Recently, I had an amazing week with some amazing people of PEBA (Pinoy Expat/ OFW Blog Awards). I went to 3 different occasions - some of them included the interviews of my friends and of myself which will be shown on 'Balitang Middle East on ABS-CBN (The Filipino Channel). I feel bad though that I will never be able to watch them, now that we've shifted from TFC to GMA Pinoy TV, but that's alright, I took a lot of photos from those events and that's enough for me, but it would be cool to see myself on TV though.
September 23, 2011, Seminar With Patnubay .
Last September 23 (Friday), we had a mini seminar with Patnubay, an NGO headed by Mr. Joseph Espiritu which helps Filipino OFWs with their labor problems in Saudi Arabia. I really learned a lot that day especially about our rights as an expat in this country. I also became aware of the plight of the not-so-lucky Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs) in Saudi Arabia.
Together with us in the seminar were Charles Tabbu, the TV reporter of TFC Jeddah, Delia Sevandra of 'Ganap Guardians', blogger and journalist of Saudi Gazette, Casiano Mayor, Nereus Jethro Abad, the president of PEBA, one of the winners of PEBA last year, Nelson Bedayo and Kenjie Solis, the founder of PEBA. If you want to know more about Patnubay, you can go to their website HERE.
September 27, 2011, NPC (Robian) Filipino Cultural Presentation in Al Laith, KSA.
This was one of the most exciting highlights of my week because I became a cameraman for a night for TFC in lieu of Charles Tabbu, the TFC reporter for Jeddah who wasn't able to make it because he had to fly to Riyadh that day. He was supposed to come with us to cover an event hosted by the town of Al Laith, but because he couldn't come, he just gave me a quick lesson on how to handle the camera before leaving for Riyadh. Regarding the interviews, I told him that I will just ask the help of my colleagues from PEBA who were with me. He left me his camera and all the accessories that go with it, and mind you even his ABS-CBN (TFC) Identification Card.
Mr. NJ sent us a 4x4 car to fetch the 4 of us (Nel, Kenjie, Mhel and I) from Jeddah. It took us more than 2 hours to get to Al Laith, I never thought it was that far though. When we arrived at the venue, the Filipino employees of NPC were already in their costumes and so we took that opportunity to interview some of them. And when they took to the stage, I was there at the side of the auditorium to shoot some of their performances. Their cultural presentation was magnificent, it was a summarized history of the Philippines, from its pre-colonial era to the modern times.
After the presentation, we interviewed 3 of the high ranking officials of NPC, the Managing Director and one of the stockholders, Engineer Ahmed R. Al Balla, the head of HRD Ali Muhammed Al Shaiki and the Corporate Head - Social Responsibility Mr. Khalid Al Adhal. After that we went to the Planetarium and watched a 3D movie in a small theater all in the same building with the auditorium. It was great, but my head ached after that 3D movie though.
Then we went to a restaurant. All the Filipino employees of NPC who were there at the event were already waiting for their order when we arrived. I can tell they were all hungry and so were we, but they were not just hungry for food, they were also hungry for photo ops. Kenji and Mhel took their pictures and I took more video clips while we were waiting. And after we had eaten, we rested a moment, and headed straight back to Jeddah with the same car and driver. We arrived home at around 2AM. It was an awesome experience, something that I will never forget. You can also read a more 'gruesome' account of this trip on my friend's blog, ¡SOY NEGRENSE!
September 30, 2011, TFC Interviews PEBA and the Jeddah Bloggers.
When Nel and I arrived at Kudu restaurant on Paletine street where the interview was to take place, most of the invited people were already there except for Charles and Mr. NJ, who had a problem with the tire of his car. By the moment Charles and Mr. NJ arrived separately, that was my last feel of a journalist's camera, the one I used for the interview in Al Laith. Good thing I didn't forget to charge the cam's battery a night before because it'll be the same camera that he will be using on that interview .
Kenji was the first to be interviewed, then Mr. NJ, followed by Nelson and then me the last. On my part of the interview, it was nerve-wracking, I don't know what to say and I feel awkward, may be it's because I 've never been interviewed ever before. I was like talking without knowing what I'm saying. I felt stupid with that interview and I can't even remember now what the question was. LOL! I'm just hoping now that I will not look stupid when it goes on air. And then after our interviews, Charles asked me to hold the camera for him as he says something for closing remarks about the PEBA interview. Watch the videos below!
It was a great experience with PEBA and Charles Tabbu of TFC. I will never forget it for the rest of my life. I would like to say thank you Lord Jesus for everything and thank you to Kenji and Mr. Nereus Jethro for that wonderful experience with TFC. If not for them there wouldn't be any interviews at all, they are the ones who facilitated it. Thank you also to Charles Tabbu who entrusted me his camera and ID. Thanks PEBA!