Freelance: Scriptwriting for Department of Agriculture Region XI Programs

I have to admit–prior to working on projects with local government units in Davao, my perspective of any kind of government was very far from what it really is. I’m really thankful to have gotten to work with government units in the past, for the experience was an eye opener for my youthful idealism.

The first government unit I worked with was the Department of Trade and Industry, where I contributed to their Asenso Ka! magazine. The Department of Agriculture is the second.

I spent most of October and November 2016 working with the Department of Agriculture. I was scriptwriting for a video production that Visual Insights Multimediaย (VIMP) won the bidding for the Department of Agriculture.

I met the studio’s owner, Sir Kenny O’Bajo, maybe around February 2016. My singer-actress friend Jizella Dea Formilleza brought me with her as she auditioned a piece for a video commercial that VIMP was making for Davao Light. ย We talked about some stuff and he seemed interested when I mentioned that I’m a writer. He gave me his email and asked to see some of my previous works.

Fresh out of college at April, Sir Kenny contacted me and offered two jobs: this project, and if maybe I’d like to be trained in VIMP. I took the project, but decided to go corporate. Here’s a recap of my first job experience. ๐Ÿ™‚

Although I’ve sort of freelanced when I was still in college, I still consider this as my first, partly ย because it’s the first time that I was able to dedicate all my time to without worrying about school.

Christmas and new year is getting closer as I write, so I know for sure that this project was one of the best, most memorable and enjoyable experiences that I had this 2016. Or maybe I should get out more often? ๐Ÿ˜€

Anyway, this project is a series of success and tech/instructional videos featuring ย Department of Agriculture XI programs.

I wasn’t able to take photos in all our shoots, but I definitely had fun in all of them! I love traveling. Seeing Mindanao’s rural spots is amazing.

This was during our first meeting, a story conference.

story-confe
Grabbed from Sir Kenny’s Instagram Account

This was mostly planning, though. The storyline for the topics were simple enough to understand and execute.

20161007_185356
The Production Team. Chico Pace (Videographer), Eloisa Aninon (Coordinator), Kent Marcos & Corinth Mabalot (PA).ย 

Gulayan sa Paaralan Program
Bala, Magsaysay

Never underestimate the power of small-scale agriculture. In a move to curb the growing malnutrition rate in the country, the Department of Agriculture, in partnership with the Department of Education, implemented the Gulayan sa Paaralan Program in all public schools nationwide. This program seeks to support vegetable gardens in schools, the produce of which will be used to feed the school children.

*The Department of Agriculture wanted to feature the schools with best gulayan sa paaralan program in Mindanao.

20161007_111855

20161007_112121
Path to the vegetable patch. Tanglad (lemongrass) and marigold are planted everywhere to stave off the mosquitoes. During dengue season where cases in Davao would rise to more than 4,000, in Bala, there was none.ย 
20161007_144117
A dedicated educator. I had to have a photo with her after the interview. A teacher’s heart is so admirable!ย 
20161007_121747
They were the kindest, sweetest group of kids I’d seen in a long time. They’d line up to hold your hand and press it against their foreheads. In the Philippines, it’s a sign of respect for elders. This is usually given to parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles, and godparents.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Bala, Magsaysay Elementary School is one of the most charming places I’ve been to. The school teachers had gotten the whole community to pitch help in cultivating the mini farm that the school had because of its wide area. Everything they grew was organic. They basically had everything–even a fish pond!

Some of the produce are sold, and the money is meant to buy school materials. Most of the produce, however, are used to feed children for a twice-daily feeding program. Because Bala is situated in a very rural community, there are students who, the teachers told me, would go to school in the mornings and go home at 12 noon because they didn’t have any food to eat.

There were zero absences and tardiness after they implemented the feeding program, they added.

Gulayan sa Paaralan Program
Compostela Valley

14787657_120300000762472768_1650751576_o
Very shy interviewee

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

All About Bananas: Fusarium Wilt Control Measures
Compostela Valley

In 2012, following the surge of Typhoon Pablo, a deadly plant disease called Fusarium Wilt, also known as Panama disease, spread across banana plantations in Mindanao–causing many to shut down operations.

Research and funds were released to mitigate the disease. Already, the disease has caused severe, almost irreparable damage on banana growers and banana imports.

Some growers opted to shift crops to cacao, and others decided to avail of the new variety of bananas called GCTCV218 and 219. GCTCV stands for Giant Cavendish Tissue Culture Variant, which is immune to the panama disease.

Although growers are vocal about their preference of the old variety compared to the new one, they are also greatly appreciative of the GCTCV218 and 219. Otherwise, the losses would have compelled them to throw in the towel and walk away from banana growing.

Philippines is one of the top growers of banana in Asia.

14808123_120300000767905432_2112237076_o
An emotional interview.
bnnaaa
We followed the harvesting and packaging process at a processing facility.ย 

14796123_120300000763140319_1343997731_o

Rehoboth Cacao Farmers Association
Davao del Norte

We interviewed a small association, the Rehoboth Cacao Farmers Association, who had found hope in the cacao that they grew.

Formerly a religious group, it is now an association of dedicated cacao growers. Rehoboth translates to “Well of Blessings.”

Cacao is one of the most in demand crops now, as it is the source of coffee and chocolate. The demands of chocolate and cacao are met with a threatening low supply. Philippines is eyed to be one of the top cacao growers in Asia.

15357043_694273270735396_1272251116_n
Drying Process

 

15424672_694269534069103_1855219012_n
Mixing dark chocolate

15327743_694272924068764_983414864_n

Cacao Rehabilitation
Malita, Davao Occidental

This is a tech process. The Department of Agriculture has a team of researchers and pathologists who reach out to farmers to give trainings on proper production processes, and etc. The cacao tree, although it can grow for more than ten years, has to undergo rehabilitation in order for it to continue producing good yield.

15403116_694269440735779_1533681353_n
Challenging shoot! Chico (videographer) had to dodge a few falling branches. Sir Kenny was there to direct though.
15355870_694273530735370_1375362593_n
Deconstructing the set.

Dynamic Vegetable Growers Association (DVEGA)
Davao del Norte

The Dynamic Vegetable Growers Association is a group of farmers who have united in order to support each other in producing more yield and working with a more organized system of production and harvest.

15328414_694269430735780_1900410146_n
Farmer showing how to spot a good eggplant.
15403023_694269407402449_2017639710_n
Ants on a sloping hill
15355905_694269397402450_196178636_n
After climbing a steep mountainside.

Rubber Tapping
Marilog District, Davao City

15401377_694273397402050_1448336572_n
Army, ready to shoot.

Subangon Dumang Makers
A story of Filipino resilience

In 2012, Cateel, Davao Oriental was hit the hardest by the Typhoon Pablo. The typhoon destroyed their homes and their crops, their only source of living. For weeks and months after, people described Cateel’s hills asย na kalbo,ย a local term for bald, because the trees and lush greens that adorned the hills were allย washed away by the strong storm surge.

But people were quick to find a new means of earning money. Chili grew faster than most crops, so they opted to shift. The Department of Agriculture provided financial and production support.

We interviewed the Subangon Dumang Makers, the top chili processing facility in the town.

15435746_694273470735376_1158318335_n
Dried Chili – Just a few moments away from being grinded into powder!
chili-drying
Laying on a solar dryer
dumang
Locals have termed hot chili into “Hot Pablo” as a memento of resilience.ย 

BEMWA Farms
Agritourism

fb_img_1477479113788
Picnic kind of interview set up. Beautiful! Photo taken by Chico, our videographer. He left the camera rolling on its own for a few moments.
bemwa-1
Coco captured me at my best. This will always be one of my favorite production shoots, mainly because of the climate and the scenery. I love BEMWA’s story too!

BEMWA farm is not a farm that operates on money, it operates on love and equality. I had a great discussion with one of the owners, Mr. Marlo. He sells his vegetables at a very cheap price in order to bring healthy living to middle and lower class households. For him, healthy ain’t just for the wealthy ๐Ÿ˜„

He also helps his farmers. His farmers, about 60% of which are lumads, or natives, all receive free board and food at the farm. I talked with one of the farmers too, she said that they (owners) also extend financial assistance when they need it.

For Mr. Marlo, he views BEMWA and agriculture as a platform to bring change. One of his advocacies is to educate Filipino farmers about sustainable farming.

BEMWA is a vegetable farm located at Marilog, Calinan District. They sell mainly lettuces. The climate and strawberry picking gained BEMWA popularity. This introduced the concept of #agritourism to the owners since BEMWA is now a tourist attraction.

15416068_694273114068745_198153343_n
With Mr. Marlo Yap, one of the owners. He is the M in the BEMWA. ๐Ÿ˜€ Businessman, philanthropist, farmer with a heart.ย 

I tried to wrap all things up here in one blog post because I can’t disclose much details as of now (the project is ongoing).But my love for stories has never died.

Until the next post! ๐Ÿ™‚

Advertisements

Jumpstart: My First Job Experience

Now that my time as Advertising & Promotions Staff at Victoria Department Store has ended, I feel obliged to write about my experience.

I wanted to work at Victoria Department Store as Advertising & Promotions Staff because the chance to be part of growth and change in a low profile company was a challenge that was too tempting to resist (not that I tried to, mind you).

Our team was able to bring some firsts to the company. We guested twice on local TV for back to school sale and father’s day, as well as landed on local newspapers for some feature articles about Victoria’s home furnishing and houseware items. Small things, maybe, but significant anyhow.

I had a good time at Victoria. There I met people with brave and amazing stories. I was acquainted with corporate discipline, hard work, andย pakikibagay.ย Being the first team of Ateneans, we stuck out like sore thumbs.

But we were never the ones who’d back out of pressure. If anything, it fueled our thirst.

Below are some of the events that I partook in. ๐Ÿ™‚

13335817_566271093534976_3808490019080715226_n
Live guesting at Maayong Buntag Mindanao for Back to School Sale and Love for the Children Back to School Charity Drive.

These are the newspaper clip outs from the articles that we’ve had written. I saw to these personally since I am well acquainted with the writers that we tapped.

 

These are the events that I’ve helped handle during my stay as Advertising & Promotions Staff. For a first job, I believe I’ve handled the challenges well and thrown in some good ideas also.

One challenge was the budget. We learned to be creative and resourceful with everything, mindful even to the kind of paper that we printed on and the number of pages. Noting that, events were also limited.

Another challenge was technology. I was assigned as social media manager, and although the lack of our own internet connection has not hampered my daily updates, it has also put limitations on what I (believed) I could do.

Other challenges are those that you either hear about or experience it yourself, such as dealing with different people with different personalities. All the rest, I’ll leave you to stew on that or find out for yourself ๐Ÿ˜‰

Being a team of three was challenging at times, and I was challenged further when my two teammates resigned, leaving me with supervisory responsibilities for a whole department at just 3 months in the job.

The challenge excited me a lot. Not many are given the chance to lead at just 3 months in the job, but I was.

Eventually, I had to leave, but ย I learned a lot in my stay at Victoria. I will always remain appreciative of many people and the experience as a whole.

Having learned the foundations at work, I know that I am ready for bigger things to come. My friends and professors have advised that maybe journalism is the right career path for me, and I’m contemplating a lot about it.

I have a thirst for learning. I want to learn the corporate, PR, advertising, teaching, and leadership.

I have just finished a phase, and I know that I have only just begun. ๐Ÿ™‚