LOOKING GOOD, FEELING GOOD
Veteran journalist CES DRILON gets candid about major changes in her life including singlehood, pursuing happiness and picking herself up from the woes of last year, and how she looks after herself through it all
There’s a positive energy radiating from Ces Drilon as she talks about what’s been keeping her busy lately. She goes live on Kumu via her show Bawal Ma-stress Drilon and regularly uploads videos on her Youtube channel, Ces and the City. She is also gearing up for an upcoming public service radio show called Basta Promdi, Lodi! She does all these while fulfilling her duties as president of The Outstanding Women in the Nation’s Service (TOWNS), and as an owner of Vagabond Farms.
That’s on top of an impressive career in broadcast journalism at ABS-CBN spanning 30 years, where she has taken on every role imaginable: field reporter for the Philippine Senate, and later, the business beat; cohost of Usapang Business; presenter for news and current affairs programs, Pipol and The Correspondents; news anchor for Bandila and TV Patrol; executive editor of ANC’S digital lifestyle site, ANCX; and one of the heads of the network’s
Lifestyle Ecosystem Group.
A CHALLENGING YEAR
But even Drilon could not be spared from the challenges of the pandemic. Just like everyone, the last year has been particularly difficult in both her professional and personal life.
When the pandemic hit, not only was she fearful of a then-unknown viral disease causing an outbreak, she was also one of the many employees ABS-CBN had to let go when its franchise renewal was denied.
“The difficulty was finding a purpose,” she tells Lifestyle Asia. “I lost not just the income, but also my purpose. I had to ask myself, ‘ What will I do now?’”
She also found it tough having been part of the network for such a long time—since 1989, to be exact. Even when she officially retired in 2015, she says she “never really went away,” continuing her stint as an anchor while serving as a consultant. Having to tell people that they would be let go did not make things any easier for her, too.
As a mother, Drilon was also worried sick for her son, who had a bout with psoriatic arthritis, which affects the joints. She describes the case to be so severe that “he couldn’t walk.”
“Dealing with this ailment has been challenging and the fact that it’s dangerous to go out,” she says. “There were even times when I’m wondering if I got COVID-19. I was so afraid that I would check my oximeter and have myself tested for the virus.”
As the other half of a longtime relationship, Drilon says the pandemic has also forced her to “reflect and really examine my life.” For the first time, she has candidly revealed that she and her partner of 13 years have parted ways.
“The universe was telling me something during this pandemic—that to move forward, you have to let go,” she says. “It was painful but I had to listen.”
On why it ended, Drilon bares her honest thoughts and feelings. “I think in the relationship, we were no longer nurturing each other,” she explains. “I’m talking about both parties, not just him. Emotional attachment sometimes no longer serves the direction you’re taking, too. I had to let go.”
“I think it’s wrong to deny the feelings that you’re feeling. You have to acknowledge the feelings of not being okay...”
PICKING HERSELF BACK UP
Despite the challenging year, however, Drilon remains positive.
“I am still an optimist,” she says. “I’m still very positive that I’ll be able to pursue what I want, even without him beside me.”
By pursuing what she wants, Drilon means seeing opportunities in setbacks—and seizing it. “My schedule has become lighter,” she says. “I told myself, ‘ This is the time when I can focus.’”
Twice a week, she is on KUMU: she hosts Bawal MaStress Drilon on Mondays, and Don’t Stress, Trust Tita Ces, an e-commerce show selling Stress Drilon, Peculiar Eyewear, and Vagabond Farms merchandise, on Wednesdays. It’s something that she never expected to do but was glad to have done so, anyway.
“I was a bit apprehensive because I’m used to mass media and all of a sudden, here I am live streaming. I thought people would probably degrade it,” she says. “But my fears were groundless because it’s been so rewarding. It got me to sharpen my conversation skills, enabling me to draw out the Gen Z and millennials, as well as their aspirations and their dreams. Otherwise, I would’ve just been talking to the usual or only a certain segment of society.”
Drilon also appreciates live streaming as a new experience, as opposed to what she is used to in traditional broadcast media.
“I laugh so hard when I’m there because conversations are more intimate and more relaxed,” she adds. “There’s no commercial gap to think about. It’s more freewheeling. If on TV, you have to get to the point right away because your time is limited.”
Not to mention, KUMU has also let her experience having a merchandise line featuring shirts and mugs developed and sold based on the show.
In the early days of the pandemic, Drilon was able to lend a helping hand for healthcare workers, too, via TOWNS.
“The universe was telling me something during this pandemic— that to move forward, you have to let go. It was painful but I had to listen...”
“My fears were groundless because it’s been so rewarding. It got me to sharpen my conversation skills, enabling me to draw out the Gen Z and millennials, as well as their aspirations and their dreams...”