Cheryl Cosim shares her blessings

- Leah C. Salterio -

MANILA, Philippines - Fourteen years in the broadcast media make Cheryl Cosim truly fortunate in her chosen career. Some would call it “lucky,” but for someone who never imagined herself being on TV, Cheryl feels truly “blessed” in her field of work.

Over at ABS-CBN, where she started her career after returning home from the US when she was only 21, Cheryl has charted impressive and enviable achievements as a broadcaster.

She entered the network at the time when its UHF channel, Studio 23, was scouting for fresh blood as field reporters and newscasters. She remembers auditioning before former ABS-CBN reporter Kata Inocencio, who merely told her, “We’d call you.”

Others would have been easily disheartened upon hearing that line, which never gives any assurance to an applicant. But not Cheryl. She hurdled one rigid audition after another. Within two weeks, she got the job.

Unbelievably enough, even if her resumé stated she didn’t get to finish college, that didn’t prove to be a setback for Cheryl to work for the country’s largest network.

“When my parents separated, my dad petitioned my sisters and I had to be with him in the US,” recalls Cheryl, the second among five children. “So after high school, I went to the States. I started working there and then I would save money to be able to send my other siblings to school and visit my mom who was in Manila.”

After four years, however, Cheryl realized how much she missed her mom, so she decided to return to Manila for good.

Among her batchmates in the Studio 23 auditions were Gidget Alikpala, Daphne Oseña and Jennifer Alejandro. “Today, I’m the only one left at ABS-CBN from our batch,” Cheryl beams.

That’s not whining on her part, though. In fact, Cheryl is proud of the 14 years she has spent working for ABS-CBN, where she has made a name for herself as a broadcast journalist.

“Wherever I am now and whatever I’ve accomplished, I am grateful to ABS-CBN for that,” Cheryl says. “The network has given me the good breaks in broadcasting.”

From being a field reporter, Cheryl worked as a weather girl in her first live TV program, Alas Singko Y Media. She also did Alas Singko Y Media Weekends. After that, there was no more stopping her from appearing on other ABS-CBN shows.

She did Magandang Umaga Bayan, followed by Magandang Umaga Pilipinas. There’s also the late-night talk show, Payong Kapatid and her The Filipino Channel (TFC) programs, Kumusta, Kabayan (with Cito Beltran) and Balitang Europe.

On weekends, she hosts the ABS-CBN public service program, Salamat Dok, now on its seventh year. The show has several awards to boot, including a trophy for Cheryl as Best Public Service Show Host from the KBP Golden Dove Awards.

Salamat Dok conducts medical missions for those who cannot afford consultations in the hospitals. Cheryl goes out of her comfort zone to join out-of-town jaunts in Pampanga, Bulacan, Laguna and more recently, Kalinga, Apayao.

Helping others through Salamat Dok is Cheryl’s way of paying it forward. Although she is thankful to the show’s benefactors, Cheryl sometimes gets frustrated when resources get limited and they couldn’t accommodate everyone who came for the medical mission. Hence, she ends up giving from her own pocket.

“Apart from doing hard news, I wanted to do something more fulfilling and public service came my way through Salamat Dok,” she shares. “Often, you cannot help but be affected by people who need money or medicines. Nakaka-iyak at nakaka-awa sila talaga. It makes me realize how blessed I am.”

That’s why Cheryl makes it a point to share her blessings. She extends educational assistance to the daughter of her manang at home, who has been with her for more than 12 years now. The daughter, whom Cheryl started sending to school when the former was only in fourth grade, is now in second year college.

At present, Cheryl also does the ABS-CBN hourly news advisory, starting at two in the afternoon all the way to 10 p.m.

“God has been really good,” Cheryl asserts. “I’ve never ran out of programs. Radio and TV have kept me busy all these years. I consider everything a blessing.”

After a hard day’s work, Cheryl looks forward to ending her tiring day at home with her husband, businessman John Francis Alvarez, an Ilonggo who grew up in the US. The couple met through a common friend, dated for five years and tied the knot in December 2008 at Silicon Valley in Northern California.

“No matter how bad your day was, it feels good to know you have someone to go home to and share everything that happened to you during the day,” Cheryl grants. “John is always very supportive of everything that I do. He understands my job.

“He influenced me to become positive. At times when I wanted to give up because of a problem, he would tell me the problem would be easily solved. I draw strength from him. He’s my anchor. Our first year (of marriage) together is just great. People always tell me that I look good. It’s because I’m happy.”

This year, Cheryl attests that no matter how busy she gets in her network job, she will also work at having a baby.

That’s another personal challenge to this hardworking broadcaster, who deserves every good thing coming her way.

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