April 5, 2014

Honey played an important role in early human civilizations. Not only was it a source of sugar, it was also used as medicine and a medium of exchange in the olden times.

The people in the far barangay of Sallapadan, Abra has long practiced harvesting honey from the bounty of their forests. Here, their ancestors have depended on earnings from the sweet golden liquid. And many decades later, honey is still a product that they can depend on.

In this community, brothers Charlie Boy and Edrian Bangngayen have much to look forward to this summer. It marks their graduation from elementary and high school. It also ushers in the honey season. With determination, Charlie Boy lights up his torch and approaches a hive covered with thousands of bees. Without any mask or protective clothing between him and this swarm of bees, the 17-year-old only has the torch’s smoke to defend him from bee stings. But what is all this hard work for?




March 8, 2014

Roads are indicators of a progressive community.  It makes a community more accessible to other areas, thus, providing better opportunities for trading and other exchanges.

In the mountains of Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro, Mangyans are able to reach the market through foot trails. They trek the mountains for hours with their crop baskets strapped to their heads. Here, transporting goods is through their most basic form of transport: their feet. But there is a faster route to reach the market — through the Bongabong River.  Using the river’s wild rapids to their advantage, several Mangyan boys use rubber floaters and bamboo rafts to deliver goods so they can make it on time to market day.

Watch as Kara David joins a group of Mangyan boys on a river adventure, and gets a glimpse into what “all in a day’s work” means for them.



February 8, 2014

They are nimble, they multiply fast and they eat anything. They may be small, but they are feared. They are carriers of disease. Rats: a long-time pest to humans.

The residents of Vitas, Tondo, Manila live with rats. Although these are enemies of every Vitas household, rats roam free in the community. As night sets in, residents feel helpless against the pests.  These rats chew on anything, be it food, trash, even the residents themselves.

It is the opposite in the farming community of Luna, Isabela. It is the rats who fear humans.  Rats run away from people like the Luyon brothers. Quick and unforgiving, they are out to get rats that are destroying their rice fields. As a matter of fact, these rats have become a source of livelihood and a culinary adventure for the locals.


January 13, 2013

The sea is a friend for 12-year-old Joshua Catalan. Every day, he swims into the waters of Anda, Pangasinan. With his nimble body, he collects whatever he could find underwater: sea cucumber, abalone, sea urchins, and shells. The sea can be dangerous for a boy like Joshua  but he knows he can depend on it.

For Abel, Joshua’s older brother, the sea is his workplace. This is his place of toil, through the biting cold, through strong currents and tough winds. There are mouths to feed from his earnings from the sea. Life has been like this since their father passed away. Abel and the rest of his eight siblings are orphans. But more than being an orphan, the young man is now father to his younger brothers and sisters. They have nobody else to depend but Abel.

For Abel and Joshua, the sea is their refuge from life’s hardships. Will these waters continue to be kind to them?


October 28, 2013

A mother in the forests of Agusan del Sur patiently waits for her delivery. Because of their meager resources and lack of access to a clinic or hospital, Marina Catanao has decided to give birth at home, in the far barangay of Mahagsay. The hard-working mother goes on with her day as usual… oblivious of the dangers of her fifth pregnancy.

Nene Precioso is determined to bring Marina to the town clinic of San Luis. As first midwife of their pre-colonial Banwaon tribe, she wants to avoid losing their women due to death during childbirth. Some lives have been claimed by the unforgiving rough road to town. Here, a woman in delivery has both feet in the grave. Will Marina take a chance on this road?

GMA’s ‘24 Oras,’ ‘I-Witness,’ nominees in this year’s Emmy

by Crispina Martinez – Belen
September 11, 2013, Manila Bulletin

Photo by Kara David

Photo by Kara David

GMA News and Public Affairs brings pride to the country anew with two nominations in this year’s International Emmy Awards. GMA-7’s flagship primetime newscast “24 Oras” and longest-running public affairs program “I-Witness” were among the eight international nominees for the News and Current Affairs categories.

“24 Oras’” in-depth coverage of Typhoon Pablo, considered as the world’s deadliest natural disaster in 2012, received a nomination in the News Category. Led by anchors Mel Tiangco and Mike Enriquez, GMA News and Public Affairs’ ace team of reporters covered the typhoon that whipped Mindanao a few weeks before Christmas. “24 Oras’” coverage of the heartbreaking loss of lives after the typhoon was cited for being “a catalyst for public debate regarding the effectiveness of the country’s emergency preparedness.”

Kara David’s “I-Witness” documentary on children’s rights titled “Alkansiya” earned a nomination in the Current Affairs category. “Alkansiya” tells the story of a 12-year-old boy from Eastern Samar who dives and scours the seabed every night in search of sea cucumbers. Hoping to finish his studies, he eagerly deposits his measly income from selling his daily haul to his “alkansiya” or piggy bank. The documentary also received the prestigious UNICEF Child Rights Award in October of last year in Seoul, Korea.

Entries from GMA Network are the sole nominees from the Philippines and even in Asia in the News and Current Affairs categories. The eight nominees came from five countries including Brazil, Germany, Romania, Philippines, and United Kingdom. GMA Network and Brazil’s TV Globo are the only international entries to have earned a nod in both categories.

“The 2013 Nominees reported on subjects ranging from war to politics to human triumph and tragedy,” said Bruce L. Paisner, President and CEO of the International Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the organization conferring the Emmys, in a news release announcing the nominees last Aug. 14.

Winners will be announced at the Lincoln Center in New York on Oct. 1.


23 September 2013

Filipinos are known for their resilience, their admirable endurance. They never falter in the face of trying times. Fernando and Ma. Luna Man-Oblahan have long been resilient–two decades to be exact. To be frugal is the only way for their six children to survive. The children’s future depends on the couple’s toil.

A witness to the Man-Oblahans’ endurance is the youngest child, JR. He accompanies his parents from the fields to the mountains, where they cut their falcata trees. These falcata trees earn money for the Man-Oblahan children’s education in town; there may be no chance to change their fate if they remain in the village. But in this same village are the seeds, and the firm will, for a better future. Will there still be trees for JR’s education?

Watch the excerpt:


19 August 2013


In the forests of Agusan del Sur, beneath the fogs that cloak it, a quaint village named Mahagsay has stood the test of time. This barangay is home to the Banwaon tribe, an indigenous group that has remained faithful to its traditions amid threats of the modern times. It is where datus (chieftains) still remain central to everyday life, where a Filipino minority still heeds the spirits of the natural world.

Through rough and difficult terrain, Kara David visits the Banwaon tribe and meets the datus of Mahagsay. These datus are not mere symbolic gatekeepers of their culture; they actually perform rituals. And the rituals that Kara David witnesses have a significant role not only to their present state, but also to the future of their tribe. What prophecy do the animal sacrifices reveal? How do the Banwaons deal with different threats to their culture?

Watch the excerpt below:


Airing Date: July 22, 2013


At umagos ang namumuti at mabahong tubig…

Sa isang bayang pinagpala sa niyog, sa probinsya ng Quezon, may mga tubong matiyagang binabantayan. Mula rito dadaloy ang mala-panis na tubig. Mula rito, aagos ang tubig na may natatanging dumi.

At bago pa ito humalo sa ilog, tahimik na sinasalok ni Anghel ang maputing likido sa ibabaw ng tubig. Maaaring patapon na ito para sa iba, pero para sa kanilang nagtatrabaho sa “kapahan”, sa mala-palayan ng napapanis na tubig, ito pa lang ang simula. Kailangan pang lutuin ang mga katas na ito, kailangang pigain para sa natatanging langis.

Samahan si Kara David sa tabing ilog kung saan ang langis ay tila mas matimbang sa tubig.



And so flowed the whitish, foul-smelling water…

In a town blessed with coconut, in Quezon Province, some drainage is being closely watched. From here flows spoiled water. From here, comes a valuable waste. And before it mixes with the nearby river, young Anghel silently collects the white fluid that cloaks the water. It may be waste for others. But for Angel and the rest of the workers, these paddies of spoiled water can yield precious oil.

Join Kara David as she visits a riverside where oil outweighs water.



Airing Date: June 17, 2013

In Central Luzon, in the biggest plain and rice granary of the Philippines, many fear a silent creature. A bite spells peril. In a flash, life meets death.

But this creature is not a hindrance for the farmer Mang Agapito*. Life in the rice field must go on: there’s a season of harvest, there’s a season for planting. And in times of need, he and his sons are caught in a grapple with the snakes that lurk their fields…they struggle with one of the deadliest snakes in the country- the Philippine cobra.

Who wins this battle between human strength and animal venom? Who will become prey?


Sa Gitnang Luzon na siyang pinakamalaking kapatagan at palayan sa Pilipinas, nakakubli ang isang tahimik ngunit kinakatakutang hayop. Peligro ang dulot ng isang kagat. Sa isang iglap, buhay ang katapat.

Ngunit hindi magpapatinag ang magsasakang si Mang Agapito*. Tuloy ang buhay sa bukid: may panahon ng ani, may panahon ng pagtatanim. At sa oras ng pangangailangan. nakikipagbuno sila ng kanyang mga anak sa mga ulupong ng nagtataasang talahib, sa Philippine cobra na isa sa pinakamakamandag na ahas sa bansa.

Sino ang mananaig: ang lakas ng tao o ang lason ng cobra? Sino sa kanila ang magpapahuli?