BATCH OF 2017
Say hello to your Top Gear PH team
your job is amazing! You must be living the dream!”
If I had a peso for every instance I heard those lines, there would be an MX-5 or an FJ Cruiser in my garage right now. Honestly, the truth is like what the boy said to the girl when he found out she reads and reposts fake news, and then she asks if they’re an item: “Babe, it’s complicated.”
On one hand, yes, there are amazing aspects to this line of work. I’ve been in conference rooms with captains of the automotive industry, and glimpsed into the minds of business geniuses. I’ve driven supercars and concept vehicles that (maybe) no Filipino has driven before. I’ve seen places around the world that would make a travel blogger envious. I’ve peered into the underbellies of car-making operations, and I’ve witnessed how Ferraris and Toyotas are made.
But if there’s one lesson I’ve learned all these years, it’s that there’s always a flip side. Every article, photo, and layout you see on these pages—and from all our issues since we started—came from someone’s sweat, eyebags, and maybe even some tears. In fact, this shoot you see here is the closest thing we have to an easy pictorial.
And as our humble brand grew over the years, so did the work. It wasn’t just a photo shoot anymore; now there’s a video shoot that requires additional time on location. And the pictures aren’t just for the magazine, we have to allocate a few choice pics for social media.
A lot has changed since we came out with our first issue in 2004. I was with that pioneer crew, and I recall that there were only three of us closing the magazine: the editor, art director, and myself. And if you’re wondering how we did it then, let’s just say we knew the numbers to 24hour food deliveries by heart, and our stomachs can attest to that.
I came in at a time when digital usually meant photos. Film was still predominantly in use then, and I still remember that one of my tasks as staff writer was to fill out an internal office form so that the photos could be developed. We even had a little magnifying ‘monocle’ that we used to view film negatives. But even then, times were changing. The Internet was picking up steam, and social media sites were sprouting up and dying (remember testimonials?).
Nowadays, film is a look and ‘feel’ that people try to recreate using Instagram filters. My tasks are now done via computer, via e-mail, Google forms, and software called Slack that allows team members to communicate. You might think that Slack means slacking off, because how lazy are we to use a communication app if we all sit in one aisle? But this application is necessary to do the work we do. We don’t have magnifying glasses anymore, but our failing eyesight has forced many of us to graduate to real eyeglasses.
From a trio in 2004, a time when the most popular gadget was the iPod, Top Gear Philippines is now an 11-member team. And this is just for the full-time staff. Out there are our contributors and photographers with full-time jobs of their own, and we couldn’t do this without them.
Because if you ask me what makes Top Gear PH special, I’d reply with two words—the people. It’s not just because of talent, although