Behind the ink

I’ve always loved writing. This blog is the concrete evidence on how passionate I am with my every entries or write-ups that’s why when my school made us choose on what club to join, I chose journalism.

What’s funny is that my mindset before circulated about this foolish idea that journalism is all about literary entries (e.g poems, comics, and etc). When we first had a meeting (that was July) I’ve never thought that there are different sections in journalism and that it is all about issues, never flowery words nor literary fictions.

I was shocked. Was too ignorant, yet I grabbed the chance. Months passed and September came, time to prepare for the upcoming DSPC Contest. Supposed to be a screening within the people who volunteered must happen but due to a few students who participated, we were immediately assigned on where particular section we want to write.

Ikaw Sumanting, asa man ka?

Woah okay chill muna. I really did not have any idea on the sections stated. The slots left were Sports and Editorial and I couldn’t choose, really. My adviser, who is also a sportswriter before, assured me to write sports in the english category. He told me he will train me to win. I bit the chance.

I was already happy with this new opportunity when a moment of downside happened and I could not find my rhythm. I was struggling to move forward. I was not inspired enough to learn new things and to appreciate blessings. Everything happened so fast that the next thing I knew, I backed out.

The moment I backed out, I felt the contraction within me that I just let a once in a lifetime opportunity slip out my hands. I couldn’t say I was depressed but I was so down that time. What ifs and possibilities did not stop to invade my thoughts as well as the regrets and disappointments.

I really felt the jealousy inside me when the journalists were already excused from their classes. I want to come back that time but I knew that I should stand my decision. Until one time, the Filipino School Paper Adviser told me if I want to write again, with no hesitations, I accepted it.

I was so happy, beaming with joy, and wanted to dance my emotions out. I was assigned as a feature writer (lathalain) in a collaboration event. I did not know the rules or the essentials in writing a feature article that time but I did not care! All I knew that time is finally, I am back in journalism.

I was so eager and motivated to learn. I was not trained strictly by our coach but he really helped me a lot. He pointed out my mistakes and was patient the whole time. I embraced my lapses and made it as a stepping block to write another article. We all write handwritten articles thus, ballpens were a must that time. My hands were aching by hours of writing and erasing and then when I passed it, my coach will give me another task then back to writing again. In trainings, everyday I was asked to write 2 articles (school time). I did not have any background about this so it was really a hard time adjusting and fully understanding my work. It took me weeks before I slowly understand the correct flow, and the right words to choose for an enticing paragraph.

Another blessing came. Before, I was asked to compete in a collaborative event but this time, I was put for the individual contest. I was nervous and pessimist about that idea but yeah, I took the chance.

I did not won on my specific contest but some of us were able to go to regionals; this gave us the chance to produce a school paper. And the game begins.

School paper is what they called “totoong labanan”. This is where every school who has a regional competitor must give a school paper containing all the issues gathered within and outside the school. All sections have a particular number of pages. In my case, as a feature writer, I need to fill a 4-paged section.

Both english and filipino chose a 16-paged school paper and since we were only given less than a month to prepare, after resting for a week since the DSPC contest, we were excused in our classes and slept in school. Literally slept in school.

Day and night we made articles. Being a journalist does not mean being fixed on your section, you must be flexible that’s why I did not only became a feature writer, i became a news writer, sci-tech, and a translator of articles. What made the stay more frustating was that most of the writers (especially english writers) did not help in the school paper that’s why we filipino writers were not only writing filipino articles but also english (ugh)

The english school paper adviser wanted to back out since she was the only one left working for the paper. She became our motivation to continue. ‘Cause if she did not give up in that moment then we can also do it together. We faced so many issues and criticisms, whether its from the teachers or co-students but we did not let that get on our way. We know what we are fighting for and our love for journalism is just something that cannot be easily bend by hatred.

We endured sleepless nights, scolds, sickness, and fought tardiness. Pens ran out of inks, and papers were all over but we pursued. There were moments where we just talk to each other about how stressful it is in the eyes of the ignorant(lol sorry for the word) the things we are doing and that why other people could not appreciate the heart we put into this.

To make the long story short, we were able to pass a school paper. And guess what, we were the last in the Tagum Division to pass a school paper. I was there in the moment of passing. Both of our advisers did not sleep that time just to continue the lay-outing. Only two of us journalists were called to go out just to accompany them. We printed the paper, taped the paper, and passed the paper without a full hope of winning. The paper was passed just to pass. We were aiming for the nationals but we were already negative that our errors will overflow and all our hardworks will be wasted.

Not until yesterday morning, that our Filipino SPA announced in our GC that both the Ang Banyuhay and The Sentinel are qualified for nationals!!! Isn’t that the best news eveeeerrr?

We immediately accompanied our english adviser(since our fil cannot go) and went to Davao! Hay what a day, really. All the sections in Sentinel and even the lay-out won and placed within the top 10; same goes with the Ang Banyuhay (that means my section also won and placed 6th in whole region 11!).

I was jumping out of joy because the works we made and the hardships we overcame were paid off.

Who would have thought the the last school to pass will secure a spot for the national competition? I just cannot put into words the happiness I’m feeling for our adivisers who did not give up on us. I was learning the whole time and still learning as of the moment yet they accepted all our flaws and did not hesitate to hone us more in any aspects.

At the end of this entry, I just want to thank everyone. To the SPAs, teachers, co-writers, and photographers, my heartfelt gratitude are with all of you for support and by staying together despite the hard times. To our families who understood or situations and even supported us whether through financial or moral though we barely sleep on our own houses that time. To the Big guy up there, thank you so so so much for repaying our sacrifices, sufferings and hardworks. None of these will happen without your grace.

Every articles might just be read in a range of 3-5 minutes but let me remind you that we thought of that for hours and for how many pens stopped working just to come up with that single portion of the paper. We all have stories, and journalists are there to help you share that.

I did not regret what happened. Maybe I was meant to back out at first to be assigned in Feature which I’m currently in love now. They say what we’re doing is very tiring but let me say this, if you really love something, you will not regret every moment you spent for it, whether it be a rocky or a smooth one.

Right now, we’ll gonna prepare again for the NSPC and strengthen more our articles. The fact that we are in for the nationals is something we should be proud of. My experiences as a first-timer are more than what I expected of and I surely won’t forget ever bit of it. Thank you, journalism, for making me love my stay here in Tagum and for giving me the answer of the question I’e been trying to ask myself since I got here.

You answered my question on what really is my purpose why I need to transfer here. Maybe this is it. Maybe this is my purpose 🙂


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