“It’s sweeter the second time around,” is what the Daily Tribune’s “Quo Vadis” columnist Darren de Jesus has to say upon winning the “Best Opinion Column” award at the 18th Gawad Tanglaw for two consecutive years.
He is joined by other distinguished journalists in the field: Tito Genova Valiente of the Business Mirror, Atty. Gregorio Larrazabal of the Manila Bulletin, Rigoberto D. Tiglao of the Manila Times, Edwin Cordevilla of the Pilipino Mirror and Al G. Pedroche of the Pilipino Star Ngayon.
De Jesus shared that he had to double-check the information when he first heard of it.
“I thought it wasn’t correct because I also won it last year, so I asked ‘Is this right?’ and I checked my post last year about it and it was for the 17th Gawad Tanglaw and this was for the 18th Gawad Tanglaw. Upon learning that, I feel the same honor and joy that I felt last year, maybe even more,” he said in an interview with the Daily Tribune.
In his previous interview with the Daily Tribune for his first win, De Jesus felt that he wasn’t worthy of the award, saying that writing is something he needs to work on. He shared that he usually read articles and research before he writes, creating an outline to properly convey his thoughts to the public. However, all his doubts about his writing before diminished after receiving the award again, rather focusing on improvement.
“This (award) actually added more fuel to my journey to improve my writing,” he shared.
For De Jesus, awards are short moments in time that tell a person that they’re on the right track, and that’s how he views the recognition. “Gawad Tanglaw is not a simple award. It’s chosen by an esteemed group of people. And for them to pick me again and put me in that category again makes it more special.”
Gawad Tanglaw or “Tagapuring mga Akademisyan ng Aninong Gumagalaw” is an award-giving body that recognizes outstanding works in film, television, radio and print. It is composed of esteemed professors and media practitioners in the country.
One thing he changed in terms of his writing for the past year was lessening his sentences and went for a more straightforward approach.
Meanwhile, De Jesus shared that he wanted to tackle “simpler topics with deeper meanings” in his columns. Especially amid the pandemic, social issues are one subject he thinks should be addressed more nowadays.
“In the pandemic I think everyone has to look at the fundamentals much closer,” he said.
De Jesus shared that he likes to write about the economy and how politics and legislation affect the livelihood of the Filipinos; interweaving his professions as a former politician, lawyer, writer and now as the president of the UCPB General Insurance Company Inc. (COCOGEN), where he was recently appointed last 2 July. “I have a renewed perspective of things,” he said.
In a time where everyone has access to social media to share their opinions, De Jesus still thinks that opinion writing is more important now than ever since technology reaches a broader audience. However, objectivity draws the line when it comes to voicing out thoughts on the web, sharing that emotions get a hold of people most of the time.
“You have to temper your emotions when you write. It’s important not to rush writing also,” he said.
A good opinion piece has to be brave and backed up with a concrete basis, De Jesus said. “It just has to be a bold idea that may or may not be common and comes from a unique perspective. That’s always a challenge for an opinion writer,” he shared.