Atom Araullo doesn't regret making the decision to be one of the hosts of the late night current affairs show, Kalye: Mga Kwento ng Lansangan. This ABS-CBN show just celebrated its first year anniversary last September 21, 2009. Other Kalye hosts include Anthony Taberna and Sol Aragones.
For the past year, Kalye: Mga Kwento ng Lansangan has been depicting the lives of people that the hosts meet on the streets. In the process, they unveiled the many faces of society.
Before joining Kalye, Atom was busy with other duties at ABS-CBN, first as host of the defunct morning show, Breakfast and doing news work for TV Patrol.
Atom recalls, "Nag-ho-host ako sa Breakfast. Alangan namang host lang ako. Parang kulang. Na-enjoy ko ‘yung hosting. Pero siyempre, nandito na rin ako sa larangan na ito, gusto ko rin masubukan yung behind the scenes. Gusto ko magsulat, mag-research."
This was around the last quarter of 2006, when he was on his third year of hosting Breakfast that he decided to become a researcher for the current affairs show, The Correspondents.
By the middle of 2007, Atom was offered to become a reporter for TV Patrol.
"Kasi siyempre, isang pamilya lang iyan. In-inform ako ng boss ng News department na baka raw gusto ko subukan mag-cover, baka gusto ko maging reporter. Actually, napa-isip pa ako kasi inisip ko nung una na ‘gusto ko bang maging reporter?' kasi medyo nag-e-enjoy na ako sa pagiging researcher at pagsusulat ng long format.
"So, inisip ko, kasi it became a choice of doing field work or being a researcher. Hindi ko pwede pagsabayin kasi masyadong dikit yung trabaho," he said in an interview at a restaurant in Tomas Morato, Quezon City last September 18.
His doubts about going into TV reporting were soon quelled.
"Sabi ko, okay na din ito kasi ang dami kong natutunan. Nakakapunta ako sa iba-ibang lugar. So, eventually, ang sabi sa akin, ‘okay lang iyan. Try mo maging reporter kasi marami ka din matutunan diyan. Kung gusto mong mag-long format, eventually magkakaroon ka rin ng chance.'
And by September 2008, the chance to go back to long format reporting came to Atom via Kalye.
RECALLING HIS 5 and UP DAYS. Atom shared to Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP) that the it was during his 5 and Up stint that he though of having a media career.
"Sa totoo lang, doon nanggaling yung unang idea na posibleng maging career ito kasi nag-eenjoy ako. Tapos, kapag nakita ko yung produkto parang sabi ko, ‘ayos ito.' Yung mga tao natutuwa. May bago ka natututunan bilang 5 and Up host. May mga tao kang nakikilala. Doon unang pumasok sa isip ko," he revealed.
Atom started as one of the reporters for 5 and Up when he was just 10 years old. And he stayed on the show for four years until he graduated from the show in 1996.
"Tinuloy ko yung school ko. Nagkaroon din ako ng maraming interest," he said. Atom finished his elementary studies at Ateneo de Manila and high school at Philippine Science High School while doing his 5 and Up stint. He later pursued Applied Physics at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.
By the time he graduated, Atom said that opportunities to work for media soon came.
"Sabi ko, ‘subukan ko kayang i-pursue?' Naging researcher ako sa The Correpondents. Naging segment producer din ako. Tapos naging reporter," he recollected.
Atom feels blessed to work in Kalye and another morning show, Umagang Kay Ganda.
"As a reporter naman, mga two years pa lang ako sa trabahong ito. Mag-t-three pa lang. Marami pa akong kailangan matutunan at maranasan.
"Two months pa din lang sa UKG. Parang balik sa morning show. Yun na nga lang yung lagi kong naiisip. Balik morning show na gigising na naman ng maaga," he said.
DAILY ROUTINE. It has been a hectic schedule for Atom, from the morning show, where he starts his day at 4 am and ends at around 10 in the evening.
Despite his busy schedule, Atom shares that he and his girlfriend Patty Laurel manage to find time for each other. Patty, who used to be his co-host in the defunct Studio 23 morning show Breakfast, is now a pre-school teacher.
"Within the week, usually after work kapag maaga natapos, lalabas kami. We stay away na din from Friday nights. So, either Tuesday or Thursday. Anytime between Monday to Thursday," he said, adding that they have been in a relationship for the past three years already.
Atom continued, "After UKG, natatapos siya ng 8:30 am. Sume-segue way na ako sa news. News gathering na ako the whole day. Or sometimes, nag-co-cover din ako for Kalye. I do this once or twice in a week."
Being an anchor for Kalye has provided Atom several unforgettable experiences. One of the memorable stories for Atom was when he swam in the waters of Manila Bay near the Baseco compound where children swim to look for scraps of metal to sell.
"Marumi. Mabaho," he said of the environment at Baseco. "Actually, ilalagay mo na lang sa likod ng isip mo ang lahat ng apprehensions."
"Ginagawa ko lang siya kasi nasa likod ng isip ko, ‘ginagawa kasi ito ng mga tao.' People actually earn a living from this. So, parang sino ba naman ako para sabihin na hindi siya fit for a human being. Matindi siyang trabaho. In an ideal world, wala dapat nalalagay sa ganoon sitwasyon. Pero, habang andiyan iyan, kailangan natin ipakita," he said about his mindset when he did the story.
"Favorite ko na din iyon kasi maganda naman yung kinalabasan ng istorya. I mean laging maganda ang isang bagay kapag lagi kang nakakapag-kwento ng isang bagay na kadalasang wala sa sphere of influence sa mga mundo ng mga taong nanonood sa iyo. Siguro, para sa ibang tao, they might find it shocking. Ang sukatan naman ng magaling na journalist or storyteller is kung ano yung nahuhugot mong reaksiyon at emotions mula sa viewers mo. In that sense, it was a good episode," he said
Now on its first year, ABS-CBN's Kalye continues to forge ahead with stories about ordinary Filipinos. And anchors like Atom Araullo, Anthony Taberna and Sol Aragones will continue delivering these stories as fearlessly and as accurately as they can.You can catch more of Kalye: Mga Kwento ng Lansangan when it airs every Monday right after Bandila on ABS-CBN.