Reaching the Summit

Reminiscing makes us happy!

Summit Media is celebrating its 20th birthday this year, and my Facebook feed is full of nostalgic reminiscing. Of course, I have many happy, wacky, memorable memories of the many years I worked in Summit Media. Here, just a few of them. 

Good Housekeeping in Boracay, when it was still not Laboracay
Planning for a year's worth of magazines ain't a joke, so every year, sometime in February I think, we'd hie off to the beach, clear our minds, and prepare for battle. Of course, planning ain't all we do. It's Boracay after all, and we usually find ourselves in all sorts of hilarious adventures like the time when Becky coaxed me into trying skimboarding because I seemed athletic and promptly fell on my ass, when Veronica  outdrank all the feeling macho guys at the bar, and when I dissed some Italian who was giving me a line because I wasn't wearing my glasses and didn't see how cute he was. The horror!! Of course, this was after we finished our work! 

Making a kid cry to get the shot 
I was part of the team that started Smart Parenting magazine. At the time, there wasn't really such a thing as kid photography. Of the photographers who we worked with at the time, there weren't any who positioned themselves as kid photographers, although some did have a natural knack for it. So whenever we had kids over for a shoot, we had all sorts of props to make them smile before the cameras: toys, stuffed teddies, candies, etc. For this one particular story, however, the kid model, who was the child of a friend of a friend, had to act like he's throwing a tantrum. You'd think this would be so easy, but it's actually not. Most kids freeze in front of the camera, so expecting them to feign disdain is not an easy thing. I was the sittings editor then, though at the time the term was still to be invented, so it was my responsibility to get the shot. I cannot recall exactly what happened but the child ended up crying. I swear that I did not make him cry, but I did whisper to our photographer, who I shall not name: “We have the shot. Shoot! Shoot!” I'm so bad!!! 

Being called by Lisa on a slow boat to Camiguin
One of the things I learned early on when I became editor in chief of Good Housekeeping: There is no hiding from our boss Lisa. I remember going on a trip to Camiguin, and the signal was spotty at best. While on this really slow boat, so slow that I thought I'd get there faster if I swam, my phone died on me. I probably didn't charge it. But lo and behold, somewhere in the middle of the ocean (Or sea? Basta, body of water), Charmaine's phone rang, and who was it? It was Lisa, calling me from Charmaine's phone! Mwahahaha Precious!

Stress eating atbp. in Galleria
Oh Galleria, I would never ever forget you! I spent countless hours, sometimes in the dead of night, working in the basement of Galleria when Summit still had that college kind of vibe, and people walked in and out of the office at all times of the day. Because we were inside a mall and only a few steps away from the supermarket, we'd usually have a binge fest when closing time nears. Ines and Maggie were my cubicle mates, and we'd usually bring all sorts of junk food and eat our way through our deadlines. Chocolates, donuts, potato chips, pretzels, popcorn--we had them all and then some! Super fun!

Almost getting killed on a trip to Malapascua
I've told this story many times, but it still counts as one of my all-time favorites.

I would never ever forget a trip we took to Malapascua for GH's annual vacation issue with photographer Pat Dy and art director Eujin David. We took a plane to Cebu, a taxi to North Terminal, and then a bus to Maya Wharf. It was a long, long, long trip, and by the time we reached the pier, we were all exhausted. It was already late in the afternoon, and the fisherfolks at the pier told me that it was not safe to cross the waters anymore. But I could already see the island. It wasn't that far off. And I thought, “Ay, niloloko lang naman nila ko!”

And so, I went from boat to boat until I found one which was going to make the crossing. Along the ride with us were two live pigs, which were destined to be roasted for a party at the island, and a woman who worked as a waitress at the restaurant where said pigs were going to be served.

Ten minutes into the trip, I found out why none of the other boat captains didn't take the crossing: the waves were absolutely humongous!! I felt like I was in this George Clooney-Mark Wahlberg movie, A Perfect Storm, and at any moment, we were going to tip over! And I told myself, “Oh my God! You are so stupid! You are going to get yourself killed over this bloody assignment!!”

Fortunately, I didn't! But by the time we saw the clear sands of Malapascua, the waitress had vomited all of her lunch, the pig had made a mess of the deck with his poo, and I was white sheet from fright.

Shooting Ate Vi
Snagging Vilma Santos for the cover of the 10th anniversary issue of Good Housekeeping was just awesome. Ate Vi is one super busy woman, so ours wasn't a cover shoot in the usual sense, the one where we book a studio or a place, pull out trunks full of clothes, serve delicious food, etc., etc. It was a super fast, drive by kind of shoot which took less than half an hour! We did it at the back of a hotel ballroom actually, after she had a press conference, and she just switched outfits at the hotel restroom. I was so embarrassed to ask her to change in a public hotel restroom, but she was such a trooper! I will be forever a fan!

Karaoke Thursdays, or was it Tuesdays?
I don't exactly remember how I became a part of this group, but every Thursday (or Tuesday?) night, we'd all meet up, let loose, sing songs, and of course, drink obscene amounts of alcohol. It's always fun, and each person usually has his own playlist, but nobody ever fights over the mike. Those nights for me were precious because I got to de-stress. For a couple of hours every week, I was able to let it out, belt stupid love songs or dance to disco ditties.   

Being edited by Pete Lacaba and Joan Maglipon
I started writing for YES a month or so after I left my position in Good Housekeeping. It was liberating. I had missed writing immensely. By that time, the only writing I did was the 400 words or so which I would type up for my Editor's Note. Four hundred words out of a magazine with 150 or so pages, at 700 words a page each. It was frustrating!

When I started turning in works, which in true YES-style were at least 2000 words long (Captions palang minsan 'yon!!! Mwahahaha), I was in heaven! I was even more ecstatic because my work was reviewed by two of the finest editors in the country, Pete Lacaba and Joan Maglipon. Going through their comments and questions was like attending a writing workshop. I loved the challenge, and truth be told, I would have written for them for free, if only to learn from them. (Shhh! Secret lang natin 'yan ah!)

I still have tons of happy, wacky, memorable memories of my years in Summit, and I feel very blessed to have been part of such an exciting organization. Whenever I come over for a visit, it always feels like home. Happy 20th!!! :)

When we're not stress eating, we're playing!
Boracay, when everything was still clean and fresh

We worked on a couple of babies during this time: GH, Bubbles' Lucky, and Erika's Sophie
In Malapascua, I seriously thought that we were going to get tossed into the waves!
Karaoke nights!


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Erika & Jing

Erika is a budding entrepreneur, who dreams of having her own fashion label one day. She's the mommy of Sophie and the daughter of Jing, a fortysomething single mom of four, who's a writer, editor, and craft enthusiast. Click here to read more.