippine Inquirer had to have some other content to give it some added flavor. Here, using deeply disguised pseudonyms, the waning journalistic legacies crushed by martial law years were revived: Louie Beltran, Art Borjal, Max Soliven.

NPA’s hitlist Society columnist Maurice Arcache and photographer partner Alex Van Hagen provided their social scene coverage in the hopes of pulling in some business from Manila’s high society. Some of us cringed at this section at first, feeling it had nothing of substance to offer this type of publication. But we changed our minds when Fe pointed out it was, in fact, a very clear and graphic hit list for the New People’s Army’s assassination teams called Sparrow Units. Ah, a broader market. To balance it off, Mr. & Ms. Magazine editor Doris Nuyda was tasked to collate all press releases from the Malacañang news desk and compiled it in a special section called “The Week with the President” and a small subsection on Imelda’s press releases called “…and Mrs. Marcos”. They were practically unedited and provided a buffer for the more controversial material on the Aquino assassination trial coverage. And that went on nearly a year. And as the trial was about to wrap up and my story about what a sham it was from the start was about to go to press, Marcos again provided the impetus for Tita Eggie’s vision: he announced in a live satellite interview with American broadcast journalist Ted Koppel over ABC News that he would declare a snap presidential election, if only to prove that he still had the mandate of the people. Seeing that all the daily newspapers were Marcos controlled, she saw the need to equalize the snap election coverage. Thus, there we were, over tapsilog, shooting the sea breeze over the new Philippine Daily Inquirer. We would need to put together a bigger staff—news desk, reporters … the works. Those who were writing under pseudonyms would be called to the light and lead the paper. Recruitment, however, must be done with one steep and specific condition: work may last only two months. It was simple, really. Marcos could just close us down on a whim. That was the best case scenario. Worst case? Well, as the story goes (and this was a scene in that Edsa-inspired movie with Gary Busey called “A Dangerous Life”) all Marcos opposition was supposed to be shipped off to a concentration camp in Caballo Island (where the Philippine Military contingent to Liberia was quarantined for 21 days due to the Ebola virus). Tita Eggie—as seen in the movie—was number one on that list for arrest: Apostol, Eugenia D. And, no, it wasn’t in alphabetical order. But we didn’t know that then, as we discussed the new daily. She wanted me to take charge of covering the Marcos campaign and Malacañang. If I were as experienced then as I am now (I’m in my 50s) I would have said: “Are you nuts?” That was like being thrown in the lion’s den like Daniel. But I was in my 20s and felt indestructible, raring for some action.—Betty Go-Belmonte.

APOSTOL wanted to call her vision of a newspaper “Jaja.” The next few days were a frenzy of setting up facilities. Tita Eggie and I visited Betty Go-Belmonte for discussions and inspection for the use of their offices and printing facilities in 13th street corner Railroad in Port Area, Manila. Using Tita Eggie’s trusty Nissan pickup truck (converted like a station wagon), we would go to furniture shops along Buendia in Pasay City to buy chairs and tables, the cheaper the better. Secondhand typewriters were acquired, although as some sort of a favor for me she also bought a couple of Apple II clones from a supplier who looked like Mr. Magoo with thick glasses and a nerdy grin, since she was so into “the wave of the future.” Max Soliven, who was named publisher, arrived from Hong Kong and handed me a pair of ICOM VHF walkie-talkies to aid my Marcos coverage. I did not know what to do with them because they were just simple radio sets that worked if the line of sight was clear, no repeater system that will allow broad coverage. Hide behind a wall and the guy at the other end could not hear you. Besides, they did not come with battery packs. And so it finally came out. Dec. 9, 1985, Volume 1, Number 1. Headline: “It’s CoryDoy,” the story written by Belinda Olivarez Cunanan confirming the unification of the Marcos opposition, with Ninoy Aquino’s widow Cory picking up from the popular, mass-based call and Salvador Laurel, long time opposition politician, taking a back seat for unity. (Hmmm, sounds familiar.) Along these early days Max Soliven almost became the earliest casualty of Tita Eggie’s management style. He had caused a delay in the production of the newspaper by making it wait until his column was done. He was, after all, the publisher. She would not have any of it and so he threatened to pack up and leave. Tita Eggie raised an eyebrow. “Nobody is indispensible,” she said. The next day Max came to the office with a bag of siopao, which he handed over as a “peace offering” (his words) to Tita Eggie. She smiled her little smile, and as she turned around and passed me, handing me the siopao bag to share with the staff. That was that. Thus, it came to pass that the honor of being the earliest unemployment casualty went to one reporter who, assigned to the Manila International Airport, could not get beyond the departure ramp because he could not get accredited. Not having any stories and complaining about his lack of access to boot, the reporter found himself at the receiving end of the INQUIRER’s first editor in chief Louie Beltran’s first management decision: “You’re fired!” Later a quick succession of events—a sham election, a failed coup attempt, and a people’s revolt—put an end to Marcos’ plan for our Caballo island vacation. The staff of 40 or so reporters, editors and administrators suddenly found themselves with some measure of job security.



I grew up right here By Pam Pastor Lifestyle Subsection Editor

AT THE RECENT PHILIPPINE Literary Festival, during our panel on nonfiction, the host read my introduction: “I feel like I grew up in the newsroom.” Then, he turned to me and said, jokingly, “I’m sorry.” We laughed. But there’s nothing to be sorry about. It was 1998 and I had just gotten home from school when I spotted a small ad announcing INQUIRER’s search for student correspondents. I faxed my application and, months later, received my first assignment via snail mail: A survey on virginity. “Fantastic,” I thought, “I am an expert on this subject.” The first story was just the beginning. That newspaper ad changed my life. I was 17 when I first wrote for the INQUIRER; 18 when I started coming in to help close pages; 19 when I became editor of the youth section 2bU; 20 when I joined the editorial group that started INQUIRER Libre; 22 when I became editor of the pop culture section Super and also 22 when I added Lifestyle reporter to the list of roles I was juggling. I still remember my first day in the newsroom vividly. I was in awe. Everyone seemed so interesting and so worldly. I felt like a little kid in an adult world—and that’s exactly what I was. I was so intimidated that when the drawer that held the keyboard I was using slammed shut and I couldn’t figure out how to open it again, I spent the rest of the day typing blindly with my hands inside the drawer. The flurry of activity in the newsroom was intoxicating. There were stories to be written, pages to be laid out, photos to be captioned and deadlines to be met. I was hooked. I returned the next week. And the week after. And the week after that. Although I had always loved writing, I didn’t think it was something I could do full-time. My plan had always been to become a lawyer and maybe, just maybe, write books on the side. But almost three years after my first byline appeared in the paper, I abandoned all thoughts of law school and switched my major from political science to journalism. The newsroom had seduced me and derailed my plans, helping me find what I really wanted to do with my life.

No days-off For a couple of years, I had no days-off—I was in school five days a week and at the INQUIRER three times a week. I used to bring a change of clothes for days when my schedule overlapped but I soon gave up the charade, deciding to just go to the office in my UST uniform. What I lacked in experience and sophistication, I made up for with passion, enthusiasm and hard work. I was so in love with my job that I couldn’t stop working, not even when I was in school. My notebooks were filled with article drafts and ideas instead of notes from my classes. Students sometimes go to the office to interview me for their school papers. One girl, who said she was writing about “women in the workplace,” kept pressing me for stories about discrimination. “Did you ever feel like you weren’t treated fairly because you’re female?” she wanted to know. When she finally revealed that her topic was sexism in offices, I had to laugh. “You’ve come to the wrong place,” I said. “Our chairperson, president and editor in chief are all women. This is a great place for women.” And not just women (and men). The INQUIRER is a great place for young people, I GREW / 4



MAY 5, 2007, INQUIRER Library. First ever INQUIRER Read-Along session with Manilyn Reynes

MARCH 8, 2008, Philippine General Hospital pediatric garden

Tell me a story again and again LAUNCHED IN MAY 2007, the I NQUIRER Read-Along aims to promote love of reading among children ages 7 to 12 through storytelling sessions with celebrities, role models and professional storytellers.

The story so far

Along sessions since May 2007





four festivals (2011• Over 18,000 - Number of • Over 240 - Number of local (2010), 2014) and four Reading for Healkids who have participated in titles read in the Read-Along the Read-Along • More than 50 - Number of ing sessions (for survivors of “OnAround 350 - Number of cities the Read-Along has visited doy,” “Sendong” and “Yolanda”) • celebrities who have read in • 9 - Number of special events • 7 - Number of awards won by Read-Along sessions held by the Read-Along team: one the Read-Along program • Around 300 - Number of Read- simultaneous Read-Along session For its advocacy, the Read-Along

has been honored here and abroad. Last year, it won the silver award of the World Young Reader Prize by the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers. In 2011, it was also declared overall grand winner in the communication management division of the

10th Philippine Quill Awards for staging 25 simultaneous storytelling sessions across the country on Dec. 4, 2010. The program has also been recognized by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts and the Reading Association of the Philippines.

NOV. 22, 2008, Carmel Cottage, Talisay City, Negros Occidental province. Peque Gallaga reads to seriously ill kids. With the INQUIRER bureaus, the Read-Along simultaneously goes to three other cities nationwide, Baguio, Naga and Davao.

FEB. 13, 2009, INQUIRER main office. Gary Valenciano dances with a special child after reading “Ibong Adarna.”

DEC. 4, 2010, Tawi-Tawi province, part of the 25 simultaneous Read-Along sessions, “Telling the story to empower, to inspire from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi,” in time for the INQUIRER’s 25th anniversary, participated in by more than 2,000 children nationwide

FEB. 17, 2012, St. Michael’s College High School in Barangay San Miguel, Iligan City. Part of the special back-to-back INQUIRER Debriefing Read-Along sessions in areas damaged by Tropical Storm “Sendong” in December 2011

NOV. 28, 2011, GT-Toyota Asian Cultural Center on the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City. Muslim children have fun with Guyito during the first Read-Along Festival.

DEC. 2, 2013, Gazeta Wyborcza headquarters, Warsaw, Poland, during the Youth Engagement Summit. For its success in promoting love of reading among the youth, the INQUIRER Read-Along wins the silver award for “Enduring Excellence in Public Service” from the World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers (WAN-Ifra). The team with Dr. Aralynn McMane (second from left), executive director of WAN-Ifra Young Readership Development





NOV. 7, 2008, Hyatt Hotel and Casino in Manila. First INQUIRER Read-Along award. For spreading the passion for reading to more than 4,000 children in just over a year, the Read-Along receives an award of excellence from the Philippine Quill. From left: Kate Pedroso, Minerva Generalao, Bayani San Diego, Margie Pagtalunan Dela Vega, Remedios Gregorio, then INQUIRER publisher Isagani Yambot, Junior INQUIRER editor Ruth Navarra-Mayo and INQUIRER Libre editor in chief Chito de la Vega

NOV. 28, 2011, Crowne Plaza Galleria Manila. The Read-Along program is declared overall grand winner in the communication management division of the 10th Philippine Quill Awards for staging 25 simultaneous storytelling sessions across the country on Dec. 4, 2010. The program has also received an award of excellence for the same project that was held in 25 locations nationwide as part of the paper’s 25th anniversary celebration. From left: Ellen Caparos, Kate Pedroso, Bianca Kasilag-Macahilig, Ruth Navarra-Mayo, Benita del Rosario, Margie Pagtalunan Dela Vega, Minerva Generalao, INQUIRER president Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, INQUIRER Libre editor in chief Chito de la Vega

DEC. 12, 2009, INQUIRER main office. Christmas comes early for 100 children who were treated to heartwarming stories read by mother-daughter tandem INQUIRER chair Marixi Prieto and INQUIRER president Sandy Prieto-Romualdez.

I grew up ... From page 1

too. I should know—I grew up here. I will always be grateful to the people in the newsroom. They were never condescending or patronizing and they never handled me with kid gloves either. They gave me room to grow and I learned—and I continue to learn—so much from them.

Changes I have been here long enough to witness changes in technology. Invitations to events used to be faxed, not texted and e-mailed. Press releases had to be typed into our system and not dragged and dropped from CDs and flash drives. If readers wanted to communicate with us, they sent snail mail, faxes or e-mails; they couldn’t tweet us, comment on our Instagram posts or send us Facebook messages. I used to record interviews on cassette tapes, not on my iPhone. I used film cameras and had to wait for the film to be developed to find out if I actually had a decent photo to accompany my article. There were no hashtags. When I tell these stories, sometimes I feel ancient, which is strange because on most days, I still feel like the awestruck 18-yearold who had just walked into the INQUIRER for the first time. My excitement for the work we do and my desire to serve our readers have not changed. It took me a while to realize that I was no longer the kid in the newsroom. It finally hit me because year after year, new employees arrive, and they all keep trying to call me “ma’am.” (I keep trying to make them stop.) Like any home, the INQUIRER’s different corners hold so many memories for me. Sir Gani Yambot’s office. The rooms where we used to hold our meetings with 2bU correspondents. The fourth floor and the rooftop where we did shoots. The back of the library where we spent hours digging through the filing cabinets full of alphabetically arranged photographs. The couch in the Digital Prepress Unit where I buried my face to control my excitement as I did a phone interview with Norah Jones. The editorial lounge where we were reminded that scantily clad people have no place in the newspaper pages. My official records will tell you that I’ve been a full-time employee of the INQUIRER for 11 years now. But the truth is, this paper has been my home for 17 years. This is where I grew up and this is where I intend to grow old—old but still passionate, old but never jaded.



Young Blood: Always white-hot, also silver-cool By Rosario A. Garcellano Opinion Editor

A BLIZZARD OF CONTRIBUTIONS to Young Blood regularly pelts the Opinion section, and if the stuff were not transmitted electronically we would be slogging knee-deep in paper weighed down by red-blooded angst, “the force that through the green fuse drives the flower [driving their] green age,” profuse with purple prose, embraced by black moods or parrying the blues, always white-hot, but then also silver-cool. It’s cause for amazement, as well as proof positive that young people (roughly a thousand in three weeks) mean to add their voices to those aired by this newspaper—in fact the only one that offers them the space thrice a week (Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday) to do so. They grab the offer by the throat, as it were. Thus this constant blizzard, howling digitally and triggering anxiety attacks in the editor: How to shovel through these snow banks, to sift through the fine powder of their language, to take a pickax to the dense blob of their thoughts? The cutoff age, after all, is 29, after which the enfants terribles (reluctantly) take their place among those, as the youth everywhere swear, never to be trusted. And it now appears that being published in Young Blood has become a rite of passage before the surrender to the Big 30—an obligatory step not only for the true acolytes of The

Word but also for the pretenders. What do they write about, these students straining at the leash, these new graduates in the throes of a new job or desperate to find one? The Reader would be pleasantly surprised at the length and breadth of the experiences they present like Prufrock’s “evening spread out against the sky,” preponderantly personal and therefore intense, by turns amusing and wrenching, thoughtful and combative, earnest and sly. They write—naturally, being young and expectant— of awakenings: to love, to sex, to heartbreak, to grief, and also to injustice, to bigotry, to poverty, to the burning need to burst from the closet, to the disappointment of organized religion.

Fastidious detail They write in fastidious detail, perhaps to ensure that the attentive Reader will get their drift, perhaps also to convince themselves of the fidelity of their remembering. Whether it’s activist Marjohara Tucay recalling his one-person lightning rally during Hillary Clinton’s visit (“Hillary’s heckler”) or seminarian Anthony Capirayan jousting with himself under the gaze of his loving God (“Still figuring it out”), it’s important to them to breach the brief attention span peculiar to their era and to convey the context of the moment, the point when, say, anxiety turns to grit or pain becomes deliverance. In writing, they choose. In “Rainbow cats,” mechanical en-

ANTHOLOGIES of angst and ardor—all blockbusters. Another compilation—the fifth—is coming up. gineering student Mariel Alonzo’s funny-elegant meditation on the corpse of a cat that she found flattened on the street between two car humps roughly 20 meters from Gate 8 of their subdivision, she notes that “[t]ill now the cat continues to decay. Slowly he or she (too flat to determine) is losing his or her fur. He or she is getting eaten by the invisible scavengers, being consumed by the circle of life, succumbing to the inevitability of the food chain, of energy distribution, of entropy and decay, of quantum physics, of differentiation.” She contemplates the corpse (a metaphorical dead child that could have been any of the strays darting across the metropolis), and she wants to know, among other things: “Does

the National Bureau of Investigation know that somewhere in my peaceful village lurks a murderer? Where are the media?” In “Looter’s letter,” in the wake of the worst typhoon ever to make landfall, band member Tata dela Cruz writes to a Tacloban City supermarket and confesses to swiping, in the fetid darkness pierced by the watery beam of a flashlight: “six small jars of nata de coco, two cans of spaghetti sauce with meatballs, eight cans of sardines (different brands) and two cans of pork and beans.” He swears to pay for the loot and wonders if there’s a discount, considering, he points out, that some of the cans were dented and were the mere leavings of the mob YOUNG / 3



THE BEST OF YESTERDAY TODAY Some of the fashion design “Masters” and one “Millennial” join the directors of “Face-Off 2014” at the show’s finale on Nov. 30 at Solaire Resort and Casino’s grand ballroom. “Face-Off: Masters and Millennials” was a presentation of INQUIRER Lifestyle with Hana Shampoo and Champion Infinity. PHOTOS BY JILSON SECKLER TIU AND PJ ENRIQUEZ

How lifestyle journalism shapes Philippine fashion agenda ries to Cebu featuring the comparative bridal collections of designers from Manila and Cebu. This was followed by Face-Off 2012, which again featured the bridal designs of Manila-based designers, but this time with an exhibit of famous bridal gowns, including those by Pitoy Moreno for Susan Roces. These shows and exhibits proved the big audience for bridal designs. The 2012 collections were brought to Radisson Blu Hotel Cebu in 2013, where the exhibit included the wedding gowns of famous Cebuanas. Toward the end of 2013, Face-Off featured the retrospective gala show of Randy Ortiz to mark his 25th year in fashion. A mix of lifestyle and show biz celebrities watched his more-than-60-piece collection.

By Thelma Sioson San Juan Lifestyle Editor

THERE WAS A STORM, just like now, when INQUIRER Lifestyle held its first fashion show in 2008. It was raining cats and dogs, and traffic was getting snarled around The Peninsula Manila, the fashion show venue. We were getting texts inquiring if the fashion show would push through or not, given the nasty weather and flooded streets and horrific traffic. With prayer on our lips and faith in our hearts, we did push through with “Fitness.Fashion,” the collections of the Philippines’ foremost designers inspired by the fitness lifestyle that mostly everyone was into. The Peninsula Rigodon Ballroom was SRO that night. Fitness.Fashion was a fitting start to the annual fashion show series that INQUIRER Lifestyle would stage from then on. That same year, Fitness.Fashion would be brought to Cebu, at the Waterfront, with the southern city’s top designers joining in and its prominent men and women, starting with then Gov. Gwen Garcia, modeling clothes on the runway. The rains must have brought us luck. And faith, we add. For the past six consecutive years, INQUIRER Lifestyle has been holding fashion shows, each one with a different concept, but with the same vision: to showcase and promote the incomparable talent of the Filipino fashion designer—the seasoned ones as well as the upcoming ones—and make the creative arts a source of pride for the battered psyche of the nation. The INQUIRER Lifestyle, through these fashion shows, gives the Filipino designers a platform to showcase their work. Just as important, it initiates a “fashion talk,” so to speak, setting the tone and the agenda for the Philippine design industry.

Comparative picture This was how we conceived “Face-Off” in 2009. We wanted to present a comparative picture of Philippine fashion design at any given time—how designers fared alongside each other in interpreting themes. The concept wasn’t so much competition—sabong (cockfight), the fashion industry pundits called Face-Off—as an accurate barometer of the pace of Philippine fashion design.

Fashion’s biggest fund-raiser

But then, if Face-Off was seen as and continues to be seen as competition, that is well and good. It was the cutthroat competition that gave rise to the golden era of Philippine fashion—from the late ’50s to the early ’80s. In the late ’50s, Ramon Valera was the indisputable king of Philippine fashion, and even after his death, he continued to be pitted against Jose “Pitoy” Moreno. The rivalry between Moreno and Ben Farrales flourished for three decades, starting in the early ’60s, their on-and-off friendship the source of many intriguing anecdotes. The ’70s and early ’80s saw the competitive reign of Auggie Cordero, Inno Sotto, Joe Salazar, Gang Gomez (who would become the Benedictine

monk, Dom Martin), Ernest Santiago, Mike de la Rosa, among others; and in ready-to-wear, Jeannie Goulbourn, Larrie Silva, Lulu Tan-Gan, Cesar Gaupo, Efren Ocampo, Rusty Lopez (who would become a popular brand). This generation of designers would pit their talents almost every few months in luncheon shows that would be held daily in the country’s five-star hotels. It was an exciting time to cover a very dynamic—and volatile—fashion design scene. We had to churn out fashion reviews weekly.

Source of pride It very that how

was while covering that dynamic fashion scene— war zone—that we saw competition brought out

the best of the Filipino creativity, which then gave our country a source of pride. It was with that perspective that INQUIRER Lifestyle’s Face-Off was conceived. Face-Off 2009 was held at the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP), the first time a fashion show was held at its lobby—a concept that was copied a few times after that. Face-Off 2009 pitted the designs of the country’s hottest designers—the triumvirate of Rajo Laurel, Rhett Eala (who created the graphic design of the Philippine map, which would become the global icon for the Philippines) and Randy Ortiz. The three remain the go-to designers of the who’s who in Philippine society. Face-Off 2009 at the CCP had a very interesting guest, the for-

mer first lady Imelda Marcos, she who built the CCP. It was the first time—at least the most publicized occasion—that Mrs. Marcos set foot at her old watering hole. She sat through the fashion show, and won a Samsung phone in the raffle, which she didn’t know what to do with.

A first in PH This was followed by Face-Off 2010, which featured the use of hologram onstage, a first in the country and done to showcase the technological features of Samsung. Featuring the collections of Patrice Ramos, Joey Samson, Ivarluski Aseron and Auggie Cordero, Face-Off 2010 marked the steady collaboration of INQUIRER Lifestyle with corporate sponsors led by Samsung. Face-Off 2011 brought the se-

When the “Yolanda” disaster struck, INQUIRER Lifestyle and SM mounted a benefit fashion show featuring the collections of almost a hundred designers belonging to various designer associations. Titled “Filipino Para sa Filipino,” it was the biggest fund-raiser of the fashion industry to help the calamity-stricken Visayas, the proceeds of which went to Tabang Visayas. Last Nov. 30, Face-Off 2014 was held, entitled “Masters and Millennials,” featuring the collections of 32 designers from two generations tackling the maria clara design. For the past few years, Face-Off has been in collaboration with Hana Shampoo and Champion Infinity of the Peerless Group—proof that big business can support the Philippine creative industry. Also for the past few years, INQUIRER Lifestyle with LOOK Magazine and the British Council has been holding a nationwide competition of young designers in the LOOK of Style Awards. Its winners are sent by the British Council to a short course at the prestigious Central Saint Martins in London, and the London College of Contemporary Arts. This is the only competition in the country that gives young Filipino designers such an opportunity. By giving the Filipino fashion designers a platform on which to showcase their artistry, INQUIRER Lifestyle takes lifestyle journalism a notch higher—it’s able to give back to the community.



Sports keeps it short but snappy By the Sports Staff

FACED WITH THE STIFF challenge of making the most out of dwindling space, the INQUIRER Sports section shifted its focus to quick-read articles with a kind of brevity that doesn’t sacrifice details for the sports junkies among the paper’s readers. The Sports section has certainly felt the effect of the growing problem facing journalism’s print industry, but has refused to view it as an obstacle. Instead, the Sports section took it as a challenge to try and meet the demands of a readership whose attention span has grown incredibly shorter and whose options have grown exponentially with the rise of digital and social media. For starters, the Sports section, composed of the country’s finest sportswriters, has adopted a tighter style of writing and such is palpable in the daily output of its writers. Stories are more direct to the point, but still manage to provoke conversation in social circles. The depth of the section’s “bench” has also allowed it to be more flexible in coverages. Thus, in a country obsessed with basketball, the INQUIRER Sports section has managed to fan out its reportage to other sports such as boxing, chess, volleyball, golf and football. In fact, in most of these areas of coverage, the INQUIRER can say it is the industry leader when it comes to the extensiveness of coverage. INQUIRER Sports was in the forefront of such major coverages as the Fiba World Cup, where the Philippines won its first game in the world stage in decades, the continuing journey of the Philippine Azkals and huge fights of Manny Pacquiao and Nonito Donaire Jr. Big feats, considering that

INQUIRER Sports was in the forefront of major coverages including the campaign of Gilas Pilipinas in the Fiba World Cup and the fights of Manny Pacquiao. the INQUIRER has the fewest pages among the major broadsheets.

Sports in social media The passing year has also marked a breakthrough for INQUIRER sportswriters when it comes to facing the demands of reportage via social media. Before the year started, the INQUIRER’s sportswriters were hardly visible in digital space. But now, the Sports section has one of the biggest followers in social media. More than a year ago, there were only two or three sportswriters active on information-sharing platform Twitter. Now, that number has more than doubled, boosting efforts of the main INQUIRER Sports account to acquire a strong and en-

gaging social media presence. The Sports section has also produced different multimedia content. Apart from the traditional text and photos, it has come up with valuable and eyecatching infographics from time to time. The Sports staff has also moonlighted on radio and video, throwing in spot reports and shooting quick videos during major coverages. But for all the focus on bitesize articles in print and quicksharing information on digital, the INQUIRER Sports section has found ways to flaunt its greatest strength: Writing. The Sports section has contributed heavily to the paper’s supplement efforts, coming up with quality specials that are not only informative and reader-friendly, but also income-generating.

Young Blood: Always white-hot … From page 1

that had first dibs at the merchandise. In “Different bowl of ‘goto,’” development communication student Carlo Bonn Felix D. Hornilla remembers the dearly missed dish produced by his father in their beloved Batangas—“a rich stew of beef fat, heart, blood, liver, intestines and tripe, kept on a slow simmer over a low fire, flavored with chili, ginger, onions, fish sauce and roasted garlic”—and somehow finds a life lesson in the shocking, sorry pretense served him in the city.

Can’t show tears In “‘Kilig’ and trembling,” medical student Gelo Apostol recalls a fateful afternoon at the dissection lab: “I was carefully rummaging inside the cadaver’s pericardial sac to get a good feel of the heart, the aorta, pulmonary arteries, and vena cavae. Retracting the heart to finally detach it from its major vessels and the mediastinum, I reached for the scalpel. But then, another hand had already picked it up and was now offering it to me. I looked up. It was Lou.” She saves him, in effect. Ultimately she leads him to a momentous conclusion: “[H]ow are we to heal with love when we have closed ourselves to this love? When we stand to lose all the ‘kilig’ that life offers?” New physicians and nurses, as well as those still aspiring to take the oath, burn the wires to connect with Young Blood. By their words they are profoundly moved by the profession, the calling, they have chosen. To a man and woman, they man up to the 24- or 48-hour duty, the literal life-and-death choices they are compelled to make, and crumble before the children they could not save despite their efforts. But, trained to be deadpan, forced to be stoic, they cannot let the tears show.

‘Filipino horror story’ Pediatrics resident Korina Ada D. Tanyu’s “Filipino horror story” is a terse vignette about the couple Nena and Jojo and their 5-year-old son Jamjam, whose enduring cough, recurring fever and agonized breathing have

long been tormenting his parents. Nena borrows P500 from a loan shark, and mother and son make their way from their home in Cavite to a hospital in Manila. Jamjam is found to have tuberculosis complicated with severe pneumonia. He is in a bad way: His blood pressure is dropping, he cannot breathe, the infection has spread in his blood. Nena is in panic and despair. She has no money for lab work, respirator, medicines; she manages to reach Jojo and waits for him to come with borrowed cash. “A doctor approaches Jamjam and listens to his chest and heart. “CODE! Doctors and nurses instantly surround Jamjam. A doctor pounds the child’s chest with a fist. “Another doctor tells Nena what is going on. Her son’s heart has stopped beating and they are trying to revive him. If his heart does not start beating again after 30 minutes, they will stop all efforts of resuscitation. “Nena suddenly feels that the weight of the world is upon her. She cries. She prays. Diyos ko! Ang anak ko! For the first time in her life she shouts her prayers, hoping that from earth her screams will be heard by God in heaven. “Thirty minutes pass. We’re sorry, the doctors say. “The nurses remove all the devices attached to Jamjam’s body. Nena embraces her child and shakes him, hoping he is just sleeping. ...” “Filipino horror story” was shared online 18,000 times.

The way they were Young Blood pieces are not only shared but have also been compiled in periodic collections; there’s another one coming up. The collections are all blockbusters, going into several print runs, indicating the wide audience that these young voices continue to reach. That audience consists of not only family, friends and peers but also Readers of a certain age, who may feel provoked to bounce off their gained wisdom on these callow creatures, and find—chuckle—poignant strains of the way they were.

From collegiate specials to PBA specials to Pacquiao specials, the INQUIRER Sports section has helped the Supplements section veer away from advertorial-type articles to pullouts that readers enjoy. The effort extended to boost the paper’s Supplements section and did not stop with writing and editing articles. The section lends manpower-hours to do layouts so that the specials have the look and feel of regular Sports pages, thus enhancing their credibility. With each supplement, the quality of writing that the Sports section is capable of producing comes to fore. The Sports section has also actively spread its wings to other sections of the paper, contributing every now and then to Page

One, Sunday INQUIRER Magazine and the Opinion page by way of sports-themed editorials. So while the dwindling space has become a limited platform for the staff to flex its writing muscles, the INQUIRER’s sportswriters have found other avenues for their creativity. All this is in preparation for


the big move that the Sports section plans to make in 2015, when the staff will strike that balance between holding on to the strength of its legacy and exploring groundbreaking paths in terms of coverage, reporting and developing different forms of content for the INQUIRER’s different platforms.



DISASTER coverage debriefing session in Makati City. INQUIRER reporter DJ Yap (extreme left) and participants get tips from psychosocial workshop facilitator Romeo “Toto” de la Cruz (right).

Training, Learning, Healing By Minerva Generalao Chief, Inquirer Research TRAUMATIC LIKE NO OTHER COVERAGE. Journalists are the first responders in disaster cases. But the trauma of covering “Yolanda,” which now ranks as the worst natural disaster to hit the country and one of the strongest typhoons to hit land on record globally, made INQUIRER reporters, correspondents and photographers become victims and survivors themselves. INQUIRER reporter DJ Yap’s tweet on the fateful Friday morning when Supertyphoon “Yolanda” (international name: Haiyan) hit Tacloban City—“Sounds of glass shattering; hotel guests in lobby, restless, alarmed.” Later, entertaining morbid thoughts, he deleted everything in his laptop, “everything I didn’t want people to find there should I be killed.” In his vivid, impassioned, heartrending and tragic account of his five-day experience in covering Yolanda, he said it was like “meeting a monster.” When Yolanda was roaring, INQUIRER photographer Niño Orbeta said “Jesus Christ. Worse than Reming.” INQUIRER reporter Nikko Dizon, on the other hand, had nightmares and for days slept in her parents’ room after her coverage of Yolandadevastated Tacloban. Tacloban-based correspondent Joey Gabieta was crying when he interviewed a young victim. INQUIRER Training Center (ITC) head Jun Bandayrel said, “No other typhoon has seriously affected INQUIRER field reporting and newsroom operations since the newspaper came into existence.”

COPYEDITING training-workshop in Cebu City. INQUIRER bureau chiefs and their staff and Cebu Daily News editors listen to the copyediting guidelines and tips given by INQUIRER Opinion editor Chato Garcellano (third from left) so keenly one would hear a pin drop.

PROFILE-WRITING workshop at INQUIRER Makati. INQUIRER researcher Rafael Antonio shows off his certificate of completion. Flanking him are (from left) Ruel de Vera, Jun Bandayrel, Pennie Azarcon-Dela Cruz and Thillie Panlilio. with the help of consultants from the University of the Philippines. Last year, ITC’s new training team conducted seven seminars, including four outside Metro Manila. These four seminars dwelt on the basics of reporting. The rest were all multipart seminars on photography (two sessions), on slideshow applications (two) and on grammar (three). There were also brief sessions on the use of social media. All together, 127 participants attended, including several from I NQUIRER .net and I NQUIRER Radio.

He added: “The coverage did not just mean the usual prepositioning of reporters and photographers along Yolanda’s projected path to capture that witness’ account as an indispensable front-page material. It also entailed their prolonged presence in the midst of uncertain resources due to widespread destruction and impact the disaster left to people, property and communities—and journalists themselves.” This made psychosocial debriefing sessions urgent and necessary. ITC conducted two debriefing and disaster survivors workshops on March 27 to 28 at Sarroza Hotel in Cebu City and on April 26 at Brahma Kumaris Center in Makati City. The workshops were attended by 29 INQUIRER Group journalists who covered Yolanda—15 reporters, nine correspondents, six photographers, one videog-

COPYEDITING trainingworkshop in Cebu City. Another happy “class picture”


Survivor workshops

rapher, four editors and one editorial assistant. Bandayrel said the workshops were different from the other training sessions done by ITC. ITC was established in 2012 when it organized two preparatory courses, “Training Journalists to Train Themselves,” to train prospective trainers among the INQUIRER’s 200-plus editorial complement

DEBRIEFING in Cebu City. INQUIRER Tacloban correspondent Joey Gabieta (center) and Cebu Daily News’ (CDN) Doris Bongcac listen to the sharing of CDN’s Jose Santino Buenchita.

Learner-centered This year, ITC also conducted a seminar on grammar on May 13 to 15 and profile-writing on June 6 at the INQUIRER Makati office. It also conducted copyediting training workshop in Cebu on June 19 to 21 for the heads, editors, subeditors and senior reporters of the four bureaus with Chato Garcellano and Ester Dipasupil as resource persons.

The ITC seminars are learner-centered and are designed on the belief that the learners are often the best source of learning. The debriefing and survivors training sessions for the staff who covered Yolanda could be said to be more learner-centered than usual. The activities from start to finish called for exchange of feelings, insights and experiences among the participants. The resource persons for the sessions were psychiatrist and trauma specialist June Pagaduan Lopez and Romeo “Toto” de la Cruz. Lopez said the sessions were to help the participants deal with the dehumanizing effect of the coverage, where in order to do the job, a journalist was called to detach himself/herself from what he/she felt. Participants got to learn what “trauma” is and its symptoms, and they got tips on how to take care of themselves.

Intimate sharing of experiences In the “Bilog ng Buhay” workshops, the participants were divided into small groups where members had intimate sharing of experiences. Among the guide questions are: How did the experience affect your thoughts, feelings and behavior and your relationships at home and at work? What did the experience mean to you? How did it affect your life in general? What gave you strength to survive and recover? What is making it difficult to recover? The sessions were also geared for participants, as well as the institution, to move forward. The next small group discussion the participants had were on needs, policy and institutional gaps. At the end of the sessions, the participants presented their policy recommendations for the moral, spiritual and ethical well-being of INQUIRER journalists covering disaster and disasterstricken areas before assignment or the disaster, during the assignment and after the assignment. The next important task of ITC is to disseminate the guidelines based on the shared experiences of the participants on disaster coverage: before, during and after. This is because, as in the beginning, the welfare and well-being of INQUIRER journalists is a top concern. When asked on his thoughts and learnings from the sessions, Yap said: “The biggest takeaway was that the feelings the others experienced were pretty much the same things I had, especially the helplessness over not able to transmit stories and the dilemma of whether to cross the line between self-preservation and professional ethics.” He added that it was comforting that his sentiments were common with the others who covered Yolanda. “The sessions helped not so much because I learned anything particularly profound but in the sense that sharing was a good way for me to voice out thoughts I normally wouldn’t say about the experience.”



Elevator takes over going up and down the spiral stairway By Cake Evangelista


treat that even a technophobe would love and appreciate. Last month, the employees of the INQUIRER were amazed to discover one of mankind’s most important and trailblazing inventions at the newspaper’s main office on Chino Roces Avenue in Makati City. No, it’s wasn’t a hoverboard like Marty McFly’s (though we would love to have one), nor

was it Google Glass (but we would like to try that out, too). It was better—or should we say timely? Long overdue? Because almost three decades after the Philippines’ No. 1 broadsheet was founded, the INQUIRER finally installed in its office—drum roll, please—an elevator! (A little anticlimactic, you would think, but it’s a groundbreaking addition—literally and figuratively—to the newspaper’s headquarters.) You see, we only had our spiral staircase before—a staircase that is pretty historic, if we say so ourselves. Anyone who’s anyone, illustrious or infamous, has climbed those winding steps, from the past and present presidents of the Philippines to the brightest stars of Tinseltown to the movers and shakers of the country, nay, the world! Those stairs bore witness to the beginnings of stories that sparked momentous events in Philippine history. Now, you couldn’t begrudge us for wondering why the elevator was constructed. Why an elevator? Why now? (Though this is not to say that we aren’t grateful, because we definitely are. Thank you, INQUIRER bosses!) To understand better (or not) how it came to be, here are our top five theories (feasible and otherwise) why the INQUIRER elevator came into existence: Because a teleportation pad has yet to be invented:

UP, UP AND AWAY! Marianne Faith Reyes of the marketing section tries out the INQUIRER elevator for size.

Imagine zipping through a building in a flash of light, your body dematerializing from one floor only to appear on another. That would be so cool. Too bad a teleportation device isn’t existing yet—or is it? As a makeshift selfie booth: Even INQUIRER employees couldn’t let a perfect selfie moment pass them by. Just hours after the elevator was declared operational, the younger members of the editorial staff had selfies taken while inside it. They even got INQUIRER.net editor in chief John Nery to join the fun. For future movie offers: Rumor has it that a movie was supposed to be filmed in the INQUIRER main office a few years ago, but because there

was no elevator back then, which was necessary for logistics issues and moving heavy equipment, it didn’t push through. And it was really quite unfortunate because the film’s leading man, we heard, was super cute! For convenience’s sake: This is the most realistic, but, meh, how boring. To serve as an entrance to a parallel dimension: Maybe it’s a gateway to Narnia? But an elevator instead of a wardrobe? Or to Hogwarts? No need to ride the Hogwarts Express! (Now this is more like it.) And since we’re talking about tech upgrades and additions, what groundbreaking technology should we get next? (We vote for the teleportation pad!)

• •



HOMEGROWN MINSTRELS The InqChoirer enchants with another winning performance.

From A to Z (Art to Zumba), PDI employees have more fun By Volt Contreras Metro Editor Ballroom dancing dropout WITH





hobby clubs and sports activities in the INQUIRER for the past 29 years, the following scenarios are highly probable—if not already based on real events. Artist Stephanie Bravo loses a few pounds thanks to her Zumba class, but gains them again after a hearty lunch at a Chinatown restaurant during one of the field trips of the Pen & Inq Club. Business reporter Doris Dumlao scores a big scoop for the paper, then picks up her badminton racket the next day for the company’s MRP Cup tournament, where she delivers a killer smash. Good thing lifestyle writer Vangie Baga-Reyes is there to repulse and return it as a drop shot. A senior desk editor, still cranky from the deadline crunch, attends choir practice to soothe his nerves. A fellow editor joins in the singing and both achieve that elusive harmony. Utility man Renil Bacalangco makes a crossover move against vice president for advertising Kenny Nuyda on the basketball court. Production specialist Darwin Romanillos provides help-defense. Entertainment section editorial assistant Jodee Agoncillo leads the Awtdor Klub in donating secondhand personal computers to remote villagers in Kalinga province. Network communications chief Noli Navarro, who also happens to head the Photography Club, takes pictures of her upland trek. This writer takes ballroom dancing lessons—but gives up after a few sessions. His dance partner, along with the rest of the participants, is secretly relieved. (This really happened.)

COMPUTER programmer Kenneth Molina carries one of the computer monitors donated by the INQUIRER to Luplupa Elementary School students in Kalinga province. RADING DE JESUS

• •

FOR ART’S SAKE Pen & Inq members view works at Pinto Gallery in Antipolo City (above). The club, whose core includes staff members of the paper’s art section but is open to all employees, started out by having sketching sessions at the office (below). AWTDOR Klub members Jodee Agoncillo and Kenneth Molina orient teachers and students on the use of computers. RADING DE JESUS

• •

Weekend warriors With a current personnel of around 450, the leading media company known for its award-winning journalism is also a beehive of weekend warriors, dabbling dilettantes or after-work adventurers. Thanks

SATURDAY SHUTTLERS Lifestyle writer Vangie Baga-Reyes gets a high five after a doubles victory. to a supportive management (read: budget), INQUIRER employees have found a deep sense of kinship through various clubs and activities where interests intersect, talents are discovered and friendships are kindled beyond the cubicles and daily shifts. It helps to have a conducive environment. As Winston Churchill said: “First we shape our dwellings, then our dwellings shape us.” Starting out as mere barkada gimmicks, most of the clubs and sports fests started to form and gain traction after the INQUIRER moved in 1995 to Chino Roces Avenue in Makati City, where its four-story office building provides a multipurpose hall not only for official corporate events but also for “extracurricular activities.”

ZUMBAAAAH Fitness buffs and beginners sweat it out to the tempo of instructor John Jay Cuay (center).

No sore losers Dance lessons, for example, were conducted there in the mid-1990s; later it rolled the mats out for yoga and Pilates. Now it’s Zumba territory at least once a week, where instructor John Jay Cuay keeps the calorie-busting beat for 10 to 20 regular attendees.

INSIDE GAMERS The INQUIRER’s reigning men are no softies on the hardcourt

Meanwhile, the company’s seasonal tournaments—basketball, badminton, bowling—and other fitness activities, like fun runs and cycling, have never failed to produce high-scoring heroes, surprise finishers and courtside jesters, but never sore losers. For more leisurely pursuits, there is the touring Photography Club (a clique tutored by the paper’s top photojournalists), which has done scenic spots and colorful festivals in various provinces; the Arts & Crafts Club, whose crowning achievements include the production of dainty scrapbooks and personalized flip-flops; and the more recently formed Pen & Inq Club, which started out with simple sketching sessions at the employees’ lounge but now goes on museum (and lunch-out) tours in Metro Manila and nearby cities.

Outreach projects BOWLED OVER Copy monitor Rolly Abad aims for a strike.

PHOTO(GENIC) FINISH A PDI fun run is double the fun with family members in tow.

There’s one club that since 2011 has been turning mountaineering trips into outreach projects. Agoncillo’s Awtdor Klub has journeyed to poor communities in Kalinga, Aurora, Zambales and Cagayan provinces to donate used PCs from the INQUIRER office. They also delivered used clothes, toys and relief for victims of the 2013 Bohol earthquake. “I just noticed that many of our employees have plenty of time to spare and are encouraged to join activities for their personal enrichment outside work,” Agoncillo said, summing up what drives the INQUIRER family to channel passions in many directions. Of late, however, rumor has it that there’s another coterie of enthusiasts just waiting in the wings and eager to recruit anyone who still has enough energy left after all the above-mentioned activities. They call themselves the Nightclub. But then, they’re probably from another company.


The go-to guys in the newsroom ‘Computers can’t make that perfect cup of coffee for the editors’ By Sara Isabelle Pacia RSARMIENTO. Rabad. Ellantada. Amortel.

They’re words that, at first, make no sense. But ask anyone from the INQUIRER’s editorial department and they can tell you exactly what—or should I say who—these four are. The codenames belong to the INQUIRER’s copy monitors, who—as the position’s name suggests—keep track of all the copies—or the sheets of paper stories are printed on—reported by or sent to the INQUIRER, making sure the editors are up to date on the developments of the day’s events. The current roster of “copy boys,” as the four are often called despite their age (three are already past 50), predates the new millennium. Roy Sarmiento (rsarmiento) was hired as copy monitor in 1990, after his threeyear stint as a security guard for the INQUIRER. Rolly Abad (rabad) followed in 1991 upon the recommendation of Tino Castalla, the all-time favorite driver of the INQUIRER’s editor in chief; then Edward Llantada (ellantada), an INQUIRER pioneer who started out in the circulation department, in 1995; and finally Allan Mortel (amortel) in 1999, after a janitorial stint under an agency. Almost every copy under News is marked with their code names. They are present when the first story is input into the system until the newspaper is put to bed in the wee hours of the morning. They are the go-betweens to the in-betweens in running the country’s most circulated national paper. The position is almost as old as the INQUIRER itself; three of the boys have exceeded the 20-year milestone in the company. But Sarmiento, Abad, Llantada and Mortel can still remember all too well the company’s earlier days.

Days of fax, rolled films Before computer screens replaced dark rooms and trucks that delivered rolled films with the day’s mockups, fax machines—one machine per wire agency—littered the newsroom, each churning out stories up to three rolls long. It was a copy monitor’s duty to segregate the copies into folders labeled by section—local and international news, business, sports, lifestyle and motoring, among others. “When we would arrive in the morning, the fax machines would be full,” Llantada said, recalling that every morning, the floor could barely be seen under all that paper. Arranging the stories made it easier for editors to pick the stories for their respective sections. Even a second of distraction could derail the whole operation, Llantada added. If a machine were not constantly fed paper on their watch, the stories it could have printed would be lost forever. A copy monitor also had to take over for the copy takers, who answered phones and manually jot down stories dictated by reporters over the telephone, when they were swamped. A copy monitor also used to take calls from the INQUIRER’s bureaus outside Metro Manila before a Nation desk was set up. Choosing photos, too, involved more manual labor. Mortel, then a working student, said he would go to the main offices of wire agencies around the Metro to pick up their photos every day after his class ended at 3 p.m. Even if his shift started at 3 p.m., he said, his “lates” would be excused because he would go straight to the office after school. The specifics of the job changed drastically only when Tera—the INQUIRER’s current system used to produce the stories—was implemented in 2002. E-mail replaced the rolls upon rolls of paper. INQUIRER reporters now submit their copies via e-mail, which are then input into Tera by editorial assistants and edited, laid out and proofread on the computer by editors, artists and production assistants. The system is more streamlined, “more organized,” Llantada said. “Now, it’s more high-tech.” Still, Abad said, the essence of a copy monitor’s duties has not changed over time. “Only the tearing of papers off the fax machine had lessened,” he said. “We don’t tear off as much paper as before but we’re still as busy because the INQUIRER is getting bigger. We’re serving more people in different [departments],” he added. That service to the people in the editorial department, specifically—INQUIRER’s employees have ballooned to hundreds in its 29 years—goes beyond what the official

BAND OF BOYS: Rolly Abad (top left), Roy Sarmiento (above), Edward Llantada (far left) and Allan Mortel

title suggests. In reality, the copy monitors’ work is more arbitrary than constant. To be a copy monitor is to be a jack-ofall-trades in the newsroom. The work goes beyond monitoring their three computers that flash the latest stories and the two printers that are never turned off. They are the self-dubbed utusan (gofers) in the editorial department who cater to whoever may need them and do whatever tasks need to be done. What, then, does that entail? Ask Sarmiento, and he’d say work is also printing the summaries of wire stories for the editor of The World. Ask Abad, too, and he’d say work is also pinning the latest front pages of various national dailies—the INQUIRER’s and its competitors’—on a bulletin board to see who out-scooped the other and who had the best layout. And if you ask Llantada and Mortel, they’d both say work is also standing behind editors on duty, always ready to get this story, process that photo, buy this meal, check what’s done and what else is needed.

‘We’re always there’ “The editors are always looking for someone to assist them when they need something,” said Llantada. Today, the four focus on the News sections of the paper, ferrying stories for the front page, the inside pages and The World from the computer to the editors who close the sections and to the editorial production assistants who proofread the final copies. “We [copy monitors] and editors [and other employees] already know each other well, we’re familiar with their personalities. That’s why we know what they want, what they like,” he added, “and we’re always there.” Or so it should be. On Dec. 9, Abad retires after 23 years of service, returning to Southern Leyte province to be with his wife and children. Sarmiento said he was also contemplating leaving the company once his youngest graduates with a degree in architecture. Only Mortel may be left behind next year once Llantada exceeds 30 years in 2016, the mandatory retirement for years of service in the INQUIRER. But whatever the future holds for the four, these copy boys will always be bound by their common beginnings in the company—thanks to various “backers” who provided the opportunity and helped them land their jobs, said Sarmiento—a shared commitment to provide their children a good education and an appreciation of the INQUIRER’s mission and role in society. “[We’re] part of the team that assembles the newspaper. Every day, I think, ‘We (copy monitors) are a part of that,’” Abad said, citing even the rallies he joined to protest the ad boycott by the Estrada administration in 1999. “If I weren’t enjoying my work, I wouldn’t have lasted for 25 years,” said Sarmiento. But pending their retirement after their children finish college, these copy boys will keep doing what they’ve been doing

for the past 20 odd years. Current technological advancements don’t bother them, either, because even if computers have streamlined the process, machines can’t do everything. Like making that perfect cup of coffee for the editors, Sarmiento offered in jest. “It’s perhaps the only [job] left that isn’t high-tech.”




Let’s hear it for the Service Awardees

5 YEARS: (Seated, from left) Adrianne Mei Esguerra, Jefone Abong-Francisco, Ma. Katrina Gutierrez, Almi Ilagan-Atienza, Annelle Tayao-Juego; (standing, from left) Niño Jesus Orbeta, Danilo Ramos, David Michael Pallarca, Lamberto Acuña Jr. and Lee M. Elgincolin. Not in the photo are fellow awardees: Kristine Felisse Mangunay, Paolo Montecillo, JV Rufino, Julieta Alipala Inot, Mary Grace Zabala Oberes, Nestor P. Burgos Jr. and Vincent Charlemagne T. Cabreza

10 YEARS: Mervin Gene Lota, Rolando Suarez, Jong Arcano, Noemi Melican, Ruben Alabastro, Monette de Leon and Francis T.J. Ochoa. Not in the photo are fellow awardees: Fe Zamora, Musong Castillo, DJ Yap, Edna Garcia and Ciriaco Cinco Jr.

25 YEARS : Ramil Rodriguez, Vangie Baga-Reyes, Aileen Garcia, Juliet LabogJavellana and Larry Mariano. Not in the photo are fellow awardees: Agnes Javier and Christine Avendaño.

15 YEARS : Chito San Mateo, Mary Grace Pagulayan, Armin Adina, Maricris Irene Tamolang, Arnel Rillera, Iris Desvarro and Sonny Cruz. Not in the photo are fellow awardees: Allan Mortel, Maria Cristina Tulipat, Lito Zulueta, Chelo Banal-Formoso and Analyn Cruz. PHOTOS BY RICHARD REYES, JILSON TIU AND ANDREW TADALAN

20 YEARS: Sandy PrietoRomualdez and Marixi Rufino Prieto

20 YEARS: Ruel S. de Vera, Cathy Yamsuan, Eugenio Araneta Jr., Marilou Arboleda, Magella Pinili, Elizabeth Andres, Sandy Prieto-Romualdez, Marixi Rufino Prieto, Nilda Añosa, Jocelyn Tabuso, Josie Buño, Matias Dennis Eroa, Oscar Delgado and Gary G. Libby. Not in the photo are fellow awardees: Edralyn Benedicto, Gil Cabacungan, Donnabelle Porcalla, Arnel Santos and Rodolfo A. Isaac



Indie Bravo! 2014: Joys, hopes, game plans


DDITIONS TO OUR list of honorees continue to come in as we go to press. Nothing new: It happened when we launched INQUIRER Indie Bravo! tribute to foreign festival winners five

years ago and every year since, the only difference being, the number of honorees grew each time. The cut-off period would invariably be moved—once, twice, oh-please-just-one-moretime-there’s-another-festivalwinding-up-tomorrow. We were

always rewarded for the wait, and still ... This time around, the train left too early for three victors: Francis Xavier Pasion’s “Bwaya” just won best film at Tokyo Filmex, and Giancarlo Abrahan’s “Somewhere South of Reality,” was declared best project at Talents Tokyo; 10-

year-old Miggs Cuaderno won best actor in Chéries-Chéris Film Festival, Paris. No doubt, between production deadlines and our annual Indie Bravo! filmmakers’ party on Thursday, a few more Pinoy indie triumphs will be announced. Their INQUIRER tro-

THE ACTORS A vote for simple, moving movies VILMA SANTOS, ‘Ekstra’



of fans may know the exact number of trophies that Vilma Santos has won in her stellar five-decade career, an extensive collection that now includes at least three international trophies.

In 1999, she won best actress at the Brussels Interrnational Festival of Independent Film for Chito Roño’s “Bata, Bata Paano Ka Ginawa?” In 2003, she won best actress at the Cinemanila International Film Festival for Roño’s “Dekada ’70.” This year, she added another international trophy to the trove, for Jeffrey Jeturian’s “Ekstra,” from the Dhaka (Bangladesh) film fest. She recalls that she got the call about the Dhaka win at two in the morning. “It felt good to hear the news. It’s a bonus for all the hard work.”

Santos is proud of this latest honor, especially because it cites her first indie film. “I am happy that I got to experience the indie way of making movies. I met new people, the new breed of directors. It was a good experience.” She has realized that indie movie workers regard each other like family. “They are united by one goal. They treat a movie like their baby. They give their all because they want to make a film that tackles socially relevant issues. They are not afraid to try something different.” Santos, who has been acting since age 9, has seen the movie industry through good times and bad. “I am still optimistic,” she says. “Slowly, but surely we are getting there. Filipinos are winning awards left and right. That’s a good start.” She remembers her directors in the 1970s, Lino Brocka and Ishmael Bernal, who paved the way for the

present generation of internationally acclaimed filmmakers. “They started it all. How I miss the kind of movies that Lino, Ishmael and Celso [Ad. Castillo] used to make,” she says. Whenever she is free from her duties as Batangas governor, she watches indie films, local and foreign. “I saw a Chinese-language film about a girl who had to borrow her brother’s shoes in order to go to school (“Homerun”). I hope we can make more films like that … films that tell simple but moving stories.” Her passion for the movies remains just as strong even though she is now a public servant. “I admire our veteran actors ... Eddie Garcia and Gloria Romero ... I hope to remain as active as they are when I reach their age.” She is forever a child of the silver screen. “I love the movies. It’s my life.” Bayani San Diego Jr.

INDIE movie workers nurture a film like a baby, says Santos.

phies and Guyito dolls will have to wait till next time. Such a sweet predicament! Three years ago, on account of the heavy breaking news traffic in the local indie community, INQUIRER Entertainment introduced a dedicated Indie Bravo! box. It has been the most consis-

tently busy corner in the section. In these celebratory pages, as usual, we hear from the top of the heap these past 12 months— their joys, hopes and (something new in their orbit) game plans. Cheers! Emmie G. Velarde



Achieve progress with unity SID LUCERO, EMILIO GARCIA, ‘Selda’ “My mom, who is a nurse in the United States, had to go all the way to Canada just to buy us dinner,” Villaluna says. “She is Emilio’s fan, and willingly did it just [for a photo] with him.” Villaluna also confirms what Garcia said in his 2008 Gawad Urian speech about sharing an eggplant meal during that Montreal trip. Lucero and Garcia won the Urian best actor and best supporting actor honors, respectively. “He just arrived from the airport and said he was hungry. Montreal is one of Canada’s most expensive cities. We didn’t want to use all of the allowance given to us by the festival organizer. We wanted to bring the dollars back to Manila so we bought that meal at a kebab store,” Villaluna says. “I don’t really care about awards,” says Lucero, “Although, as a Filipino, I know that they’re a big thing. It’s sad that an indie movie remains unnoticed locally until it gets international recognition.” (He is also in Lav Diaz’s “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan.”) He says the global acclaim that Filipino movies received this year is “an-


O MORE LABELS. No more hashtags. Let’s not pull each other down,” says actor Sid Lucero, replying to INQUIRER’S question: How can the local film industry’s current condition be improved? He is referring to the “polarizing” mainstream and indie tags. “To be able to say that we’re doing well, we have to do so much first. We should be united. We need to support and respect each other,” Lucero says. “Achieving progress will be a lot faster.” For his victory at the 49th Thessaloniki International Film Festival in Greece (best actor for “Selda”), Lucero is one of this year’s honorees. He shared the award with costar Emilio Garcia in the 2008 drama directed by Ellen Ramos and Paolo Villaluna. “Selda” director Villaluna recalls the time when they ran out of money for food while the movie competed at the Montreal World Film Festival.

EMILIO Garcia (left) and Sid Lucero in “Selda”

other big step up.” He explains: “We’re being talked about all over the world. This helps the country in a lot of ways. We are earning the respect of more people in the international film community.” The actor insists, though, that the present situation is also very frustrating. “I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished, but we’re moving too slow.

festivals are organized locally now, meaning, more showcases for our films.” He’d like to make “more sensible” films, Lucero says: “Making movies is what I love more than anything, what I know and what I want to keep doing. It’s what gives me sense as a human being.” Marinel R. Cruz

We’ve been part of the global indie scene for quite a while now. What’s happening is, although the indie sector gets support from the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), we still lack funding.” It is important for Filipinos, he says, to keep telling their stories, but also for local viewers to patronize their own. “We’re on the right track—more film

‘Risks must be taken fearlessly’ CAST OF ‘TNT’


N ACTOR-DIRECTOR PERRY Escaño’s view, theater owners and operators should show more sympathy for film producers by not pulling out films that perform poorly on their first day of exhibition.

“While we understand that they need to earn, we hope they would express a little concern by giving these movies at least a weeklong run,” says Escaño. “Producers, meanwhile, should not be afraid to take risks on what they think are worthwhile projects. The industry needs more compelling local content.” Escaño’s most recent project, Roberto Reyes Ang’s short film “TNT (Always on the Run),” tells the story of a Filipino expatriate living illegally in New York City. “The subject of illegal immigrants in the United States remains highly debated. Hopefully, this will make overseas Filipino workers become more aware of what to do and what to avoid when working abroad.” The film won for Escaño, Ramon Prado Mappala, Ged Merino, Dominique Liwanag and Anneberyl

Corotan Naguit the award for best ensemble acting at the 2014 International Film Festival Manhattan NYC. “I’m happy that the group got this award. All the actors I worked with on this film are New-York based. What’s interesting is that they are not professional actors. Ged is a painter, Ramon is a film producer (“Batang West Side,” 2001), and Dominique works in a restaurant,” Escaño tells the INQUIRER. “Yet they were very focused and serious. They would all sit down and analyze each other’s characters. I guess that’s why this project turned out very well.” Escaño said they worked on the film for three straight days in several places in Queens and Manhattan, in subway stations and in Times Square. “It was only after the shoot that I got to learn about my costars’ personal lives. One of them hosted a gathering in his apartment,” he said. “I felt uncomfortable in the beginning. I felt pressured because I was the only professional actor on the set. I know that I shouldn’t commit any mistakes, that they expected a lot from me.” Escaño says winning has opened

doors to new opportunities for the group. “TNT” will be screened at the Filipino Art and Cinema (Facine) Film Festival in San Francisco, California, this month. It is also the only Filipino film included in the official selection of the 13th Third Eye Asian Film Festival in Mumbai, India, in January 2015. “An international recognition means that the global community now trusts Filipino products; that if it’s Filipino, it’s a good film,” he says. Escaño directed the short film “Alibi,” declared first-runner up in the Most Popular Film Competition of the 2012 IFF Manhattan. Philippine cinema, in terms of output, has improved immensely in the last five years, Escaño observes. “This is why industry people should do their part in making sure that this situation continues by coming up with interesting, socially relevant stories.” For their part, local viewers should keep patronizing movies for it to continue to thrive, he adds. “Making films is my passion. I want to keep making projects that move the audience and make them rethink old

PERRY Escaño (left) and Ramon Prado Mappala in “TNT”

views,” he says. “There’s satisfaction in being able to share your art.” Escaño wrote “Tama (Deranged)” and “Overture,” both included in the official selection for the 2011 Gawad

CCP Film Festival. In 2013, he wrote and directed “The Platinum Hair,” a documentary on the life of the late theater actress Ama Quiambao. Marinel R. Cruz

‘Fulfillment that money can’t buy’

DIZON acknowledges that indies need to win more Filipino viewers.

ALLEN DIZON, ‘Magkakabaung (The Coffin Maker)’


LLEN DIZON, PREVIOUSLY known as a sexy actor, took the indie route and proved he’s got some serious acting chops, and he was recognized twice in two months.

In September, he won best actor for “Magkakabaung (The Coffin Maker)” in the 9th Harlem International Film Festival in New York. In November, he won the same honor for the same role at the 3rd Hanoi International Film Festival, beating the illustrious English actor Ralph Fiennes, who had been nominated for the Russian film “Two Women.” The awards are precious reminders of his

contribution to the movie, Dizon says: “Winning two consecutive international awards is priceless … a confirmation that I did as well as I should. That’s fulfillment that money can’t buy.” Dizon is mindful of the growth in the indie film scene in the last few years. “It needs to be sustained,” he stresses. “We need to win over more Filipino viewers. Let’s face it—that’s a bit of a struggle.” Meanwhile, he says, it is significant that local indie movies are getting the acclaim they deserve. He definitely sees “a bright future ahead” for independent films, and vows to keep appearing in them, the better “to showcase my love for acting.” Oliver M. Pulumbarit

Time to open minds LIZA DIÑO, ‘In Nomine Matris’


IZA DIÑO BELIEVES the goal of every Filipino filmmaker should be “to bridge the gap between mainstream and independent movies.” Says Diño, who bagged the best actress award at the 2014 International Film Festival Manhattan for her work in the independently produced film “In Nomine Matris” by Will Fredo: “It is such a sad reality that, no matter how well our indie films perform abroad, no one watches them here in Manila. We have this mentality that indie films are too cerebral and not for the so-called masses.” She wonders, “How can we make

them spend P200 to watch these award-wining movies in cinemas just as they willingly do it for mainstream productions? How can we market indie films [for] local audiences, to give them a chance? She says of the medium, “To witness how people are moved, how they empathize with the characters, reinforces the reason that I do what I do, why I love this art.” Diño notes that the film industry has grown exponentially because many “avenues” have opened for indie filmmakers to showcase their works. “It’s our gain as well, because more people are taking chances to tell their stories,” she observes. “I believe that cinema is a reflection of one’s culture and identity, and how

rich the country is with those beautiful narratives just waiting to be told.” She is grateful, of course, for having won her second best actress award for “In Nomine Matris.” The first one was from the 2012 Metro Manila Film Festival, where the film competed in the New Wave category. “I am fortunate to have found the people of Hubo Productions, who believe in me as an actor.” In 2011, she won best actress for Fredo’s “Compound” in the same Manhattan fest. For Diño, “acting feeds the soul.” And winning an award, she says, “makes me feel that I’m doing something right ... I wouldn’t be where I am now if I didn’t take risks and constantly kept an open mind.” Marinel R. Cruz

DIÑO says acting feeds her soul.


Making films for local culture HAZEL ORENCIO, ‘Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon’


AZEL ORENCIO VERY vividly recalls the risks— not the least of them nonstop rains and leering drunks— while making Lav Diaz’s five and-ahalf hour film “Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon (From What is Before).”

On the bright side, Orencio—awarded the Boccalino D’Oro Independent Critics’ prize for best actress at the Locarno (Switzerland) International Film Festival in August—acknowledges that the cast and crew’s hard work paid off big time. She hopes such persistence will ultimately benefit others. “We make films for Philippine culture,” she says. “Someday, our films will matter without us pushing people to watch, understand and appreciate.” The vibrant local indie scene, she notes, can only bode good things for its creatives:

ORENCIO says there is an abundance of filmmakers.

“The growth has inspired many to keep making more films.” She sees even better times ahead “if filmmakers focus on their vision and not on winning awards. Audiences have to learn to identify and support filmmakers who have such a vision.” Oliver M. Pulumbarit

‘Acting is both work and passion’ RONNIE QUIZON, ‘Rekorder’


HAVE RUN OUT OF WAYS to say ‘thank you’ [for the wave of] congratulations I’ve been receiving since I won,” enthuses actor Ronnie Quizon. He won the El Rey Award for excellence in acting in a lead role at the Barcelona (Spain) International Film Festival in June, for his role as a movie pirate in “Rekorder.”

The triumph was a stunner, the actor recalls: “In a festival with 50 countries competing, I was the only Filipino to win in any category—and I was up against all lead actors, male and female. For this, we (Filipinos) are all winners.” The outspoken thespian says acting is both “work [and] passion” for him, as it was for his late dad, Comedy King Dolphy: “He said to me, ‘This is endless learning.’” While he is certain that the future of Fil-

“THE PROBLEM is marketing,” Quizon says.

ipino films is assured, he still sees many obstacles. “The talent and artistry are there. The problem is marketing the movies.” The local industry should begin thinking globally, Quizon insists: “Filipino filmmakers should probably start making movies not exclusively for Filipino audiences.” Oliver M. Pulumbarit




‘More quality, less formula’ JAKE CUENCA, ‘Mulat’


ET’S WELCOME STORIES that are edgy and not formulaic. We’re already winning awards, so we need to come up with movies of high quality.” Thus says Jake Cuenca, winner of the best actor award (for “Mulat”) at the 2014 International Film Festival Manhattan in New York City. “Hopefully, with all the recognition we’ve been receiving, we will be encouraged to bring Filipino movie-making to a higher [level],” he tells the INQUIRER. “It’s obvious that our filmmaking industry is ... getting better, with all the young, talented directors who are shockingly good.” He acknowledges the value of experimental works, too. “These daring new directors whip up the most

CUENCA says his win has inspired him to study harder.

provocative stories. They are simply fearless.” Cuenca, who recently came home from a monthlong training at the Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute in New York, says the award came as a big surprise. “It felt really good to get the chance to represent the Philippines in that competition. It was very flattering to win, and it inspired me to study harder,” he says. “If we came up with four or five movies a year, it would make a big difference,” says Cuenca. “It’s good that more small and independent production outfits are sprouting.” He adds, “While television work is my bread and butter, I like making movies because they last forever, and you are given a script ahead of time, to study and give depth to your character.” Marinel R. Cruz

“AN ACTOR is a narrator,” Talag defines her job.

Certain stories just have to be told SANDY TALAG, ‘Lilet Never Happened’


ANDY TALAG CONFESSES Certainly, the repeat win proves she is no that her international awards fluke, but Talag remains persistent in her “challenge” her to hone her quest to grow as an actor. “I am no longer the same actress that I used to be. It’s a big craft all the more. “Winning is humbling and gratifying at the same time,” she explains. “To be honest, it also makes me feel nervous. Every time I have a new TV show, I have to perform well. Otherwise people may doubt that I deserve my trophies.” Only 16, Talag has been winning awards abroad for her work in Jacco Groen’s “Lilet Never Happened.” Last year, she won best actress at the Oaxaca fest (Mexico) and led the cast with a best ensemble citation from the International Film Festival Manhattan (United States). This year, she won best actress at the Jaipur International Film Festival (India).

step up … but I have to keep improving.” On a personal level, she regards the recognition as validation. “It tells me that I can somehow make a difference.” On a macro level, she feels the slew of awards that Filipino filmmakers and actors have been bringing home these past few years proves that “our country is rich not only in natural resources, but in creativity and talent as well. We really have lots of stories that need to be told,” she says. The international acclaim serves as inspiration in our constant search for identity as a people, she says. “Not just one or two people, but our entire country should cele-

brate these victories,” she stresses. “Our artists need the public’s support—both moral and financial—so that they can continue making indie films.” Talag, a senior high school student, remains hopeful about the future of Philippine cinema. “It grows stronger, more powerful, every year,” she says. “I believe Filipino films make a difference in the lives not only of Filipinos but of foreign audiences as well.” She looks at her work as an actress as one way to “serve the Philippines.” “I want to tell stories,” she says. “An actress is a narrator … a storyteller. My dream is for young people to idolize me not because I wear cute clothes or look glamorous onscreen, but because I tell stories that move and inspire them.” Bayani San Diego

Philips and DMSF Hospital bring fastest CT Scan Services to Southern Mindanao The Davao Medical School Foundation (DMSF) Hospital, together with Philips, recently added to its facilities a new 128Slice Computed Tomography (CT) Scan equipment as part of its mission to provide state-of-the-art medical technology at reasonable rates to patients. The CT scan is presently the best and fastest in the region. The first to be distributed in the country by Philips along with RG Meditron, the equipment is also the first of its kind among private hospitals in Southern Mindanao. Smiling during the blessing of ribbon cutting of their new imaging facility was DMSF President Dr. Jonathan Alegre who described the arrival of the 128Slice CT Scan machine as a landmark achievement and the realization of a dream for the hospital. According to Dr. Alegre, they are optimistic that the benefits of their new equipment will be felt in the communities served by the hospital. He also said that the rates for the service would also help improve people's access to health services. "Although we have the latest technology does not mean that we will be expensive," Dr. Alegre said. Cromwell Tarca, Business Development Manager for Philips Healthcare, added that the arrival of the 128-Slice CT Scan in DMSF-with its advanced applications and imagery options-is in line with the company's tradition of providing services that are truly capable of specialized help for its patients'. Clinical benefits of 128 slice CT with 33% improvement of z-axis visualization iDose Premium Package which includes two leading technologies that can improve image quality: iDose4 and metal artifact reduction for large orthopedic implants (O-MAR). iDose4 improves image quality through artifact prevention and increased spatial resolution at low dose. OMAR reduces artifacts caused by large orthopedic implants. Together they produce high image quality with reduced artifacts. NanoPanel Elite Detector - low noise imaging MRC Ice Tube - reliable and fast cooling

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Built on iPatient - Patient-specific methods facilitate optimal management of image quality and radiation dose Moreover, DMSF Hospital Radiologist Dr. Samuel Bangoy said the equipment has greatly widened the services that can be offered by the hospital to the public, which includes less invasive CT Angiography, CT Colonography, CT Bronchoscopy and brain diffusion studies. He said, "We can now reconstruct images in the best possible way." One of the most important features of the machine, according to Bangoy, is its low radiation dose feature, which is vital particularly for children who are having multiple examinations. He also took pride in the machine being the fastest of its kind. "Imagine five years ago, for an image to be produced it would take about an entire minute. But now we can produce it as fast as 0.3 seconds. For the entire body, we can scan it from 10 to 15 minutes, which previously would take you hours," he explained. Dr. Bangoy commented that this would definitely improve their services by hastening the process, allowing services to reach 30-40 patients on a busy day. At the same time, the improved speed will lessen the waiting time of patients for medical results. Meanwhile, RG Meditron Business Development Manager Ryan Garcia ex-

pressed gratitude over the all-out support given by Philips. "RG Meditron is proud to continue its tradition of being among those who want to advance the healthcare sector by connecting the country's top healthcare providers with the latest innovations across the globe, and making it our top priority to ensure that our installations are working as intended.". Tarca continued to say that Philips in-

tends to provide continuing support by regularly sending in experts to share their experience and know-how. Such knowledge-enhancing efforts of Philips is part of the company's endeavor to help users, doctors, and healthcare workers maximize the potential of the equipment to ensure that the general public benefits from the superior technology that Philips offers. This was supported by Dr. Jose Rene Lacuesta, Chair of the DMSFI Board of Trustees, who said that the recent procurement would not only boost the reputation of DMSF but also help the hospital offer better learning opportunities for

the students of the medical school. DMSF graduates recently landed on the top 2 and top 6 of the August 2014 Physician Licensure Examination. "As by tradition, the school is a beneficiary of the hospital and all equipment will benefit the students," Lacuesta said. He added that the new equipment would definitely help produce more doctors who are better-equipped to bring health services closer to the people. With the best doctors, best equipment and best service in DMSF Hospital, the communities in Southern Mindanao are in the best of hands.

THE FILMMAKERS ‘Easiest way to share an advocacy’ ADJANI ARUMPAC, ‘War Is a Tender Thing’


HE RECOGNITION CAME “Founded in 1989, Yamagata is one of the “Quantity doesn’t always mean quality, aloldest docu fests in the world,” she says. “It though diversity of perspectives is always like a bolt of lightning.

“I was honestly surprised,” says Adjani Arumpac of winning special mention in the New Currents section of the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival in Japan last year for “War Is a Tender Thing.”

was my first time to compete [anywhere]. To be awarded for a low-budget, very personal film was humbling and encouraging.” She sees that the local filmmaking scene is flourishing. “These current awards inspire us to keep creating.” But she is quick to caution:

good.” Telling stories through moving images is the easiest way to share an advocacy, she says. She is heartened that filmmaking activities include the regions and docus. “They are no longer metro- or genre-centric.” Bayani San Diego Jr.







Storytelling is proof of existence SIGRID ANDREA P. BERNARDO, ‘Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita’


OR SIGRID ANDREA P. Bernardo, the mere opportunity of competing against highbudget films in international festivals is already enough. That’s why it came as a surprise when her first feature film, “Ang Huling Cha-Cha ni Anita,” reaped honors abroad. “Cha-Cha” got a special mention at the Osaka Asian Film Festival in Japan last March; and bagged the Volunteers’ Choice Award at the 38th Frameline San Francisco International LGBT Film Festival in June. “To win is something special ... and to be recognized internationally makes me proud of my team, the cast and staff. The awards are the best gifts I can give them for all the effort and support they’ve given me,” she says.

Bernardo isn’t into filmmaking for the accolades. “I do it because I want to tell my story … and to keep me sane,” she clarifies, adding that receiving international recognition inspires hope and makes one proud of being a Filipino despite the country’s many problems. “It’s not a perfect country, but we deal with the imperfections and show them through cinema. It’s a way of letting the world know that we exist,” says Bernardo, who remains positive about the future of the industry, especially now that technology has made filmmaking more accessible to aspiring directors. Bernardo, also a theater artist, points out that many years back, one could count the number of attendees at screenings. “I’m happy that the Filipino people have grown to appreciate this kind of cinema,” she says.

She adds that more financial support from the government is imperative, and that producers “shouldn’t abuse, and instead give more rights” to filmmakers. “I believe there will come a time when the line separating indie and mainstream will be blurred, and that we will simply call it ‘Philippine cinema,’” Bernardo says. Allan Policarpio

This year’s topnotcher LAV DIAZ, ‘Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon’


AV DIAZ IS THE MOST awarded Filipino filmmaker this year, winning here and abroad, for two landmark films: 2013’s “Norte, Hangganan ng Kasaysayan” and 2014’s “Mula sa Kung Ano ang Noon.”


“Norte” swept the Gawad Urian (given by local critics) and won for Diaz best director at the Cinemanila festival. “Norte,” the country’s entry in the Oscars and Golden Globes, won best picture at the Pancevo Film Festival held in Serbia last September and is nominated for best international film at the Indie Spirit Awards. “Mula” scored the country’s highest victory so far: The Golden Leopard at the top-tier Locarno (Switzerland) IFF last August. Also at Locarno, “Mula” won the Fipresci, Environment is Quality of Life, Don Quixote and Youth Jury prizes. “Mula” then went on to win audience prizes in Murcia (Spain) and Sao Paulo (Brazil).

For his body of work, he was declared a recipient of the Netherlands’ Prince Claus Award. Diaz compares awards to “a surprise smile from a complete stranger on the street.” “Affirmations make you feel good,” he says. “That’s very primal and immediate. I don’t make films for awards, but if it is given, I shall accept it—with a smile.” The Golden Leopard was one such pleasant surprise, he recalls. “I didn’t expect it. It was an instant surge. The competition was formidable. We were there just to have fun and participate in the discourse. When [festival head] Carlo Chatrian called to tell me we had won, I actually cried. Wasak!” More importantly, this “harvest” of trophies augurs well for Philippine cinema, he explains. “The world now knows what the Filipino can do and—I have to emphasize this—we don’t need anybody’s imprimatur when it comes to our cinema praxis. Filipino cinema is unique and singular. The great Lamberto Avellana fittingly said: ‘We have

our own way of making love.’” Philippine cinema has “grown by leaps and bounds,” he says. “Amazing. It’s dizzying. But we should not be complacent. Let’s keep pushing the medium to greater heights. We can do many more things. We need to do many more things.” Still, he remains “very optimistic” about Philippine cinema. “There shall be greater harvests.” And the reason he persists as a filmmaker? “Cinema is my life. Ito lang ang puwede kong ibigay sa Filipino. (This is all I can give to the Filipino.)” Bayani San Diego Jr.

‘Capture their hearts’ WILL FREDO, ‘In Nomine Matris’


ILMMAKER WILL FREDO says the aim of every independent director should be to “capture the heart of the Filipino audience and make them fully support the industry.” It is sad, Fredo says, that Filipinos would rather watch Hollywood films or local productions by major outfits, than compelling, independently-produced films. “We need innovative ideas and groundbreaking business models so we can sustain the medium,” he says, adding that filmmakers should be more business-conscious. “We pro-

duce a lot of independent films but only a few gets shown in Manila—and usually because it is part of a film festival. What a waste!” Proof of the growing interest in indie films is the increased number of local film festivals, notes Fredo. “Even smaller cities are using the festival machinery to create interest in aspiring filmmakers from the regions.” He hopes to see cities like Cebu and Davao organize film festivals as Quezon City has. He challenges private groups and big studios to “do something bold and exciting.” As for content, Fredo encourages “a more commercial outlook” to attract the younger generation. “Let’s not make the Filipino audience suffer by feeding them the same things.” Fredo’s “In Nomine Matris” bagged the best

feature film award at the 2014 International Film Festival Manhattan. He persists in making movies despite the challenges it poses, he says. “Why stop yourself from doing something that you are truly passionate about? I see myself growing and becoming better at it.” Marinel R. Cruz

Opening doors, widening worlds JOSEPH ISRAEL LABAN, ‘Nuwebe’



WEET VICTORY IS LIKE “icing on the cake,” says Joseph Israel Laban, a TV documentary show producer who won international awards for the narrative feature film “Nuwebe.” After winning best actress for child star Barbara Miguel at the Harlem fest last year, “Nuwebe” went on to win the youth jury’s mention of honor at the III Festival Internacional Lume de Cinema (Brazil), honorable mention-best director at Queens World Film Festival (United States), and Internet award for best feature at the Tirana fest (Albania). “International recognition is always a welcome surprise,” Laban explains. “Presenting your film in festivals abroad and interacting

with different audiences provide unique perspectives on how your work is regarded. It can also open doors to other opportunities for the film and future projects.” He remarks: “That Filipino films are consistently recognized every year is a testament to the quality of filmmaking in the country and the burgeoning number of young talents. We must be doing something right.” He is always “cautiously optimistic” about the future. “On the surface, the growth of independently produced Filipino films seems encouraging,” he says. “But the drivers of growth are the same institutions: Cinemalaya, Cinema One.” This year, Laban and home network GMA News TV launched the Cine Totoo docu film festival. “The problem remains the same,” he says.

From mainstream to indie


T’S A GREAT HONOR THAT MY indie work is recognized,” says Joel Lamangan, known for decades of mainstream fare. He went indie with “Kamkam (Greed),” declared best film at the 9th Harlem International Film Festival in New York last September.

“I have received awards from all awardgiving bodies [in the country] for my mainstream work,” he points out. “This one gives me extra joy for the honor it lent the story that I wanted to tell without in-

terference from capitalists.” There’s been “much growth,” artistically and content-wise, for indies, he notes. “It is sad that, although foreign festivals have been giving them awards and recognition, local viewers continue to ignore them.” Support is imperative at this point, he says. “The government, through agencies dedicated to films and the propagation of the national language, should initiate programs to uplift independent filmmaking.” On the bright side, he concludes, “The

proliferation of young people interested in telling their stories via cinema is a positive indication of what is to come.” Oliver M. Pulumbarit


JOEL LAMANGAN, ‘Kamkam (Greed)’

There is an urgent need for audience building, for one. “The local market is still not developed enough to make indie films viable ventures without the support of institutions like Cinemalaya and Cinema One.” So why does he persist as a filmmaker? “Because there are stories we should tell,” he says. Bayani San Diego Jr.



‘Feels like a Golden Age’ JUN ROBLES LANA, ‘Barber’s Tales’


T ALWAYS FEELS GREAT TO win,” says filmmaker Jun Robles Lana, whose “Barber’s Tales” won audience award, third place, at the Udine (Italy) Far East Film Festival. He also won best director for a foreign film at the Third Madrid IFF for “Barber’s,” and best script for “Bwakaw” at the Pyongyang International Film Fest in North Korea.

Lana says the past few years have been “like a Golden Age” in local cinema, on account of the numerous independentlyproduced films that reaped international acclaim. “It’s a testament to our filmmakers’ immense talent and daring. They refuse to conform to, and be limited by, the status quo.” All that needs to be done now, he notes, is cultivate a bigger audience for these “outside-the-system” productions. “Philippine cinema is certainly not dead … making films is my life!” Oliver M. Pulumbarit

‘But will the passion last?’ JASON PAUL LAXAMANA, ‘Magkakabaung (The Coffin Maker)’


WAS ECSTATIC BECAUSE first one I watched was a Korean film, and even audience turnout.”

I wasn’t expecting it,” admits filmmaker Jason Paul Laxamana.

His “Magkakabaung (The Coffin Maker)” won the Netpac prize for Best Asian Film in the 3rd Hanoi International Film Festival. “I watched the other films and found them very good, with very high production values,” Laxamana recounts. “The

‘Way Back Home,’ which was shot in South Korea, in the Caribbean and in France. And there our film was, shot in a week with a budget of less than P2 million and a tiny crew!” Laxamana says the development of local indie films in recent years is easily discernible: “There’s been growth in all aspects—creative and technical content, number of films produced,

However, he says, “A dark side of my mind wonders how long this will last. Passion is what drives filmmakers and producers. How fervent will this passion be, years from now?” His hope, at this point, is that our indie flicks will be appreciated by more viewers. “Outside film festivals, they still find it hard to get an audience,” he says. “Independent films

should one day attract big audiences outside festivals and special screenings, which will guarantee ROI (return on investment) and, hence, sustainability.” Oliver M. Pulumbarit

‘Films have never failed me’ SIEGE LEDESMA, ‘Shift’


HE FILM “SHIFT,” ABOUT an unlikely relationship between a female call center agent and her gay male team leader, was a very personal project for writer-director Siege Ledesma. The movie, she says, is her “comforting hug” for everyone who tackled similar issues.

“Shift” won the grand prix (best picture) award at the Osaka Asian Film Festival in Japan last March. “I wrote ‘Shift’ primarily for Filipino audiences, specifically my generation,” she says. “My ‘hug’ has now reached a lot more lost and lonely souls.” She adds, “The gaze and voice of cinema have been predominantly male. I’m glad that, here in the Philippines, more women and members of the LGBT community are creating films and getting heard.” Ledesma is a bit fearful of the future:

“South Korean producer Oh Jung-wan said that prior to 2007, his country was churning out acclaimed films, most of which bombed at the box office ... so they’re back to producing mediocre, studio-controlled commercial movies.” However, she persists in filmmaking because, she says, “Unlike humans, it has never failed me. There have been a lot of times in my life when my only companions were Wong Kar-wai, Richard Linklater or Olivier Smolders.” Allan Policarpio



Intruder as witness to the times JEWEL MARANAN,‘Tondo, Beloved: To What Are the Poor Born’


EWEL MARANAN SEES FILM- felt like the world has become larger. It’s a

welcome call to make my next film, more

making as “an attempt to ex- than a validation of the last one.” pand one’s language when Based in Brussels, Belgium, she is aware speaking and writing do not suf- of the winning streak of Filipinos abroad—a moment of “quantitative” growth. “It fice.” As in all creative endeavors, filmmaking is plagued by self-doubt. A filmmaker often asks herself: “Will I be understood? Will I wake up the audience’s senses?” In this light, “international recognition works like a marker,” she says. “It guides me, step by step, in my conversation with the audience. It also opens the possibility of reaching a wider audience.” Maranan won special mention for “Tondo, Beloved: To What Are the Poor Born?” in the Director’s Guild of Japan section of the Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival last year. “I felt excited to do more. I

doesn’t just put the Philippines on the map,” she points out, “it somehow positions us not only as consumers and listeners, but as producers, barkers, reactors. It provides the condition for us to mature culturally.” Filipinos are now active participants in the discourse on cinema. “We have developed a level of enthusiasm in filmmaking and … we also possess enough human and social pain which, if we confront fearlessly, hold the depth of our cinema.” She insists, “Cinema cannot, and should not, be isolated in its circles, comforts and institutions. We should wrestle with the

questions, the whys and wherefores.” That is precisely why she persists in making movies. “There are questions that I need to ask, which the traditional institutions of knowledge are unable to tackle … We are increasingly isolated from the larger questions of life, existence, civilization and history.” As a documentarian, she sees her role in society as unique. “It gives me a reason to enter spaces, homes, work places, communities, situations and relationships where I would otherwise be considered an intruder,” she says. “It allows me to be a witness to the times we live in.” Bayani San Diego Jr.

‘An advocacy, vocation, responsibility’ BRILLANTE MA. MENDOZA, ‘Thy Womb’


ORE THAN A PROFESsion, Brillante Mendoza sees filmmaking as an advocacy, a vocation and a responsibility to tell honest and life-enriching stories. “Even if such stories are painful realities, the audience is still uplifted with what is real,” says the filmmaker, who headed the international jury of the Vesoul International Festival of Asian Cinema in France last February. The same festival also conferred on Mendoza the Vesoul Golden Cyclo of Honor for his exceptional body of work that includes the film “Kinatay,” which won for him the best director at Cannes in 2009.

He was proclaimed a Knight in the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government this year. Winning an international prize is a responsibility in itself, because with recognition comes expectations, he says. Mendoza considers awards as reminders to strive harder; to keep up with what they represent. Mendoza points out that the current success of Filipino films in the global circuit can help open doors to the international market. “In turn, it could generate financial gains for our local industry,” says the multiawarded director, who notes that the growth of indie films in the last five years has been promising and inspiring. For its part, Mendoza says, “the government has to come up with policies that will address the many needs of inde-

pendent film producers.” The emergence of indie films is one of the best things that happened to the industry, Mendoza says, because it created some muchneeded awareness that Filipinos, too, are more than capable of producing quality work. “The mere awakening of the moviegoing public that alternative films do exist is a good sign. That’s enough motivation for me ... to expand the indie market,” he says. Allan Policarpio

‘It’s about serving the oppressed’


UROK 7,” ABOUT A teenager dealing with an absent OFW mother, won in September the best full-length feature award at the Lucas Children’s Film Festival in Frankfurt, Germany. Director Carlo Obispo sees the recognition as both encouragement and challenge.

“My entire crew worked very hard; the award validates our dedication,” Obispo says. “It is also a challenge to do better in our next projects.” He is thankful for the conditions that in-

variably come with indie filmmaking. “They prompt our unique ways of telling stories but, more importantly, they lead us to explore stories within our own society that are most likely not told in mainstream cinema.” Obispo continues to observe improvements, audience-wise, as well: “The market is getting more familiar with the strengths of indie films. Local festivals draw more and more audiences [with] every edition. Although rarely, we now get to see indies in commercial cinemas. This is a good sign.” He is committed to making films that “truly uplift,” he says, since he remains “very positive” about what lies ahead for Philippine cinema.



“Filmmaking is about being a servant. I’d like to be the voice of the oppressed and [ignored]; I want to express their angst, pain and fears, for the whole world to hear.” Oliver M. Pulumbarit

‘Sweet gift from the universe’ NERISSA PICADIZO, ‘Astray’


INNING THE BEST INDIE producer award for “Astray” at the 2014 International Film Festival Manhattan gave director Nerissa Picadizo a bittersweet feeling.


It was a “sweet gift from the universe,” she says, for all that she went through to make the short film, which features Angel Aquino and Althea Vega. Too bad she couldn’t attend the awards ceremony in New York City last month. “I’m deeply grateful nonetheless,” says Picadizo, “for that affirmation—and motivation to keep believing in one’s dreams.” The awards that Filipinos have won in-

dicate that “our talents and skills are at par with the filmmaking standards of the world,” she says. “Filipino indie films are steadily growing and maturing. Filmmakers are becoming more savvy, in both the creative and business aspects.” “Technology played a great part in that growth,” she adds, recalling that she joined the industry in 1999 “when we were still using film stock. I saw how laborious and expensive that process was. Digital technology has greatly helped us create films easily and independently.” Much remains to be done. “We must develop models of sustainability,” she says,

“so we can continue to create films without falling into the black hole of bankruptcy.” She has continued to make movies “because it is my ultimate passion, and the one great love that I can’t live without.” Marinel R. Cruz

Reach out to, and develop viewers


S A STORYTELLER, MIKHAIL Red’s goal is to see the product of his imagination materialize onscreen, and create a film so affecting the moviegoers take with them the story, ideas and characters, as they leave the theater. “Nothing can compare to that experience. That, for me, is the magic of cinema,” he says.

That feeling must be twice as gratifying, especially when your work is being recognized not only in the country, but also in the international circuit. Such is the case with Red’s movie “Rekorder,” which won the special jury prize and best music award at the 31st Annon-

ay International Film Festival in France last February. Red is also extremely proud for receiving the Excellent Asia-Pacific Young Director Award at the Gwangju IFF in South Korea in September. The director relates that, after each victory, jury members usually approach him to discuss the movie, which delves on viral media, piracy and apathy. “They were impressed with the unique portrayal of urban Manila ... we depicted a modern cityscape juxtaposed against a thriving underworld ... we get to see the ills that plague a developing third-world society,” he says. Red’s most recent triumph came last October at the Vancouver IFF in Canada, where he won best new director, also for “Rekorder.” “It was a surprise for the whole team. We

were up against bigger productions,” he says. To further invigorate the local industry, he says, “we need to develop an audience in our country; we need to support the local film fests .” There is a need to give importance to the artists behind the content. “This means better ownership deals in the contracts from the grant-giving festivals, favoring the filmmakers and/or indie producers.” Allan Policarpio


MIKHAIL RED, ‘Rekorder’



‘Filmmaking is my therapy’


HEN THE THEATRICAL run of the Film Development Council of the Philippines’ Sineng Pambansa: Masters Edition “failed” last year, director Maryo J. de los Reyes felt “utterly bad” because not many people got to see the entries, including “Bamboo Flowers.” De los Reyes tried to have his film shown in Bohol province, where it was shot and whose people inspired him. He attempted

to get it into some festivals, to no avail. “Bamboo’s” victory as audience choice at the first Silk Road International Film Festival in October in Xi’an, China, revived De los Reyes’ spirit. There’s nothing more fulfilling for a director, he says, than seeing his work being watched by an audience. De los Reyes achieved international success with “Magnifico,” which got two awards at the 2004 Berlinale: a Crystal Bear as best feature film and the Grand Prix of the Deutsches Kinderhilfswerk. He has always had high hopes for Philippine cinema, he says, and the “tremendous


MARYO J. DE LOS REYES, ‘Bamboo Flowers’

growth” of indie films in the recent years is starting to be felt in the industry. “Artists are more open to accepting indie projects.” He is mulling a “highly institutionalized” agency to focus on marketing indies here and abroad. Meanwhile, he will continue making films. “More than a passion, it is my therapy,” he says. Allan Policarpio


Conquer the local audience EDUARDO ROY Jr., ‘Quick Change’


OR FILMMAKER EDUARDO Roy Jr., the great thing about the success of Filipino films in the global scene over the last several years is that it has spurred a domino effect, engendering a newfound strength in aspiring directors and producers to create movies that are focused on artistic rather than commercial success.

“More films are gaining recognition because more Filipino directors are emerging and there are more stories waiting to be heard,” he says. His film, “Quick Change,” won the Critic Jury’s Prize at the Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema in France in February. It also bagged the Lili Award, feature film-special mention at the 29th Mix Copenhagen LGBT Film Festival held in Denmark in October. Last month, it won the Netpac prize at

the Golden Horse Taipei Film Festival. “We can see that Filipino filmmakers are getting better in telling stories,” he says. “Creativity isn’t compromised by the lack of financial support... . We have conquered international audiences, so I’m positive that we can conquer the Filipino audience, too.” Allan Policarpio



ILM PRODUCER-DIRECTOR Paul Soriano’s fearless forecast: Within 10 years, the Philippines will finally get an Academy Awards nomination, if not win one. “We’re getting better each year. Soon, this will no longer be a dream but a reality,” says Sori-

ano, who produced the Hannah Espia film “Transit,” the country’s entry in the best foreign language film category of the 86th Academy Awards. Soriano is the director and producer of “Thelma,” which won for lead star Maja Salvador in 2012 two best actress trophies—the Gawad Urian and Luna Award.

“Thelma” won the Bronze Palm Award at the Mexico International Film Festival in 2012. Soriano says the honor was “humbling and a blessing ... [it’s] motivation to keep telling more interesting and compelling stories.” Soriano, currently head of the students section of the MMFF New Wave, adds, “The government should keep supporting great film concepts. Now is a great time for Philippine cinema—the mood is very positive.” Marinel R. Cruz


Dreams are realized at the right time



Cultural imprints on collective memory BABY RUTH VILLARAMA, ‘Jazz in Love’


NDIE FILMMAKERS ARE IN the midst of a “revolution,” a transformative process, said documentarian Baby Ruth Villarama.


“The world is looking at Filipino stories,” Villarama points out. “It’s as if filmmakers transform into vehicles that deliver Filipino stories to other countries.” International recognition has put Philippine movies on the map of world cinema, she says. Beyond the hype, acclaim proved that the indies were not just “a passing trend ... that our films can leave lasting cultural marks on the collective memory. Hopefully these awards will help us build a permanent road on which we can travel to bring our films closer to the local audience.” It’s an ever-growing indie scene. “With the success of indies in festivals abroad, young filmmakers are encouraged to produce more films,” she says. “Each year, the community is expanding.” There was a time when indies were “confined to the Cultural Center of the Philippines and university auditoriums.”

“Now, cineplexes are opening their doors to us; docus are screened side by side with narrative features,” she relates. “Jazz in Love” won the Netpac prize at the Salamindanaw International Film Festival last year. “The award was given by jurors who founded Netpac (Network for the Promotion of Asian Cinema) itself,” she recounts. “I am happy, humbled, honored and also a bit pressured to keep improving. We have

‘A wonderful, creative insanity’ ALVIN YAPAN, ‘Debosyon’


RITER AND FILMMAKER Alvin Yapan observes that independent cinema has been enjoying steady growth, and has become less reliant on grants and film festivals to produce movies. And, more than anything, he points out that independent cinema has proven that it can produce quality work.

“Hopefully, a growing audience interest would be able to sustain this,” says Yapan, whose film “Debosyon”—which was topbilled by Paulo Avelino and Mara Lopez— won honorable mention outstanding inter-

national feature at the ReelWorld Film Festival held last April in Toronto, Canada. Yapan, also a Palanca Award-winning wordsmith and a literature professor in Ateneo de Manila University, likens being recognized abroad to a “pat on the back from a colleague, telling that you did a great job.” “I felt affirmed and inspired to continue directing and producing more movies,” Yapan says. He persists in pursuing his craft because, “It’s my passion and insanity—a wonderful, creative insanity.” The international success of indie films, he says, is a reminder to the local audience and industry stakeholders that the landscape of television- and movie-viewing in the Philippines is starting to change. “It’s an opportunity only waiting to be tapped by those who are brave enough,

and who have enough vision to blaze a trail,” says the director, who helmed the multiawarded “Ang Sayaw ng Dalawang Kaliwang Paa.” He believes that “a coherent and reliable distribution system” should be set up: “That way, filmmakers can keep at what they’re doing.” Allan Policarpio

to come up with better strategies so that people will see docus in a new light.” “Jazz in Love” was later shown in Busan, Hanoi, San Francisco, Paris and Bangkok, among other cinema capitals. “As a documentarian/journalist, I see my role as a watchdog in society; to be part of the solution, not the problem,” she says. “I’ve been a storyteller for 14 years; seven of those years in the indie scene ... let’s see how long we can stick around.” Bayani San Diego Jr.


THE LENSES OF our award-winning photographers have captured the memorable scenes of the past 29 years. Not a few have stunned the world like the Edsa People Power Revolution in 1986, some have been gamechangers like the Pinatubo eruption in 1991. A lot of them are defining historic moments for the country. All of them are seared in our memory. And all of the 29 years, we in the INQUIRER dub the wonder years. We wonder how we made it this far despite threats to our survival from the dictatorship of the Marcos years to the advertising boycott during the Joseph Estrada presidency, to the almost daily brickbats thrown our way by the lords and ladies of a capricious if not outrageous political landscape. We’re still here and with God’s grace and mercy, we intend to stay and stand as a pillar of truth and justice and surprises as we continue to tell the Filipino story to the world.




HIS EXCELLENCY US President Barack Obama speaks to American and Filipino troops and veterans at the Army gym in Fort Bonifacio in Taguig City where he reiterates the US “ironclad commitment” to defend the Philippine security and sovereignty on April 29, 2014. RAFFY LERMA

HIS EMINENCE Manila Archbishop Luis Antonio Cardinal Tagle, one of the four living princes of the Church in the Philippines, is designated as member of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life by Pope Francis in April. Tagle, former Cavite bishop, is made cardinal by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI on Nov. 24, 2012. RICHARD REYES

PROFILES IN COURAGE The whistle-blowers who have blown the lid off the biggest corruption scandal in this country, with explosive information detailing how billions in public wealth have been scammed by their employer, Janet LimNapoles, and her cohorts in the legislature and various government agencies through bogus nongovernment organizations that received lump-sum funds for ghost projects. They are (from left) Mary Arlene Baltazar, Merlina Suñas, Gertrudes Luy, Benhur Luy, Marina Sula and Simonette Briones. ALANAH TORRALBA

PARTNERS Then Sen. Benigno Aquino III flashes the familiar “Laban” sign of the Liberal Party as he welcomes fellow Sen. Mar Roxas (left) as his running mate in the 2010 presidential election held at Club Filipino in Greenhills, San Juan City, on Sept. 21, 2009. EDWIN BACASMAS

HUMAN SHIELDS Whistle-blower Rodolfo “Jun” Lozada, who testified on anomalies in the Arroyo administration, including the controversial NBN- ZTE broadband deal, enjoys the protection of nuns from different religious congregations as he makes his way to a press conference at the La Salle Green Hills chapel in San Juan City on Feb. 7, 2008. RAFFY LERMA

HELP ON THE WAY Residents of Cainta, Rizal province, are brought out of their flooded homes to an unrecognizable Ortigas Avenue nearby after Tropical Storm “Ondoy” pummeled Metro Manila in September 2009. EDWIN BACASMAS

ESCAPE FROM REMING’S WRATH Father and son in the tiny village of Tagas in Daraga—located at the foot of the majestic Mayon Volcano—try to pick up the pieces of a life shattered by Typhoon “Reming” that hit Albay province in December 2006. EDWIN BACASMAS

GOODBYE TO MY BFF Ousted President Joseph Estrada, out on a temporary pass from his detention quarters, says goodbye to his friend of 40 years Fernando Poe Jr. at the wake of the late actor and 2004 presidential candidate in Sto. Domingo Church, Quezon City, on Dec. 21, 2004. REM ZAMORA

INTERFAITH RALLY in Ayala on Feb. 29, 2008



CHANGE WITHIN ARM’S LENGTH The crowds of the Edsa People Power Revolution in 1986, including Catholic nuns and church workers, extend the hand of peace to a soldier on board a V-150 armored vehicle. This shot by Boy Cabrido won second prize in the Ayala Foundation Edsa Revolution Photography Contest.



SUNSET BOULEVARD Then President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her husband, Mike, take a stroll on a beach off the Tubbattaha Reefs Natural Park in Palawan province in this April 2002 photograph. EDWIN BACASMAS

HOMEWARD BOUND A man, pulling his carabao and cart, walks home from an evacuation center in Zambales province by crossing this vast plain that was once a river but is now an arid laharcovered landscape following the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in June 1991. EDWIN BACASMAS

THE CBD AS BATTLEGROUND Police fight off on Nov. 12, 2003, the members of the Oct. 28 Movement, mostly identified as supporters of deposed President Joseph Estrada, who rallied on the streets of Makati City’s central business districts asking for the ouster of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and Chief Justice Hilario Davide Jr. EDWIN BACASMAS

PEOPLE’S CRY Thousands mass up at the Edsa Shrine to demand the resignation of President Joseph Estrada in November 2000 on allegations of plunder. Estrada left Malacañang in January 2001. JOAN BONDOC

COUNTLESS BODY COUNT The bodies of flood victims of the great floods in Ormoc, Leyte province, in November 1991 are piled up in trucks before they are buried in mass graves. Around 8,000 persons died in this tragedy brought about by continuous rains that caused landslides from eroded mountains, dumping huge amounts of water to the land areas below. ERNIE SARMIENTO

OPEN FOR BUSINESS Notwithstanding the floodwaters from the continuous heavy rain and busted dikes of the Wawa River of Bulacan province in July 1999, this barber in Polo, Valenzuela City, goes about his trade while his customer doesn’t seem to mind the inconvenience. EDWIN BACASMAS

NOT A WINTER WONDERLAND An eerie winter-like landscape greets media people who visited this barangay in Botolan, Zambales province, after the monstrous clouds of dust unleashed by Mt. Pinatubo on June 15, 1991, after almost 600 years of lying dormant. BOY CABRIDO




Rescuers look for survivors trapped inside the 5-star Hyatt Terraces Hotel in Baguio City that collapsed like an accordion. 98 guests and hotel employees died in the 7.8magnitude quake that hit on July 16, 1990.



Journalism scholars: Where are they now? By Michael Lim Ubac TWO DECADES AFTER THE INQUIRER Journalism Scholarship was launched by INQUIRER board chair Marixi Rufino-Prieto, all of its recipients have engaged in varied pursuits, making their mark in their chosen professions. Many of them have since worked for the paper. However, more than half of the former scholars chose to tread various career paths either as lawyers, award-winning literary writers, TV hosts, public relations (PR) specialists, project assistants or even teachers. The choice of professions other than journalism is quite surprising for alumni of the best journalism schools in the country who were especially trained to carry the journalism torch once they finished college. One of the scholarship program’s outstanding recipients is University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman graduate Edson Tandoc Jr. (summa cum laude). The rest of the former scholars graduated with honors (either magna cum laude or cum laude). Five more students are currently in their junior or senior years and are expected to graduate in 2017. To date, a total of

72 scholars have benefited from the program that started in 1993. Tandoc, who worked with the INQUIRER, is now associate professor at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He obtained his doctorate in journalism at one of the world’s best journalism schools, the Missouri School of Journalism, the alma mater of INQUIRER editor in chief Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc.

‘Promdi’ In an interview, Tandoc said he considered it an “opportunity” to be part of the INQUIRER team—first as an intern, and then later as a reporter. “It allowed me to pursue what I was passionate about, and it also brought me to the INQUIRER newsroom, where I got to learn many of what I know about quality journalism,” he said.

Journalist as lawyer “For a promdi (from the province) like me, it meant a lot to be considered for the INQUIRER scholarship. It inspired me to study harder and to continue to strive to be deserving of that recognition,” said Tandoc, who hails from Tayug, Pangasinan province.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism from UP in 2005, Michael Jobert Navallo studied law. He has since joined the Sycip, Salazar, Hernandez and Gatmaitan law firm. Asked if being an INQUIRER scholar meant having a badge of honor of sorts, the lawyer said: “Yes, of course. PDI (Philippine Daily Inquirer), as an institution, is highly-regarded, and even during when I applied for a job at a law firm, my being a PDI scholar came up.” But what prompted him to become a lawyer instead of working as a reporter? “I really wanted to be a lawyer when I was a child, before I ventured into journalism. When I was in journalism school, I thoroughly enjoyed and loved the profession and had planned to practice as a journalist, except that I passed the Law Aptitude Exam of the UP College of Law. I also realized, while doing my thesis on mining, that I could benefit from a good understanding of the law, whether or not I end up a lawyer or a journalist,” said Navallo.

Wow factor To this day, Monika Tarra Quismundo is proud that she

CURRENT SCHOLARS UNTIL 2017 Philippine Daily Inquirer publisher Raul Pangalangan and INQUIRER president and CEO Sandy Prieto-Romualdez (far right) with the INQUIRER scholars (from left) Krixia Subingsubing, Jamela Ariella Braganza, Matthew Reysio-Cruz and Jenifer Cabildo during the contract signing of the scholars at the INQUIRER’s head office. (Not in photo is Fazniyara Lukman.) ALEXIS CORPUZ was an INQUIRER scholar. “Of course! It’s like a ‘wow’ factor if you’re a PDI scholar, at least in the world of journalism schools,” she said. Quismundo is one of the scholars who joined the profession right after graduation. She has been with the INQUIRER since 2003 and is now covering the judiciary, which includes the Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and the Office of the Solicitor General. “I would like to make the best of being a reporter everyday, staying true to that ‘fire-in-the-

belly’ feeling that drives a journalist to ask questions (and ask again if necessary), to uncover what or who wants to stay hidden, to seek out stories that inspire, ultimately shining a light on what readers deserve to know, may that be good or bad,” said Quismundo. Quismundo, Tandoc and lawyer Angeli Alagcan were batchmates (UP, Batch 20012003).

Generosity Started in 1993, the scholarship program is the brainchild

of the big-hearted Marixi, the INQUIRER board chair, Magsanoc, Eugenia Apostol, the founding chair, and the late publisher, Isagani Yambot. It was conceived principally to help talented students obtain degrees in mass communication or journalism. The program helps build a pool of graduates from which the INQUIRER could recruit reporters, researchers and editorial production assistants (EPAs). The program was ably shepherded by Sandy Prieto-RoPDI JOURNALISM / 2



PDI journalism scholars: Our pride, joy; where are they now? From page 1

mualdez when she became the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the INQUIRER in May 1998.

One-woman secretariat

SMILES SAY IT ALL The young INQUIRER president Sandy Prieto (not yet) Romualdez (center) with (from left) scholars Anissa Apolinario, Gladys Pinky Tolete, Katrina Zuño and Mark Isaiah David signs on the dotted line. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

THOSE WERE THE DAYS Leila Salaverria, Sunshine Yu and Abigail Ho set foot in the INQUIRER’s iconic stairs in 1999.

Career paths Of the 72 scholars, less than half are employed by the INQUIRER in various capacities—editors, reporters, EPAs and researchers. Ruel De Vera, an Ateneo de Manila University graduate who belonged to the first batch (1993-1995) of scholars, is associate editor at Sunday INQUIRER Magazine and one of this year’s “20-year service” awardees. He teaches journalism at his alma mater and is the author and editor of 11 books. Norman Bordadora (19931995), the very first scholar from UP, has worked with the INQUIRER as a reporter for 19 years before he was pirated this year by GMA 7 to become its online editor. The INQUIRER is proud to have trained and primed him for work that would earn him bigger bucks as his kids are about to go to college. Lourd de Veyra (UST, Batch 1994-1995) is the bandleader and vocalist of the “Radioactive Sago Project.” A three-time Palanca awardee, he works as copy editor and writer for several monthly magazines and is a radio-TV host. He hosts several TV5 shows.

currently, I NQUIRER research section head. Eliza Victoria (UP, 20052007), a former research assistant, is a two-time Palanca awardee (poetry), and grand prize winner (short story) of the Philippine Free Press Literary Awards. She writes science fiction, fantasy, horror and crime/mystery. Some of her works are “Dwellers” (2014), “Project 17” (2013), “A Bottle of Storm Clouds” (2012) and the self-published collection, “Unseen Moon” (2013). Jerald Uy (UP, Batch 20052007), former writer and segment producer of GMA 7’s “News on Q,” is now public relations writer for Fuentes Manila Publicity Network. He is a comics enthusiast. Emman Von Cena (UP, 20042006), former EPA, is now with Nestle Phils. Former researcher Alda Franz Quodala (UP, Batch 20052007) has also left the INQUIRER. Anna Patricia de Leon (UP, Batch 2004-2006) used to write for GMA 7 online. She now works for a business paper in Singapore. De Leon briefly worked as EPA for the INQUIRER. Charlene Tordesillas (UP, Batch 2002-2004) worked briefly as EPA of the Lifestyle section. She had a stint at the United Nations World Food Programme-Philippines as its public information head. Rachel Angeli Miranda, former EPA, is now attending UP Law.

Diverse awesome concerns

HIGHER LEARNING Mike Ubac at the Tercentenary Theater in Harvard in 2011. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Also a proud promdi from Masbate province, (yours truly), Michael Lim Ubac (UP, Batch 1996-1997) worked as reporter for 17 years before he became desk editor last April. He sits at the Day Desk, the INQUIRER newsroom’s nerve center headed by editor Juliet LabogJavellana. Ubac took a one-year sabbatical leave in 2011 and pursued graduate studies for Master of Liberal Arts degree (concentra-

tion: International Relations) at Harvard University. After working as reporters for about seven years, Philip Tubeza and Blanche Rivera-Fernandez (UP, Batch 1997-1999) resigned and landed jobs at the Hong Kong News. Tubeza retains his ties with the INQUIRER as its Hong Kong correspondent. Rivera-Fernandez, for her part, worked as editor for Mabuhay Magazine and Affinity Express. She now owns and serves as managing editor of Page Sixteen Publications. Agnes Donato also worked as reporter but has since moved to Australia. Abigail Ho, a former reporter, is a corporate and regulatory affairs executive at British American Tobacco (Philippines) Ltd. She had previously worked for SeaOil Phils. Jamie Rose Alarcon (UP, Batch 2002-2004), a former EPA and researcher, is now a lecturer at Kalayaan College, corporate business trainer of iTi Consulting Inc. and writer of Wedding Essentials and Wedding Essentials Destination magazines. Mel Lawrence de Guzman (UP, Batch 2003-2005), a research assistant, now works for Smart Communications. De Guzman’s batchmates at UP were Navallo, Cyril Bonabente and Angeli Kate Pedroso. Bonabente briefly worked for the INQUIRER before moving to Business World. She now works for Smart Communications as a supervisor of its public affairs section.

The literary gifted STANDING TALL Lawyer Michael Jobert Navallo in Paris. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Pedroso rose from the ranks as researcher, editorial assistant for the Metro section and

Some scholars took on various jobs with vastly diverse concerns: Jo Javan Cerda (PhilStar), Jessica Anne Hermosa (associate director, Markets and Client Service of SGV & Co.), Reuben Joel Mercado (migrated to Hawaii), Joan Andrea Toledo (technical assistant, Department of Education), Shelly Faune Dimaculangan (Accenture), Joba Botana (Megaworld), Bernadette Joy Lopez (senior communications analyst, Social Security System), Arline Adeva (PR director at Jollibee Foods Corp.), John Mark Tuazon (PR officer, Smart Communications), Hans Joshua Dantes (Project Assistant 1, Philippine Nuclear Research Institute-Department of Science and Technology), Karen Lou Mesina (writer, Singapore Business Review), Jessica Gabrielle Thea Santiago, (assistant communications officer, Jesuit Conference of Asia-Pacific), Joanna Nicole Batac (2.0 Magazine), Sunshine Yu (Cebu Pacific Air), Diane Claire Jiao (University of Melbourne), Mark Isaiah David (Epson Phils.), and Frederick Tomacder (volunteer counselor). Other former scholars continue to serve as the paper’s workhorses: Reporters Quismundo, Jerome Aning, Leila Salaverria, Dewey Joseph Yap, Julie Anne Aurelio, Ma. Erika Sauler (now online editor for INQUIRER.net), Kristine Felisse Mangunay; and EPAs Penelope Endozo, Cora Ana Karenina Evangelista, Sara Isabelle Pacia (who has recently become a senior digital producer of INQUIRER.net), Mariejo Mariss Ramos and Dexter Cabalza.

‘Dream job’ Quismundo said it was through the INQUIRER scholarship that she eventually landed her “dream job.” Some 11 years later, she said she was “a proud bearer of the most recognized and respected press ID

CHECKING THEM OUT President Sandy Prieto-Romualdez and the late publisher Isagani Yambot share a light moment with scholars Jerald Uy, Eliza Victoria and Erika Sauler in 2005. INQUIRER FILE PHOTO


The INQUIRER CEO is assisted by Cita Goyagoy, the one-woman secretariat that processes all scholarship applications, including the all-important duty of preparing checks payable to schools and individual students since the program’s inception. “The scholarship program is a testament to the generosity of the Prieto family. They really want to help deserving and outstanding students hone their journalistic talents, so that they could be the next leaders in the industry,” said Goyagoy. Indeed, for 21 years the program has generously provided financial support to a total of 72 journalism students from the UP College of Mass Communication (59 scholars), Department of Media Studies and Communication of the University of Santo Tomas Faculty of Arts and Letters (5), Department of Communication of the Ateneo de Manila University (3), and the journalism programs of UP Los Baños (2), University of the East (2) and Ateneo de Davao (1). Students were selected after a rigorous process that included taking writing and psychological-personality tests and going through a panel interview. The INQUIRER pays the tuition and other enrollment fees of the scholars, plus a monthly stipend of P3,000 and a semestral book and school supplies allowance of P1,500. The grant is for a period of two years beginning from the third (junior) year during which the scholars are required to maintain a semestral average of 1.75 (87 percent or cum laude standing).

COLLEGE TIES THAT BIND Edson Tandoc Jr. and Tarra Quismundo take a selfie in front of the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore where Tandoc, the former reporter, is now a professor. in the country.” De Vera recalled that he was the first one to join the INQUIRER, but had entertained thoughts of quitting after he was assigned to cover the police beat. “I was overwhelmed, terrified and tried to quit after two days. But our publisher, the late Isagani Yambot, encouraged me to stay, so I did,” he said. After one year, he got the position he really wanted—staff writer at Sunday INQUIRER Magazine. Looking back, he’s happy that Yambot, who died in 2012, talked him out of quitting. “The INQUIRER has opened every door for me. It’s really the workplace that heavily influenced me. It’s an honor and a privilege to be able to work for a company that you can believe in and be proud of. I’ve learned so much from everybody I’ve met at the INQUIRER,” he said. The former scholars have ideas about the impact that they would want to make in the INQUIRER.

Forefront of new media Pacia wants to be at the forefront of the INQUIRER’s move toward embracing new media and technologies. “In my time here so far, I’d like to believe that I’ve been vocal on how the INQUIRER can adapt to the changing media surroundings, sharing in 2012 my thesis on news curation with INQUIRER.net so they may apply it to the website,” she said. As a member of the INQUIRER research team, Pedroso just wants to help the paper churn out quality journalistic pieces. She wants “journalism with meaning, journalism with context, journalism that is accurate, informative and easy to grasp.” They have different ideas when asked how, in the digital age, the INQUIRER should transform itself without losing its identity, core values and strengths. Quismundo believes the INQUIRER has made significant headway in the new media and various platforms.

‘Not innovative’ “It has been at the forefront of efforts to marry the traditional with the new, easing the company into a digital-first (not-sodistant) future. I would say the INQUIRER has been the most innovative print brand in terms of its successful transition to multimedia. And all the while, it has

remained true to its mission of telling the Filipino story, whether on paper, on screen or on air,” she said. Pacia believes the INQUIRER produces “some of the best, if not the best, content among media organizations in the country.” “The digital age should not, and cannot, change that. We are still among the most-trusted sources of accurate news; we need only to master how we can best reach our audience, who still want to listen to us. Awareness of and training on these new mediums of storytelling will be key,” she said. Pedroso sees the INQUIRER that is available at all “touch points” (print, Web, mobile) without sacrificing content quality.

Answer important questions “I think the digital age is an age marked with a deluge of information, both accurate and unreliable, and I think the INQUIRER is in a good position to put together the facts, their context, the Big Picture and what it all means. To answer the important questions amid all the digital noise: What’s the Truth? How does everything come together? So what?” she said. Tandoc thinks the INQUIRER should not be afraid to innovate, “and should realize that innovation does not mean changing the journalistic ideals that have made it the trusted news organization that it has become.” The I NQUIRER should “invest in, and embrace, new technologies that allow new forms of telling the important stories it has to tell, but also realize that technologies shouldn’t shape our journalism, but that our journalism can use these technologies to reach more people by providing faster platforms for dissemination, new ways of interaction with our people, and novel formats of telling our stories. Technologies alone will not save journalism.” He said the company should also need to “invest in the people” who will use those technologies, making sure they are equipped with the required skills, as well as with the right motivations—“to continue doing journalism that is honest, accurate, and ethical, the very same things that my I NQUIRER scholarship and my I NQUIRER stay had taught me before.”



JAMIE CARTAS of Santa Rosa, Laguna province, dedicated to the INQUIRER her recent win in her school’s editorial writing contest. Her grandmother’s appeal for financial assistance concerning Jamie’s heart condition appeared in the Metro section in 2008, 2010 and September this year. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

LETTERS OF GRATITUDE from Juan Mercado of Bacoor City who sought help for his prostate cancer.

Metro’s mercy mission for the poor and ailing By Santiago R. Alcantara

THEY ARE APPEALS FROM the ailing and the desperate, which have found answers through the INQUIRER’S Metro section. Their calls for help reach the desk in a stream of letters, mostly handwritten by the patients themselves or by their loved ones, requesting financial assistance for surgeries, medications, therapies and other medical services whose cost goes beyond the reach of the poor. Based on these letters, the section regularly comes out with brief stories about the patients’ medical history and personal circumstances, and how potential donors can get in touch with them and send help. The senders are not just from Metro Manila. Some are patients from the provinces who have sought treatment in the capital, confined in crowded public hospitals or “adopted” by charity foundations. The initiative started in the Metro page in 2006 when an INQUIRER employee requested a short write-up on behalf of a neighbor in need. The simple narration of the patient’s predicament was enough to move readers and donations soon started pouring into the bank account stated in the story. A substantial amount was raised.

20 letters a month These early inspiring gestures have since encouraged more aid-seekers. Today, this writer, who is tasked to vet the letters and the attached medical records and call their senders for further verification, receives an average of 20 letters a month. The majority of them concerned patients being treated or in a queue for major procedures at government hospitals like the Philippine Children’s Medical Center (PCMC) in Quezon City and Philippine General Hospital (PGH) in Manila. Published for the past eight years are their stories of strug-

gle against leukemia, kidney problems, biliary atresia, tumors, congenital heart disease, breast cancer, cerebral palsy, epilepsy, autism, Langerhan’s cell histiocytosis, stroke and Hodgkin’s lymphoma, among others. The Metro desk would later learn how their appeals drew positive results from donors, most of whom chose to remain anonymous.

Donor calls from sea “Thank you very much for the help,” said 43-year-old Rosalinda Rosales, whose 12-year-old daughter Dana Angela is undergoing chemotherapy at the PCMC due to leukemia. This was after Rosales received a reply from a certain Mr. Campo, a seafarer who even called her three times while onboard his ship after reading about Dana’s condition. The girl’s three-year chemotherapy procedure required them to raise P226,000. “Mr. Campo said he was contributing P26,000, giving the biggest donation among the donors who responded,” Rosales told the INQUIRER. Another letter-sender, Zenaida Cabornay, said she got the biggest surprise of her life when Ed Morales called and asked her to proceed to the Batasang Pambansa complex in Quezon City. “I didn’t know that it was the office of [OFW party list] Rep. Roy Señeres,” said Cabornay, mother of Renerio, a tuberculosis sufferer. “They gave us a guarantee letter worth P25,000.”

‘We feel their pain’ “When we read the stories of such patients, we feel their pain. It’s a lifetime of medication. Where will they get funds to sustain their treatments? I told my staff: ‘As long as we have funds, let’s help them,”’ said Señeres, the former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates who in the 1990s helped save abused domestic helper METRO’S/ 4




Metro’s mercy mission for the poor and ailing From page 3

Sarah Balabagan from the death penalty in UAE. Morales, a consultant to Señeres, added: “I told the staff that we must help them and give whatever we can right now and don’t make them come back [for follow-ups]. For all we know, the money they used to get [to Batasan] was borrowed from their neighbors.” Merle Sacil, whose 40-year-old nephew Christopher Bataller is battling leukemia and whose letter ap-

peared in Metro last month, also received some good news from Señeres’ office, which pledged to shoulder one of his chemotherapy cycles.

Jamie’s journey But depending on their need, some letters of appeal get published more than once. This was the case of Jamie Anne Cartas who was only 4 years old when she underwent an operation at the Philippine Heart Center for congenital heart disease, but required continued financial assistance. Her story first came out in the INQUIRER in March

2008, in November 2010, and again in September this year. Jamie’s grandmother Josefina, who took care of her after she was practically abandoned by her parents, said the child was earlier given a 50/50 chance of survival by the doctors. She is now due for a second heart operation, a P800,000 procedure, which doctors said she should have by October next year. Now aged 11 and despite her condition, Jamie grew up to become a consistent honor pupil at Malitlit Elementary School in Santa Rosa City, Laguna province.

When she recently won an editorial writing contest in her school, “we dedicated that victory to the INQUIRER,” Josefina said.

No more catheter, urine bag Prostate cancer patient Juan Mercado, a 75-year-old former school teacher in Molino, Bacoor City, expressed his gratitude to the INQUIRER in March 2013 by addressing a letter to “the honorable officials of the Philippine Daily Inquirer,” from the board chair to the editor in chief. His thank-you note, which later saw

print in the paper’s Letters section, read: “I am expressing my heartfelt gratitude to all of you. I am perfectly fine now. I no longer walk with a catheter and urine bag attached to my body after a successful operation.” Until recently, the patients’ appeals appeared in the Metro section in a format similar to those of regular news reports. But as suggested by the editor in chief two months ago, they were given a special space called “Intensive Care Corner,” giving them more prominence—and a bigger chance to touch readers’ hearts.


72 Number of Journalism students who received the Inquirer Journalism Scholarship since it started in 1993.

125,000 Circulation of Inquirer Libre when it was first issued in 2001.

5 Number of consecutive years the Junior Inquirer won the Unicef-PPI Outstanding Children’s Newspaper/Section award. Because of its feat in 2006, the Junior Inquirer was elevated to the Awards’ Hall of Fame.

55 cm x 32 cm The present dimensions of the Inquirer newspaper, slimmer by 2 centimeters in width compared to when it was issued in 1985 until its redesigning in January 2002 through Operation Big.

02.13.87 Date the Philippine Daily Inquirer Employees Union (PDIEU) was organized. It signed its first three-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the management on July 10, 1987.

1995 Year when Inquirer’s corporate headquarters and editorial offices moved to its current address in Chino Roces Street corner Yague and Mascardo Streets in Makati.

07.06.96 Date when Guyito makes its first appearance as the mascot of the Junior Inquirer.

Oct. 1, 1997 Date when Inquirer first went online through the Inquirer.net.

02.02.98 Date when Inquirer’s Cebu Daily News rolled out its first issue. A comprehensive, community-oriented newspaper, it is the first to introduce to the Philippines a global trend in newspapers called the compact format.

2004 Year when Inquirer launched the Guyito Wild Hunt, a contest for readers to search for the Inquirer’s mascot on a special coupon hidden in the pages of the newspaper every day. The first Guyito Wild Hunt promo yielded more than a million raffle entries nationwide.

05.05.07 Date when the Inquirer launched a program called “Inquirer Read-Along" with the advocacy of promoting the love of reading to children.

11.28 and 29. 11 Dates when the Inquirer’s Read-Along program held it’s first-ever Read-Along Festival at the GT-Toyota Asian Cultural Center inside the University of the Philippines campus in Diliman, Quezon City



How we’ve grown, and are still growing 9 companies, 10 platforms, 21 titles telling the Filipino story By Juliet L. Javellana Chief, Day Desk


was the Philippine Daily Inquirer, which turned out to be the country’s leading and most influential newspaper today. Today, the INQUIRER Group of Companies is a multimedia organization composed of nine companies, 10 platforms and 21 titles—all dedicated to telling the Filipino story.

Companies: 1. PDI 2. INQUIRER.net. The news website of the INQUIRER Group supplements selected content from the paper with its pioneering breaking news service and interactive features and special sites. It is complemented by INQUIRER Mobile, the group’s breaking news smartphone app. From being a mirror image of the newspaper during its launch in 1997, it is now the No. 1 news website in the country for breaking news with 7.4 million unique visits a month. 3. Inquirer Publications Inc. aims to develop community journalism and provide quality newspapers to different audiences from A to E. It publishes one national tabloid, Bandera, and one regional paper, Cebu Daily News. 4. Print Town Group is the largest privately owned newspaper and commercial printer in the Philippines. It offers an extensive line of advanced heatset, sheetfed and coldset web press services supported by our printing expertise. FEP Print Corp. was primarily established in 1993 to serve the daily requirements of the Philippine Daily Inquirer. In 1996, Alliance Media Printing Inc. was formed as an expansion platform for printing other newspaper titles such as the Asian Wall Street Journal, International Herald Tribune, Cebu Daily News and Bandera. Today, the PTG Newspaper Printing Division manages four press sites with 24/7 operations and highly trained manpower in strategic locations in Makati City and the provinces of Laguna, Cebu and Davao to meet on-time delivery commitments nationwide. 5. Megamobile is a mobile and digital applications provider focused on the creation of new and compelling digital services to mobile communities. Established in 2005 as a mobile content provider, it expanded to web and mobile application developments, digital advertising and digital publishing. It helps drive the digital initiatives of the INQUIRER and its partners. 6. Hinge Inquirer Publications (HIP) is the magazine arm of the INQUIRER Group specializing in lifestyle and niche consumer magazines and free community publications. Currently, HIP freezine titles include Red Magazine, Forbes In Touch, Dasmariñas Village Gazette, Southern Living, Northern Living, Turista, Multisport Philippines, Makati Leads and Soul BGC. Sold commercially in newsstands is F&B World magazine, the only trade publication which serves as guide to the foodservice industry. Also, HIP has an active custom publishing unit which has serviced the following clients to create recent projects such as: SM ShopMag, Chefs on Parade CoffeeTable Book, UFS-Around the World in 80 Plates cookbook, GAP Gazette, Avida Living newsletter, Canon Frames Catalog and INQUIRER Supplement, Samsung B2B Catalog, AdCongress Planner, Matimco Wood Living, GNC Live Well, Plantersbank SME Magazine, Sofitel brochure, Alveo CityWalk GuidesPond’s flyers, etc. Hinge Inquirer Publications creates some of the most dynamic and innovative titles in the magazine industry today, from fashion to sports, cosmetics to video games, food to travel. 7. Radyo Inquirer dzIQ 990 AM. Operated by the Trans-Radio Broadcasting Corp., shares the INQUIRER’s zeal for balanced news and fearless views and its vast news-gathering network to bring together “the reach and immediacy of radio and the credibility of the newspaper.” Popular not only among drivers and passengers of public utility vehicles, dzIQ is also heard now in homes, public establishments and workplaces with up-to-the-minute news and relevant information. 8. Inquirer Catalyst Media provides infotainment on the go. The ICM Bus Channel features news and weather updates from the INQUIRER.net website, selected music videos from YouTube and shows for “fun, light, friendly and modern programming” packaged just for bus riders. A pioneering digital innovation

set up in 2012, the ICM Bus Channel can be viewed on 185 air-conditioned buses plying the Metro Manila and Luzon routes. 9. DAG Xpress Courier Inc. was set up in 2008 for delivery and courier services for publications, subscriptions, billing statements and promotional materials such as flyers and catalogs. It has more than 5,000 delivery points in Metro Mani-

la, Tagaytay City and the rest of Cavite province.

Platforms: 1. Print 2. Online 3. Mobile 4. Radio 5. Digital outdoor advertising 6. e-Paper/INQUIRER Plus

7. Social 8. Events 9. Direct-to-consumer distribution 10. Education

Titles 1. PDI 2. Libre 3. JI HOW WE’VE / 3



PRINT version of a wholesome “teleserye” to lure the young into the wonderful world of newspapers

MORE FUN WITH THE INQUIRER Kids having fun with the newspaper’s cast of insect characters in one series

THE INQUIRER team visits a school. TEACHERS present their group lesson plans during a preseries workshop, a requirement to be able to teach the Learning series.

Learning-Bench partnership: A series of very fortunate events IN PARTNERSHIP WITH BENCH, THE INQUIRER serializes an original work of fiction in the Learning section every school year to promote love of reading, foster news literacy, link classroom learning to the real world and prepare the youth for active citizenship. Called the Bench-IIE Serial Reading Program, the series has reached approximately 40,000 students in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Pampanga, Bataan, Olongapo, Baguio, Laoag, Cavite, Laguna, Naga and Legazpi. To date, Bench has donated about 200,000 copies of the INQUIRER for eight serialized stories and sponsored workshops for 150 teachers.

PARTNER SCHOOL San Beda College in Alabang

STUDENT artwork

“TULOY SA DON BOSCO,” a school that caters to street children

SERIES sponsor Bench uses the students’ artworks and thank-you notes (left) in its display window (above).

YOUNG newspaper readers become readers for life.

IN BATAAN, a language lesson in sequencing using the serialized story

ORAL reading this year’s story in Malabon HOW TO USE THE NEWSPAPER Teachers attend the workshop on using the newspaper in the classroom.

LARGE class in Laguna uses the student activity guide included in every chapter.

PARTNER teachers pose for souvenir photo with writer Cyan Abad Jugo and artist Steph Bravo.

CLASS ACT The INQUIRER visit culminates in a class photo at this partner school in Bulacan.



We made mistakes. We say so sorry. We try again. We fall but we always get up.

April 3, 1986. Fr. Romano found alive (banner) (The good father has yet to be found.) May 28, 1992. Carlo is expecting a boy, ly one page long. pages 1 and 12 (self explanatory) Feb. 4, 2010.An In the Know article on April 24, 1999. This one’s for real: Kris, Page A8—“Who is Joc-joc?”—misstated Robin to wed Oct. 11 pages 1 and 7 (Never that former Agriculture Undersecretary Johappened even as a reality show.) celyn Bolante was 58 years old in 1978. Sept. 4, 1998. Bolante is currentKidney specialist ly 58 years old. new health chief Feb. 14, 2010. A (banner), no byline, front-page stowith a report from ry—“More Pinoys Jerry Esplanada, on charm offensive Page 1 (Ona became in Chinatown” DOH chief 16 years —misstated that later.) dragon and lion Oct. 31, 1998. dance troupes that ‘WHO ME, DEAD?’ performed in Erap pal a victim of Manila to celebrate Halloween joke Chinese New Year Page 1 (This came received ampao, a out a day after the Chinese bakery publication of an product. The perobit on Ang’s death formers received in the Classified ang pao, red enAds.) velopes containing Feb. 14, 2005. gift money. Wrong caption and Jan. 25, 2011. A wrong correction to front-page stothe correction: The ry—“P-Noy the Rat caption for the Page needs Miss Piggy, A1 story read: “Dr. says seer”—misAntonio Lahoz, on stated that the year wedding day with WHAT WERE WE THINKING? The INQUIRER was was the Year of the bride Benita: Bayo- conned into thinking and publishing this lampoon Pig. That year was neted to death in cover of President Aquino as Time cover. the Year of the the plaza ruins of Rabbit. the Sto. Domingo Church in Intramuros.” Jan. 26, 2011: The front-page banner The following day, Feb. 15, the newspa- story—“Edsa bus bombing: 4 dead”—misper’s Correction box bore the following re- takenly identified Susanna Flores as among marks: “In yesterday’s issue, the caption of the seven passengers brought to Ospital ng a front-page photo ... mistakenly identified Makati. Flores is a member of Makati City the couple as Dr. Antonio Lahoz and his first Public Safety Administration who helped wife, Benita. In the photo were Dr. Manuel bring the victims to Ospital ng Makati. Lahoz and his second wife, Monica LaquinFeb. 11, 2011. A story on Page A12—“Robdanum.” les: More powerful person behind The correction to the correction turned Rabusa”—misstated the first name of a forout to be wrong. Thus, on mer chief of staff who supposedly received Feb. 16, this correction came out: “... the larger sums of money according to Retired Correction box misstated that Monica Commodore Rex Robles. He is Roy—not Laquindanum—the woman in Frank—Cimatu. (Frank is our the photo with Dr. Manuel Northern Luzon corresponLahoz—was his second dent.) wife. Laquindanum was March 16, 2012. A Lahoz’s first wife. Lahoz’s front-page caption second wife was Benita misstated that Mt. Pico Lorenzo—who was misde Loro was also called takenly identified as the Parrot’s Peak. That should woman in the caption of have read, “Parrot’s Beak”—not the same photo in the Peak. Feb. 14 issue.” Public Aug. 6, 2013. A front-page apology (We give up!) story—“Dimaporo arrested by June 17, 2002. Public NBI in hospital”—misstated apology for Page A1 story, the other term for a heart at“Erap eyes FPJ for 2004/ tack. The term is myocardial ‘Ang Panday’ to battle ‘Ang infarction—not myocardial Pandak’?” (referring to Presiinfraction. dent Gloria Macapagal-ArAug. 17, 2013. In earliroyo) er editions of this issue, a Feb. 17, 2007. An article front-page story—“CA in the Super section—“My freezes Napoles’ bank acbrother is not a pig!”—atcounts”—misstated the tributed the statement mistakabbreviation of the Court enly to Mimilanie (aka of Appeals as COA. Melanie) Marquez. The famous line was utFeb. 9, 2014. A front-page story—“Unliketered by Nora Aunor in the film “Minsa’y ly hero: Polio victim saved 10 lives”—erroIsang Gamu-Gamo.” Marquez’s infamous neously stated the age of a housewife. Fe de la line, on the other hand, was, “Don’t judge Cruz is 52—not 5—years old. my brother (actor Joey Marquez). He’s not Jan. 3, 2014. An article on Page a book.” A17—“Tacloban starts burying 272 bodies Feb. 8, 2010. A front-page story—“Ping left lying on the ground”—misstated that somewhere in Asia, says NBI”—misstated forensic expert Dr. Raquel Fortun superthat the arrest order for Sen. Panfilo Lacson vised the burial. Fortun has denied involvewas 18 pages long. The arrest order was on- ment in the event.

How we’ve grown . . . From page 1

4. IGM 5. SIM 6. Look 7. Cocoon 8. Baby 9. Bandera 10. CDN 11. Red 12. Scout 13. Northern Living 14. Southern Living 15. Cebu Living 16. Multisport 17. Forbes 18. Dasma 19, Makati Leads 20. Soul BGC 21. F&B World Libre is the country’s most-read free newspaper distributed in all Metro train stations (MRT, LRT and PNR). With its logo “The best things in life are Libre,” it dishes out news and features in a fun, irreverent and quirky style perfect for the highly mobile lifestyle of a variety of readers—the not less than 800,000 daily train commuters.

Bandera is the No. 1 national tabloid in the Visayas region and Mindanao and is also among the top tabloids nationwide (based on Nielsen Media Index 2012, 4th quarter). It combines fair and fearless news coverage with a dose of entertainment and the latest happenings in show biz as well as livelihood tips. CDN or Cebu Daily News is Cebu’s only independent newspaper and the biggest regional daily in the Visayas, providing fearless, relevant and hard-hitting news and views. Inquirer Plus Digital Newsstand is the INQUIRER Group’s premium digital product for INQUIRER subscribers, both online and offline. INQUIRER Plus gives INQUIRER subscribers an enhanced replica of the printed paper on their Apple iOS, Google Android and Windows 8.1 tablets and smartphones. Helping bring our award-winning print and online content to a social-media mad audience are the INQUIRER’s Facebook and Twitter presence as well as our official accounts on the mobile chat apps Kakao Talk, Line, Viber and WeChat. The INQUIRER also continues to send SMS alerts, a service it helped pioneer.



Here’s something to get you outside this holiday season By Kenneth M. del Rosario If you’re looking for ideas on how to make your Christmas celebration this year different from last, here’s one: Go outdoors and feel the cool Christmas air this time of the year. Why not? Wouldn’t it be exciting to do outdoor cooking set up in the backyard for Noche Buena? Or hold a Christmas Party at the top of the mountain? These aren’t ideas that people would consider “traditional,” but that’s what makes them extra special. This holiday season (or for any season for that matter), Recreational Outdoor eXchange (R.O.X.) wants you to enjoy the outdoors. It makes sense-after all, there are activities that can only be done outside the comforts of the four corners of a room. R.O.X. is the largest outdoor sports and recreation superstore in the country today. It houses the tools of trade for the outdoor enthusiast, both newbie’s and veterans, and subsequently provides outdoor experience to sustain consciousness of people on issues pertaining to environment. Imagine holding a get-together in

your backyard for all your loved ones one fine afternoon. The kids are running around while food is being roasted. Everyone is excited to open their respective gifts under a (preferably real) Christmas tree. At night, set up a tent where you can do camping with the kids. Put them to sleep with stories of Christmases past, when you were their age. Play a little game, why don’t you. That’s the beauty of celebrating outdoors-everybody can do it. But to make things a little bit more exciting, R.O.X. carries a wide variety of outdoor gears and equipments to cater for all your outdoor activities. There’s The North Face, Eddie Bauer, Columbia, Salomon, O’Neill, Nalgene, Fox, Hurley, Osprey, Spy, Stance, Travelon, BackJoy, Slendertone, Timbuk2 and Sea To Summit. These are just some few of the outdoor brands that are available in the store to make your outdoor experience more fun and memorable. So whether you’re out fishing or simply having a picnic at the nearby park, a visit to R.O.X. is in order for a

more fun and hassle-free celebration. If you’d like to try an outdoor Christmas celebration but couldn’t come up with a clever idea, going to an R.O.X. store will surely help. You’ll find all the right reasons to go outside. If anything else, there are loads of gift ideas to be had for your friend who loves recreational activities outdoors. R.O.X. today has six locations, with three more set to open next year. This Christmas, the best possible gift you can give your loved ones may be helping them discover their love of the outdoors. Visit R.O.X. at the following locations: Bonifacio High Street, Bonifacio Global City Taguig, R.O.X. Ayala Cebu, R.O.X. Marquee Mall Pampanga, R.O.X. Camp John Hay Baguio, R.O.X. Ayala Centrio Mall Cagayan De Oro, R.O.X. The District Ayala Mall Bacolod. Follow R.O.X.’s social media accounts: R.O.X. Philippines on Facebook; @ROX_Philippines on Twitter and Instagram. Email rox.cs@primergrp.com for more info.




It’s the empowering, wonderful world of an ‘omniplatform’ news org Publisher

I JOINED THE INQUIRER family in 2004 when I became a columnist, and soon discovered the global reach of the INQUIRER’s readership. I would get thoughtful comments from abroad, and not just from Filipinos but foreigners as well. I also felt the bite and wit of readers’ online responses (alas, including the nastiness of the anonymous commenters.) But it was only when I became publisher in 2012 that I saw the painstaking work that went into every issue, and shared with the rest of the INQUIRER staff the exhilaration of watching the news take shape. One evening in early 2013, our editor in chief Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc told me that our multiawarded investigative reporter, Nancy Carvajal, would talk to me about sensitive information she discovered at the National Bureau of Investigation. Little did I know that Nancy was just about to introduce me to the whistle-blowers of what would become the

Napoles exposé. I couldn’t have imagined that the evening’s conversation would result in an investigative report that would rock Philippine politics to the core, and lead to the indictment and arrest of three senators.

Page 1 On the other hand, that report gave me the first libel case against me as publisher. Some might think that I, as a lawyer, would be used to seeing my name on legal documents, but I hasten to say: Never on Page 1! Sure, I can sign a pleading or motion on the second to the last page, but seeing my name in the caption on Page 1 felt very, very different. After a while, though, I was no longer too distressed when I hear of yet another libel case. Once, after a 12-hour flight, I disembarked from the plane to hear that we had just been sued, and I simply sat down in the airport lounge to compose the newspaper’s response. As publisher, it has also become my lot to read pained letters from persons complaining about the INQUIRER’s reports about them. I recall a handwrit-


By Raul Pangalangan

BURDENSOME CHORE So says publisher Raul Pangalangan of having to meet and tour-guide beauties around the INQUIRER office. ten note from a respected, if controversial, political leader who lamented the newpaper’s “sustained campaign of vilification,” and me phoning him, not knowing how he would react, to tell him we would publish his side. I received similar—and countless—phone calls from congressmen in the course of one of our exposés, and I assured the

callers that the INQUIRER would publish their responses. I have also learned a new vocabulary. The INQUIRER is “omniplatform”: print, web, social media, mobile, radio and events—and most dominant and pioneering in several of them. The INQUIRER editors and staff are ready in a big way for the worldwide shift from the

traditional print medium to the myriad of new ways by which people talk to one another, and hear and spread the news.

‘Educational’ duty The one thing I hadn’t expected among my publisher’s duties is one that, really, I just inherited from my predecessor, Isagani Yambot: I welcome all the beau-

ty queens who visit the INQUIRER office. Not just a few, I tell you, but just about every beauty contest in this neck of the woods. They actually arrive in big airconditioned buses, sashay up the winding steps of the INQUIRER building. The “candidates” show up at my door, and we pose for obligatory photographs that, Letty tells me, Gani insisted was the most onerous of his burdens as publisher. Let’s just say that the experience has been ... very educational. Stiffly posing while the photographers juggle several cameras and try different angles, I do manage some conversation with my visitors. “Where’s Lithuania? When did Croatia become independent?” A song from the 1970s readily comes to mind. “Don’t know much about history ... Don’t know much about geography ...” But when one thinks of all the grand possibilities of an omniplatform news organization that will empower every Filipino to choose and choose wisely, then it’s the closing lines of Sam Cooke that I prefer to borrow: “... What a wonderful world this will be.”



Assignment: The Asia News Network By Corrie Salientes-Narisma Business News Editor

OUR WORLD IS DEFINITELY bigger than what many of us Filipinos may think. The Asean community is a reality we cannot ignore. This realization hit me on my first few days on the job at the Bangkok-based Asia News Network (ANN), an alliance of 22 Asian media organizations that includes the Philippine Daily Inquirer and the leading newspapers in nine other members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean). The six-month assignment at the ANN required me to monitor, understand, edit and, sometimes, rewrite all sorts of news coming out of the online versions of the ANN member newspapers daily, from 8 in the morning to 5 in the afternoon every day. I was assigned five newspapers, three of which were Asean newspapers—the INQUIRER, The Jakarta Post and Viet Nam News. Although other editors took care of the other member newspapers, I couldn’t help but also regularly monitor at least the top news coming out of the likes of Thailand’s The Nation, Malaysia’s The Star and The Straits Times of Singapore. The ANN editors pick the stories they deem interesting, relevant and informative to its audience in and out of Asia and use them on the ANN website, from which member news organizations can get the latest news about countries in Asia; dispatch most of them to the German News Agency for distribution to its clients, while the biggest stories and features of the week land on the ANN’s weekly online magazine, AsiaNews.

Pages exclusive to Asean The more I got exposed to major developments such as the presidential elections in Indonesia, the coup d’etat in Thailand and the sea disputes involving the Philippines and Vietnam against China and dayto-day events in the countries I was “covering,” the more I was convinced that Asean newspapers needed to do more to make use of their extensive reach to get the people in the region understand, embrace and live what their leaders call Asean integration. Newspapers such as The Nation have allocated pages exclusively for the Asean, carrying all sorts of news about member countries. But the others have not gone beyond reporting Asean summits and other top-level meetings and the resulting agreements from those gatherings, without really getting into the bottom of all these developments: What they mean to and what the impact will be on the people in the region. It can also be of help to make the people of the Asean region more familiar with individual member countries and their people by, perhaps, coming out with more stories about culture, traditions and places on top of the hard stuff

on the so-called Asean integration and the resulting Asean Economic Community (AEC). The people should be made aware of both the opportunities and challenges that regional integration, which starts next year, is going to present.

Unhampered flow of info As the governments of the Asean push for the free flow of goods and services and the free movement of people within the region, so should there be an unhampered flow of information and news about each and every member country. News organizations in every Asean member country and the ANN can be instrumental in making these possible. The ANN is already making preparations for the start of the integration of the region’s economies into the AEC at the end of 2015. The AEC envisions to turn the Asean into a highly competitive economic region. Through it, the region will become a single market and production base that will carry the “Asean” brand. While there will be a lot of opportunities from the integration, so will there be a myriad of problems that will face the Asean and its people. The ANN’s role will be to closely monitor and report regional developments so the proper authorities and the people can make the necessary adjustments and strategies to realize the goals of the AEC. The ANN has been doing editorial collaboration on critical regional issues such as the ongoing territorial disputes, climate change and the creation of the AEC.

Business cooperation Through the years, the ANN has evolved from mere sharing of editorial content and photos to business cooperation. In a historic move, four newspapers in the region have joined forces to give readers stories from each country on a single platform. Readers will get news, written with local and regional perspective, from the Philippines, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand under one epaper subscription. Under this, subscribers of any of these papers will get the three others for free. The e-paper aims to reach out to 450 million out of the 600 million people living in the Asean. With all these platforms available, it is now the job of each and every newspaper in the Asean to come up with the information relevant to the attainment of the goals of the AEC. After all, the ANN is dependent on what stories its member newspapers are producing. As the Asean gets integrated and becomes one solid regional group, anything that happens, big or small, in any of its member countries can directly affect Filipinos, food on the table, jobs and other aspects of our lives. Our world has really grown bigger than what it was before. We should embrace it. With a report from Adlai Noel O. Velasco

29th Anniversary Supplement Staff Editor Letty Jimenez-Magsanoc Assistant Editors Volt Contreras Ernie Sambo Steph Bravo

• Emmie Velarde

Art Lynett Villariba Elizalde Pusung Jerito de la Cruz Belen Belesario Albert Rodriguez

• •

• •

Copy Editors Ester Dipasupil, Michael Lim Ubac

Editorial Production Assistants Mary Ann Ayos-Perido Cake Evangelista

Tere Cruz-Tenorio • Kirstin Bernabe • Vanessa Hidalgo • Jun Veloira •

IT Support Jim Lorenzo

• Louie Bacani

Copy Monitors Edward Llantada

• Allan Mortel




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What readers say By Elena Pernia Reader’s Advocate

THE PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER is the paper of choice of more than a million Filipinos, making it the country’s No. 1 newspaper in terms of readership. On a daily basis, there are almost two INQUIRER readers for every reader of either the Manila Bulletin or Philippine Star (see newsinfo.inquirer.net/648396/pdi-beats-combined-readership-of-2-rivals). For several of these INQUIRER readers, their daily newspaper experience is incomplete if they do not send feedback. And because modern technologies have made communication speedier and easier, the INQUIRER receives daily thousands of comments through various

means. I receive feedback predominantly through e-mail messages, phone calls, SMS texts and social media, but also quite commonly through fax, the postal system and face-to-face encounters. Who are these INQUIRER readers sending their feedback and what have they said? Let me share some examples. There are feedback senders who describe the INQUIRER in heartwarming superlatives. In one case, the PDI is her “ultimate news source” that “has been pretty helpful for me in training young writers in editorial and feature writing and cartooning.” Another wrote “to express pleasure and appreciation” with changes in the INQUIRER.net website, saying that its new layout “exudes an excellent virtual ap-

The Chamber of Real Estate and Builders’ Associations, Inc.

Congratulates the Philippine Daily Inquirer as it celebrates its 29th year!

peal” and that he is positively “dazed” and “stunned” not just by the website features, “but more importantly [by] its content [that is] reflective of its admired tagline, Balanced News, Fearless Views.”

All age groups Readers across all age groups contribute quick feedback as well as longer commentaries. A septuagenarian plus four took time to send an email to say “my favorite newspaper is still very much the PDI” and then proceeded to give his hard-hitting opinion, which he hoped would see print. An equally opinionated 90-year-old is a regular (almost daily) e-mail writer. Among the younger set who send contributions, they proclaim joy and fulfillment in being published in Young Blood. As one said, “getting to contribute there [and be published] has been one of my greatest dreams for as long as my writing self can remember.” Sometimes, but not often enough, there are those who send congratulatory messages and words of encouragement. For instance, a reader wrote that continued coverage of a particular issue “will go a long way in urging national leaders and policy makers … to take a stand … that truly benefits all.” There are words of “bravo” for columnists and reporters who “cannot be more precise” in their writings. There are also those who praise our news coverage but advise caution. A reader wrote this regarding a particular feature story: “It is well written and informative, yes, but what concerns me is the manner in which it was written. I understand that it was a way of catching attention … but don’t you think it was a little too much?” Another avid reader chided the paper for errors in a caption of a front-page photo: “Two things wrong with the nonsentence and it passed muster? Please, be more careful next time.”

Critics A significant number of feedback can be labeled critical. Readers and

news sources who send such feedback question the accuracy and balance of particular stories and general news coverage. They raise arguments like the “headline being a misrepresentation of the fact,” the “claims [made in the article being] unwarranted, the reporter having “ventured into the practice of sensationalism,” and the “published [details] giving a wrong impression from the original one.” Among the harshest complaint I have ever received said: “either your writers don’t know their math, don’t know their logic, don’t care to get their facts right, or just want to sensationalize their story.” Very commonly, these critical readers ask that, “in the interest of truth and fairness,” the issues they raise in the complaint be published as letter to the editor, the correction or apology be made, or that the “reporter [be] advised of the [need for] correction.” Even among these who complain, there is an acknowledgement that the I NQUIRER is “an otherwise great newspaper.”

Disappointments A regular reader of the INwho is himself a ranking official of the national government and therefore a highly placed news source, lamentably expressed the sentiment that journalists, at times, fall short in accuracy and verification. He gave me the book by Alain de Botton, “The News: A User’s Manual,” which he asked to be shared with the PDI editors. De Botton’s book, which has been described as “a manifesto for what we (the consumers of the news media) should want and demand from news organizations,” was probably his way of communicating his disappointments with certain news coverage of the PDI. A regular reader sent this text message to me just last week: “I’ve been monitoring and really noticed QUIRER,

PERNIA: Readers give praise but advise caution. a vast improvement in PDI news reporting.” Coming from her, the comment was especially pleasing because a few months back, when we had first met, it was to complain about the “deteriorating quality and growing imbalance in the reporting and treatment of news by PDI.”

Invitation to readers The INQUIRER values its engagement with readers, and invites its readers to send feedback—whether these are complaints or words of appreciation via mail (PDI, Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo streets, Makati City), fax (8974793 and 8974794), e-mail (feedback@inquirer.com.ph and readersadvocate@inquirer.com.ph), Twitter (@NenyP) and Facebook.

Music and laughter in Casino Filipino Celebrity Shows this December Casino Filipino (CF) guests and patrons can expect unbridled laughter and unparalleled musical shows from some of the country's most popular artists this December. The "Krismas Na! Krismas Na!" celebrity shows in Casino Filipino branches and satellites began at CF Tagaytay on December 4 with popular TV host/comedian Jose Manalo entertaining guests with his unique brand of humor. The "Eat…Bulaga!" mainstay will also perform in Ronquillo Satellite (December 10), and CF Olongapo (December 12). "Maraming beses na akong nakapag-perform para sa Casino Filipino kaya't kabisadungkabisado ko na ang kiliti ng mga manonood. May mga bago akong gimik na inihanda sa mga darating kong shows," Jose excitedly said. Also lined up to provide casino guests with toprate entertainment this December are Bossa Nova Queen Sitti Navarro, Acoustic Pop Prince Nyoy Volante and Comedy Queen Ai Ai delas Alas. Sitti and Nyoy will regale their audience with their signature relaxing music at CF Pavilion (December 17), Malabon Satellite (December 27) and CF Tagaytay (December 30). Ai Ai delas Alas, meanwhile, vows to bring the house down with her comedic wit and musical flair as she performs at CF Angeles on December 27. The three celebrities are no strangers to the Casino Filipino stage and have performed to SRO crowds during their previous CF shows. Sitti is one of the most in-demand performers in the different CF venues. "I'm very excited to return to what I consider as my second home. The countless occasions that I've performed for Casino Filipino were so memorable. It just feels great that I get to entertain people who are appreciative of my music," she said.

Nyoy, on the other hand, has also made his mark among casino guests with his unique rendition of timeless love songs. "I always love performing for the Casino Filipino audience. They are very warm. I am sure Sitti and I will have a great time during our shows. I hope our fans and people who love hearing our music will watch our shows," he added. Meanwhile, despite her hectic showbiz schedule, Ai Ai managed to squeeze in a gig for CF guests who wish to see the popular comedienne perform once again. Ai Ai is excited to hold a special concert for her fans in Casino Filipino. "Isang show lang ako sa Casino Filipino ngayong December pero nasisiguro kong masisiyahan nang husto ang mga taong walang sawang nanonood at tumatangkilik sa atin," she enthused. Bong Quintana, PAGCOR's Assistant Vice President for Bingo and Entertainment, said the shows they prepared for December would give casino guests more reasons to celebrate a merrier Yuletide season. "The special Casino Filipino celebrity shows we lined up this December will surely bring joy and excitement to our guests. We have invited some of the country's top artists to perform for our casino patrons because they deserve nothing but the best, especially during this Christmas season," Quintana mused. For more information on "Krismas Na! Krismas Na!" special celebrity shows and other entertainment offerings of Casino Filipino, please call the Entertainment and Bingo Department at 708-2046 or 526-0337 local 2401 to 2404. You may also visit and 'like' us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/casinofilipino; www.facebook.com/pagcorartists) or follow us on Twitter (www.twitter.com/casinofilipino).

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