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Life beneath the bridge & other docu discoveries
Atom Araullo descends on a little known abode underneath Jones Bridge. In that small, cavernous space, urban dwellers make it through the night.

Life beneath the bridge & other docu discoveries

Pablo A. Tariman (The Philippine Star) - April 15, 2018 - 12:00am

TV review: The Atom Araullo Specials

MANILA, Philippines — There is a rare, if, intense, sense of daring as broadcast journalist Atom Araullo documents a day in a life of a family living underneath Jones Bridge in the heart of Manila.

The passage to that unknown dwelling is by clambering through a rope and going down a dark labyrinth and you are ushered into a small, cavernous space that passes for a home.

The woman of the house gathers usable garbage for a living and gets to eat only after selling what she found. She goes back to this house underneath the bridge and takes a rest and hopes to make it through another night.

Atom does not stop with just reporting what he sees; he sleeps in the same abode and sees for himself what it feels like living under the bowels of the bridge.

Entrance of Marawi tunnel used by terrorists as escape and sleeping quarters. Lo and behold, Atom finds a terrorist’s camera.

Stretching himself on a make-shift floor that passes for a bed, he soon finds out the ventilation is bad and that the entire abode shakes often as it does when 10-wheeler trucks pass by.

The April 1 edition of the Atom Araullo Specials on GMA 7 shows us how far broadcast journalism can bring us deeper into looking at the less-privileged sectors of society.

The episode is at once shocking, and by turns, moving as poor wife reveals how she was separated from her children who now live with her in-laws.

Staying overnight in this house under the bridge, Atom connects with his subject not just as part of his figure gathering but as a living proof of neglect and of how society has turned deaf and blind to her plight.

The other episode brings him to the caves of Samar where he explores the natural attraction of the place.

The thing is he chooses the most dangerous cave and descends on it ready to confront danger, if any. Deep into the bowels of the earth, he finds a waterfall and enjoys a brief immersion.

What secrets it holds he reveals as in another part of the cave, he discovers a burial area where victims of epidemic are disposed of during the earlier times.

This 32-kilometer Sulpan Cave is touted by the country’s longest and in one part of the cave, he discovers a giant tooth from a prehistoric shark.

Another part of 32-km. Sulpan Cave in Samar yields a burial area where victims of epidemic were disposed of during earlier times.

The closing episode is an exploration of Marawi’s underground tunnels, which served as the terrorists’ escape routes and sleeping quarters at the height of the siege.

The guided tour reveals the extent in which Marawi was practically decimated but Atom will not be satisfied. He breaks away from the group and does his own private exploration. In the process, he discovers a terrorist’s camera which recorded the villains’ lair and what they do as part of the day’s battle regimen.

As it is, Atom gives us a view of the often-unexplored life and leads his viewers to contemplate both the mystifying beauty of Mother Earth and the extent to which urban dwellers are reduced just to survive.

He explores the subject inside and out, lives with his subjects and at the end, he gets a balanced and very personal view on why people live the way they do.

The Atom Araullo Specials is first-rate broadcast journalism that goes beyond reporting.

It is what television needs in the jungle of asinine shows that have sunk into the lowest pit in the name of the ratings game.

In the end, it shows us that broadcast journalism can be enlightening as well as edifying when news gatherers go deep into the heart of their subjects.

ATOM ARAULLO JONES BRIDGE MARAWI TUNNEL SULPAN CAVE
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