Friday, December 4, 2015

Born to be Wild TV Show - A Look Back

Close encounter! My first ever shoot was in Manila Zoo, more like 'shoot practice' before we were sent out to the field. Note: there's no close encounter with Hippo in the wild (unless you dangerously ride on a boat), it's an easy death for the tourist. So this encounter was a surprise for me.

I saw a post from the GMA7 executive producer of Born to be Wild, and was surprised to know that the show just celebrated its 8th year!!  I even commented (in that post) that both Doc Ferdz and I didn't think the show will last for more than a year! Ha Ha!
Well it did, and it's getting stronger.
I congratulate GMA7's producers and crew for a JOB WELL DONE... We need more educational,  'mala-NATGEO' shows in our local TV channels.

Reminiscing my time in that show, I browsed through my old blog on Born and here posting some photos of some of our trips... Also copy-pasted my first-ever post about Born to be Wild and why or how I got into this show.

The first-ever episode for me was about the 'wild' monkeys in Calatrava, Negros.  That trip was actually the second but my Malapascua shark story (1st trip) didn't produce very good result (i.e. no tresher shark seen).  Here, the alpha male macaque comfortably sits with me as if tamed.  (Apparently, the locals regular feed them resulting in this behavioral change - interacting with humans).

One of the first-ever posters of the show
(from old post with minor edits)
“Stand by, rolling - 4, 3, 2… “
In Malapascua, doing a story about sea snakes.  We're filming a group of snakes, assembled like spaghetti in a rock hole.
Near Mt Pinatubo crater with Mong.  We did cover not just wildlife but nature in general.

I wouldn’t hesitate jumping out of an aircraft flying 5000ft above ground (as long as I have a parachute with me); nor would I even feel scared standing on a cliff edge at 28,000ft! I would not even feel anything, but amazed, diving with an army of reef sharks swimming around me.
Sharing a light moment with the team during a shoot.
But looking at the camera to deliver spiels would, at times intimidate me, or completely made me feel like a fool to myself. It is one thing making kuento to friends (konyo!), or being interviewed, but it’s a completely different matter to ‘act and feel’ your spiels. I find it especially difficult to do the VO - Voice Overs (the recorded voice played while a video is showing).
The show also exposed us to real issues and environmental threats, and a sad realization that we're collectively not doing enough to preserve our natural treasures.
But this challenge seems to go away when I think about the principle – “of doing the right things”. And my higher principle here is – Help Protect the Living Planet. At least the awareness and education campaign is big on this one – so I’ll keep my hopes high that we can really do something about our ailing environment. So I have to forget about my personal struggle with spiels or VOs, like bad weather or strong winds during a summit attempt – I have to ignore, endure and move on!! (naks!)

At Apo Island after the dive shoot.  With Jace and Mong - regular partners in crime.

So how did I landed in this nightmare… err.. opportunity?
I actually don’t know!  :) I still can’t remember if I firmly said YES to this stuff! My co-host, Doc Ferdz, doesn’t seem to remember either. Sometimes we felt like victims of brainwashing or something!  ;) What I do remember is making pasyal to GMA office (konyo talaga!), to pitch an expedition/ reality-TV story, then being lured to audition for “100% Pinoy” – but then ended up auditioning for “Born to be Wild!” The next day or so, I was told -“You will be a host!” Talaga?!

We've visited countless places, encountered many animals, paddled many boats, dived many seas, encountered issues here and there - but had a lot of fun!

Do I want to be a host?! Huh? Not exactly! Do I like wildlife docu work? YES!! In fact, I want to film wolves, polar bears, even Emperor penguins! Do I want to help in conservation work? YES!!! - And so I guess a score of 2/3 eventually made the silent decision. Of course this means sacrificing a lot of time given that I have a full-time job, so I have to motivate myself with good thoughts: “Wildlife encounter!”, “Personal advocacy”, perhaps adding “free weekend trips!!”  :)

Am I ready for this thing? I really don’t know, all I know is that,
I… am… BORN TO BE WILD!!! :)

To all the producers, researchers and crew - thank you for making this a memorable experience!

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