Noontime late-breakers with Raffy & Pia
Bot Glorioso (The Philippine Star) - April 16, 2011 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Noontime variety shows no longer dominate the afternoon TV block these days. Pinoys now have varied options which show could make lunchtime more satisfying, thrilling and interesting. There are the Koreanovelas, reality show, dance showdown and newscasts suddenly spicing our midday TV viewing habit.

That being said, it is the midday newscast Balitanghali that indubitably competes well with either Eat, Bulaga! or Happy Yipee Yehey! perhaps because of the many incidents taking place in and out of the country that make Pinoys want to be informed all the time.

Airing on GMA News TV 11, Balitanghali gives televiewers comprehensive and complete information, on-the-spot reports and features seven days a week. Raffy Tima and Pia Arcangel anchor the 12-noon weekday news while Mariz Umali and Jun Veneracion take over the weekend slot.

Balitanghali is the brainchild of Atty. Felipe Gozon. It was initially conceptualized as an alternative to noontime variety shows,” says program manager John Ray Arrabe.

Running for six years now, Balitanghali has become a new staple of the lunch ritual as it continues to provide in-depth news coverage that arm every Juan de la Cruz with essential information — from hard-hitting stories to showbiz buzz to human interests.

Most often, Raffy and Pia try to dig deeper into the issues to give televiewers a clearer view of every side of the matter. They air phone interviews with persons concerned.

Both admit that sometimes minor lapses cannot be avoided. “Whenever that happens, I just correct myself because if I ignore it, people would think I don’t recognize my own mistake. Or I can make it light, pwedeng mapangiti na lang,” Pia offers.

“That’s the risk of doing live reports. We review scripts but it’s different when you’re dealing with breaking news, no scripts and boo-boos are farthest from what I should be concerned about during that moment. We have to deliver what people need to know,” adds Raffy.

And while they are formal and rarely smile on-air, Raffy and Pia heartily laugh off-cam at every joke dropped at them.

With Balitanghali Weekend anchors Jun Veneracion and Mariz Umali

Discover more about Raffy and Pia as they talk about work, personality and the things they do during downtime:

Do you see other midday newscasts as threat? Are there steps to further improve Balitanghali?

Raffy: We don’t consider them as threat but as a challenge to make our newscast more interesting. We just continue to deliver in-depth reports and our breaking news, dun kami lumalamang.

You often deal with hard news, does it follow that you should look stiff on-cam?

Raffy: No, actually until now I still adjust on-cam. This is my first anchoring job. Although I’m a reporter who is used to cover war and calamity stories, I get conscious in front of the cameras due to many pressures like delivering on-the-spot news without scripts or interviewing on-air. But slowly I’m learning to loosen up, I smile once in awhile.

With regards to manner of reporting, why do you think some news anchors are “panicky”?

Raffy: I would like to believe it is personality-based. The personality shows when you deliver the news. Sometimes even the slightest incident is delivered as if there is an eruption, but us here are the subdued types.

Pia: There’s a conscious effort of detaching ourselves from the story for us not to be so emotional. I remember Ondoy, I delivered updates as calm as possible so as not to add panic to people.

What were the best and worst moments in your career?

Raffy: The best was when I anchored live in Guinsaugon after the landslide. We rode on Philippine Air Force chopper with our video phone and we’re the first to air live newscast there. It was very fulfilling because literally nasa mismong guho kami naghahatid ng istorya. The worst was more on personal like one time I slept late then the following morning, I had an interview. It’s hard to ask questions and I was even caught on-cam na nakangiwi.

News anchors are expected to be prim and proper, what do you do outside broadcasting? What do you do for fun?

Raffy: I’m outgoing so when I have the time, I scuba-dive, bike or run to de-stress. There was a time we came up with a story underwater during a clean-up drive.

Pia: I go out on trips with my family. We spend time together and try to find a relaxing activity. Lately, I tried to exercise a little bit more to release stress.

When you go out, do people also perceive you as walking newspaper?

Pia: Yes, more like sumbungan ng bayan. Some request for help, to cover this and that while others ask how to apply for a passport. Hindi mo sila pwedeng tanggihan kasi syempre serbisyong totoo, we need to answer them.

People can directly comment on the news through your Twitter and Facebook accounts, do you think it makes newscast less formal?

Raffy: No, we also get news from Twitter or Facebook. The viewers’ feedbacks are also included in the news but I try not to be affected whenever there are negative reactions. For me, I will deliver all the facts I gathered regardless of how Twitter or Facebook followers would react.

Do you also keep tabs on latest showbiz news? Is there a particular celebrity you’d like to have a one-on-one with?

Raffy: Oo naman syempre. I would like to interview Kris Aquino because she can answer everything whether about showbiz or politics. As the younger sister of President Noynoy, it’s interesting to know directly from her how Noynoy handles comments/tirades from his detractors.

Pia: Marian Rivera because I feel she will answer truthfully. Kung ano yung sagot n’ya di n’ya i-re-repackage or i-e-edit para maganda.

You’ve been together since Balitanghali started in 2005, how’s your working relationship?

Raffy: Very good. We’ve been together for years that’s why nagkakabasahan na kami. We never clash.

Pia: We’re friends.

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