“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.” — Leonard Cohen
I grew up in a happy family, but I do not deny, that it was a hard life, especially for my parents. I witnessed, and having a memory which can remember even the tiniest conversation I could have with anyone; I remember my parents do most what they can do best in a day. My father was tending the farm in a land that lent to my grandparents and doing other sidelines he could earn from, my mom waiting for my father at home — lots of times worried, and my aunt who took care of me and brought me in the town proper for my studies. Starting I was six, I only see my parents on occasions like holidays and summer vacation. I knew it was hard for them. However, today I realized how they put their faith to the Almighty and for the power of education just for my bright future.
Development Communication was introduced to me as a college course a year before High School graduation. I had the opportunity to be oriented by one of the famous universities in Cagayan de Oro City. I am one of the scholarship grantees of that university in the upcoming college year and initially decided to learn about Communication since I always loved writing.
I was ecstatic. It is always a magic learning about a knowledge you are always fascinated to know deeply.
However, though free from tuition fee, I remembered myself looking worried for the uniform, books, daily transportation expenses, miscellaneous, and other school requirements. Before I finish my enrollment process for Bachelor of Science in Development Communication in which I would supposedly major in Journalism, I found myself inquiring in a different state college. Because our university is Science and Technology university, Communication course has to be embedded with Technology-related programs, reason for my undergraduate program course, Bachelor of Science in Technology Communication Management. Thereafter enrolling in the course, I thought to myself that there would be right time for everything, there would be an exact time for me to delve fully in Development Communication. That was year 2010.
Though enrolled in a government-supported university, it was still not easy to be in college. There were still months of struggle. I still saw my father feeling very worried before the examination period, my mother crying and even my aunt who loves me dearly too. I experienced writing for a promissory note.
However, because of some help coming from family and friends and an over a hundred percent amount of faith for more or less four years, I was able to graduate.
I cannot believe and cried during graduation.
I thank my parents for not losing hope and for fervently praying and attending church service which pushed us to keep on believing. It was indeed a miracle from God above.
Real world was not friendly. I was a local newspaper writer for more than 2 years. I tried an office job on the newspaper’s sister-company, and finally got employed under government service. No matter how hard things were, my experience in the corporate world, in the media and government service all contributed to what I had become and to become.
Every end of the year, I look back on my life and I get so emotional because my family and I always had struggles to deal with, but we always insert smiles in the middle of those, and those momentous feeling of happiness made me live.
Taking up Master of Development Communication is a dream come true for me, after several years of overcoming struggles that has to be prioritized in that span of time. That is more or less ten years.
We always hope for our society to be more friendly and supportive to the coming generation and us, aiming to be official Development Communication practitioner, will be in a mission of establishing and then sustaining that kind of society. It is through being a forerunner in programs that promote the provision of a high quality education and livelihood to the people and empowering citizens to be the best that they can be through producing researches with rich and quality content.
I know I always loved participating in social works, connecting people and communicating their concerns. I remember my experience in the mountains of Karkum and Sapad, Lanao del Norte where I was tasked to interview beneficiaries of livelihood program under the government. I had a glimpse of their daily lives. Going in their place, we need to cross river and springs, endure the heat of the sun and climb up and go down from the hills and mountain.
Upon, interviewing, beneficiaries said they were thankful that the government reached them because they were living a hard life. Facilities had been given to them. These would help them in grinding their corn produce, thus they could turn it into a food staple or products to be traded in the market.
I also had an immersion at a remote, coastal barangay of Lanao del Norte. There, I saw houses I cannot easily enter because floors might break in one move, that I interviewed from the outside of the beneficiaries’ home. I listened to them going out from their shell and tell their stories to me. How they are poverty-stricken in their lives, how wonder they could feel realizing a day passed without food and wondering again what would they become tomorrow.
It was a painful experience. Listening to painful stories I could completely relate from my years ago. It was there I realized how hard it is to get over from the past since I could reminisce our hard years through my job. However, at some point, I thought of it is an inspiration, a beautiful pain and a kind of gem at the center of what I am doing. I am reminded of my mission and role and it is to help marginalize people realize their own and best potential to be contributor themselves to the overall development.
My job in Philippine Information Agency is mostly administrative tasks. However, I am also exposed to field works like I used to be when I was part of media industry as I worked as Reporter of Mindanao Daily News, a local newspaper in Cagayan de Oro City for more than two years.
I am very grateful to have this opportunity to be given a role in an office that is involved in decision-making for the betterment of life of Filipino people. Our office focus on production of traditional mass media and new digital media, communication research projects and activities, revitalization of grassroots communication, technical assistance, media relations, trainings, inter-agency meetings and events, strengthening of provincial presence, networking with communicators and general administrative support services, among others.
One of the most significant experiences I had with PIA is when we composed The Mindanao Hour Communication Command Center in Iligan City, the information center for the government response during the Marawi Siege. We are one of those agencies which firstly responded in the crisis. We handled the daily press briefings since Day 1. Even we hear bombings from not so far away as the Defense continued to defend Marawi, we visited evacuation centers, hospitals and even funeral homes to deliver the essential information and share to the country how devastated Marawi and its people were. The sight was heartbreaking. I was assigned once in a presidential visit in one funeral home in Iligan City. I so much despise funeral homes and its atmosphere but what is it compared to the mourning families inside it. President Rodrigo Duterte that time visited the remains of the people who sacrificed their lives for Marawi.
Our assignments six months after the siege changed as we were called back in the Regional Office in Cagayan de Oro City.
Months after, specifically by 2020, my work transformed into a routinely tasks, especially this pandemic that activities like forum, face-to-face meetings and interpersonal communication were put into a halt. Personally, the situation pushed me to seek greater purpose. Learning more about Development Communication came as a guiding light to me, and furtherly provided me the stairs that I have to climb step by step to reach my desired goal, which is again to serve the marginalized communities.
I realized that there is so much that I can do. Honestly, I am very much excited to learning more about Development Communication and the communication strategies and processes I could adopt to reach out to fellow people who need my services. I am looking forward to the amazing ideas that would further my knowledge and empower me in the job that I am doing, and whichever my path would allow me to do. I hope Dev Com would help me find my light, ignite the flame and empower me to revitalize my life’s purpose in serving the communities in need — the kind of community that both gave me deep heartaches and overwhelming inspiration.