I’ll let you in on a little secret: my phone’s “Notes” app is loaded with lots of things: list of songs I sing at the karaoke, movies I’ve been meaning to download, books I want to read, links of articles that I like and some blog ideas or lines I think are something special. Heh. Some of them I turn into a full blown blog, while others remain like that, an idea, waiting for the right moment to be shared to the world. Otherwise, they end up as Instagram photo caption, a Facebook status or a tweet. Or get obliterated in iCloud heaven.

So today, I was de-cluttering my “Notes” app and saw something that I wrote back in August 13:

When you realize that “ber” months is coming, you start to think and panic; like what the fuck have you done with your 365 days, Carmina? What have you done so far?

It was something that I cannot possibly answer that time, if you’d make me, I would probably just lie on my bed and cry out of depression. Haha! Totally kidding! Or maybe not?

Anyway, I figured I am confident to answer that question I posed to myself now because of this good news we got this Monday. If you haven’t already known, I’m one of the 100 plus people who filed a labor case against our employer, one of the biggest media network in the Philippines. It’s a really long story and I honestly can’t remember how many times I have shared this story to people who come up to me and ask me why I parted ways with my “stellar job,” considering I have finally been doing what I wanted all my life. It is a really big company and it would really seem insane if a person who already got in would want to leave the job.

Remember that quote from Devil Wears Prada? “Any girl would kill for this job.” So I guess you can call me insane for parting with THE JOB that I have been dreaming of since I took a Communications degree in 2006, let alone sue the company together with a bunch of other colleagues, but you really have to know when enough is enough. Remember what Stephen Chbosky said? “We accept the love we think we deserve.” And I think I deserve better.

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This is how crazy passionate I am with what we are fighting for: I joined the picket we did in front of the company. I didn’t just joined actually, I helped in securing permit from the local agency to allow us to do the event. If you’d tell me before I’d be joining a picket, I’d tell you you’re crazy, I hate walking, I hate the heat, and I absolutely don’t have the mindset of an activist. But you know what? All it takes is to get your principles trampled on and your inner activist will be awakened. June 6.

Photo credit: Jojo Tan

BTW, if you want to know more about the case and you have the time, visit buhaymedia.wordpress.com.

Monday Madness!

This Monday wasn’t really special. I started my day like any other Monday, putting my phone’s alarm on snooze and then cursing myself after for not sleeping early the last night. Haha. But in my defense, I stayed up late because I still had work I had to do the night before. So anyway, I arrived at my first work, had lunch with my “happy tree friends,” and then went to my other work in the other side of Makati after lunch for a pre-prod meeting. I know, ugh, the life of a freelancer. So during the meeting, I was checking my phone’s notification and read this very cryptic message a senior member of the group posted on our FB group. More cryptic comments soon followed so I finally PM’d her and ask what’s up. She said,”NANALO TAYO SA NLRC!” (WE WON IN NLRC!)

Unable to contain my happiness, I immediately forwarded the message on our friends’ Viber group and excused myself out to meet my GMA friends Banana and Ate Ayin who also works in this new production company. Banana was reading the message when I came in the writers’ lounge and I saw that priceless look on her face! HAHAHA! I will never forget that as long as I live! Like how I will never forget that time when we crossed a major highway when all the cars are running and we were screaming “Lord, not now, not now, not now!” at the top of our lungs! HAHAHAHA!

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We got a little cray when we found out the result! Photo credit: Ana Rodrigo

So we held hands and jumped out of ecstasy, not the drugs, for like 5 seconds or so. I haven’t had E, but I think this was a better high. Hahaha!

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First time we won! Holding the arbiter’s decision!

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The second time we won! Yay! Had to do another photo with the commission’s decision!

That night, our group had an impromptu victory celebration for our second win! The first one was when the labor arbiter favored the decision with our group as well in June 26 of this year. So this was the second win. It may take a long while before we get what we rightfully deserve, but hey, it’s worth the wait. All the best things are. (Katulad ng love life. Naisiingit pa yun o!)

TAGumpay

Isang tagay sa TAGumpay. Could be the best beer I’ve had (cause: overjoy). Aaaaah!

dianne

Dianne came to support us! Love you, D.

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Victory party! The early birds!

The best things come to those who wait FIGHT FOR IT, right? So to answer that question above, what have you done so far, Carmina?

This is what I have done. I have given up the job I love, the people I like working with, the things I will still learn along the way for what I think we deserve. It is not like we were asking for an arm and a leg, we’re asking for the company to give us the kind of treatment and worth that we have given them for many years. We have given up vacations, sleep, dates (I know I did! Hahaha!), food, family gatherings for our job. Some of us got sick while on the job while the others, who are assigned more difficult crime-related shows, who are constantly putting their lives on the line get death threats, mingle with drug pushers and users, some even get assigned in warzones and things I can’t even imagine doing, all for the love of. If you’d think about it, passion will be the death of us. Someone said “Find what you love and let it kill you.” Maybe this is going to be the death of us.

This is what I have done. We have been criticized for “biting the hands that fed us”, for not having “utang na loob”; we have been discriminated from the most unimportant to the most significant things imaginable, we have endured mind games, we have been looked at by our former friends like we’re lepers or beggars; but we stood our ground, held our head high and fought for everything we know that is just and right. We have accepted all that.

This is what I have done. I was never the one to think about the future generation. Heck, I don’t even think about my own future that much. I am that cynic. But when I looked at what we have done and all these Journalism students looking up at what we have done, at what we are sacrificing just so they will receive better treatment: have a health insurance, SSS, PAG-IBIG, PhilHealth, retirement benefits and enjoy all the other statutory benefits other people enjoyed, I think that it is all worth it. Opening their eyes to what really happens behind all the glitz and glamour was elating.

This is what I have done. A few weeks back, my father told me to get a real job and get my shit together. That was the first time I’ve been told by my own father that, like my life is in shambles and I’m disappointing him. I was after all, up until now, a very good daughter. It was the first time I’ve felt so small in the eyes of my father. Like a bug that should be swatted right there and then. It was a pretty hard thing to swallow, harder than Darna’s bato. At least, she gets to become a superhero after, I don’t. But it’s all good; because last Monday, I have never felt so big again, like I can conquer the world. It was a very good feeling, I’m still basking on it actually, hence, this blog. 😉

I know it is still a long ride, so buckle up, because we are in it for the long haul. Sometimes, I feel bad that I don’t have the means to help in the Syrian war, I don’t have the answer to make Manila traffic go away or even have the gall to be the catalyst of change my country needs right now, but I realized that I have been doing something after all. It is not going to change the lives of many people, but if we win, we’re setting the precedent and making a change for people like us, the media workers; it’s a chance for better treatment, a better tomorrow. That you can go follow your heart, do what you love and not end up kawawa because hey, you followed your passion so you end up poor. Fulfilled, yeah, but poor. That you can go have your cake, and maybe eat it, too.

This is what I know: we have been taught to seek for the truth and let the world know it. We’re doing just that. Hopefully, someday, every media worker will be able to do what they love and not worry about what tomorrow may bring because somehow, you’re covered.  One day, that someday we were hoping for will be today. I can’t wait!

Bonus! Our short Dubsmash in that impromptu party last Monday night. Enjoy!

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