I started writing for the dailies when my friend Tals asked me to come and join the team of Super back in 2007 when Tim Yap moved to the Philippine Star and started Supreme and brought a whole bunch of Super writers with him. The few regular writers and columnists of Super kept the section afloat and Tals asked me to come aboard to help them out with articles. This was sometime around 2007 and I had just started done my interview with Chalk magazine to come in as their Features Editor.
After seven years of freelancing and writing on assignment for magazines and, very infrequently, for the lifestyle sections of newspapers, 2007 marked my entrance into the world of publishing with any real set of teeth. All of a sudden I had space I could fill and I enjoyed having a platform to explore pop culture through writing.
It’s now 2015 and in the eight years since that time, I’ve become the Associate Editor for Features for Metro Society, transferred to the Philippine Star to contribute to the YoungStar section under Paolo Lorenzana and then in 2010, I just disappeared, flying to Bacolod after surviving a difficult near-fatal battle with meningitis.
Occasionally, the new editor-in-chief of YoungStar, Raymond Ang, would ask me to contribute but it was also few and far between. I was too old to write for that section and I would be heavily edited, constantly being asked to revise my tone and be more encouraging, more hopeful, more fair.
It’s 2015 and I’m not writing for the Arts & Culture section of the Manila Bulletin. Over the course of the last few years, I’ve been reading a lot more articles from the Bulletin on my Facebook feed and I’ve noticed that it has solid writing back there and it’s quite an impressive section.
A few months back, I was asked to contribute for an article on the Panorama, the Sunday magazine of the paper. Now, it’s May and I just finished shooting a feature three days ago on a piece I’m writing for the Arts & Culture section, hopefully coming out in the next few weeks, and also three days ago, my first article in the Monday edition of the newspaper is out.
Read it here: App Attack.
The article really just came to me, through a friend, who asked me if I could help him get the news out of this app he had just developed to connect people to local galleries and receive updates on upcoming exhibits and art shows. I downloaded the app and checked it out and when I saw that it was pretty cool, I then sent a pitch to the Bulletin team and they said, “Write it.”
If I can get a regular byline in the Arts and Culture section, putting out articles at least twice or thrice a month for Manila Bulletin, I’ll have been a contributor for all three major newspapers of the country.
I don’t honestly know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I don’t know if that’s an honour or if it is something to be ashamed of — that they never kept me or tried to get me to stay — but I like the idea that I’ve changed and evolved as a writer. When I was in Super, I helped discover things in the city and helped make it a “thing.” This was my first stint at writing movie reviews and I did pretty good reviews back then, more like pop culture analysis than reviewing the film on a technical standard. I got to go on a couple of out of the country trips as a member of the press and that was pretty cool.
In YoungStar, I was able to really learn to get into the psyche of the younger generation and really get a soul’s-eye-view into their issues. I would have just written them off but because I was working with them and writing about them, I had to take a step back and be objective and saw more there than I normally would have. It was a significant eye-opener for me. It opened up my world in ways and taught me to hold back all judgments until you get the full story. That was extremely necessary.
And now, I’m hoping to become a regular contributor to the Manila Bulletin’s Arts & Culture section and I hope that it will bring me closer to the world of art and the artistic. I want to learn. I want to continue this exposure to the art world.
App Attack is my first foray and I hope that it continues to bring me closer to the time when I’m putting out my own art that it would be unethical for me to continue writing about it, because I’m an artist at that time.
I’ve got my fingers crossed.