By Boy Villasanta
Immediately after the 1986 EDSA Revolution, while ABS-CBN was rebuilding its studios in its reclaimed Bohol Avenue home, it had to temporarily house its news and production outfits at the Chronicle Building in Ortigas Center.
Everything was remiss literally and figuratively. Even in June of the same year, when we organized the controversial Malayang Kilusan ng mga Manunulat Laban sa Yabang at Abuso or MAKINILYA, the first progressive movie press group, Channel 2 had us members and officers—like JC Nigado, Mike Feria, Jocelyn Dino, Isah Red, Nitz Miralles, the late Lulubelle Lam Ramos, Linda Celestial and Gil Villasana among others—interviewed at the Chronicle offices which were also owned by the Lopezes.It was only nearing the third quarter that ABS-CBN had re-gathered, acquired and employed almost all its pre-Martial Law and relatively new broadcast facilities and personnel.
I was already a loosely part of the News and Current Affairs Department of the TV network with the first batch of its employees like Angelique Lazo, Doris Bigornia, Korina Sanchez, Merci Henares, Mel Tiangco, the late Frankie Evangelista and Angelo Castro, Jr. etc. and doing interrelated media work with the Production Department composed of on and off-cam talents Ariel Ureta, Inez Manapul, Dandin Ranillo among others with off-cam executives like Arlene Sensuat-de Castro, then Arlene de Jesus; Cory Valenzuela, Joanna Gomez, the late Jimmy Navarro among others that I can recall.
Kata Inocencio was a newly-hired news writer and reporter while the current News Manager of the organization Ging Reyes was a fresh UP Mass Com grad doing writing, production assistance and floor directing. Philippine News Agency staff Becky Cabral, Butch Raquel, Myrna Castro-de la Torre were part of the news admin headed by Angelo.
From being a pinch hitter and an irregular announcer, Noli de Castro was pulled out from DWWW in Broadcast City to DZMM with Jay Sonza, Lito Balquiedra, Mario Garcia, Lito Villarosa, Jun Ricafrente, Claude Vitug and the fledging field reporter Gani Oro among others.
According to the Facebook post of Gani, IsaganiOro in real life, unknown from his parents, he auditioned as a radio drama talent in DZXL which was located at the Herald Building in Intramuros during the Marcos years.
He passed the test with flying colors.Interestingly, Noli was thought to partner with Angelique in an entertainment talk show which was shortly nipped in the bud.Lazo went on to anchor “Balita Ngayon,” the ABS-CBN’s primetime newscast with Robert Arevalo, Mel and Frankie while Noli became one of the top radiomen.When marketing guys Freddie Garcia and the late Rollie Cruz were absorbed by ABS-CBN, they thought of a tabloid-on air format to replace “Balita Ngayon.” Thus, “TV Patrol” was born in April 1987. Initially, it had Lazo, Tiangco, Evangelista and de Castro as main news anchors.The radio component was also streamlined with Noli as standard bearer with Mel and Jay.
Gani was still a beat reporter.I was an enterprising field reporter with colleagues Mario V. Dumaual, Francis Villacorta and Joel Saracho for “TV Patrol”’s “Star News” and I can safely we contributed a lot to the high ratings of the news show which toppled Helen Vela and Paul Lacanilao’s “GMA Balita” of GMA Network.
I would stay on the news floor with Mario, Angelique, Noli, Mel and Ka Kiko to oversee the flow of the entertainment news.After the program, I would always see a small, quiet guy, standing in one corner of the studio, carrying a bag and things obviously not his while rushing out from the studio walking fast behind de Castro.
Later, I would only know his name was David Oro, one of Noli’s retinue. When I was the producer of “Star Patrol” anchored by Angelique and Apa Ongpin aired in DZMM from 1-2 pm in 1988 until 1990, I would always see Gani in the radio building during his personal call talking to his fellow staff if not typing something, obviously, his news story.
But he would also report on air on the ground once in a while in our timeslot.It was a hard climb to the top for Gani who, according to his FB posts, was a hardworking boy when he was in grade school after he and his other siblings Lydia, Mario, Redentor, David and Daniel were migrated to Manila with his parents Aurelio Oro, a radio drama writer in the pre-Martial Law ABS-CBN Bacolod City and Severina Hallig, both of Negros Occidental.
The Oros stayed in a thickly forested site beside the Tullahan River in Brgy. Bagbag Novaliches, Quezon City.Poor as rats, Gani at seven years old couldn’t enter Grade 1 until generous people helped him enroll in the level when he was already ten. After one year, it was David who got to enroll in Grade 1 at seven and the youngest the year after.
As pupils, they had to walk half a kilometer on foot to get to their school.Gani was the butt of jokes among his classmates because he was already sixteen years old in his last years of elementary education. Meanwhile, he thought of stopping his secondary education because his family couldn’t send him to school anymore.
It was a crossroad when he was seventeen to give way to his two younger brothers or not. But he was brave enough to go on.
There was a time, according to Gani that he and his older brothers Mario and Redentor had to sell vegetables along Balintawak Market pavement. “We would wake up at four in the morning to sell camote tops,kangkong and guavas.
We had to sell away all of them before six because if the police would catch up with us, they would kick our wares which the guavas would roll in the mud,” he recalled.
“I regret selfie wasn’t around then I could have taken a video while we were playing patintero with the police,” he chuckled.When he was hired by DZXL as drama talent he would save money for the family and for the education of David and Daniel.
He enrolled in Metro Manila College in Novaliches where he could study at night and work at daytime while his younger brothers studied at Capitol Institute.
Even when Gani was already the Radyo Patrol No. 7 in DZMM, he wouldn’t stop supporting their education. That time, he recommended David as a staff of Noli’s public affairs TV show “Magandang Gabi, Bayan.”David eventually became a radio beat reporter as well through Noli’s recommendation to the management and got the monicker DZMM’s Radyo Patrol No. 19.
Later, Daniel was also employed as “MGB’s staff.Gani’s broadcast stint involved his being a reporter for ABS-CBN’s “Hoy Gising,” newscaster in TV5, GMA Network’s DZBB, columnist of Abante Tonite and a broadcaster in CNN Philippines.Meanwhile, aside from anchoring for ABS-CBN/DZMM Teleradyo, David is a successful restaurant owner while Daniel is an employee at the Quezon City Hall.
The Oro brothers are thankful for the support given to them by couple Noli and Arlene, Peter Musngi, Vangie Labalan, Jeany Lacorte, Jun del Rosario, Joe Javier, Mike Enriquez and the late Balquiedra, Villarosa, Evangelista and Fundador Soriano.