What do you do for a living?
I teach for a living. I write for existence.
How old are you?
I was born on 21 September 1968. You do the math.
What makes you busy nowadays?
I work as assistant professor of the Department of Journalism at the University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication (UP CMC) in Diliman, Quezon City.
I am also a member of the Board of Editors of Bulatlat, an independent weekly online news magazine. I also write a column titled Konteksto for Pinoy Weekly, a progressive tabloid in Filipino.
What do you do during your spare time?
Believe it or not, SLEEP. This has become a luxury for me, considering that I also work during the weekends either doing press work for Bulatlat or giving lectures, seminars and training to inviting organizations.
Where did you study? Is it true you reaped academic honors?
I spent kindergarten to high school at the Notre Dame of Greater Manila (NDGM) in Caloocan City. I was first honorable mention (or third honors) upon finishing elementary education, and became high school valedictorian four years after. I also got awards for loyalty, leadership and academic proficiency.
I earned a Bachelor of Arts in Communication (major in Journalism), cum laude, from UP Diliman. I was adjudged Most Outstanding Journalism Student upon graduation.
I finished my Master of Arts in Philippine Studies, with High Distinction, at De La Salle University (DLSU). The honor I earned is equivalent to the DLSU undergraduate level's summa cum laude.
Why did you take Journalism at UP?
I excelled in Math and Science in elementary and high school. I was, however, very poor in writing, particularly English composition. Not surprisingly, my teachers and classmates advised me to take either Medicine or Engineering.
I did not heed their well-meaning advice and instead wrote BA Communication (major in Journalism) as my first choice when I filled out the UP application form.
I took Journalism then as a personal challenge but now my passion to write is due to the felt need to provide an alternative analysis. In other words, the personal has become political.
Did you join any organization while a UP student?
I was involved with the Philippine Collegian, UP Diliman's official student publication that I joined during my sophomore year. I eventually became its news editor. Being a working student then, I did not have time for other UP-based organizations.
In the early 1990s prior to graduation, I joined the Kabataan para sa Demokrasya at Nasyonalismo (KADENA), a community-based organization.
Why did you enroll at La Salle?
I get that all the time, especially from colleagues in UP. Please understand that I got a full scholarship from DLSU. I was working fulltime for a nongovernment organization (NGO) when I decided to take graduate studies. At that time, UP did not have a scholarship program for people like me.
When did you start teaching?
I started teaching part-time in 1993 when I was hired as a lecturer by the DLSU Department of Political Science. Two years later, I decided to try my luck, still on a part-time basis, at the UP Department of Journalism where I taught and was eventually promoted to senior lecturer.
During those times, I worked fulltime for the Council for People's Development (1991-1994) and IBON Foundation, Inc. (1994-2001).
Upon resigning from IBON, I decided to teach fulltime at UP starting Academic Year 2001-2002. That was also the time when I joined Bulatlat and CONTEND-UP.
Why did you resign from IBON?
Since I already spent 10 years of fulltime NGO work, I think it is time to move on. While I also taught on a part-time basis while working for CPD and IBON, I never felt belonging to the academe since I only held Saturday classes.
Right now, I can say I'm having the time of my life though my workload is much heavier.
Do you get depressed? What do you do to cope with stress?
Considering that we live in a Third World country, I get depressed every day. In my case, web publishing and listening to rock music --- sometimes done at the same time --- are good stress relievers.