Is that you?

Following the 2004 discovery of the mega shabu laboratory in Mandaue City, Cebu, Sun.Star Cebu chief photographer Alex Badayos was sent to cover a hearing on the case when he chanced upon a woman who looked like his friend walking outside the courthouse as he approached the building.

“Hi, classmate! Kumusta? (How are you?),” Badayos warmly greeted the woman with an arm around the woman’s shoulder.

Surprised, the woman quickly moved away and without a word, walked up the courthouse steps.

Badayos soon figured out why. When he stepped into the courtroom of Regional Trial Court Judge Marilyn Lagura Yap, who was said to be handling the case, he discovered that the woman he had put his arm around earlier was the judge herself.

Badayos gasped on realizing his mistake and muttered, “Piskota baya ining kalakiha!” (Darn my situation!)

Oooh, aah, radio recording beyond the interview

In the early 1990s at a popular radio station in Cebu, editorial personnel recorded all interviews they conducted over the telephone, relates a former deskman there.

To keep from getting drowsy in the afternoons when they were writing their stories, some mischievous editorial personnel decided to record the telephone conversations a fellow reporter (in the station) had with his girlfriend (outside the station) and broadcast it within the newsroom.

“They talked about their intimate acts inside a motel,” the former deskman said, guffawing.

One conversation started this way.

Girlfriend: “Sure ka way naminaw nato karon? (Are you sure no one is listening to us now?)”

Fellow reporter: “Safe kaayo ni nga line, gang. (This is a very secure line, my love).”

“How we laughed!” this former deskman recalls. To this day, he says, the couple have no idea how an entire newsroom had a whole lot of entertainment at their expense.

Jackfruit for cover

In 2002, reporters from various media outlets in Cebu descended on Dinagat Island to cover the arrest of fugitive cult leader and parricide suspect Ruben Ecleo Jr.

When gunshots rang out, the reporters covering the manhunt quickly scampered for safety, relates then police reporter Jovy Gerodias. Some of them ducked under a parked jeepney; others sought trees for cover.

One reporter rushed to the nearest tree, realizing too late that it was a “nangka” (jackfruit), too small to shield his body. Luckily, all the reporters lived to tell the tale.

Arrested development

During one of the celebrations of the Cebu Press Freedom Week in 2001, Sun.Star Cebu reporter Oscar Pineda decided to play a joke on his fellow reporters. As the evening party at the Cebu City Marriott Hotel got going, he spread the rumor that suspected murderer and fugitive policeman Engilberto Durano had been arrested.

This sent the reporters at the party dashing out of the hotel and toward the quarters of then Criminal Investigation and Detection Group 7 Chief Edwin Diocos, whom they asked for confirmation of the report.

Diocos, who was already in shorts because it was the dead of night, denied that Durano had been caught and that they were just keeping him from the media.

Reporters returned to the party to find Pineda drinking all the beer alone. He said if looks could kill, the glances they sent his way would have amounted to a lynching.

At the party, Pineda said his editor Michelle So also asked why he was the only reporter not following up on the story on the arrest of Durano. When he told So that he was the one who had spread the false rumor on the arrest, So was not convinced and gave him this warning: “Bantay wa ta aning storyaha ugma ha.” (We’d better not be the only one who did not get this story in tomorrow’s paper.) Cherry Ann T. Lim/Jovy T. Gerodias

(CJJ10 was published in hardcopy in September 2015.)