La Bitchesa Oropesa

At a press conference in Manila by the seashore.

(As I was about to take a seat)

Bitchesa Oropesa: “No one should sit there! That seat has already been reserved for my friend!”

Me: Hi! I’m Seph from (the previous company I used to work for)…(extends amiable hand) what media outfit do you work for?

Bitchesa Oropesa: Just one of those publications

M: Where?

Bitchesa O: *Bleep* (apparently, one of the RP’s leading newspaper), with matching roll of the eyes.

S: What’s your name?

Bitchesa O: Bitchesa.

S: Bitchesa..? (smiling, to ease the tension)

Bitchesa O: Bitchesa Oropesa. I’ve been writing for 21 years and you don’t know who I am?!?

S: Oh, I’m sorry, I’m just new here.

Bitchesa: You must have not been reading newspapers

S: I do, but Not (the number newspaper)

Bitchesa: Not (the number one newspaper)? Eh, we’re number 1?!?

S: Not for long.

Ladies and gentlemen, my life as a lowly field reporter has begun. For the past month, I have been squeezing myself in and out of the MRT and LRT trains from the relative peace of Fairview to the chaos that is Manila.

I enjoy my work so far, especially whenever I hop off the LRT station in Vito Cruz where the grass is certainly a lot ‘greener.’ *wink-wink.

I’ve bumped into a couple of interesting personalities (senators, government officials, actors, diplomats) and some people with multiple personalities (i.e, Bitchesa O).

I met Bitchesa O at a luncheon in Manila last Tuesday and after our short chat she never talked to me again.

I don’t blame her. I have been assigned to the beat only for a month while she has been covering the beat for a quarter of a century. That makes her a dinosaur…a hydrocephalusaurus (from hydrocephalus).

My editors, whom I respect and emulate, told me to veer away from the Jurassic journalist.  Apparently, Bitchesa O is notorious around certain media circles for being – for lack of a better term – a bitch.

I usually don’t have a lot of problems with older people. Old people dig me, they find me courteous and funny. Since I was raised by my grandparents, I would never do anything to disrespect old people. Besides, old people find me very attractive. I owe it to their cataracts.

But Bitchesa O is of a different breed – one that is hopefully nearing extinction.

It’s unfortunate that some veteran journalists would swagger in bigger boots, kicking around greenhorns like me, thinking that they are demigods of rushed literature. Fine, fine, they’ve survived and roamed their beats for decades, but that doesn’t mean they’re good.

Even if they were, would that give them the liberty to kick people around?

It’s the survival of the fittest in the journalism world and nature always finds a way to weed out the weakest from the pack.

If I manage to hone my skills, develop a thicker hide, and get lucky, I think I have a good chance of surviving in the media. I made a pact early on that I won’t get big-headed in my field. No way, highway. A big fat paycheck is better than hydrocephalous I always say.

Hopefully, 21 years from now, I’d only read about the world’s Bitchesa O’s in an encyclopedia.

P.S.

Bitchesa O. is now reformed. We are now acquaintances but she doesn’t remember this incident.

Originally posted in April 2008 from my previous blog.

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