The best of times
WEDUGdeep into 20 years worth of interviewsand encounters with select news makers and celebrities and how our conversations with them —whether for a feature, a fashion editorial, or our Sunday section called Play!—made an impact on us and the readers.
Here are the stories our hearts will always remember:
“Nor thern Mindanao trip. Circa late 2000s. We visited Siargao, Legazpi, Butuan, Zamboanga. It showed me the precious beauty of Mindanao nature and culture. Also my interviews with musicians
like Bituin Escalante and Switchfoot. Nothing beats getting up close and personal with artists whose works have become soundtracks to one’s life.”
“ABS-CBN’s Cebu media tour in 2005 was the first time I got myself surrounded with the network’s big stars, chatting and eating with them as if we were close friends!
What made the coverage even more memorable was I got my five minutes of fame on then very popular talk show, “The Buzz,” interviewing Sandara Park who just came back from Korea. This was her first Philippine comeback before becoming a K-Pop star. “The Buzz” was the number 1 showbiz talk show that time so most people I know, especially my family and relatives, would watch the show. Imagine their surprise when they saw me on TV!
Looking back, it didn’t feel like a big deal then because it was part of my work as a reporter but I feel grateful for that once-in-a-lifetime experience to travel and rub elbows with the stars. All thanks to my generous editors, Mimi Lijauco and Niza Mariñas who’ve always given budding reporters a chance to shine and to truly experience Life!”
“Our very brief interview with Lea Salonga for her 2005 concert here in Cebu was one for the books. Each media outfit was given only two minutes to ask questions. I remember two things: Her pregnancy glow and her firm handshake.
I was rooting for singer-songwriter David Cook the entire seventh season of “American Idol” in 2008. Who would have thought he’d hold a concert in Cebu and I’d get to see him up close four years after? My ultimate fangirling moment.
A highlight of my years with Life! is the chance to be able to interview international authors sent by National Book Store to Cebu for their meet-and-greet and book signing events. Some of these literary “rock stars” in my list are Marie Lu, Jennifer Niven, Jennifer Smith, Ransom Riggs and Mitch Albom.
Neil Iosif Ilagan
“House was the music of the dance floor during my time, before the invasion of hip hop and R&B. “Ever After” and “Selfish” were my power songs in the morning. So when I got to talk with singer Bonnie Bailey during her visit to Cebu, I was starstruck. The interview turned into a conversation between friends as we talked about the similarities of Latin and Filipino culture. I remember singing on my way home after that assignment.”
“Being prejudiced is something that can bite you back. An example was when I met Coco Martin for the first time at an informal press conference to promote his film, “Masahista” in 2005. He was quiet, and spoke with a heavy