Saturday , May 26, 2018

In the heart of a story

EVERYONE can tell a story but only few people were given the gift to tell a story effectively that anyone who hears it remembers it and keeps it in his heart.

As a young campus journalist, I have always dreamt of weaving and finishing my stories the way the professionals do it. And by professionals, it meant seasoned journalists Kara David, Howie Severino, Jay Taruc, and Sandra Aguinaldo. They are part of GMA Network’s top-notch and award-winning documentary program I-Witness.

Since they started and as they near their 18th anniversary, they have never ceased on producing documentaries that open the public's eye on the bigger picture of any issues concerning the lives of Filipinos. Hence, inspired a tsunami of aspiring student journalists to create significant stories and become the citizens that our nation needs.

On November 17, Sandra Aguinaldo and Atom Araullo, the newest documentary host to be added on their roster, went to Davao City to hold a docuforum attended by students from different universities.

As part of I-Witness’ 18th anniversary celebration, the GMA Public Affairs program held a special screening of two of its most moving stories this year — “Isla ng mga Pangarap” and “Sundalong Aso” at the Cinema 2 of Gaisano Mall Davao.

Sandra shared the story behind her documentary “Isla ng mga Pangarap” as well as discussed how she writes and produces her documentaries for I-Witness. “Isla ng mga Pangarap” tells the story of Albert and Jovanne — two teachers who cross the sea to reach their students in Halian Island.

Meanwhile, Kara David’s “Sundalong Aso” takes a look at the life of military working dogs (MWDs) of the Philippine Army K9 Battalion after they retire or are no longer capable to serve as MWDs.

Atom, on the other hand, showed some snippets of his first-ever documentary for I-Witness. Afterwards, Atom will talk about his experience in doing this documentary and how the process differs from other forms of media work.

Aguinaldo, in an interview, said that the best way to find the stories that will get attention is to "always stay out there".

"Be a good listener. The best stories are always out in the field. You just have to have a good ear and a keen eye," she said as she shared that one of her memorable documentaries was "Katay Kabayo" where she and her team researched on the fate of horses that appear on race competitions.

"We were eating in a karenderia and they have this 'Tapang Kabayo', and we just asked the owner where they get their meat and everything started from there. Yung mga kabayong nagkakasakit hindi na pinapagamot kasi yung pagpapagamot pala sa kanila ay katumbas na nang pagbili ng bagong kabayo. Kaya kinakatay nalang yung mga pangkarerang kabayo (kapag nagkakasakit)," she added.

Atom, on the other hand, said that he would most likely divert his focus on the challenges a child faces just to get education.

"I have always been inspired by kids who pursue their dreams no matter what struggle they battle with," he said. Prior to the I-Witness film screening, “Best of One Mindanao segments”.

Last August 28, GMA Network made history when its regional arm, GMA Regional TV, launched One Mindanao. The local news program is anchored by seasoned TV journalist Tek Ocampo, reputable TV host and news presenter Sarah Hilomen-Velasco, and experienced news correspondent Real Sarroche. The “Best of One Mindanao segments” include Tek’s “Diretsahan”, Sarah’s “D Best Ka Mom”, and Real’s “Usapang Real”.

The One Mindanao anchors will also have a short talk after the screening.

“We hope our Kapusong Dabawenyo, specifically the students and members of the academe, will have a meaningful time as they watch the I-Witness documentaries and One Mindanao segments,” said GMA Regional TV Vice President and Head Oliver Victor Amoroso.

“We are honored to be part of I-Witness’ 18th anniversary. This is an extraordinary feat for the country’s longest-running documentary program. At the same time, we are excited to share One Mindanao’s best segments. We look forward to having a fruitful discussion with the I-Witness hosts and One Mindanao anchors.”