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Best Coverages in my Book

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During my stint as a beat photographer for The Manila Times (the Philippines's oldest newspaper), here are some of my best and worst ever coverages. Some of 'em may be remarkable, but others did not make it to the list. 

Spot the good-looking dude in the picture, and you'll get my point. Haha.

1.) MEFIN Network

Beat: Business

Year: 2016

Location: New World Manila Bay Hotel, border of Manila and Pasay City (along Roxas Blvd.)

Perchance my most favorite coverage, to be honest I was unprepared during that time. First of all, I did not prepare the following: Flashgun battery, and transferring files from my memory card in order for it to be reformatted (memory space is a huge issue of most photographers--so it's highly recommended that investing in portable hard drives should be the number one goal). Knowing the irritating situation of Metro Manila standstill (due to obviously, consumerism on personal vehicles and disobedience of basic traffic rules), I did not have much time to prepare myself. Just imagine going home from the heart of Metro Manila (Manila City, Makati, Taguig, Pasay, Mandaluyong, Pasig, you name it, alright!) northward (Quezon City, to name a few), it's really a big hassle.

Fortunately, I did manage to deliver my job as a beat photographer (well, I should be called a "photojournalist," technically speaking). 

I may not be an expert in business technicalities, what more with an event that involves insurance? 

Well, the Mutual Exchange Forum on Inclusive Insurance (MEFIN) Network is about promoting micro-insurance for the industry sector. Pardon me if I'm bad in explaining things like these, but the gist is that, its aim is to promote micro-insurance in order to support the industry sector, particularly when it comes to food production and other sectors.

The member countries are: Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, and Mongolia.

The thing that I want to talk about is the press conference. Insurance regulators were to share their knowledge on micro-insurance and how it is implemented in their home countries.

One of these insurance regulators (or rather, government officials who specialize in finance management) has this incredible good looks that could pass for an internet sensation (someone who is qualified to be viral across cyberspace). You may call me shallow for that, yet I could assure to you that during that time, I was creating and doing a self-made photo project.

So yeah, that's it.

Divorce Advocates of the Philippines (DAP) lobbied the House of Representatives in order to voice out their concerns to finally legalize the most thorny topic in the Philippines, which is a divorce law.

2.) Re-filing of Divorce Bill at the House of Representatives

Beat: News

Year: 2016

Location: Batasang Pambansa Complex Grounds, Quezon City

This is so far my most favorite news coverage. Following the ETHICS of photojournalism, this time I am like a normal person, joining in the crowd, to get inside the House of Representatives to gain recognition from the congress.

Apparently, divorce law is absent in the Philippines, except for Muslims (A Sharia Law decree is recognized in the Philippines)--no wonder, some Filipinos would convert to Islam just to obtain a divorce decree.

Divorce, to be honest, is actually a thorny and a very sensitive topic in a country where separation of church and state is often violated (seems ridiculous, but no kidding). I won't discuss further details, but at least you have a knowledge on the Philippines's view on divorce.

Activists still managed to raised their clenched fists despite showing signs of tiredness during the protest.

3.) Manilakbayan 2015

Beat: News

Year: 2015

Location: Manila City area

Manilakbayan was the most risk-taking coverage ever in my whole entire life. I almost had a heat stroke, while coverage at the middle of a rally.

Manilakbayan 2015 is the time when the Lumads came to Manila to protest against stealing their homelands. Lumads are often kidnapped, raped, or killed--and it seemed that the previous administration did not blink an eye towards them.

Fortunately, it was a peaceful protest. No one did ever throw stones, or even trampled down protesters.

A police barricade protects the COMELEC Office premises while Prof. Danilo Arao of Kontra Daya confronts them.

4.) Kontra Daya protest at the COMELEC Office in Intramuros

Beat: News

Year: 2016

Location: COMELEC Office, Intramuros, Manila

I did not expect that the newspaper will make this photo be published--right at the FRONT PAGE! It was an honor for me to cover such an event that involves police officers and rallyists. Although there's nothing new with election fraud in the Philippines, Kontra Daya still persists to fight for electoral honesty and transparency.

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