TV5 newbies who covered the Pope
KAPATID DAY - Peachy Vibal-Guioguio (The Philippine Star) - January 29, 2015 - 12:00am

The visit here by Pope Francis presented an entirely different perspective from the ordinary as seen by TV5’s young, dynamic and committed news reporters who were tasked with bringing the Pope’s presence to Filipino homes in a manner that befits and gives honor to His Holiness. TV5 News reporter Carla Lim had the distinction of being accredited by the Vatican to accompany Pope Francis from Rome and back. She, together with 14 other media representatives from the Philippines, had the rare privilege to join the Vatican Press Corps for the Papal Visit to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

According to Carla, “I know I was the neophyte among the pack of veteran reporters so I had to step up. I went to Rome four days ahead of our official schedule in order to study and do more research about the Pope.” Her efforts had been rewarded as she was able to attend the Holy See’s official press conference for the Asian trip and be on hand for the Papal audience where, for the first time, she was able to kiss the ring in His Holiness’ hand. Together with Carla, the other young and fresh TV5 news reporters Trisha Roque, France Noguera, Erel Cabatbat, Michelle Ople and Renz Ongkiko, who were part of the News and Public Affairs team that covered the Papal visit, share their insights and impressions on this momentous and historic event:

How did you prepare for this coverage?

Carla: “I attended a recollection organized by the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) for all those who will be covering the Papal visit. Manila Archbishop Cardinal Luis Tagle hosted it. I also did a lot of reading and was monitoring any news about the Pope.”

Trisha: “We had several meetings with News Operations, together with resource people from CBCP, EWTN and the Papal visit organizers. I devoured all reading materials that were given to me so I would be well-equipped during the coverage.”

France: “Aside from reading the materials that were handed to us and researching stories about the Pope on my own, I said a short prayer before and after every event.”

Erel: “We were provided with facts regarding Pope Francis. We used these research materials as a guide in covering the Pope.”

Renz: “I also prepared emotionally and spiritually by praying every day that God will guide me and give me wisdom to know where to look for a good story, to be able to ask the right questions and to be calm when deadlines become due.”

Michelle: “We were briefed extensively and given a lot of reading materials on the Pope and the Holy See. TV5’s approach to the coverage was in-depth, and the materials put a lot of things into perspective for the event.” 

What was your initial reaction upon seeing the Pope?

Carla: “Stunned and speechless that the Pope is actually ‘real.’”  

Trisha: “I immediately noticed his smile. He seemed like a very kind, humble and loving person; a very happy person who appreciated the cheers of the people who lined up the streets to greet and welcome him.”

France: “I was in the middle of the waiting crowd, already feeling exhausted after covering the whole day. In an instant, when I took a glimpse of the Pope’s face and saw an energetic and smiling 78-year-old Pope, my adrenaline shot up and I felt ashamed (of myself).”

Erel: “I only saw him for a few seconds but it was worth the wait. All the things I have heard about him are true. He is simple yet deep. Understanding yet firm; most Filipinos can see him as a beacon of hope yet accessible and one with us through our faith.”

Renz: “I caught a glimpse of Pope Francis for about five seconds and yet it felt it was the longest five seconds of my life. I was star-struck. I never expected that Pope Francis would leave a lasting impression on me. But he did.”

Michelle: “Pope Francis struck me as a deeply involved and immersed person. There was a way he would look at people, whether while talking to them, listening to them or merely waving at the crowd. He really draws people in with his eyes.”

How did you feel when you finally saw Pope Francis?

Carla: “On our way to Sri Lanka the Holy Father had a meet-and-greet with all the journalists who were covering Him. I was constructing sentences inside my head in order to introduce myself but after I kissed His Holiness’ hand and looked up to him, all I could say was ‘Papa’ — I was speechless.”

Trisha: “I was awestruck. I was ready for the phone patch and to record with my camera but when he passed in front of me, my hands suddenly started shaking. It was simply an amazing feeling to see the Pope in the flesh.”

France: “I instantly fell in love with him and that made me driven every time.”

Erel: “It was overwhelming. And to see him smile is something transcendental. To see him comfort those who were in pain was priceless.”

Renz: “I felt the world standing still for like minutes. I thought it only happens in movies wherein a person’s world slows down when he or she gets star-struck.”

Michelle: “He was so close, that pictures of him were literally whole body. I found myself thinking, ‘He’s more than just a celebrity. He really seems like he’s looking into our souls.’”

Overall, our Kapatid reporters, young they may be in years, proved to be as mature and grounded as their peers, with the Papal visit leaving an indelible impression and a life-changing moment:

Carla: “He inspired us to set our priorities right and to love the poor, the sick and the children.”

Trisha: “To actually see the Pope reaching out to the less fortunate and the victims of Yolanda also made me realize that I can do more for other people.”

France: “It may be one of the biggest coverages of my life. I’m proud! It puts my ability to test.”

Erel: “I’m hoping that after Pope Francis’ visit, Filipinos would rediscover what it means to be a Catholic, a Filipino and a human being that should always be of service to his fellowmen.”

Renz: “I really admire Pope Francis for challenging our church leaders to adjust to the new ways of the world and to spend more time sharing the Word of God outside the church.”

Michelle: “This Papal visit felt so much like a much-needed boost of faith for every Christian not just in this country, but all over the world.”





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