Jiggy Manicad: the accidental journalist

IMAGE Noel Orsal

When he was younger, Jiggy Manicad did not intend to go to college, and just wanted to take up a vocational course so he can work in a car shop or become an OFW (Overseas Filipino Worker).


Jiggy Manicad of GMA News and Public Affairs has long proven his mettle as a competent broadcast journalist, and has a number of recognitions and awards to validate this.

Just to name a few, he was recently named one of the “Men Who Matter” by PeopleAsia, and was among the Ten Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) in 2013.

In 2014, his news program, Quick Response Team (QRT) on GMA News TV won the Bronze World Medal in the New Work Festivals under the Best Coverage of Breaking News category in 2014.

This was for the live on-the-ground reportage of the Zamboanga crisis, which was led by Jiggy.

But Jiggy confessed that his stature today wasn’t exactly what he had in mind.

Did you know he didn’t intend to go to college?

He initially planned to take up a vocational course, and wanted to be an Overseas Filipino Worker—a far cry from being the multi-awarded broadcast journalist he is today.

Indeed, Jiggy has come a long way.

Asked if he thinks he is an “accidental journalist,” Jiggy replied, “Parang gano'n, e. Feeling ko accidental din in a way.”

FINDING HIS CALLING. Jiggy was only two-months-old when he was placed under the care of his grandmother in San Pablo, Laguna, since both of his parents were public school teachers based in Camarines Norte.

When his grandmother passed away, a relative took care of him.

He recalled that before graduating in high school, his classmates were thinking which school they'd go to and what degree to take up. But what Jiggy had in mind then was to finish a vocational course, work in a car shop (talyer) or become an OFW.

One time, while his seatmate was filling out an UPCAT (University of the Philippined College of Admission Test) form for University of the Philippines Los Baños, he persuaded Jiggy to do the same.

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His seatmate picked Communication Arts, while Jiggy was eyeing Forestry “para madaling makapasok.”

Again, his classmate swayed him to take up Communication Arts as well.

“So nag-exam kami pareho. Nakapasa ako, siya hindi,” Jiggy told PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and a few numbers of the press at a pocket press conference held in the GMA Network Center last July 30, Thursday.

On his second year, he wanted to shift to Veterinary Medicine, but failed in the aptitude test.

“Nag-student assistant ako, nagsulat kami ng news sa UPLB, and speech ng chancellor.

“Sabi ko baka ito na ang calling ko kasi student journalist din po ako, so tinuloy-tuloy ko na.”


RISE TO THE TOP. After graduation, Jiggy applied as a driver/PA (production assistant) at dZBB, and got the job.

But he had qualms about accepting the position because he didn’t know his way around the city.

So he applied at ABS-CBN, where he worked as a researcher for the now-defunct news-magazine program Magandang Gabi Bayan for three months.

Afterwards, he went back to Laguna and served as a writer at Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture for seven months.

He then went back to Manila, and applied for work in GMA-7 this time.

In the process, he bumped into Jessica Soho, News Public Affairs host and executive, and Jiggy took the chance and said he was applying for a job.

Jessica responded, “Sige, mag-apply ka sa newsroom.”

And the rest is history.

Jiggy started from the bottom. “Nung writer ako, night shift ako no’n, walang desk, walang reporter."

On duty with Jiggy was a cameraman/driver, just in case something would turn up.

“Natatapos ako ng mga scripts ko, sinasamahan ko siya until natuto na ako nung lahat; camera, editing.

“'Tapos ang mga unang salang ko, unang assignments ko, sa field. Parang sweeper ako ng newsroom. Wala nang story saka ako ipapadala,” he related.

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He really worked his way to the top.

Apart from QRT on GMA News TV, which is now on its fourth year, Jiggy also anchors 24 Oras Weekend, and Reporter’s Notebook.

PASSION OVER FAME. Jiggy related he has observed that a lot of students today aspire to be in front of the camera, not fully knowing what the job entails.

He said in this line of work, one must have the right motivation to succeed.

“Every time po na may lecture-series ako, yun din po ang ini-explain ko. Sabi ko yung TV kasi, ang impression sa kanya, para makagawa ka ng stand-upper for fame, glory, fortune.

“Ini-explain ko na you have to manage your expectations, na hindi gano’n ang journalism talaga.

“Kung hard-core journalist ka, papasok kang reporter sa TV, dapat hindi gano’n ang motivation mo. Dapat motivation mo would be journalism itself.

“Sabi ko, halimbawa, nakilala ka ng publiko, [it] follows that would have to be incidental, hindi siya yung motivation niyo bilang estudyante para mag-broadcast [journalist] kayo, kasi nga yun ang nakikita namin.

“Nakikita ko sa mga lectures na isang buong klase, mga 200 students, gusto nila lahat maging reporter.

“Sabi ko hindi kayo lahat makakapasok, kasi talagang handful lang ang nakakapasok.

“Just to manage lang expectations.

“Sabi ko, ‘Pupuwede kayo sa ibang linya, PR, advertising, newspaper, sa print.

“Sinasabi ko mag-start kayo as writers. As writers, mas magaling yung natuto kayong magsulat muna kesa humarap kayo agad sa camera.”

QRT airs weekdays at 5:15 PM to 6:00 PM on GMA News TV Channel 11.


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