While most of the viewers here in our country are fans of celebrities, singers, and boxers; I am a fan of Documentarists. Ask anyone who knows me, and they will say that I am a huge fan of I-Witness (The GMA Documentaries) and their hosts. A few Saturdays ago, I got the chance to meet them in person.
Let me first clear that this is the second time that I got to meet and greet my journalist idols. The first time was a year ago, in another autograph signing where I got the chance to have all four: Sandra Aguinaldo, Kara David, Howie Severino, and Jay Taruc; sign all my collected DVD compilations of their show. Unfortunately I have yet to own a descent camera that time so I had to settle with the camera on my phone, which I couldn’t share, print, nor post anywhere since my phone back then isn’t multi-media friendly. But now that I have both a better camera phone and digital camera, I grabbed the chance to once again be a fan for a day, and get my picture taken with the four people that I really look up to in Philippine Television.
I admire them and their show for a number of reasons. One is that I am a frustrated journalist/writer, and it’s fascinating how the show and their staff can find, capture, and show a documentary about something that really happens somewhere. It’s one thing to make a movie; based on fiction you may create a scene to deliver your message. But in a documentary you only have facts to go on, and if you are still able to deliver your message, provoke your audience to thought and action that is really talent for me.
Another reason is that there are very few shows here in the Philippines that neither superficial nor mediocre. There are also very few personalities who are capable of showing us entertainment that is not based on fads or escapism. I know I sound so weird writing this way, but it’s what I have observed. And I can only be thankful that there are still shows like I-witness and their host who brings a deeper watching experience for me every Monday night; if not, at least a breaker from all the variety shows and fantaseryes.
They never fail to catch my interest in their features, and the show has been a way for me to learn a lot about our country; places, people, neighborhoods, traditions and culture. And they don’t always focus on the clichés like poverty or weirdness; and they don’t always try to catch our interest through sex, drugs and violence.
Of course the hosts have a lot to do with the show’s success. Each of them gives their own style and signature every episode. And I think that the reason that these four broadcasters are able to make good documentaries is that they are all superb writers.
Lastly the show and their stories every week has truly been an inspiration for me. There was I time in my life when I felt like nothing good ever happens to me, that I am the unluckiest person alive. But their features on people with rare sickness, who live in poverty in the mountains, especially the ones about kids who are forced into a hard life, and the many problems of our society and country; reminded me that I am still fortunate and that my problems are simple compared to many others.