Making (Little) Improvements

Time in: 8:40 AM


Today, I went in as early as yesterday. Most of the day was spent editing the video featuring the Songahid sisters. Grace and I also looked over the draft of the article on last week’s assembly at the Family Care Center. But mostly, today was dedicated to polishing our video.

Even with our previous progress, it took most of today for us to produce a decent initial output. We took turns in our group to do the editing. My main task was to add the text narrating some parts in the video, edit it, sync it with the video, and put together with transitions. This took a while because we had to rewrite some parts, reorder them in the video, and little things like the font and text position had to be consulted with each of us.

After we finish with the audio transcript, I was supposed to translate it and create the subtitles, but we didn’t have the time as our office hours were close to ending. It took us an additional hour past our regular end time to wait for the video to finish rendering, so we went home later than usual.

Tomorrow’s original plan got cancelled, as Ms. Shane informed us today that our hosts couldn’t entertain us at the time we requested. Nonetheless, our group plans to achieve some fieldwork in a different location, so we’ll be working tomorrow.

At the end of today, I was pretty exhausted, but I feel like tomorrow will be less tiring in a way, even with fieldwork. While doing all of today’s work on the computer, I came to develop a patience – a patience with working on a laptop that was sensitive, and therefore tended to have me make mistakes just from a slightly-longer press from a scrolling finger; and patience with being in a team. I’m not going to lie, if given a choice, I would prefer to work alone. I don’t like the pressure of having to be agreeable and even compromising on something which my name would be attached to. I have a sense of urgency and apprehension of what I can do that may be hard for other people to adjust to. Moreover, I don’t mind sharing the credit, but I prefer to avoid sharing the blame – I’d rather own up to something and claim the failure completely to myself.

Maybe it’s because I’m working with some of my closest friends, but I gained an improved patience, if you can call it that, from my editing job today. Having to talk to them on every change and any improvement in the video, along with having to deal with only one computer to work with, and a touchy one at that, has helped me in the patience department, in which I usually take effort to be good.

Even if today wasn’t very eventful, if I managed to improve even just a little, then it’s definitely one of the better days in this internship.


Time out: 6:00 PM

Number of hours: 9 hours and 20 minutes


Seeing A Change

Time in: 8:40 AM


I asked for a schedule tighter than what I’ve had so far, and I got it today.

In the morning, I worked with Grace on finalizing our second story on the Songahid sisters and on creating the profiles of each child and parent who attended the meeting last Friday. We ate lunch at our worktable and we worked on the profiles well into after the break.

Phoebe left us at about 2 PM, so I took over her progress on the video we were making. I mainly worked at correcting the audio, and omitting some music that was playing behind our interviewee. It was obnoxiously loud, and like our professor in our production class told us (non-verbatim), “If the visual is quite bad, but the audio is good, the video can be saved. If the audio is bad, the entire video is automatically bad.” So we had to take it out. It wasn’t easy, though, because the music was playing really close to the speaker in the video, and wasn’t just a passing sound we could immediately locate and separate from our main voice.

After several minutes, the alterations I had managed to make in the audio were still not enough – they muted the music in the back a great deal, but at the expense of the speaker’s voice, which now sounded a bit warped. It was around the middle of the afternoon by then, so Grace took over the video editing, while I went back to my own task which was writing the article covering last Friday’s meeting.

I finished the draft of the story a while later. All the while, I was also looking over at Grace’s editing, during which she consulted me on some of changes being made.

Phoebe then arrived soon after, and all of us interns left the office together.

Today wasn’t bad at all, and I liked it very much when I realized I had tasks I had to complete continuously throughout today. I’ve noted long ago that an indicator that I have been consistently productive is the battery percentage I have left at the end of the day. It’s not something particularly effective all the time, especially when the battery drainage is because I had to use my phone directly for work. But I usually plan out what I’m supposed to do for the day ahead, and today when I left the office my battery was at around 78%. That’s definitely something for me, since I usually drain my battery and leave just enough energy by the end of the busy day for me to be able to play music on the way home.

So, I’m glad to say today wasn’t bad at all – in itself, and for me.


Time out: 5:30 PM

Number of hours: 8 hours and 50 minutes


Having to Keep It Simple

Time in: 8:45 AM


Today when I came I was the third to arrive among us interns. Ate Bea and Ate Khyz were already there, as usually the earliest ones, and Grace was there too. Putting my bag down, I asked Grace where Phoebe was, since they always came together, being dormers and all, and she informed me Phoebe was not going in the entire day because of dysmenorrhea, or period cramps.

This meant only the two of us would be able to work on our group assignment, and that we would only be stuck to writing and editing our articles without editing our video on the Songahid sisters, as the project files are on Phoebe’s laptop. Not long after I arrived, Ate Khyz and Ate Bea then went out for their assignment at the library in Sambag Dos.

Ate Niza arrived at the office a short while then, and much later, Ate Jude came in. For most of the day, there was only the four of us in the office, with Janita and Janille out for the day. Grace and I had a late start at working on our articles, as we waited for Ms. Shane to arrive to ask for her feedback and recommendations on our drafts. She came into the office past ten this morning, and we received her commentary and corrections later on. She advised that we split the story on the Songahid sisters into two, with one on each of them. Following this, we worked on the main editing process after lunch break.

With the allocation of one story per sister, we divided the information we had by aligning with each angle we took for each story.  There was also the task of restructuring most of the articles according to the foundation’s blog’s content format. Even while keeping each story to the usual 500-700 words (shorter than our original draft), Ms. Shane also specifically suggested we use words we expect “a fourth grader would read.” Keeping it simple works fine enough, but personally, for writing a feature piece, it’s not exactly what I’ve been used to, especially having to consider my audience would include fourth graders.

By the end of the afternoon, we had managed to submit our final draft of the first story only, having only outlined the second. Ate Niza and Ate Jude had left a few hours before to head over to the Family Center for their own tasks. Grace and I then left the office at half past five.

Earlier during the day, I asked Ms. Shane when we would be visiting the kids and their families for our other assignments, which still include four different locations. She then proceeded to set an appointment for us to go to Inayawan on Saturday. Tomorrow’s Wednesday, which is the alternate day-off for us interns to make up for the Saturdays when we would be out in the field. We can still report to the office on Wednesdays if we wanted or needed to, which is up to us entirely.

We agreed in my group with Phoebe and Grace to take tomorrow off, then get some editing done with the Songahid video and finish writing our second story, as well as the story covering the meeting from Friday, when we get back on Thursday.

Somehow I feel like I need more tightness in the schedule I have for all the work I have to accomplish for Rise Above. There has never been the feeling that I have work piling up on my plate. But I wonder if it’s meant to be like that. I wonder if interning is sometimes having a job you’re made to be busy with, but not so that you feel your hands are full all the time.

Or maybe it’s mainly because I chose to intern in the specific field I did. I hope, though, that it won’t be as loose a schedule as the one I’ve been having for most of this internship experience. It is, after all, only the second week.


Time out: 5:30 PM

Number of hours: 8 hours and 45 minutes


A Brief Trip for Understanding

Time in: 8:30 AM


We didn’t go to the office, since it’s closed on weekends and today was scheduled for fieldwork and filming. My group instead met up in Robinsons Fuente early in the morning. None of us had brought any homemade lunches for our trip so we dropped by the grocery store to buy some fast lunches. We took a ride then to Guadalajara past 9 AM.

We arrived at the library center, where we found Ms. Adi eating a peaceful breakfast with her daughter. A few of the children who often came were there, soaked in their clothes as they played with the water hose, and sliding down the wet floor by the bathrooms, which they had apparently just cleaned up.

One of the Songahid sisters, who as I have mentioned in a previous post are our feature subjects, was among the girls who were having fun. We called her over and briefed her about creating a video on her and her family’s story, to which she eagerly agreed. She continued playing with the girls, whom we also recognized from our first day in the library. Meanwhile, we waited for the second Songahid sister Rise Above sponsored.

When she arrived, we informed her about our plan as we did with her sister and she nicely consented. Prior to this, we had told Ms. Adi about the short video and their mother had been informed in passing about this possibility during our first visit to them. We conducted our filming a short while later, when the first one had dressed up after their fun bath. We had the sisters sit at a table by the playground, and let them introduce themselves on camera. The clips we filmed included the girls telling us about their endeavors in school like their favorite subjects, their academic achievements, and dreams in life. We also had them share with us their experiences of bullying and what they would like to do once they achieve their dreams. We wrapped up filming them by asking for any messages they wanted to express to the people who help them with their education through Rise Above.

One of them was to go with Ms. Adi on a trip to the mall along with some of the girls, for which we didn’t know. When asked, the girls said, “Ambot.” (“Dunno.”) With this, we considered that we wouldn’t be able to film the the first sister in their home. Still, the second was still there. We took our leave with Ms. Adi and at past twelve headed for the Songahid home, which was only about a minute or two away from the library center.

When we arrived at the small two-storey wooden house that stood right by a narrow concrete pathway leading to more makeshift houses, we discovered the residence alive with the children’s presence, but their mother was away. She had gone to Carbon market this morning, and her husband told us she should be arriving as we spoke. So we waited.

While we stood outside waiting for Mrs. Songahid, we were kept company by some of the Songahid children, and other kids who lived close by. The cute little ones were playing when we came, some outdoors, most of them indoors. The littlest ones either came up to us with bright recognizing eyes or stood by hugging their doorway post. They asked us our names, told us theirs in turn, and jumped on their feet when we pointed the camera to film a shot.

Speaking of which, taking some B-roll footage also took our time as we waited. We panned the camera to capture the place lined with homes, little sari-sari stores in front, and the signature make-do basketball court that is often seen in small barangays and sitios for communal and leisure use. We filmed the Songahid children as they were playing with their neighbors, and shot the facade of their home.

Their mother arrived when it was several minutes to 1 PM. I was hungry myself, not having eaten lunch then yet, after deciding with the others that lunchtime would be a good time to capture the Songahids’ daily life, but I also took note that the kids hadn’t eaten yet too. Mrs. Songahid came back home carrying two plastic bags of green mangoes, which she told us she was selling in front of their house for P5.00 each.

She started unloading the mangoes into trays and placed them on a crookedly aligned table right by their front door. One by one, she peeled the mangoes with a knife and cut them the way they sell them on the streets. While busy with the fruits she was selling, we filmed her as she called out to one of her young boys to buy some rice, to her 13-year-old daughter to bring out their youngest sibling, to her eldest to cook the rice, as she looked after the small kids playing in the dirt and managed their little fights.

In between intervals, we would fire a few of our questions away, and she would openly cooperate with her answers. Like our first talk with her, she adjusted to the interview at her own pace, and was honest, expounding when we needed her to, and understanding that we needed a side to their story that was not revealed to us already.

Filming the Songahids in their day-to-day ways of living was quite enough for this. When the rice was cooked, Mrs. Songahid walked to a nearby carenderia and bought servings of inun-unan (fish cooked in vinegar). She put these on some plates and fed her kids, who huddled together and ate on the floor. She said she was only eating after they finished, making sure they received most of the food before she and her husband did.

We shot perhaps another two clips after that and then decided we had enough footage for a target 3-minute video. We thanked the family, especially Mrs. Songahid, and bid them goodbye. It was past 2 PM already, and we left directly without stopping by the center, deciding to eat lunch after getting back.

It wasn’t such a grueling day as I expected. The weather was in its most active rain-and-shine today, but it was better than full on rain. It was already hot as if no drop of rain fell by the time we were heading back. Our subjects for the video were highly cooperative and eager as well, so there was hardly any difficulty in getting them to adjust to the camera. I do hope we produce an accompanying video that speaks hand in hand with our article, but can also stand alone with its strong account of the family’s hopes and struggles.

It’s the end of my first week as intern at Rise Above, and even though it concluded on a Saturday, I really couldn’t have asked for less than what I experienced today. It wasn’t overwhelming, but still worthwhile. It added to my understanding of Ms. Shane’s conviction in hope and help for unfortunate situations. Today was well spent, despite us having finished our work much earlier than was anticipated.


Time out: 3:00 PM

Number of hours: 6 hours and 30 minutes


Seeming and Being

Time in: 9:00 AM


Today, Friday, was notably productive. It has been equally productive in comparison to the past two days. Ms. Shane came in today and she gave us feedback and insights on the articles we composed, and it confirmed a subtle nagging feeling I had that we had rather overdone the write-ups in terms of the volume of information in it. The stories would be published on the foundation’s online blog, which requires the brief and concise structure reliant on the visuals it provides that is common in many creative and business blogs.

What’s more, with our plan of filming a short video to accompany one of the write-ups, we had given away many essential parts to the story in the original feature piece. We decided to restructure our first story – that is, a story on the Songahid sisters from Sambag Dos in Guadalajara – so that the video it will come with would complete the storytelling as communicated by the voices of the subjects themselves.

At past two in the afternoon, my group – Phoebe, Grace, and I – left for the Family Care Center in Guadalupe. We were assigned to cover the first conference of a group of mothers to some of the children who went there with Ms. Marie, an authority at the foundation. It was scheduled at three, but the mothers only slowly arrived so that it officially started at 3:40. They had their children with them, who were all around 2-6 years old. It was a brief meeting of around forty minutes, where their main agenda were to discuss terms of agreement regarding the mothers’ part-time duties at the center in turn for the benefits their children receive, such as use of the library, caretaking as they play with other children, and learning sessions. Ms. Marie also told them about Rise Above’s Recybag Program, and encouraged the moms to take advantage of the offer to join.

Our duties during the meeting included documenting the assembly in pictures, collecting profiles of the children present and their parents, and taking the photos of those who attended – first solo shots of the kids, then a photo with their mothers.

Ms. Marie, prior to the meeting, brought us into the computer room and told us the story of how they came to acquire the equipment in it. A company affiliated with the University of the Cebu had approached them and asked whether the center needed computers, to which the foundation answered yes. “They’re old,” Ms. Marie said, “but still quite useful.” They were even sent the funds for a year’s worth of electricity bills, which was an especially generous move, I thought.

She told us there was a drawback, though, which was that they had no Wi-Fi connection for the laboratory. A huge drawback indeed, I thought. As Ms. Marie voiced out, the kids who would need the computers would most likely need the Internet to complete their homework too. For high school students, especially, schoolwork that involves research and printed outputs require use of the Internet at some point to finish it. The computers in themselves, though, are highly useful enough, and the foundation is waiting and looking for parties interested to sponsor a Wi-Fi installation to make the computer laboratory even more helpful for the kids’ education.

The meeting ended at around 4:20, and as each mothers left with their children, my group finalized and corrected the information we needed. We left the center after Ms. Marie did just as it was a few close minutes until 5 PM.

Our plan for tomorrow, which we’ve consulted with Ms. Shane on, is to head to Sambag Dos and get some filming done with the Songahid sisters and their family. During shooting, we hope to unveil more details of their story that deserve attention and also complete the knowledge we need to polish our written story on them.

I’m going to say today was a lovely day, and I have an intuition tomorrow will be even lovelier. It seems like a word tons lighter than what tomorrow may actually be like, especially as it involves working all day under the rain-and-shine weather we’ve recently had. Today didn’t even seem like it would be a lovely day, as I called it, at first. But somehow, like today, I feel like I would still call tomorrow a lovely experience at the end of the day. I’m looking forward to it.


Time out: 5:00 PM

Number of hours: Eight




A Faint Feeling

Time in: 8:45 AM


To be honest, I don’t even know what to write about for today.

We spent all day in the office, working on whatever assignment, typing away on computers, or writing down whatever material. All of us except for one pair worked inside, while the two of us who didn’t conducted their fieldwork in Sambag Dos.

Ms. Shane didn’t come in today, which I think none of us anticipated. I wasn’t able to inquire as to why she was not present. This resulted in our group not being able to decide whether to go back to Sambag Dos to get some filming done as was originally planned, since we still needed to consult Ms. Shane and have our subjects be informed of our schedule beforehand.

Most of the work we achieved today was the draft of our second story, which was notably shorter than our first’s. While we had other children associated with the foundation whom we were assigned to write stories on, we’ve only been oriented on the people from Sambag Dos – where they live, who they are, and how to reach their homes. We have four other locations to scout for our assignments, but don’t have enough information to be able to begin looking into the stories of the children from there.

In the end, we came to a point today where Mr. Flemming, the foundation’s president, caught us all gathered at our worktable – he only sometimes comes in at the office himself – and asked us, “Did Shane leave you anything to work on?” Technically, she did. For our group anyway. We have a deadline this week, but need her guidance to proceed effectively with the information we have, which is already three days old.

Ms. Shane mentioned we ought to set every Monday morning for weekly reports. She also told us we could take Wednesdays off so we could work on gathering our content on Saturdays, when the children we need to talk to are not in school. The upcoming Monday will apparently be a non-working holiday, so when that’s confirmed in the office, my group will most likely dedicate this Saturday to getting the final details we lack for our stories, and to visualize our feature video as well as film several clips after we come to an agreement with our subjects.

I’m still quite optimistic about this first week, and my impressions of my internship company wouldn’t be complete until it’s over. Sometimes it’s curiosity about the unknown that gets us going. It’s a faint feeling I’m having right now, and I hope it’s for something truly worthwhile for me.


Time out: 5:00 PM

Number of hours: 8 hours and 15 minutes


Looking Forward and Within

Time in: 9:30 AM


Today was another day at the office. When I arrived, I found everyone at the main table working on their laptops, each to their own assignment. My group’s objectives to focus on today were to finish the first draft of one of our stories and work on the second one. We also needed to lay out the content storyboard for the video we’re producing of one of our subjects and consult Ms. Shane on our filming dates.

Ms. Shane previously advised us to meet with our subjects this Saturday instead of tomorrow, which was our original schedule. The weekend would be a more convenient time to achieve our goal with the kids not being in school. Considering going back to Sambag Dos on Saturday instead, we made sure to polish our draft today so that it can adjust smoothly to whatever we may learn additionally from our subjects themselves. I’m quite looking forward to our meeting with the children, and perhaps to a bit of spirit and hope to find in their cases which their relatives have painted rather gloomily.

I brought a homemade lunch with me today, to avoid having to go to the distant food establishments and head back within an hourlong break or so. Even so, there were some among us who discovered there was a small carenderia on the street next to the one our office was on. Even with the lunch I brought, I went to have lunch out with our party of interns to check out the dining place. The way there mainly involved having to walk down a downhill road, and it took maybe almost ten minutes to complete the journey to and from the office. By the time we reached the office, I reckoned I would be hungry again, so I decided to stick firmly to bringing my own meal for lunch and just eat it at headquarters.

The afternoon was dedicated mostly to editing our first draft, and starting the one for our second article. Sometimes I thought the office to be too quiet, and sometimes I found myself distracted by seven of us cramped at the worktable, though it was big enough for most of us.

We all ended past 5 PM, and went home in separate groups. I look forward to tomorrows, and finding what’s in them.


Time out: 5:30 PM

Number of hours: Eight