May 02, 2013

Becoming a Rappler Ambassador

I first encountered Rappler when they visited our university last year. Although I was busy minding my thesis surveys at the time, I was able to listen to some of their talks. I was equally impressed and inspired, hence, they've been on my radar ever since. Earlier this year, I was contacted by Buena, a member of Rappler, through one of my friends. At first, I brushed it off as a mundane thing. Little did I know that it was going to lead me to a lot of possibilities.

So on April 26, I went on a boat ride alone for the very first time. I'm slightly aquaphobic because of my inability to swim, so I was so hesitant about the trip. The thought of letting an opportunity pass me by proved to have more weight though, so I decided to go out of my comfort zone for once.

The port was packed that day. I felt lost in the crowd because I barely knew where to go. While we were being inspected, the lady officer paid special attention to my bulging stomach. To my horror, she thought that I was pregnant and that I was deliberately keeping it a secret. Without thinking, I immediately told her that my stomach was always too big for my small frame. After the ordeal, the thought of finally reducing crossed my mind.

The boat ride itself was okay, though quite boring. I might dedicate a review for 2Go Travel in the near future.

After the boat ride, I finally arrived in Manila! Luckily, N was there to take me to our hotel which was located in Pasig. Who knows what would've happened if he wasn't there to guide me to my destination. Anyway, we were honored accommodations at Richmonde Hotel. Just by walking in, you already get the sense that the hotel is a classy one. To be honest, I felt so poor the moment I set foot in it.

Just like 2Go Travel, I also want to dedicate a separate review about Richmonde in another post. So more info about the hotel will have to wait.

There were 20 ambassadors all in all. It seemed that we all were quite shocked when we learned that we were handpicked from a list of 200 candidates. I felt honored to be there. It was then that I realized that I was foolish to even think of turning Rappler down the first time they got in touch with me.

Throughout the course of the workshop, we had separate sessions for particular topics.

Maria Ressa, Rappler's CEO, gave the opening remarks. Chay Hofileña, on the other hand, was tasked to discuss about basic journalism. It made me feel as if I was in the classroom again, with all my fellow Comm classmates. Also, it made me realize that actually learned something back in college. I used to believe that most of our teachers failed to equip us with the right amount of knowledge needed for the real world.

During another session, Miriam Grace "Gigi" Go informed us about the expectations that comes with being a citizen journalist for Rappler. I was finally able to narrow down my duties. Before this workshop, I was quite clueless about what I can contribute to the social news network.

As for gadget use, we had a session with a familiar face. Michael Josh Villanueva briefed us on what phone applications would serve us well during the election coverage. He even advised us on what to pack when going on the field. On a side note, the number of gadgets he owns made my eyes widen.

Our final session was with Lilibeth Frondoso, Rappler's production head. She discussed about the basics of photography and videography.

One last talk with Maria Ressa at Rappler HQ.

All in all, I feel as if I've learned quite a lot even if the workshop was only two days long. Also, I'm quite thankful because I was able to meet 19 other people who share the same passion for journalism and writing. It's too bad I wasn't able to get to know everybody so much, but even so, I felt as if a bond was somehow formed among us. When I set out on the field on May 13, I can rest assured that I'm not completely alone on this mission because my fellow ambassadors would be facing the same battlefield in their respective areas.

I feel as if I've changed somehow. Before the workshop, I felt so uninspired and sluggish. After it, I felt enlightened. I was moved.

"Tomorrow begins today."

Note: Sorry for the mediocre quality of the photos. I didn't have my DSLR with me, so I only used my phone.

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