How Julius Babao inspired me to go back to media

Photo courtesy of Showbiz Nest
A good start of September! Happy anniversary at work as a journalist at the Australian company, Inside FMCG (Octomedia). Okay here’s a short story. I hope to inspire others who may happen to stumble upon reading my story. If you’ve been reading my blog since the start, I rarely post very personal stories or inspirational ones, well perhaps inspiring others to try out the best food, travel or anything you can do under the sun in the city and different destinations. But today is an exception to the rule as it’s an inspirational career article.
You see, I’ve had a very long break from media work, four agonizing long years, and I’ve decided to veer away from my first love, which is writing. I was burned out after my work stint abroad in media and just wanted to do something new and different for 2013.

So I switched to Marketing and PR jobs for some time, doing both full time and freelancing, whatever I can find for several years. I was still in the entertainment industry and worked with ABS-CBN but I also did marketing for a supporting arm for big event productions and client-related marketing events. My world went around the corporate telecommunications company like PLDT and the Spanish world-famous football team, Real Madrid and others. Just not full time writing in media.

Although, I must admit it was really very hard to totally veer away from my passion, so I resurrected my website The HodgePodge Lifestyle from another hiatus during the time I worked abroad to still practice my craft, mind you writers block and from switching back to American English from British English style of writing.

So back to my media story (sorry to stray away a bit), the last stint I had was an Editor job at another international media outfit, The Sun Daily newspaper owned by the Berjaya Group of Companies in Malaysia with AIESEC.

I was a member of the AIESEC international organization, which Bill Clinton, Koffi Anan and John Kerry are alumni. We advocate on leadership and cultural immersion. During my stint for several years, doing work as an English Teacher in Colombia, speaking engagements in Philippines in between and the working as an Editor for the newspaper in Malaysia.

  In 2015, I saw one of the most highly-regarded Filipino journalist, Julius Babao, again after a long time since my exclusive interview with him in 2008 on Gawad Kalinga’s Art 40.

Photo courtesy of Pilipinas Street Plan

He asked me, “Are you still in The Manila Times?” I remember saying, “No sir. I can’t go back.” He asked me why. It was a hard question to answer. “Sir, ayaw na po sa akin yata ng industriya.”

It was embarrassing to admit to him that in reality, I can’t get back in, despite experiences in local media prior to leaving the country. It haunted me. I kept thinking why can’t I get a foot in? Am I really not destined to become a journalist for the long haul?

You know all these unimportant mindless thoughts go into your thoughts. I was so frustrated I can’t get a foot in again in local media. But Sir Julius Babao made me pursue it even more, his simple question pushed me to give it another try and just keep looking for a job as reporter or the hell, whatever job that fits in the media industry. I just want to go back!

Photo courtesy of Pilipinas Street Plan

“Less than a year, surprisingly and God willingly, I got a job again as a journalist for an international media company based in Australia.”

A different beat, business, of all things that I’m not so good at as I’ve been trained more in news and lifestyle at The Manila Times, ABS-CBN and The Sun Daily of the Berjaya Group of Companies.

Although a few articles for the newspaper helped me a bit in the Career section which features CEOs and franchise owners. Having a great editor, Nini Yarte, has honed my skills to do in depth business news reporting when I was still a baby in the media industry more than a decade ago.

So yes, I’m celebrating as it wasn’t an easy feat at all. Still honing and doing my best to be a good journalist. Just happy to be back with my first love. So to those who feel beaten and discouraged? Never feel that way because if you strive hard, you’ll get back to where you want to be no matter what.  Just keep praying and it will come.

If it’s your passion and you love doing whatever you want to do, just go for it no matter what. At the end of the day, your happiness matters as long as you’re not hurting anyone along the way.

I’m still not there yet and it’s still a long, long way to achieve the ranks of Christiane Amanpour, Maria Ressa and Cheche Lazaro. These legends are so great at what they do, it’s mind-blowing! But what do I really want to achieve as a journalist? It’s to touch lives of people I meet even for the simplest reasons, because maybe, just maybe someday, I can inspire them to do something bigger in life.