Blast from the Past: My Single Most Dangerous TV News Story

My Mt. Makiling Story was for me, the most dangerous assignment I received while in tv news.  This was produced in 2005, and was about a group of mountaineers who got stranded in Mt. Makiling in Laguna.  We joined rescuers, who were in a rush to save one of the mountaineers who fell of the cliff.

There was a great deal of danger because the rescue was done at night and there was a rush to get to the mountaineer, who had been bleeding and unconscious.

My news team and I hiked Makiling in total darkness and had only the very minimal light from our rescuers and our camera.  Since there was also no time to change into the appropriate clothing, I hiked with formal leather dress shoes and wore slacks and other pieces of clothing that were more suitable to a Malacanang coverage rather than a mountain rescue operation.

Thankfully we survived — I survived, even after almost falling into a cliff myself!  Unfortunately, the mountaineer who fell did not.

Even to this day, I would stop and think of the decisions my team and I made for this story.  Looking back, I feel that we walked a very fine line between simply doing a very difficult story (which is still part of a journalist’s job) and actually putting ourselves in danger — perhaps to follow the newsroom’s instructions, or to simply get the scoop.   Of course, we were told to make prudent decisions.  Looking back, I realize that we were in a gray area because despite the obvious dangers of the story, we had trained rescuers with us, who guided us along the way.

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