Opinion, Thoughts

My Takeaways from SIBYA 2016

Attending SIBYA 2016 has been one of the many events I have been looking forward to attend this year. SIBYA means “to broadcast” in Cebuano. For me, it’s where communicators and communicators-to be gather to learn from the experts who have reached success or who may have made a difference in the industry. There were years that I had to skip it due to work schedules.

The first ever SIBYA in 2012 made a mark on my desire to attend SIBYA. Xavier University’s The Crusader Publication and the DevCom Society brought 4 of the biggest names in the industry who have started Rappler. This was Maria Ressa, Pat Evangelista, Chay Hofileña and one of whom I look up to, Michael Josh Villanueva. The highlight of the inaugural SIBYA was the change social media has brought to inspire positive change. I even made a Storify from SIBYA in 2012. It’s here – CDO Moved by Rapplers during SIBYA.


This year’s Student Communicators Congress was a bit different as it highlights the impact of media (as a whole) in shaping our country’s perspective. For me a theme very relevant as the national election approaches. The organizers brought Jun Sabayton, famous for being “BAYAW”, TV5’s VotEd program. Other than being a TV personality, he’s also a social satirist, and a film director; Bea Cupin was also present. Bea is a write, a journalist, a social media producer and a multimedia reporter at Rappler. She is best known to have been following the stories in PNP, DILG, the Liberal Party and the Roxas-Robredo Campaign. The Inquirer.net’s Editor-in-Chief, John Nery, also graced the congress. He recently co-hosted the PiliPinas Debates 2016 Mindanao Leg with some of the seasoned news personalities. He is also a journalist, a columnist and a book writer as well.


The program started at 2PM and Bea Cupin took the center stage. I knew of Bea since 2012 during the heights of Bea shared her life behind the camera and the internet-sphere. She also showed us a few scenes from the rallies and campaign sorties. She even showed statistics of how the youth can potential sway the results of the elections. She shared her challenges on what stories or angles to present as she gets to hear these politicians speeches all over again. She may have written stories in the bigger picture but she told us that small things or details do matter. I realized that being a journalist is not an easy job. I even saw her Facebook Live video coverage prior to the concluded Presidential Debate in CDO where she was barred from entering a specific area in the venue. You can really sense the exhaustion from her face. I know that one of her goals was to present us the highlights of the debate. To Bea – I can’t imagine high you experience in every chapter of your coverage. It takes guts to do that. Thank you for showing us that covering news has it’s limit from the storyteller.


John Nery was the second guest speaker to talk. Right at the very beginning he already set our expectations that this will be a lengthy talk which I really I don’t mind. I though John Nery was very silent as he only had a couple of exposure during the election debates. I was wrong, this guy has a lot to say. Probably it comes with his long experience writing in the paper and covering what we know as history in the 2016. He delivered a speech worth of many hours or even days of a journalism class. He discussed the very basic of journalism, the categories and their usage. He even taught us the principles of writing, the no-nos in creating a narrative to crafting an opinion and creating a compelling editorial. For me, this was totally overwhelming from a marketing perspective yet an eye opener on the science behind each articles that appears online or in print. To Sir John – You inspired me as a new lifestyle columnist to take this craft to a new level. I’ve always dreamt of writing in the paper. Also knowing you’re from CDO makes me more proud and inspired that one can reach the heights by doing it right and expressing yourself. 


Lastly, Jun Sabayton took the stage. I didn’t see him on the speakers area thinking he could have been hiding somewhere else. (Me and my imagination.) He approached the venue from the back to the center stage and a background music from his famous BAYAW personality. He looked a bit exhausted but pretty much in the game. Humor was his strength. He showed us the founding history of media up to the very day it has evolved. He also presented his works where sarcasm, humor and satire was in and how it was used in the past during the Spanish occupation in the Philippines. One will realize after his talk that one message can be conveyed in different mediums. You just have to believe in your message.  To BAYAW: You are one great artist! You’ve made me realize that a certain idea can be possible when you have the desire to do it.


SIBYA 2016 made me realize a lot of things and the power of media to shape perception even the boundaries of what we call freedom. The speakers were a perfect match to the main goal of SIBYA this year. If we relate it to cooking, the 3 great individuals were to complete a satisfying and delicious dish. They surely have told us an aspect in media which we rarely see.

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