PEP (Philippine Entertainment Portal) and other entertainment press were given a chance to talk to the members of the GMA News team on February 9 for the launch of GMA News TV.
Over dinner, the showbiz press spoke with three news personalities—Ivan Mayrina, Connie Sison, and Cesar Apolinario—at a restaurant in Quezon City.
First to arrive was Ivan, who immediately sat down and introduced his new program on GMA News TV called On Call. Connie Sison will be his co-host in this new public affairs program that seeks to address the concerns of the public.
"On Call, kasi we want to create that image na always on the go, active, hindi lang siya nagbabalita," he said. "Halimbawa, may magrereklamo ngayon. Tawagan ngayon natin yung agency concerned. Baka naman puwedeng gawan ng paraan ngayon. So medyo immediate yung impact nitong public service na 'to."
It will premiere on February 28, the same launch day as GMA News TV.
Besides On Call, Ivan will anchor the channel's hourly news bulletins.
"Five-minute newscasts every hour. So every hour, may recap siya. Five-minuter yun, ako ang uupo from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.. Yun ang toka ko. Yun ang initial, ha?"
Although the new tasks will keep him busy, Ivan says he feels fulfilled rather than stressed out.
"Oo. Kasi ano, e. Alam mo ang numero unang perk mo diyan? Yung respeto ng tao. Hindi mo siya hihingin, pero it comes naturally," he said.
He's also happy that he is one of the young news personalities being primed to anchor GMA-7's primetime news programs in the future, like 24 Oras and Saksi.
"I'm being groomed to be a serious news person... Iilan lang naman kaming ganyan, e. Na puwede kang mag-fit sa ganung mold. For one, you have to be credible."
Ivan said he goes to great lengths to protect this image. He does not smoke, and he chooses not to drink in public.
"Kung iinom ako nang marami, sa bahay na lang," he said.
FROM CORPORATE TO NEWSREPORTING. Ivan did not plan to be one of GMA-7's trusted young news anchors. In fact, he was in another field before becoming a news person.
In 1997, he graduated with a Communication Research degree from the University of the Philippines in Diliman, Quezon City. He then applied for a job at Ayala Corporation.
"Ang ano ko nun, finance services, life insurance, financial instruments... Business electives kami [in college] at that time, kaya ang linya niya, medyo corporate," he said.
After three years, a friend asked him to audition for Unang Hirit, GMA-7's morning show.
"Nag-invite sa akin, younger batch ko sa UP. At that time, segment producer ng Unang Hirit. Sabi niya, 'Uy, audition ka. Gusto mo?' Sabi ko, sige!"
It was "tiyamba," Ivan said, that was how he was thrown into the world of sports reporting. He found it hard to adjust at first.
"Malaking bagay diyan yung nag-adjust ako from corporate [work] to news [reporting]," he said. "Kasi corporate ka, medyo may schedule ka, medyo glamoroso ka. Makati boy, e. Naka-necktie ka and all, 8 to 5 ang schedule and predictable ang buhay mo.
"At that time, ang schedule ko, parang 12 midnight, tapos uuwi ako ng alas-diyes ng umaga. Parang ganun, so, talagang upside-down ang mundo mo."
But the stars continued to shine for Ivan. Another random incident thrust Ivan to to become an on-cam reporter.
On May 1, 2001, he was given the task to deliver tapes to Jiggy Manicad, an on-cam reporter caught in the middle of a chaotic EDSA III rally. A rock had hit Jiggy's head, rendering the reporter unconscious.
Ivan said, "That was my first big break! Nabato si Jiggy, pass out siya. Binato sa akin yung mikropono, ikaw ang mag-report sa Mendiola!
"Maghahatid ako ng tape para sa kanya. E nabato siya. Nawalan ng malay. Tapos ako yung, 'Mike [Enriquez], si Jiggy tinamaan!' Tapos binigyan ako ng karton. Tapos nagre-report ka naka-carton. Yun na yun."
Ten years later, Ivan said he has become one of GMA-7's respected news anchors.