The Philippine Press is known to be one of the freest in Asia, with a constitutional guarantee of this freedom, no wonder journalists in the country are all out in covering, writing, and reporting the haves and have nots of the land.
Ironically, along with this freedom, being a Filipino journalist is also branded as a very dangerous job in the country. Sad to say, there is more than what is in Article 3 Section IV of our Constitution, for almost everyone can see, hear, and feel what the real thing is behind the shots on the screen and ink on the paper.
As the so-called “fourth estate,” one of the journalists’ philosophies is to hold institutions and individuals accountable to whatever they did, doing, or will do. Journalists are branded as the watchdog in the society. But then, given the situation in the country, and as being the number three most dangerous place for journalists to live in—next to Iraq and Somalia, which are warzones—it seems like, the watchdog is being the one watched. Where is the freedom in that?
Restrained only by laws in libel and sedition, the Philippine Press, by the book, seems to be free. Free to give voice to the voiceless; free to serve as the much-needed surveillance; free to set the country’s agenda; free to criticize and comment; and free to do just about everything else in between. Indeed, looking at the surface, the watchdog is doing what it is supposed to do—to give the bark and the bite. But looking deeper, the watchdog that endlessly barks and bites is not free at all. Looking on its neck, a leash is tied upon it, restraining it from doing something that is beyond its limit.
The leash that controls the watchdog is, who else, but its masters. Media entities, such as TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers, are controlled by its owners and publishers. Now, this is the covert way of restraining the freedom of the press: censorship by friendship.
Unknown to many, most of the media outlets in the country are controlled mostly by the elite. The Lopezes of ABS-CBN, the Gozon’s of GMA7, the Pangilinan’s of TV5, the Yap’s of Manila Bulletin, the Gokongwei’s, the Razon’s, the Go’s, and so many more, these media bigwigs, somehow, control what must and must not be broadcasted and published. They have a say to every word that will be and will not be out; they can set what should and should not be in the public’s attention; they can make or break a person in just a snap; they can sway every string of words, every camera shots, into their own agenda.
With that, are the journalists free to express themselves? Are they free to write anything without thinking what their proprietors will say? Are they free to publish and broadcast stories which interlock with their employers’ interests? I don’t’ think so.
I believe, the Philippine Press is not at all free. Freedom of expression in the country is like freedom of expressing the selective truth. In one way or another, journalists are restrained from full disclosing fact and data; journalists are discreet from saying what is really needed by the public, for media owners, journalists should only say what is wanted by the public—if it sells, you’re in, if not, then you’re out. As they say, business is business.
There is no such thing as “Freedom of the Press” when journalists are being hit in their ample pockets. Who cares about fairness, responsibility, credibility, objectivity, when as a human being, the money that they get from their jobs is more important? Sad to say, for some, it is much better to lose their ethics than to lose their humble paychecks, to lose their jobs.
As young media practitioners, as young journalists, we can definitely make a change. Cliché as it may sound; we are the hope of the Philippine Press. As early as being in the academe, as fresh as the new graduates, we must be the one thinking and believing. Yes indeed, it is hard to change the culture, the way the media is. But I believe, through one stroke, one shot, we can change the world. Practice ethics, know the responsibilities. As much as we can, we must be objective—no sides, no strings attached, “trabaho lang walang personalan” when it comes to reporting and writing the news. I know, it won’t sell, it won’t land us an envious place in the industry, but hey, I believe, this fulfillment is better than any financial rewards.
No pressure, though, just expressing.
Happy Press Freedom Day! :)
the gentle breeze
of your whispers in my ear
to sink so sweetly into the flesh
down my neck
on my lips
across my shoulder blades
inside my palms
on my wrists
over my hips
behind my knees
inside my thighs
into my heart.
040313: Annyeong haseyo! The Don-Day Despedida. Spent Lei’s last day in the country stuffing our mouths with Korean food goodness. Hulaan niyo kung sinong missing in action. No group pic! Tsk. The emotional set of friends. We miss you already Lei! :(
I can’t finish this poem
I think you deserve happiness
in the form of cupcakes and lavender;
bonfires and scavenger hunts.
I want you to search for what
you’ve been missing and find
a collections of hearts from secret admirers
from grade twelves and even preschool.
I want you to know that you’re amazing
and think that the universe was made for you.
Even if it wasn’t.
I want you to think that you’re
important enough for that to be a possibility.
So calm down with the hostility.
Because even when tired truths come out of my mouth
instead of regular yawns and yet
I can’t blurt out that I love more
that your lips, well,
I want you to know that I think you’re special.
A little bit more than incredible
and equally unforgettable
there are nights when it rains in my dreams.
And without seeing I know that my insides
want the tears to flow outside of my body for once
but I hold them in.
Suppressing the pain of not letting you in
and losing you to a fear of abandonment.
I wonder if you would have left me
if I let you figure out the hard way that
my heart isn’t on a map.
You can’t find any trace of it sometimes
you just have to know where to look.
You won’t find it in the form of I love you’s
but maybe it’s me giving you my favorite book.
Anyways, I think you deserve happiness in the form
of ice-cream and video games.
Anything that takes the pain away
from a girl who doesn’t know the rules
to the games she plays
who doesn’t even realize that
she’s in the middle of a round.
I take you around and around and i’m sorry.
We should have listened when I said I was the worst choice
And I still think you deserve happiness in the form of
cloudless skies and elbows touching and eliciting an electrical
charge that goes right to our hearts.
I think you deserve happiness in the form of a healthy snack with lots of protein.
I think you deserve happiness in the form of something
that doesn’t include me.
All Hail the Princess! ♥
March 3 to 5 at Puerto Princesa, Palawan, with Tessa, Salei, Chx, and Miko. Swam with the jellyfish, rode a taxi-cle, rode a motorbike with a stranger, climbed a mountain, 800 meters zipline, got lost, partied all night, swam with the waves, ate Tamilok and Crocodile Bicol Express, rubbed elbows with the foreign tourists, shopped ‘til we dropped, explored the sureal Underground River, fell in love with Puerto Princesa’s people and places! :)
Yes, it’s my first ever plane right. That’s my puke bag over there.
“Ang tagal naman sumasakit na tyan ko sa kaba. Wait, CR lang.”
Welcome! Here’s our humble abode, Josefina’s Pension Inn. Their staff are very friendly and accommodating. They’ll assist you in every way that they can. Plus, the place is really nice, too! With big umbrellas and tables and chairs outside, spacious rooms, and many more!
My first taxi-cle ride. Yep, no jeepneys, taxis, or buses around. Just taxi-cles and shuttle services. Aaaah, no traffic jams, lavet.
See? Very bionic tricycles-slash-taxis!
First day: Swimming at a nearby beach! Was welcomed by this view. Pristine Beach, P20 entrance fee. Not bad. Except that there is a jellyfish swimming with us. Hoho. *runs fast to the shore*
Before the jellyfish incident.
So we decided to explore the island instead. Hello from Chx and I!
Syempre di kumpleto ang beach trip kung walang pagddrama.
At jumping shot.
By dinnertime, we walked and walked around the city and found this cutesy place called Bilao and Palayok.
Very nice interiors and very nice food! We ordered the Bilao Boodle Feast for 5. Plus 2 plates of rice. Yes, we were that hungry. And yes, it’s so yummy that I’m craving for these fresh seafood right now (drools).
After that, since it was Puerto Princesa’s Balayong Festival (founding anniversary of the City of Puerto Princesa, we went at the Baywalk to see what’s up. And voila, bands! Live bands!
And rows of foodums and liquors. Attackkkk!
Cheers to Puerto Princesa Day 1!
Day 2 is Underground River Tour! Woke up early and prepared for our trip. Inside the shuttle with our other tourmates.
Stopped by at a souvenir shop. Pichur pichur!
Guys, don’t worry, I got a map. We’ll never be lost.
Uhm, guys help. Mukhang nawawala na tayo. *nosebleed*
Finally, we found our way to this jaw-dropping paradise. Hello Sabang Beach!
Of course, a Sabang Beach trip wouldn’t be complete without experiencing their 800 Meters Zipline!
After 150 feet of trekking, here we go, all geared up! Thanks Nivea for keeping our sun-kissed glow (choz).
Yep, from here to there. 800 meters + 150 feet = Scaredy-Khat.
So after Miko, Salei, and Chx, off we go. So there’s me, and Tessa. Scared to jump alone e. Hihi. *Down the ride ‘til the very end, is me and my best friend, me and my best friend…”
Yours truly, Chx, and Salei, zipline aftermath.
Of course, we must take a dip at Sabang’s ever-famous beach! Nakikidip sa Sheridan Shores!
Next stop: Underground Riverrr!
On our way to one of the 7 Wonders of the World! Yes, my skin’s so red I love it.
Monkeys, Palawan Monitor Lizard, tourists, and this bunch of kids. Ready to conquer the river!
Here we cooome!
And we’re off! (No inside Underground River pictures, for we were too absorbed by the funny tour guide’s hirits, plus of course, the wonder of the place! )
Later that night, we went at Kinabuchs Grill and Bar.
And here’s our order! Presenting, Crocodile Bicol Express. Yep, it’s crocodile. surprisingly, it taster like pork, just a little bit chewier and tastier.
And ta-da, Palawan’s ever-famed Tamilok (wood worm). Uhm, tastes fishy, slimy, woody, no words to describe it. Feels like I’m literally eating a wet market. Lol.
After that we explored Puerto Princesa’s nightlife, off to Tiki Bar!
We are the Tiki girls, he is the Tiki boy…
And that’s it! Such a wonderful vacay with these wonderful people. We didn’t take any pictures during the third and last day for we were busy checking out their market, souvenir shops, shopping! See you next adventure!
Palawan Phone Photo Stash
Puerto Princesa through my BB’s eyes. Don’t expect high-quality photos here, just memorable parts of the trip.
First plane ride, 800 meters 150 feet zipline, motorcycle ride with a stranger, fluffy creatures, mountains, boats, best friends, Wonder of the World, hangovers, patterns. Aaaah, more pics to come!
This set of pictures was photographed by Ryan Pineda. A stray, crazy cat looking for a home last year, when a superhero wannabe, by chance, saved him. And because I love looking at his works, I want it on my Adventures.
Standing together in the middle of the field
Sunshine fills the surroundings
Crossing paths exchanging words
Taking the plunge, embracing the beat
Everything around is blossoming into something
As we are blooming along with the greens
And dancing along with the breeze
Space and time seem to cease to exist
When I’m in your arms, your touch lingering my spine
Side by side we watch the world go round
And silently we savor the sound
Of our hearts in a trance.
Yes, I know it’s so mainstream, overrated in fact, but hey, here’s to a cheesy clingy Heart’s Day! Cheers! ♥
*Text by yours truly