Saturday, May 8, 2010

Gemma Bagayaua-Mendoza: Writing for change

It's the busiest season for Gemma, a journalist-mom who is the editor-in-chief of and a member of the Newsbreak team.

One of those behind the network's Boto Mo Ipatrol Mo, Ako ang Simula campaign, Gemma speaks of the online campaign as a powerful tool for citizens' involvement. "The challenge at the outset is how to break through the public apathy, illustrate how the coming elections is a make or break situation, and convince people that they have to get involved and keep informed."

Hours before the elections and on mother's day, let us get to know a small hero and her passion for change through the noble profession that she chose to take.

You in a nutshell: A slightly obsessive-compulsive mommy-journalist who likes to make butingting.

Who do you look up to? In general, people who are straightforward and passionate about their chosen profession(whatever that profession may be). Specifics would include my colleagues at Newsbreak, particularly our leader, Marites Vitug. Also look up to colleagues I worked with at the Senate, particularly my departed boss, Raul Roco, from whom I really learned a lot.

What inspires you the most? Imaginative and innovative people. People who are willing to take risks to make things happen.

How do you spell fun? A day at play with my little boys and pamangkins... watching a good movie with close friends.... dinner at a nice restaurant with my husband... a few hours by myself shopping for shoes or clothes.

Which part of your work do you find most meaningful? I like immersing myself in the field and getting a feel of the dynamics in different communities and translating those into stories. I like "sketching" (meaning illustrating in words) profiles of people I met and places I have visited.

What change do you want to see in this world? A lot of things need changing. The world is full of inequities.

What is your daily prayer? I learned this prayer in grade school and I have since seen the value in it: "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference."

What is or will be your greatest success? I'm not yet sure what it would be. There are a lot of things I'd like to be able to do. I'd like to write a book that people will actually read and more so one that will help society at large. More personally, I'd like to see my kids grow up to be reponsible and humane individuals.

Gemma is from Baao, Camarines Sur.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Bernadette de los Santos: Living the rural life

Living a life in the barrio is more than breathing fresh air and having a nice view of the mountains. It is about sharing opportunities and tools to improving other people's lives and building a peaceful community. Farmer, entrepreneur, artist, teacher Bidibidi shares her aspirations for her rural town, Baao as well as the source of her passion.

You in a nutshell
"My Life is My Art My Art is My Life....My life's works are not limited to my arts and crafts, my prose and poetry. . . My life is enriched by the smiles, the tears, the handshakes, the pats on my back, and all the small gestures of the persons I meet everyday. . . My life is mine to live, and am living it. . .

Who do you look up to?
I could not really think of someone, aside from my mother. Although this has really come late for me, I kinda realized I look up to her most, when I started living alone - no kids, no family. And I always catch myself wonderng how Ma was able to pull everything off, well, maybe not everything, but almost everything! And the very miracle she was able to do, that till now, always make my jaw drop, was to send me to Ateneo. That was, for me, the meanest feat she has to undergo and she pulled that one off!

I look up to any woman who stands strong and firm in the face of adversity and difficulty, and who does not not need to be told she could do it!

What inspires you the most?
The thought that somehow, somewhere, my Ma knows that I am doing good, is what inspires me the most. When she was still living, I always had that nagging feeling that I was not making her proud of me, what with the ups and downs of my life. The very last question I asked her, before she died, was, "Ma, have you ever been proud of me?" and she said. "Always". This one-word answer validated my being and made me spread my wings and soar! And what heights have I reached!

How do you spell fun?
I always find fun in everything I do, alone or with company. Fun for me is an uninterrupted time of immersion to whatever creative process I have my hands on, anywhere. It may be from the simplest task of sorting out my new stash of vintage fabrics, listening to the clinks of my buttons upon my tiled table or just sitting under a tree, looking up and letting myself be engulfed by the awe it creates in me. Fun is playing with colors, in my arts, in crafts.

Which part of your work do you find most meaningful?
I farm and I F.A.R.M. but these two are not work for me. They are my passion. The most meaningful part of it (if those two are what you are referring as work) is how they have allowed me to touch other people's lives. And in the process, these other people touch my life, too.

What change do you want to see in this world?
Right now, my world is Baao, it is a small world. But it is the world I chose to live in, and the world I want to see some changes made. I want to see a beautiful Baao. Beautiful is clean, orderly, peaceful and friendly. What I mean is, right now, those are the things that my Baao is not.

What is your daily prayer?
Please guide my thoughts, my actions. Give me the wisdom to know and the humility to accept that what happens today is upon your will and because you are God, you know best!

What is or will be your greatest success?
I am a successful person, in that, I live my life exactly how I want to live it - responsibly. My greatest success however, will be when I have passed on to the next generation my vision, my advocacy and they embrace it with open minds and hearts.