Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Remembering the man who wanted to win a pulitzer

How do we say goodbye to you Boyd?

It’s been three years since your assailant pulled the trigger in Jolo on November 12, 2004.

It is difficult to accept the fate that befell you so here we are, gathered today to share pieces of our memories of you. To many of us, you were not just a partner in coverage. You were a dear friend and touched the lives of journalists across the country.

It was your time Boyd, we gently let you go as you enjoy His
paradise, a place where there is no hurry to submit photos and where you can enjoy watching your favorite cartoons and play games online. No deadlines.

A year after the incident, murder charges were filed against two suspects. The police in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) said charges were filed in the office of the Sulu Provincial Prosecutor.

The head of the Task Force Lumawag then identified the suspects as Itting and Omar Sailani, both they said are members of the Abu Sayyaf group and wanted for kidnapping in Basilan in 2001. At that time they remained at large.

Two months later, then Southern Command chief Lt. Gen. Alberto Braganza said Itting Sailani was wounded in an encounter with members of the Marine Battalion Landing Team 9 (MBLT9) in Bus-bus, Jolo but escaped.

In June 20, 2007, the military said your perpetrators were slain by intelligence operatives while bathing at a river in Barangay Baiwas, Sumisip, Basilan. They still insisted it was the Sailani brothers who killed you.

I remember you.

Joy and I were on our way home when my cellphone rang four years ago. It was Dennis Sabangan, European Pressphoto Agency (EPA) Philippines chief, on the other line. Dennis usually calls when news breaks out or if he needs to verify information. He broke the news of your death while Joy and I were onboard a public utility vehicle nearing Bankerohan Bridge.

Dennis said over and over again, you wanted to be the Robert Capa of the Philippines.

Two or three weeks before you were killed, we had an online chat, the longest we had since you included me in your friends’ list. You were your usual obnoxious but lovable self – a character which we find endearing and frustrating at the same time.

I called you Boyd. You called me Yosel.

An early achiever in your age, you traveled to the outskirts of Mindanao, far down South and around the globe. Your latest conquest was a European football-crazed country, including Netherlands and Germany where you spent your first snowy Christmas.

Before we had that chat, Atty. Wakang and I met you at the old MindaNews office in General Luna Street on October 8 – our last glimpse of you.

The surprise and happy look on your face then was so comforting despite our rushing to go home to pack our things for a trip the next day. A trip that you called “for the poor” upon knowing we will be boarding the C130 cargo plane of the Philippine Air Force to Manila.

As we continue to kill time chatting, you called us again “pobre!” after knowing we didn’t push through with our original trip to Palawan (Wakang and I went to Manila, Baguio, Sagada, Bataan and Corregidor).

Of course our trip was nothing compared to your trips – on coverage or simply for leisure.

I recalled our first coverage together, which was purely accidental. The main purpose of joining you and Carol Arguillas (our bureau chief) in 1999 to cover the two missing climbers in Mt. Apo was for me to escape from the routinary “office mainstay” duties.

I can still remember how you smirked and patiently waited for me to answer Carol when she asked if I wanted to cover it and reminded me that it was my call.

You won people’s heart not through gentleness and kindness. You did it through intimidation.

I felt so rookie being with you in news coverage. You were full of life, your words full of sarcasm but peppered with truth.

You were a frequent flyer of the Air Force’s Huey helicopters just like Tatay Rene, your father. The 1999 coverage was my first and I was seated on the chair next to the pilots’ while you boarded the other chopper which was ferrying government and military officials. I couldn’t help myself but continually look at you, before both Hueys took off, just trying to get your attention and teach me how to buckle up. I ended covering my seatbelt with my jacket instead.

As we landed in Amas, North Cotabato for a short stopover before heading back to Davao, I went to your side and told you I didn’t buckle up during the entire flight. You laughed. You laughed Boyd and never stopped teasing me about it. You even announced it to other journalists.

PDI bureau chief Nico Alconaba was also your victim. On your way to Surigao on board a hired pick-up, the driver fell asleep and all of you ended on a ricefield.

Awaken by the incident, you said “murag wala na daw ta sa highway, humayan na siguro ni.”

Incidents of teasing, sarcasm and even intimidation complete your character.

Someday, others will be able to let you go and face the reality that you already joined the Chief Photographer up there.

He will be very glad to see you in His huge classroom, making you his very special student and perhaps be able to give you additional inputs in “Covering My children in Jolo 101.”

Filipino photojournalists raise their cameras during a sunset ceremony in your memory Boyd, even the Asia-Europe Foundation (ASEF) regret your early demise, you as their alumni. You were the first Filipino participant in the Asia-Europe Forum for Young Photographers in 2003 in Amsterdam, Netherlands in December of the same year, a partnership with the World Press Photo Foundation.

Even UNESCO Director-General Koichoro Matsura condemned your death.

Friday, November 23, 2007

MAN U's Theater of Dreams

Today, I got a text from Ewee, a senior football player in Davao City.
His dad passed away.
The news of his father's early demise was forwarded to other
football enthusiasts including Rizrap who is presently enjoying her two-week vacation in London.
Rizrap, a nurse in a travel profession is a football-fanatic.
She extended her condolences to Ewee and the rest of the family.
However, the "theater of dreams" caught her attention more.
Take this from a non ManU fan...
"I went to the Old Trafford last Monday.
It was blissful to be able to sit where Cistiano ronaldo, Rooney and Giggs
would sit in the dressing room, to hold and kiss the premiership trophy,
to sit in the director's box, to walk out from the dug out, etc. mura kog makahilak though I'm not a United fan."

Man U or not, football unites as all!
Together forever we will be singing the same Ole! song.
Ole! Ole! Ole! Ole, Ooole, Oooole, Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Inday's deal!


Kris: Magandang gabi mga kapamilya, as gameshow na Ito importante ang sagot as nag-iisang Katanungang Deal or no Deal. Ang ating player ngayong gabi ay walang iba kundi ang Fastest-rising household services manager na is Inday! [umentra is Inday at nagpalakpakan Ang mga Tao]

Kris: Ok Inday, choose a briefcase.

Inday: Kris, I would opt for case #4 please.

Kris: Briefcase # 4 is Sharmel. Inday, matanong ko lang, how did you come up with the number

Inday: Oh, do you really want to know Kris?

Kris: Oo naman. I'm sure kaya ko naman maintindihan yung sasabihin MO he.

Inday: The number 4 was acquired based on a probability distribution function that involves
Integrating up to an area greater than or equal to that random number which should be Generated between 0 and 1 for proper distributions.

Kris: Syet. Tanong tanong pa kasi he.

Kris: Ok Inday, choose 6 briefcases to open.

Inday: I would opt for 7, 24, 12, 2, 15 and 20.

Kris: Wait lang Inday, usually isa isa lang ang pagbubukas natin ng case…

Inday: Why is that? As if I can change the outcome if we're to open a case each time I blurt out a Number as opposed to opening each case immediately one after the other right?

Kris: Hayyy…babaguhin pa talaga mechanics (bulong as sarili).

Kris: Anwyay, di bale na lang nga… tuloy tayo. Number 7. Natalie buksan na!! [Yung audience sumisigaw ng LOWER!! LOWER!!!]Kris: Teka lang, bago natin buksan… Inday, usually ang mga contestants naten ay sumisigaw ng "LOWER" every time magbubukas ng case.

Inday: Kris, I guess that's not the way I was taught in grade school. You see, I was taught that we Should only use the comparative form of the word or add "ER" to the adjective if we are Comparing two things. And since it is only the first briefcase that we are going to open, we Have nothing to compare it to. Am I right? [natahimik ang audience at napaisip]

Kris: Oo nga no!Kris: Sige Natalie, Buksan MO na. [Ang laman ng briefcase 7 ay Piso… Palakpakan ang mga Tao]Kris: Good start! Ano yung next case MO ulit?

Inday: Case number 24 please.

Kris: Chloe… buksan na…[Audience sumisigaw ulit ng LOWER!! LOWER!!]Kris: Wait lang guys, Inday may nabuksan ng case baket di ka pa rin sumisigaw ng "Lower"?

Inday: Oh my goodness Kris, how long have you been doing this? Have you ever encountered a Value that is lower than a peso in this game? Tell me, is there any value left lower than the One we just opened? Sheesh.[Napaisip ulit ang audience at natahimik]

Kris: Aarrgghh!!!! Chloe buksan na lang nga, pati na rin yung 12, 2, 15 and 20 buksan na rin para Matapos na. [naiirita na] [At sunod sunod na ngang nabukas ang mga case in Inday][nag-ring ang phone]

Inday: Ahh Kris, to save more time can you tell Banker that I'm not interested in his first offer. In The history of this game of chance, I have yet to see someone accept a first offer from the Banker. It's quite pathetic and pretentious for contestants to pause and look around the Audience as if asking for advice before ultimately rejecting the first offer. I mean come on, Isn't that a waste of airtime?

Banker: Potahhh!!! [narinig as set kahit sarado ang kwarto in banker] - Ito ang unang pagkakataon Na marinig ng mga audience ang boses in banker as Deal or no Deal.
… dumating na as kalagitnaan ng show at mukhang minamalas na is Inday…

Kris: Ok Inday, mukhang kelangan na natin ng tulong as mga friends MO… sino ba yung Bigotilyong lalaki na naka-polo? Ano name nya?

Inday: Ahh, that's my master Mr. Montemayor.

Kris: Ahhh say pala yun, how cute naman pala he. Sige sir, give us a number.

Mr. Montemayor: Hi Kris, good evening. I'm a fan. I choose number 12 please.

Kris: Ano Inday ok ba yung number 12?

Inday: Whatever, we shouldn't bite the hand that feeds us anyway. Go ahead.

Kris: [taray naman] Sofie, buksan na! [ang laman ng briefcase 12 ay 5,000]

Kris: Good job! Sino naman yung gwapong lalake na naka jumper na katabi in Mr. Montemayor?
What's his name?

Inday: Ahh, that's my on again off again boyfriend, Dodong the gardener.

Kris: Ooohh, sya pala yun. Ok Dodong, give us a number!

Dodong: Hi babes, I choose briefcase 9 if it's ok with you. If not, it's ok with me as long as it's ok with you.

Kris: Ano raw? Inday, number 9 daw ok say0?

Inday: Yes Kris, it's fine with me.

Kris: Wow ang bait pag kay Dodong. Ederlyn… buksan na!!!
…nanlaki ang mga mata ni Inday at hindi sya makapaniwala. Natahimik at mukhang kakapusin sya ng hininga…

Inday: YOU!!! How dare you invade my moment! [nagulat si Kris at ang mga audience sa reaksyon ni Inday. Nagpatawag si Kris ng commercial break at nagpakuha ng tubig para kay
Inday.]Nagkatitigan sina Inday at Ederlyn. Nakangisi si Ederlyn habang hawak ang briefcase ni Inday.

Ederlyn: Pinapangako ko, Inday… pagbukas luluhod ang mga tala! hahahahaha!

Inday: What? Can you speak up? What are you mumbling up there. Can somebody give her a microphone please?

Kris: Ano ba!! Tama na nga ang drama ninyo, Ederlyn buksan mo na ang case at umexit ka na kung ayaw mong mapalitan! (naiirita na si Kris)
Dali-daling binuksan ni Ederlyn ang briefcase at ang laman ay… P3,000,000.Nanghinayang ang mga audience… Ang mga natirang values ay 250, 1K, 20K, 50K, and 500K.

Inday: NooOoo…. (sabay tingin kay Dodong at napapaluha), how could you…

Dodong: I'm so sorry Inday, please forgive me.

Kris: Hayyy, drama again. Ang offer ni banker sa pagbabalik ng Kapamilya, Deal.. or No Deal! [pagtapos ng commercial break… mukhang composed na ulit si Inday]

Kris: Inday, are you okay? Ang offer ni banker ay 99 thousand pesos. 'Sing rami siguro ng pilipinong pinadugo mo na ilong. Is it a Deal or No Deal? Tahimik lang si Inday tilang may kinocompute sa ulo habang ang mga audience ay nagsisigawan ng "No Deal", ang iba naman ay "Deal".

Kris: Wait lang, kung mapapansin ninyo we have only have 5 cases left, and among those 5, apat doon ay mas maliit na value…
Inday: Kris, do you mind? Can I do my own thinking?Natameme si Kris, pati ang audience ay natahimik.

Kris: Taray to the max! (pabulong sa sarili)

Inday: Ok, I'm ready. Upon looking at the reality of the situation, 80% of the cases left have at least 49K less than the banker's offer. The only way I can do better than what is offered is that if my case contains the 500k or I'd get to open one of the four lower values. But I have to keep in mind that there's only 20% probability that this would happen. I have to take note, however, that the banker's offer is roughly around 15% lower than the offer I expected based on the arithmetic mean of the values left.

Kris: Lorddd… panaginip ba 'to? Ayokonaaa….

Inday: Accepting a deal for less than the mean should generally be regarded as a weak decision so I would say, NO DEAL!Limang briefcase na lang ang natitira at kasama na doon ang case ni Inday…

Kris: My God, nakaka-stress itong episode na ito ha. Baka dumugo na rin ang ilong ko sa'yo

Inday. Sige Inday, go ahead and choose 1 briefcase!

Inday: Ok Kris, I choose briefcase #5 please?

Kris: Briefcase #5! Mimi bago mo buksan yan I would first like to thank Figliarina by Schubizz for my sandals, Bambi Fuentes for my hair and make-up and Pepsi Herrera for my gown tonight.

Kris: Ok Mimi, buk…

Inday: Ahh Kris, can I also take time to thank a few people? I mean, I did save us a few minutes of airtime right?

Kris: ("kapal naman talaga ng mukha"…bulong sa sarili) Sige, ok lang go ahead. (naka-smile pa rin)

Inday: Thanks! Yes, I would like to thank Frank Provost for my hair and make-up, Jimmy Choo for my sandals and my dear friend Oscar dela Renta for my gown tonight.BLAG!! Tinumba ni Kris ang podium at nagwalk-out. Hindi na natapos ang show kaya't binigyan na lang ni Banker si Inday ng kalahating milyon para sa kanyang oras.

Inday: Oh, and thanks to the people of Cartier for sending me these nice earrings for tonight!
[Ito ang isa sa mga un-aired episode ng Kapamilya, Deal or No Deal]