And now, a word from our Newscasters
WORDS WORTH - Mons Romulo () - September 2, 2001 - 12:00am
These are the people who deliver the news day in and day out. Their faces are familiar to us because we welcome them into our homes every night. In fact, when one sees them at the mall, one may have the urge to greet them like long lost friends because we feel that they are part of our lives.

I’ve often wondered whether their reading bad news on TV ever affects them. I can imagine how difficult it must be to tell the country heartbreaking news without any emotion, or read a funny piece with a straight face.

Here, they tell us the other side of newscasting.

Karen Davila,
anchor, Headlines; host, Correspondents, ABS-CBN 2: I remember I was starting as a news anchor for GMA News Live sometime in 1994. We were showing footage of former US President Bill Clinton, and it had no audio. So, there I was – screaming at the top of my lungs, "Walang audio! Hindi marinig si Clinton!" Of course, my microphone was on...It was humiliating! Another time, I was doing the newsbreak and the camera caught me brushing my hair! At one time, Sharon Cuneta told me she caught me on camera yawning on an early morning show I used to be in...I don’t remember it now...but let’s just say, I’m taking the viewer’s word for it!

But memorable, there are many – anchoring during the Pope’s arrival was overwhelming...I remember saying on TV, "He’s so pink!" And I started cracking up with that description! Recently, anchoring during EDSA 2 and the Erap arrest was not only memorable but heart-pumping.

Vicky Morales,
co-anchor, Saksi, GMA-7: I’ve seen them all – flies, cockroaches, reptiles, even cats finding their way into our old studio. But I got the surprise of my life when a bat flew into the studio while I was in the middle of my take. I wanted to jump out of my seat that very second but managed to stay still for the cameras. I read my copy as fast as I could and enjoined all the studio technicians to shoo the poor bat away. I don’t see any of that happening anymore now that we’ve moved into our new studios, which are so clean you can even eat spaghetti off the floor.
* * *
Korina B. Sanchez, host, TV Patrol, ABS-CBN: There have been several instances that are eligible for Funniest Home Video but three I remember distinctly.

One was when, for the first time, I was assigned to announce the death of a very prominent world leader back in 1982. It was my first job at Channel 4 as an hourly Newsbreak announcer. I was so nervous that as soon as I got through the announcement I was supposed to sign off with my name. Lo and behold! My name was nowhere to be found in my memory for the longest three seconds of my life! Well, I got through that but with my face in the palest hue of paper white. I thought I was going to faint!

Another time was when I was a Senate beat reporter in 1987. ABS-CBN had just reopened and our vehicles were state-of-the-art junkyard material. My daring cameraman parked right in front of the old Senate building steps where all the generals and senators and spectators, dressed to the nines, were waiting. So this old car drove up in all its rusty splendor and everyone was waiting to see who was coming out of it! They had to wait a while since I couldn’t get the door open. It was jammed. I had to break out of the plastic window – plastic as in supot na masking tape lang to avoid the rain and wind from coming in – to open the door from the outside! People said, "Oh! It’s that girl in the news!" I smiled and tried to make up for the embarrassment of having caused a fuss.

Next thing I knew, I had to go down the steps again after reaching the top. One of my high-heeled shoes found its way off and went rolling down around 10 steps below.

Oh my! It’s traumatic just to relive that scene!

Mel Tiangco,
host, Frontpage, GMA-7: When then President Ferdinand Marcos and First Lady Imelda arrived from a state visit abroad, I was anchoring from inside Malacañang. Since there were no TV monitors, I had to use my imagination with the help of my override (an earphone connected to the director). Unfortunately, my override conked out so no one was feeding me info. So I was saying, "the First Couple are now entering the gates of Malacañang..." and I didn’t know that the Marcoses were already right behind me!

My very first day of work will always be memorable. Remember, sinalang ako diyan, and was on the air one week after they took me in. My first on-the-air experience was a hot one – literally. The air conditioners in the studio were out of order that day. In front of all the hot, bright lights, I was bathing in my own sweat, mostly due to nervousness. When I stood up after my newscasting, I was so shocked because even my hair was dripping wet with sweat!

Ces Oreña Drilon,
host, Pipol, ABS-CBN 2 and Pointblank, ANC: I have had many funny and memorable experiences throughout my career as a broadcast journalist. One funny incident I recall was when I was doing The World Tonight with Angelo Castro and now Senator Loren Legarda. One item in the news, about a pig being jailed in some foreign country, made us break into silent laughter. What made it so funny was that in those days, when fancy graphics were not yet in vogue, a drawing flashed on the screen of this pig behind bars. While Angelo read the item, Loren and I were already in stitches, but then her turn came to read the next item and I still could not control my laughter! I remember being pinched so hard by Loren while she was reading the news, trying so hard to keep a straight face. When my turn came, thankfully, to Loren’s ire, I had already managed to control myself. But I remember laughing so hard, we were almost in tears! One of the most difficult things in newscasting is to keep a straight face when everyone around you is laughing at something really funny!

Another unforgettable experience was when my crew and I witnessed the 1993 ambush of Major Joe Pring. I really feared for my life and when shots rang out, I dropped to the floor of our news vehicle. All I could think of at that time were my children. The worst was when I heard a voice asking my cameraman to hand over the camera. I was expecting to be shot anytime. It seemed like the longest minute of my life. My hands were pressing tightly on the two-way radio hoping my office could hear the exchange. When I let go of the radio, probably out of my nervousness, the voice said, "Patayin yang radyo," followed by a gunshot. I thought this is it! So I got up and faced the gunmen, thinking I had to know who would shoot me. But when the gunmen (whom we later learned were from the communist hit squad ABB) escaped with our video camera, I was able to gather enough wits to turn the radio back on and immediately report the assassination live on DZMM. Despite the fear and risk, I was thankful to be at the right place at the right time.

Rod Nepomuceno,
anchor, The Big News, ABC 5: My most memorable moments in newscasting? I have two – the worst and the best moments. The worst moment was when I couldn’t pronounce the word "rehabilitated." I was just going through the script when I encountered this darn word. For some reason, on that night, I couldn’t pronounce it. I went, "rehabl... rehbltutu.. rehabelatetet... (deep breath)... rehabltltl ... (shook my head)... then I went to the next word. This is, after the newscast, I could pronounce it perfectly! To this day, I still hate the word. I should have had my tongue rehabilitated that night!

The next memory I have is when I proposed marriage to my fiancée Teemy Ledesma. She was in the studio and was very cranky because it was Valentine’s and she hadn’t eaten (I bought her a Valentine’s Crispy McChicken but it didn’t appease her). At the last part of the newscast I said, "Well, if the President of the Philippines has her own private time this Valentine’s night with her husband, allow me to have my own private time on air. To my Valentine Teemy Ledesma, will you marry me?" And I took out the ring. Then the crew pushed her to me and she hugged me while the credits were coming out. Mushy? Yes, but I bet not even the fearless Mon Tulfo would have done that! It nearly cost me my job but it was worth it!

Mari Kaimo,
anchor, News Central Studio 23, host and correspondent, The Correspondents, ABS-CBN 2: Most memorable from a historical perspective would be covering the last days of the Erap presidency: from the Chavit Singson exposé to the revelations about the mansions (and seeing some of them for myself), to the impeachment trial, Edsa 2 and the tragedy that was the May 1 protest.

In the months prior to the exhilarating event that was Edsa 2, though, my heart bled every night as I read about how the economy was getting progressively worse and watching those who were in power continue to amass fortunes for themselves.

Being a human being and one with opinions of my own, and not having been at Edsa 1, I was most heartened at the way Filipinos took charge of their lives at Edsa 2. It gave me new hope that Ninoy was right, that the Filipino is worth dying for.

Unfortunately, Edsa 3 and the results of the last elections are a different story.

I’m a real softie at heart and I would have to say that the most memorable event for me from a personal point of view was having to say goodbye to my co-anchors at my old newscast, one by one, as time passed and as our careers drew us to different directions. Having worked with one another every weeknight for several years, we’d become so close that breaking up hurt us more than most of our viewers (and maybe even our bosses) will ever know.

My funniest experience came when I was only a newnie at newscasting and I had to read a sports piece that was missing one vital word in the final script. The whole point of the story was that a congressman was complaining that the Philippine economy could not afford to hold the SEA Games in Manila at that time. But very confidently, I read this last line of the story to our audience, "Holding the SEA Games in Manila will cost the country P300." We then broke to a commercial as scheduled, during which my more seasoned co-anchor pointed out my mistake. It goes with out saying that my face went through several changes in coloration at that point, mostly on the redder side of the color spectrum.

Mike Enriquez,
anchor, Saksi, GMA 7: My funniest experience was when I spoke live on national television without knowing that I had no mike. So you can imagine my lips were moving but with no audio. So when I realized I had no mike I signaled my hand as if saying, "Sandali lang!" got the lapel mike and put it on me.

Angelique Lazo,
anchor, Arangkada Xtra Balita, RPN 9: One time when I was doing the weather report for TV Patrol, there was a fly hovering in front of my face. You know how hard it is to try to look unfazed and unaffected, but the fly had its own plan that day and it landed on my face, somewhere between my nose and cheek. I had to decide fast whether to ignore it or not, but I decided to brush it off with my hand saying "Lokong langaw ito!" At that time TV Patrol was known for ad libbing, so sometimes we could put in funny comments so it didn’t seem that bad.

Another time was when I had an exclusive interview with Julio Iglesias. We were a foot away from each other and he seemed fascinated or amused with my teeth. He said, "What beautiful teeth you have!" So I answered him in Spanish, "Muchos gracias!" Then my next question was in Spanish. He must have felt so at ease and relaxed that he suddenly gave me a kiss on the lips and the camera was still rolling. The plan was to edit it out so I was confident my assistant would take it out but when it was aired and played I was totally shocked and embarrassed, most especially since they were rewinding it around two to three times more. But they found it funny and I was subjected to a lot of teasing from Noli, Mel Tiangco and Ka Kiko.

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