deadliest deadline

meandering thoughts on the beat

Monday, August 28, 2006


As my wife said in her own blog, it's been more than a week since we have been discharged from the hospital. Now is the real test, I think. No more nurses, no more nursery to take care of the little one. It's all up to us. I will be eternally grateful to my in-laws for taking us in for the meantime. There is nothing like an extra pair of hands and their rich experience in child-rearing. It's a longer drive to Antipolo, but the surroundings are quiet and soothing. It helps calm my oftentimes frantic mind. The superb cooking of my mother-in-law also soothes my hungry tummy. I have to say its been particularly difficult for M. All the sleepless nights compounded by the difficult but healthier decision to breastfeed. Almost overnight, the both of us have turned into "experts" in breastfeeding. Thankfully, little Anton seems to have gotten the hang of it. I must say that I am beginning to be somewhat proficient in putting him to sleep. But I rue the fact that most of the time, I feel a wee bit helpless and I have difficulty getting up early in the morning to try to put Anton to sleep when M. is too tired. I have never admired anyone more than I do my wife now with the difficult job she is undertaking. I cannot imagine other husbands who would leave the difficult job of child-rearing to their wives during the day, and abuse and physically beat them at night. There must be a corner of hell reserved for heartless ogres like them. Now the problem are the various ailments that usually hang around newborns. Nasal congestion, colic crying bouts, body temperatures, etc. Hoepfully, we can stay cool and above all of these. But truly, nothing makes me happier right now than staring at my little one while he is staring at me in return. Hopefully, this indicates to me that we are connecting somehow. For me, he is the repository of everything that is beautiful about this world (and to think there was a time when I didn't find much in this world I can call "beautiful"). And I have never loved M. more than I do now. There are the hardships, but there are the joys. Joys never felt before and that are just completely beyond words. And the good part is, there is more joy to come. What did I do to deserve all of this?

Monday, August 14, 2006

Hazel and Boyet

Good friends are really hard to find even in a profession like journalism where being personable really counts. I thank my lucky stars I came across such great people like Hazel Recheta and Boyet Aravilla.

The first time I met Hazel, I instantly liked her. I was then covering the PNP in Crame for my old Manila Times paper. I remember I had a quick lunch in Galleria with her and ABS-CBN reporter Gigi Grande. We all instantly bonded, moreso the two gals. We were all from UP, young and eager to make our mark in the journalism world.

I would meet Hazel later in certain coverages. I later found out she got married and had a child. The last time I saw her was a presscon in PCGG last month where with pride, she showed me a picture of her baby girl. She loved her family so much it was infectious.

She was a sweet, friendly, and charming gal and never said a terrible thing about anyone. I’ve always admired people like that. She was full of life and loved to banter about anything. Chika ever, is what I remember calling her once.

And she was dead serious about her job, fleshing out each and every detail of her report. She was a true professional who worked hard and had more substance than some reporters I know.

Words escape me at the moment. I can only wonder how she could ever leave this world at this time. But what God gives, He can also take away.

The blue funk resulting from news of Hazel’s death made me recall the death another friend, Boyet Aravilla of the Star.

Covering the Manila police beat, I also bonded with Boyet since we were the only young men covering the beat at that time. He was a playful bloke, always ready with a witty but piercing retort to the jocular teasing going around all the time in the press room. And he had a quiet, serious side, concerned about his future which certainly included his then girlfriend Karen.

When he and Karen split up, Boyet was never the same. I could literally feel the emptiness inside of him that was carved out when Karen was finally out of his life.

During his wake, I shed no tear, but it was so painful to say goodbye to him. He was about to join our paper, a new beginning that I thought could have been something good for him, something to make him forget and to dull the pain and to forge on. Now I would never know if this would be true. At his side, I told him silently that he could have hung on a little more because things might have turned out good. That he could have stayed awhile longer, because me and our friends needed him. We needed him to remind us that somehow life goes on despite the slings and arrows of our misfortunes. We needed him so we can forget the drudgery of our jobs and the ugliness we saw in this world.

But he went anyway. Maybe the emptiness might have weighed too heavy on him, or maybe it was really his time because he was good and true.

I would give anything to be able to share one more bottle of beer, one more word, one more laugh with Hazel and Boyet. So I can learn from them how to live, and how to love.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

clash of the titans

i love watching public affairs programs. shows like Imbestigador, XXX, and every show of the Tulfo brothers, where they expose various shades of wrongdoings by government officials through hidden cameras and confront them outright, never fail to get me worked up, and i like getting worked up. they never failt to give me a rise. unfortunately, these shows are an essential part of my couch potato existence. on the other hand, i think it was The Elements of Journalism that said that in the US, hidden cameras are no longer considered ethical. its easy to figure out why. part of the ethics of the profession is to identify yourself as media in getting a story. but i think this should be the subject of another blog entry. anyway, the topic of public affairs program occured to me as i await the next chapter in this town's latest big ticket political bout: the Tulfos vs. Mike Arroyo. like i said, i love public affairs programs. but i believe that media's job is not to straighten out everything that 's crooked about the system. we just write about it. so even if i really dig these kinds of programs, i object to them on a professional level. the sight of any of the Tulfos bulldozing their way into a public official's office for a confrontation, or Raffy letting off a mouthful of expletives to an erring official over the phone, is exhilirating. imagine the powers that be finally getting their comeuppance. but another part of me cringes too. that part is screaming "its not our job to do stuff like that!!" i am also afraid shows like these will only reinforce the image of the journalist as a crusader who will do anything to get his way, damn the rest of the world. alright, maybe hosts of these programs just want to help people. but there's the rub. if the Filipino would cherish more his civic rights and stand up to the powers that be when he is pushed to the wall why would they even need to approach journalists to do the fighting for them? its probably all rooted in our history (indio vs. peninsulares blah blah, but dont take my effin word for it. i didnt get good grades in history hehehe) anyway, being a true child of television, i'll keep watching these shows to get my weekly fix. PS: Mon used to defend FG. what gives is anybody's guess.