A motorcycle can tell a story.
Peabody awardee Jay Taruc will give the art of documentary-making a different take on GMA News TV's newest public affairs program-Motorcycle Diaries.
"In the four corners of the country, and even in the most remote areas of the Philippines, you will find a motorcycle. My motorcycle is not just a prop but a dynamic element of story telling. I want the motorcycle to be a symbol of how extreme and far the organization will go in foraging for untold stories of people and places," explains Jay.
A known motorcycle enthusiast, Jay is more than happy to unite his passion for documentaries and motorcycles in his new show. Jay got his first big bike in 1999. It was a Japanese cruiser, a Yamaha 650 cc Dragstar. At the time, he didn't know anything about motorcycles, but always thought that he had to learn to ride this two-wheeled machine because his heroes as a kid -- Marlon Brando, Peter Fonda, James Dean, Elvis Presley, Jimi Hendrix, and Voltes V's Steve Armstrong -- all rode bikes.
As the son of radio broadcaster Joe Taruc, Jay is no stranger to the life of a broadcast journalist. He started his career with GMA in 1994, learning from the likes of Arnold Clavio, Israel Cando, and Jessica Soho during his stint as production assistant and researcher for Brigada Siete. It was also in Brigada Siete where, in 1996, Jay first did a reportorial job for the network: the coverage of the flash floods caused by a break in the crater of Mt. Parker in South Cotabato.
From then on, Jay began honing his craft not only as a reporter but also as a documentarist. A confessed fan of Akira Kurosawa, Jay brought to bear his passion for filmmaking in producing his reports for Brigada Siete. As a result, he received, in 1998, a CNN World Report Award/Category: On Going Story. And in 1999 his story, "Batang Alipin," along with Jessica Soho's "Kidneys for Sale" and "Kamao," brought GMA and the country its first George Foster Peabody Award.
Jay joined iWitness in 2000 and began producing documentaries that would bear his trademark. For his first attempt, Jay did a story on the use of landmines by Muslim extremists in Mindanao. It entailed immersing with a team of landmine diffusers from the Army's Explosives Ordnance Unit, scouring hectares of cornfields in Maguindanao looking for deadly improvised land mines. Jay had to sleep in the fields together with the EOD team while brushing aside some ambush attempts from rebels that are unseen but could only be heard because of occasional gunfire.
In "Kapit sa Patalim," his dream project, Jay brought to light the issue of logging in the country . It also showcased his skills in the art of filmmaking. In "Basurero," meanwhile, he "tasted" how it felt like to rely on fast food leftovers to survive extreme poverty. And in "Batang Kalabaw" Jay exposed how some illegal loggers were using minors as log couriers. This documentary won for him a UN Child Rights Special Award and for I-Witness, the CMMA Best Documentary Show Award in 2009.
This time in Motorcycle Diaries, Jay 's motorbike will be the tool with which he will find stories, develop them, and bring them to conclusion.
"Motorcycle Diaries marries the two things I am most passionate about: riding and documentaries. I am looking forward to and very excited about being part of another pioneering TV documentary experience."
Motorcycle Diaries starts rolling July 15, 8 p.m. on GMA News TV.