Atom Araullo doesn't regret making thedecision 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 andSol Aragones.
For the past year, Kalye: Mga Kwento ng Lansangan has been depicting the lives ofpeople 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 ashost of the defunct morning show, Breakfastand doing news work for TV Patrol.
Atom recalls, "Nag-ho-host ako sa Breakfast. Alangan namang host lang ako. Parangkulang. Na-enjoy ko ‘yung hosting. Pero siyempre, nandito na rin ako salarangan na ito, gusto ko rin masubukan yung behind the scenes. Gusto komagsulat, mag-research."
This was around the last quarter of 2006,when he was on his third year of hosting Breakfastthat he decided to become a researcher for the current affairs show, The Correspondents.
By the middle of 2007, Atom was offered tobecome a reporter for TV Patrol.
"Kasi siyempre, isang pamilya lang iyan.In-inform ako ng boss ng News department na baka raw gusto ko subukanmag-cover, baka gusto ko maging reporter. Actually, napa-isip pa ako kasiinisip ko nung una na ‘gusto ko bang maging reporter?' kasi medyo nag-e-enjoyna ako sa pagiging researcher at pagsusulat ng long format.
"So, inisip ko, kasi it became a choice ofdoing field work or being a researcher. Hindi ko pwede pagsabayin kasimasyadong dikit yung trabaho," he said in an interview at a restaurant in TomasMorato, Quezon City last September 18.
His doubts about going into TV reportingwere soon quelled.
"Sabi ko, okay na din ito kasi ang damikong natutunan. Nakakapunta ako sa iba-ibang lugar. So, eventually, ang sabi saakin, ‘okay lang iyan. Try mo maging reporter kasi marami ka din matutunandiyan. Kung gusto mong mag-long format, eventually magkakaroon ka rin ngchance.'
And by September 2008, the chance to goback to long format reporting came to Atom via Kalye.
RECALLING HIS 5and UP DAYS. Atom shared to Philippine Entertainment Portal (PEP) that theit was during his 5 and Up stint thathe though of having a media career.
"Sa totoo lang, doon nanggaling yung unangidea na posibleng maging career ito kasi nag-eenjoy ako. Tapos, kapag nakita koyung produkto parang sabi ko, ‘ayos ito.' Yung mga tao natutuwa. May bago ka natututunanbilang 5 and Up host. May mga taokang 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 theshow in 1996.
"Tinuloy ko yung school ko. Nagkaroon dinako ng maraming interest," he said. Atom finished his elementary studies atAteneo de Manila and high school at Philippine Science High School while doinghis 5 and Up stint. He later pursuedApplied Physics at the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City.
By the time he graduated, Atom said thatopportunities to work for media soon came.
"Sabi ko, ‘subukan ko kayang i-pursue?'Naging researcher ako sa TheCorrepondents. Naging segment producer din ako. Tapos naging reporter," herecollected.
Atom feels blessed to work in Kalye and another morning show, UmagangKay Ganda.
"As a reporter naman, mga two years pa langako sa trabahong ito. Mag-t-three pa lang. Marami pa akong kailangan matutunanat maranasan.
"Two months pa din lang sa UKG. Parangbalik sa morning show. Yun na nga lang yung lagi kong naiisip. Balik morningshow na gigising na naman ng maaga," he said.
DAILY ROUTINE. It has been a hecticschedule for Atom, from the morning show, where he starts his day at 4 am andends 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-schoolteacher.
"Within the week, usually after work kapagmaaga natapos, lalabas kami. We stay away na din from Friday nights. So, eitherTuesday 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. Newsgathering na ako the whole day. Or sometimes, nag-co-cover din ako for Kalye. I do this once or twice in aweek."
Being an anchor for Kalyehas provided Atom several unforgettable experiences. One of the memorablestories for Atom was when he swam in the waters of Manila Bay near the Basecocompound where children swim to look for scraps of metal to sell.
"Marumi. Mabaho," he said of theenvironment at Baseco. "Actually, ilalagay mo na lang sa likod ng isip mo anglahat ng apprehensions."
"Ginagawa ko lang siya kasi nasa likod ngisip ko, ‘ginagawa kasi ito ng mga tao.' People actually earn a living fromthis. So, parang sino ba naman ako para sabihin na hindi siya fit for a humanbeing. Matindi siyang trabaho. In an ideal world, wala dapat nalalagay saganoon sitwasyon. Pero, habang andiyan iyan, kailangan natin ipakita," he saidabout his mindset when he did the story.
"Favorite ko na din iyon kasi maganda namanyung kinalabasan ng istorya. I mean laging maganda ang isang bagay kapag lagikang nakakapag-kwento ng isang bagay na kadalasang wala sa sphere of influencesa mga mundo ng mga taong nanonood sa iyo. Siguro, para sa ibang tao, theymight find it shocking. Ang sukatan naman ng magaling na journalist or storyteller is kung ano yung nahuhugot mong reaksiyon at emotions mula sa viewersmo. 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 andSol Aragones will continue delivering these stories as fearlessly and as accurately as they can.