On February 18, 2015, I shall officially say goodbye to my life as a television news reporter. Fifteen years in the news industry, the life I have had was marked with many daunting challenges but ones that were always topped with sweet triumphs.
It has always been my dream to work in the television industry! Growing up in the hilly, quaint city of Pagadian in the Zamboanga peninsula, I developed a romantic relationship with our television set, longing for that day when I shall finally find work in this industry. So as soon as I finished college in Silliman University in Dumaguete, my mother loaned 3,000 pesos from a good neighbor, handed it to me so I could take a boat to Manila.
Like many probinsyanos, I also believed Manila is the place to be — the golden pot at the end of the rainbow. There were various challenges but I kept my peace. Nothing discouraged me; I believed that it was here in this crazy and chaotic Metro Manila that I would find the path God had prepared for me. I nurtured in my heart the promise to be one with my love: television. I successfully got into ABS-CBN. Like walking on cloud nine, it was a beautiful feeling. I said to myself with full conviction: “This is it pansit!”
But years went on, I still found myself wondering.
I was in a television giant, but I was not doing anything related to television. I was with a tiny group of young journalists that became the pioneers behind the newborn online platform, ABS-CBN Interactive. Like a new family struggling to make ends meet, I persevered with our daily grind of news writing from a very small office behind the walls of the DZMM radio studio. In that small spot where we felt like informal settlers, I shared desks and literally rubbed elbows with my officemates. We instantly knew who sat beside us without having to look at each other. We were young and idealistic, learning the ropes together while cultivating friendships.
I must not forget that it was here that I found the man I swore to live forever with. One day, he came to visit his friend, one of our editors. A tall guy with a good amount of credentials on his back, a CPA who was studying law at UP, my very good friend had an instant crush on him. She whispered to me: “Hey Claire, he is very papa-ble.” I agreed. But it was not known to me that fate would take a different course. The guy married me. My friend, of course, was just as happy.
I found the love of a lifetime, and we had brilliant kids. But deep within my heart, my infatuation with television remained. On my fifth year, I bid farewell to my colleagues and supportive bosses to work for GMA News.
Like in all romance, it was not always easy and fun. There were days when my work as a news reporter would drain me. This work is demanding. It wants my time, more of my time, my full attention, my energy, my sanity and all. It wants me to learn much faster, make no room for mistakes because that is how it is to be. People are watching and they can be unforgiving for blunders. One time, I mumbled quite badly in a live report and in just a matter of minutes, my Twitter account was swamped with criticisms.
But I also learned that humility is a virtue that can pull you through. Critics, while they are loud and mean at the start, will eventually treat you well when they spot your humility in taking criticisms and your will to improve. Through the years, I felt so at home with GMA News. I was ready to grow old here. The feeling was further bolstered by having friends who shared my passion, who celebrated with my triumphs, and who listened when I was down.
End of the Road
We cannot always control life; it is mysterious. Sometimes, it takes you out of your comfort zone. You’re lucky if it brings you to a path where friendly forces are waiting to greet you with a warm smile. Sometimes, there are paths that are totally strange. In these situations, going back or remaining in place are not options. You need to keep moving forward.
On my ninth year as a TV correspondent, I woke up to an unexplainable darkness; I thought I was having a nightmare. I fumbled my way around and then hit a dead end. The darkness consumed me. I panicked. I tried to stand up only to find myself lost further in the wilderness. I only wanted a way out but I didn’t know which way to go. I was never that afraid.
I remembered what my mother told me when I was battling homesickness during my first few days in college. She wrote me a letter and comforted me in these words: “You are a fighter. You have the heart of a lion. You will not only survive, you will grow even in the harshest condition.” When darkness becomes more poignant, fighting also takes on a different level. It is fighting a demon that is out to control your soul, plays with your heart, and tinkers with your mind, viciously injecting it with strong lethal doses of negativity, hopelessness and bitterness. Fighting requires an extraordinary amount of strength from deep within you. And your only weapon is faith.
In darkness, it is hard to focus on flickers of hope. It is easier to wallow in self-pity.
But like in the womb or in the mud, life can take form in the darkness. I read it before from authors Ed and Deb Shapiro: “A water lily doesn’t grow in a pure mountain lake but in murky, muddy and dank pond water thick with weeds, and yet its beautiful flower appears on the surface totally pristine. It is the irritation of a grain of sand that causes an oyster to make a pearl: no irritation, no pearl.”
Eventually I found my way out of the darkness. I saw my pearl. I found my purpose. I realized I am better at telling good news, inspiring people, and teaching love by showing love. After a year of contemplation, of quiet reflection, on my tenth year as a news reporter, I made the decision to let go.
A Farewell and a Hello
I loved television news so much that it felt like a break-up. I broke into tears when I handed my resignation letter to my boss. Sobbing like a little child, I thanked her for pushing me to grow, for equipping me with the necessary skills, the same skills I am maximizing now in building something from scratch — my own production house. I may have left GMA News but I still have my passion for the craft, the name that GMA Network has given me, and the determination to make it there.
I am truly grateful for the kind provision of my husband and of my sisters, for the unwavering support of friends and relatives, for the trust of the companies that put their resources in, and for the gift of talent and commitment of the people who are working day and night in helping me pull this humble endeavor up. On February 21, 2015, my team shall be giving you our first offering. Luv U Pet airs on Saturdays at 4 pm via GMA News TV. Our show aims to inspire all of us to become more responsible pet owners and for us to learn love and compassion from animals that can afford to give us love, which is pure and unconditional.
[Entry 69, The SubSelfie Blog]
About the Author:
Claire Delfin was a Senior News Correspondent for GMA News who has covered beats such as the Department of Foreign Affairs, Department of Health and Malacañang among others. After 15 years as a news reporter, she leaves GMA Network and takes the helm of her own production house, Claire Delfin Media.