MANILA, Philippines — Her two on-cam duties on GMA 7 may look “poles apart” but Mel Tiangco does not find any major differences between her duty as a newscaster of 24 Oras and as a host of Magpakailanman. For her, both tasks require her to tell stories that are happening for real.
“In the news, I am also a storyteller, am I not? I am a storyteller without drama although, of course, what you see in the news is real drama, especially the on-the-spot (reports),” said Mel on being a news anchor and drama anthology host. “Here in Magpakailanman, I also do interviews and my interviewees are also real people. I am interested with what is happening to the life of my kababayan. So, it’s the same here,” she added.
Magpakailanman, which has been airing for five years now, continues to uplift the spirits of Kapuso viewers through its various stories of hope, love, sacrifice and forgiveness. People who entrust their stories to Magpakailanman inspire Mel and the production team to go on with the show knowing how they are able to provide not just inspiring tales of life and love but also informative details and interesting feature episode per episode.
“We wanted stories that are truly inspiring every scene because that’s the thrust we want to achieve. We want stories na talagang malinaw na malinaw ang inspirasyon na ibibigay sa televiewers natin,” said Mel who revealed that the four stories they have prepared this month in celebration of Magpakailanman’s fifth anniversary present nothing but positivity despite life’s many hurdles.
“We are not just about after hearing feedback praising us for good story, we also want to impart life lessons through our stories and share information that the viewers can use or apply in their day-to-day life.”
If you’ve been tuning in to Magpakailanman every week, then it is certain that you were moved by the story of four Lagdamat sisters wherein one of them — without hesitation — gave one of her kidneys to her sick sister. “So this kind is love of family,” Mel ruminated. “Mabigat ‘yung dugo; it is said that blood is thicker than water.”
Also featured last Nov. 11 was The Bud and Gloria Brown Story that displayed true love between an American sailor and his maid.
To be aired on Nov. 25 is Kuwentong Marawi sa Mata ng isang Sundalo, the story of Marawi Suicide Squad soldier Pfc. Jomille Pavia. He is a soldier deployed in Marawi who was able to survive and save a number of civilians, especially an old woman trapped in her own home.
According to Mel, the soldier continued to fight despite his gunshot wounds. The love for his country was evident in the story. “Fighting to protect the country and the people is a kind of love we wanted to show to everyone.”
And while it is already common to see Mel doing public service, not a lot of people know how emotional she can get every time she meets their subjects who still can afford to smile despite hardships in life. In fact, there were some who deeply touched her heart and until now, Mel is monitoring them.
“I cannot forget the story of a mother who has three sons and all of them are schizophrenic. When I was interviewing the mother, I couldn’t help but cry kasi my God, imagine binubugbog s’ya ng tatlo n’yang anak pag wala s’yang maibigay na pera. The mother came to us for medicines so we brought her three sons to the mental hospital to have them checked and they prescribed them to take one pill a day to calm them down. I was really touched by the suffering of the mother, parang intinding-intindi n’ya why she’s going through that suffering. I really can’t forget that kasi naiyak talaga ako.”
Another heart-wrenching story for Mel was about the sacrifice of a mother whose three children were afflicted with a hereditary disease. Each child needed to take a certain medicine three times a day that costs P1,800 per tablet. Although not all three survived, Mel shared they were able to refer the youngest child to the Red Cross “because the child needs blood transfusion every so often so we, together with the Red Cross, are taking care of the child until now.”
Mel also takes every chance she gets to personally meet the people and know more about them through interviews “because I want to hear stories of real people, hindi naman sa magpapaiyak pero gusto namin na madama ng viewers ‘yung totoong kwento ng mga totoong tao. (Besides, here in Magpakailanman) everything comes from the heart.”
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