GMA News TV Channel 11's Powerhouse welcomed its third season with new host Kara David which started airing July 16.
Kara David is no stranger to Philippine broadcast TV, rising from the ranks of production assistant, researcher, writer, reporter, documentarist to host and anchor for GMA News and Public Affairs.
Kara is considered among the top tier of the network's journalists because of her award-winning stories garnered especially through her work on I-Witness.
Aside from being an integral part of GMA-7's flagship documentary program I-Witness, Kara can also be seen on GMA News TV's News To Go and 24 Oras.
Her newest show Powerhouse features the life stories of the country's movers and shakers inside their homes.
What was her reaction when she was informed of management's decision to let her take Mel Tiangco's place?
"Kinakabahan ako na manahin ang kanyang programa. Bilib na bilib kasi ako sa kanya. Di ko akalain na mamanahin ko ang kanyang programa."
"Nakakapressure talaga, kasi she's been my idol for a long time, lagi ko pinapangarap na umabot sa level ni Tita Mel, this gives me a lot of honor and pride na kahit papaano, pinagkatiwala niya at nila sa akin yung programa."
Kara recalls one of the first things she did on her first day of taping. "Tinext ko si Tita Mel, nagpasalamat ako sa opportunity at kung pwede niya ako bigyan ng tips," she bursts out laughing.
She shared what she felt when Tita Mel replied, "Naiyak ako yung sa text niya sa akin na give it your own touch, malaking karangalan, paano maglive up to what Powerhouse was."
She shared what Tita Mel told her, "be yourself, huwag ko daw siyang gayahin, bigyan ko yung show ng sarili kong tatak ng personality, na she's giving me all the freedom. She said, give it the Kara David touch, huwag ko daw isipin yung ginawa niya sa Powerhouse."
To clarify, what is the Kara David touch. Kara explains that her 10 years in I-Witness has defined her style, "my style is documentary writing, even in news, I'm very into my subjects, I get emotionally attached to my subjects, 'yan yun dadalhin ko."
Kara said she hopes that, "I will give time na hindi lang house tour, kung pwede nga sundan siya kung san man katulad sa I-Witness, usually karaniwang tao, dito movers and shakers, magandang sundan sila di lang sa kanilang bahay kung di sa pang-araw araw nila."
Kara reveals her dream interviewee for Powerhouse would be President Noynoy Aquino, "kung power at influence ang pag-uusapan, I would really want to interview the most powerful person in the Philippines now which is President Noynoy Aquino."
She added, "gusto ko rin interbyuhin past presidents of the Philippines, siyempre yung mga buhay pa, like si President [Fidel] Ramos, President [Joseph Estrada] , President GMA [Gloria Macapagal Arroyo]."
What does Kara think sets her apart enough to have been considered and finally approved as Powerhouse's new host?
She pauses briefly before answering, "I don't know, siguro may nakita sila na aspect ng personality ko na malapit sa aspects ng personality ni Tita Mel, yung madaldal at mahilig makipagusap sa mga tao and what I admire kay Tita Mel is she can be very, very credible reading the news but she also has a human side na pwede siya tumawa ng malakas, umiyak, maging kikay..."
Kara admits, "I'd like to be honest, yun din sana gusto ko maproject, ngayon hanggang tumanda ako sa industriyang ito, yung kaya ko maging composed and credible on camera but also kaya ko pa rin ipakita yung human side ko: laughing, adventurous, yung pagkakikay ko, pagkabungisngis, yung you're able to show your audience who you really are."
She says that this versality matters in a show where, "pinapakita yung human side ng influential people, what they are behind all the facade."
Kara then continues, "baka yan ang dahilan bakit ako nakuha sa show na eto, kasi I'm not afraid to show who I really am, kung ano ang human side ko."
People may be wondering why Mel Tiangco is being replaced and the answer is very simple, as explained by the show's production team. Mel is focusing on her work running the Kapuso Foundation as its director, on Magpakailanman and other news programs.
Kara's first subject for Powerhouse was Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto and Kara relates her initial thoughts about interviewing Ate Vi, "nagulat ako na she was so down-to-earth! And she was just so open throughout the interview. Akala ko bibigyan niya ako ng maraming showbiz answers."
"Like when I asked her about her relationship with Nora Aunor, sabi niya di kami nagkikibuan dati ni Nora, napaka-honest niya talaga, she was just very open. Siya pa nga nagsabi sa akin na malapit na siya mag senior citizen, she really just opened up to me.
"Nagulat rin ako, she's like an institution hindi lang sa pelikula pati sa politics, with talks na she might be running for a national position, pero she was so down-to-earth and accommodating to us. Sabi ko pagkatapos ishoot yung episode, perfect etong pilot episode. First, she is a woman. Second, she is a strong person na admirable talaga. Third, she made us feel really at home, especially to me na bagong host dito sa Powerhouse, she made it easy."
Transitioning from interviewing normal everyday subjects to powerful influencers poses its own set of adjustments. How is Kara handling the shift?
"May ugali tayong mga Pilipino, kapag pumapasok ka sa bahay ng isang tao, hindi mo dapat binabastos yung host mo. As a journalist, mas mahirap yun when you need to ask hard-hitting questions. Lalo pa, kung andoon ka sa teritoryo niya. Pero andito tayo sa industriya ng truth-telling, e, so you really just have to gather all the strength to ask hard-hitting questions, phrasing it in a way na hindi masyado competitive, na hindi offensive. Kung talagang sensitive, pwede ka magpasingtabi nalang yung, forgive me, but I just have to ask. Doon mo din makikita character ng interviewee, kung insecure siyang tao, ma-ooffend siya."
Kara also explains her stance to continue to make her interview style relatable and full of emotions, much like her documentary feature style over the past decade.
She shares why she sticks to this philosophy, "mayroon panahon na kailangan you keep your composure and ask the questions that you need to ask. Pero hindi din naman ata masama na magkaroon ka ng connection with your subject. Like when you're amazed [by them], you're amazed. In awe, in awe, ang hirap magpakaplastic. Maraming journalism professors na hindi sila naniniwala sa style of reporting ko, like when in I-Witness, sinasabi nila masyado ako...with my subject. Sinasabi ko naman, bago ako naging journalist, tao muna ako. I can't take away my being human just to keep that air of credibility. Pero hindi rin naman ibig sabihin na because you have an attachment, you cannot ask the important questions."
Powerhouse airs on GMA News TV Channel 11 every Tuesday night at 8 pm.
Kara David cried when she received moving message from former Powerhouse host Mel Tiangco
by Kaye Estoista Koo posted on August 2, 2013