While covering news on the prices of strawberries in the famed La Trinidad Strawberry Farm, a mother approached me. She started by asking me if I knew something about the Victory Liner.

          The mother, in her forties, was carrying her daughter at her back and seemed to be a vendor in the tourist destination.  Politely, I nodded and was trying not to raise an eyebrow since I knew that this mother would be just be stealing seconds from my deadline.

          Sweat flowed on her cheeks. She grabbed a piece of cloth wrapped around her head to wipe her sweaty face. Her child was so quiet. The child was staring at me while I started writing notes.

          “Ipa-Bombok man ti Victory Liner,” she emotionally started saying. She wanted to request for a radio broadcast criticism against Victory Liner.

          She took a deep breath and continued speaking. I explained to her I am not from Bombo Radyo, a local AM station known for it’s blow-by-blow criticisms against businesses, government officials and private individuals.

          I was reporting for the radio station’s rival. I was quite sure the woman never heard about the radio station I was working with. After my internship in the station, my station manager requested me to be part of their Holy Week special. We agreed I will cover stories within La Trinidad, town including the prizes of vegetables in the Trading Post and of strawberries.

          “Awan kitdi babain da, the woman raised her pitch. Kikitan da nga ubing ti agtugaw ket haan da pay i-half fare.”

          The woman was complaining to me that the bus line irresponsibly did not consider charging her child half-fare.  

I stared at her deeply, telling myself “please no tantrums”.

         The woman started to sigh. I learned that she came from Manila to buy goods the Holy Week business. She repeated she is requesting me to criticize the bus line.

          I wanted to end the conversation. I just assumed to be taking down notes of what she is saying.

          Another woman came and spoke to me in Ilocano. She got my number promising me to send a message about some complaints. I did not know what to do. I just granted her request.

          I went back to the radio station and reported the details I got.

At home, I was very disturbed. “What if I meet the two women and they would ask me about the request!”  “What if the other woman will send me a message?” I was never trained to lie but I promised myself that if that would happen, I will lie.

     I have already decided not to talk about the complaint and never to return to Strawberry Farm for the meantime.

          Upon entering the radio booth, I saw a piece of paper from the Department of Social Welfare and Development about a little girl who has been abandoned by her widowed father in Ifugao. According to the press release, the father of the little girl went away after his wife died.

          I took the microphone with my tandem and talked about some issues in the society. I spoke about underemployment and in the end of the program; I made a simple “blind item.”