Life Changes When TV Producer Meets Little Girl | Pinay.com
Ten years ago, I was about to quit my dream job. Everybody thought I was a failure. I thought I was a failure.
Ever since I was a kid, I knew I wanted to write. I always wanted to be on top of everything I did. I always dreamt of making a difference. When I landed a job as a researcher in one of the Philippines’ leading networks, I thought it was the start of all my dreams coming true. I wanted to do documentaries. I wanted to do stories about social issues. I was sort of an activist back in college. I have always believed that each person can help in making a change in her own little way, and I thought writing stories that expose issues and inspire people will be my way of making this world a better place.
I was ten months at my job when the world seemed to crash down on me. My dream job suddenly turned into a nightmare. One story failed after another. Nobody believed in me, or so I thought.
My story is about second chances and perseverance. It’s about my struggles to be a TV Producer—and a 10-year-old girl who opened my eyes to what struggling in life really means. Mary Rose was a malnourished child from Tondo when I met her in July 2012. She opened my eyes and changed my life.
I am now the executive TV producer of GMA’s Reel Time and part of the team that produced an international award-winning documentary. My life path took a turn in 2004 when my producer who was promoted to an executive job got me into her new show as a segment producer. It was a children’s show and not in the list of what I thought I would do, but working with kids and producing stories for them taught me patience and boosted my creativity.
My new job brought me to different places in and out the country. The experiences have broadened my horizon and increased my appreciation of things. I’ve come to love the format and thought that I’ve found a new passion.
After almost eight years of working with children and feature programs, I was given a chance to produce documentaries. Yes, my ultimate dream finally came true! The new program format did not work out instantly. I had my fair share of mistakes but I was determined to do better. I treated every story as a newborn child and gave it my utmost regard and attention.
Then came Mary Rose. She and her three other siblings, ages 9, 6, and 5 years old, all suffer from deteriorating health condition because their mother could not afford to feed them. My team decided to produce a story about Mary Rose and about malnutrition in the Philippines. It was entitled Reel Time Presents “Salat” (Bone-dry or lacking.)
Barely ten months after the documentary was aired, it won the prestigious George Foster Peabody Awards. The Peabody Awards is considered broadcast media’s equivalent of the Pulitzer Prize. Then came one international award after the other and local recognitions followed.
This documentary did not only change my life but has also made a very significant difference in the life of a little girl. I couldn’t ask for more. Mary Rose was once a salat. She lacked nutrition. She lacked parental love and care. She lacked hope. After airing the documentary on national TV, her life took a 360-degree turn; help started pouring in. (Read more stories on good-hearted PInays: “Nurse Breastfeeds Babies Not Her Own” and “Filipina Teacher Gives Inmates Second Chance.”
A couple of viewers who were touched by her story treated the whole family to sumptuous meals and a day at a park. Some gave her school supply, clothes, and groceries. Her American sponsors transferred Mary Rose and her family into a decent home in Bulacan. They supported her and her siblings’ education. Their health is no longer in peril.
When I was a little girl, I used to believe in fairy tales—in ill-treated paupers and servants turning into princes and princesses—and in happily ever after. I still do. I’ve seen Mary Rose transform with my own eyes. I’ve been transformed too—from an insecure researcher to a top-notch documentary producer. This is my true story. (Pinay.com interviewed The Veronica’s Chronicles’ host. Read her career path in “TV Host Shares Her Story Between Takes.“)
Currently the Executive Producer of the Peabody, New York Fest, and Japan Prize awardee, Reel Time. Reel Time is GMA News TV’s top-rating reality documentary program.Without a host or narrator, the format of the show takes an unfiltered look at the lives of real people and real stories.
The Peabody Awards is considered the Pulitzer Prize of broadcast media. GMA Network is one of the Philippines’ top media company.
Sept. 12, 2018
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