Can you walk us through some of the highlights from your college days in UB?
“Aaah, those days. One thing I remember is when I was part of almost every organization that existed during that time in UB. The only organization that did not accept me was Voices – you probably know why. Wink wink.”
“But what changed me the most was when I joined the Debate Society. It certainly helped me with my speaking, in a major way. It established my leadership potentials. And it was through the Society that I met my future husband – I met him during the first debate tournament that I joined; he was from the debate team of PMA.”
“Also, one of the highlights was when I won as Miss UB. That was in 2003. It’s interesting because it wasn’t like me to be pageant-y, you know. I was bent more on the academic stuff. But it made me realize that you can be whatever you want. You can be a geek and a beauty queen at the same time.”
“When I was in elementary and high school, I wasn’t one of the best students. But when I came to UB, it was life-changing, because there were people who saw my potential.”
What’s the biggest lesson college has taught you?
“That anything is possible. That the only limit is that which you set in your mind, and it helps that there are people who see through you and realize your worth. Value those people.”
What’s the biggest lesson your work now is teaching you?
“It’s more of a realization, I think – that you have this capacity to inspire people, that your work has this immense power to impact people, to move people. That whatever you do – a positive stuff, a mistake – it affects someone out there. So you have to take care of that power. You carry that responsibility on your shoulders. I’m actually realizing that now.”
“I have this bunch of keen followers on social media, who I believe look up to me. They said they took mass communication because of me. It’s just profound.”
“It happened when I was still with ABS-CBN Baguio. It was typhoon Pepeng’s aftermath. The loss of lives and properties was just massive. So while doing marathon coverage, we were packing relief goods. In times like those, you don’t assume the role of a reporter alone. The hats that you wear multiply. It dawned on me that, in my line of work, your role as a person to inspire people to carry on, no matter how dark things can become, is magnified.”
With what you do, when do you feel most fulfilled?
“I feel most fulfilled whenever I’m reminded that I’m doing something right or that I was able to inspire change because of my work.”
“Two months ago, after a long day of coverage (the world of television looks glamorous and all, but it’s not all roses and daisies, I tell you), I received this text from a labor leader thanking me for something that I covered. It gives you a sense of fulfillment, and it’s priceless.”
“You learn everyday. When you’re in the world of broadcasting, or journalism for that matter, you don’t only become a reporter, a host, a commentator, a writer. You become a million things – things you weren’t trained for. You will be thrown out there and people will expect you to do a great job. But you get out there and just do it. It’s how you’re supposed to react and respond. You will find fulfillment in the fact that, at the end of it all, you did all of that – you showed up, took up the challenge, learned, became better.”
Who are the most difficult to interview?
“Those who are grieving. Those who have lost a loved one. I had this experience where we were sent away. I think I even had a little bit of trauma from what happened.”
What’s your craziest dream?
“Organize a seminar where I’ll talk non-stop without boring the audience.”
“And eat without getting fat.”
What’s your tiny bit of advice for millennials?
“Uhm, I think it’s this: Don’t ever think that you’re entitled. The world doesn’t owe you anything. It is you who owes the world something. Do something for the community. It’s what we’re here for. And get this: You don’t need to get validation from others, especially online. It should come from you and from the people who really know your heart. That’s why it’s really important to surround yourself with people who believe in you.”
Pia graduated from UB in 2005 with the degree Bachelor of Arts – Major in English. She received the UB Presidential Leadership Award as a student, was a president of the UB Debate Society, president of the Shakespearean Society of the College of Liberal Arts, and served as editor-in-chief of the official student publication of the College of Liberal Arts, The Paragon.
Currently, she is a field reporter for ABS-CBN Manila currently assigned to the labor and general assignment beats. She also serves as a reliever anchor/host for ABS-CBN’s Umagang Kay Ganda, reliever anchor for TV Patrol Weekend, news anchor for ABS-CBN Sports and Action Channel’s Fastbreak, and reliever anchor for The Filipino Channel’s Balitang Global. Prior to working for ABS-CBN Manila, she worked for ABS-CBN Baguio and the UB Media Affairs and Publications Office.
She graced the December 2017 baccalaureate rites in UB.
Photo by RENE PASCUA
Interview & Text by RONA LIN