Giving Back

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You won’t believe this. The story of my affinity with the City of Baguio is a telenovela material.

I was the youngest reporter at GMA 7’s News Department. My boss would send me to cover risky beats, which I learned to live with. But the most memorable ones were in Baguio where I worked with a distinctive police officer, Sergeant Johnny Reyes, from the city’s anti-narcotics unit.

Johnny, along with operatives from other police units in the Cordillera, regularly conducted raids of marijuana plantations in the area. He would always welcome news teams from the media, gave us briefing, and warned us to stay a safe distance from them while they uproot or burn the illegal cannabis shrubs.

In time, Sgt. Johnny and I became close friends. He would set operations on weekend so I could cover. I was a working student then at the Institute of Mass Communication, UP Diliman.

Once I was invited to share my real-world experience in a class of TV Journalism at the IMC. There I saw this standout beauty, a transferee from UP Baguio. I discovered much later that she’s the daughter of Sgt. Johnny. Venus Reyes became my wife and Sgt. Johnny, my father-in-law.

Fast forward.

In the field of advertising, Venus and I were always involved in industry events, most notably the Advertising Congress. Baguio City was our favorite venue.

We disrupted the city with thousands of delegates, even earned the ire of some Baguio folks with the traffic problems we created. But we brought business to the city, too, and fun to our delegates and corporate sponsors. Recently, Venus was chairman of MSAP Media Congress. Needless to say, it was held here.

Working on big ticket events allows me to work with the best creative teams and the most reliable partners in production and staging, logistics, venues and physical provisions. Every now and then, I call them to help when budget is scarce.

For IBAGIW 2020, our partners are StarXPO and AIR21, also our logistics provider for IBAGIW 2019.
Bing Sosmeña sent us 900 square meters of tent space. Tata Bert Lina deployed a 32-footer wingvan, moving ahead of Typhoon Rolly to bring the tents safely to Baguio. They both graciously waived their charges.

Venus and I started getting involved with IBAGIW Creative Festival last year. We brought Angono Artists to participate and we hosted them. It has been of utmost pleasure working with this year’s festival co-directors Marie Venus Tan and UP Baguio Chancellor Raymundo Rovillos, Mayor Benjie and Arlene Magalong.

Of course, other taskmasters and kindred spirits have been much of a big help in getting Ibagiw 2020 through. The city is truly blessed this time, that despite the lingering anxieties bred by the pandemic, there is a sense of pride in what Baguio can achieve.

Progressing the city to the Baguio we deserve makes the task gratifying. For the creative community, it is a beacon of hope. For our compatriots, it simply means that nothing will ever materialize without the shared spirit of being together, even while staying apart physically.

For me and my wife, it’s almost always a package deal – you have her and you get me – our way of giving back to our City of Baguio. That, in the end, is all that matters.

For today’s turn, we welcome Egay for this brief look back, and give back, write up that may well serve to lure up other kindred souls in shared solidarity. Egay has always been a familiar fixture in arts and cultural events in the last several decades. With wife Venus, he certainly has given much of his time, talent, and trust for Baguio’s progressive strides, especially in placing the city on the creative map.