The Siege of Zamboanga’s Youngsters by Makoi Popioco

A little boy cowered behind an overturned wooden chair, avoiding gunfire. The other boy breathed heavily, he dashed his small feet forward and with his frail hands, he fired. The boy hiding behind the chair got shot, fell down, and played dead. I raised my hand, pointed my index finger, pulled the invisible trigger in my thumb,…

The Murder of a Minor in Malabon

I have covered numerous murder incidents and similar crimes. But I encountered a curious case over the weekend: the death of 16-year-old Jerico Riano Santos whose wake was merely in a sidewalk in Barangay Tanong, Malabon City. Days after I covered the story, it still disturbs me. He sustained two gunshots in the head and had signs…

Ormoc and the Onslaught of Super Typhoon Yolanda

It may seem like a movie. But there was no exaggeration to it. It was real. And I was there. Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) became one of the strongest recorded tropical cyclones in global history. On November 8, 2013, thousands of people died in Tacloban, Leyte, my mother’s hometown. It wasn’t just the strong wind…

Frustrations of a Photojournalist

When international football star David Beckham visited the Philippines with his team LA Galaxy, he had a clinic for kids before facing the Philippine Azkals. I was there. He called me Mr. Photographer. Beckham was an exception though. Everytime someone would call me a photographer, I would cringe. I hated the term. Let me count the…

Of Rape and Other Demons: The Story of Anria Espiritu

Anria, my second cousin, it’s such an irony how I only got to know more about you now that you’ve passed away. We lived in the same barangay. Our houses were no more than three kilometers away from each other. You were just four years older. We could have made more childhood memories together. But we…

Oda sa Telebisyon

Black and white at de-pihit pa noon ang lipatan ng channel ng TV at mauuso pa lang ang remote control, isa nang ritwal sa aming pamilya ang panonood ng balita sa gabi. Salimpusa pa lang ako sa Barangay Day Care Center at kasagsagan ko pa lang sa pagtuklas sa ba-be-bi-bo-bu nang makilala ko ang balita. Dahil…

Reporter Notes: Prequel

For young people who wish to become news reporters, there are no shortcuts, formulas and guarantees. Luck may be a factor. But so are persistence, patience and passion. We all have unique individual trails. The footsteps of others should only serve as a guide but you have to make your own way. I’m not an expert. But…