They Called me, Aruwana
Posted July 19, 2008on:
For more than a month of staying in Davao del Norte for my On-the-Job training, I had experience things I never expected to experience before. I had been to the rebel infested mountains of Monkayo, into the jungles of Pantukan, Compostela Valley, seen the beauty of the famous Maragusan, hobnobbed with the richest and the poorest, ate with governors and mayors, shook the hands of famous political figures, joined a boodlefight with soldiers, got stranded in the cold mountain of Araibo, ComVal and fell in love with the beauty of Davao Oriental.
I had been to the most beautiful and most remote places of Region XI, yet a memory stands out in my mind like a beacon in a dark night.
“If you have a choice, don’t go into journalism…”
A simple statement over breakfast that caught me off guard and left me confused. Hearing those words from a veteran journalist made me puzzled, but I am sure it was not meant as a joke.
To say the least, my trip to Mati, Davao Oriental is not the most exciting or the most adventurous among the many assignments I was given. I was there, with a senior reporter and five other journalists from Davao City, to attend the “Kapihan sa Kapitolyo”—a bimonthly press conference held by provinces in the region wherein serious issues are answered by government officials and concerned agencies of the government.
We stayed in Mati, the capital city of the province, for two days and one night even though the Kapihan only lasted for a few hours and Tagum City, where we were based, is only two hours away. The provincial government prepared a media tour for the group, and we eagerly and gladly accepted the offer. Who wouldn’t, if you would see the beautiful beaches of Mati, you won’t think twice.
Needless to say, we enjoyed our stay in the city with the unlimited food all charged to the provincial government and the scenic places we’ve been shown. But, the adventure is not the reason why the trip stood out in my mind, it was the priceless lessons I learned from the trip. Every time I would think of Davao Oriental, I would be reminded of its beautiful beaches, sweet breeze and the voice that keeps on repeating, “If you have a choice, don’t go into journalism…”
The people I was with are really good, especially Sir Dennis Santos—who calls me Aruwana, from the Philippine Daily Inquirer. They are accommodating enough and shares insights of their life as a journalist. For a student like me, they are intimidating with their knowledge and their experiences but they treated me like an equal, sharing their stories, their experiences, and insights and teased me that my name reminds them of a fish.
It was over breakfast on the second day that the statement that had lodged itself permanently in my mind was said. It all started when Sir Dennis asked me if being a journalist is what I really wanted to be, so I eagerly told him “yes!” From across the table, Sir Q, looked at me thoughtfully and said, “If you have a choice, don’t go into journalism…” I was puzzled, why would a veteran journalist-who has seen the best and worst side of the job would tell me that? In fact, even sir Dennis was bewildered.
Sir Q told me what my journalism instructors have always told me before; there is no money in journalism. He told me that those who are only after the money and the prestige of the job will never last. “Not everybody could become a journalist just because they want to. You have to be committed and determined enough to persevere” he said. They told me that the salary of a journalist is so small, that if you are after a luxurious life then journalism is not for you. He told me that though the job has its perks, it is a life of constant challenges.
Very well said! I learned a lot of things from the short time that I was with them than the whole time I spent inside the classroom. They gave me a challenge and a chance to evaluate what I really want to become. Am I ready to become a journalist? Do I have what it takes or am I only after the prestige and the perks of the job?
After breakfast Sir Dennis told me, “Aruwana, if you are committed to become a journalist then you have to be ready to take the challenge.”
And you bet sir, I will!