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About the Author

Iris Cecilia Gonzales
journalist (Quezon City, Philippines)

I work as a reporter for the Philippine Star, a Manila daily. At present, I cover the Department of Finance beat but I also write other stories here and there. I'm also a coffee and scotch drinker, a barefoot traveller and a collector of memories. I live in a parallel universe.


Dateline Petaling Jaya

Published 15th August 2010 - 6 comments - 4219 views -

Graphic is from Google Maps



PETALING JAYA, Malaysia - City lights glistened as far as the eye could see. There is a crescent moon above. It is an hour before 12 midnight. I had just landed at the airport of Malaysia. I hail a taxi for the 45-minute ride to Petaling Jaya where I will be staying.

For the first time, I am out of the country not on assignment or pleasure but for a different kind of experience. I am here as one of the winners in TH!NK 3's round one of reporting awards. I am excited but nervous, too. I hope to be able to bring justice to the lives of the people that we will encounter starting Monday when we visit their communities.

It's going to be a full schedule with a two-day reporting trip and a journalism conference. The two-day reporting expedition will bring us to a forest reserve, a women's indigenous people's community, a mangrove and nature park. The journalism conference, meanwhile, will look into the challenges facing online journalism. There will be lots of interviews and I am certain, many stories that are crying out to be written.

The week long activity will start tonight. I am sitting in a cafe, looking out on a rainy afternoon. I am excited to meet my fellow TH!NKERS who are part of this trip. Hopefully, we will all be able to highlight the issues of the communities we would be visiting.

It is indeed an honor and a pleasure to be part of this endeavor. I will be posting updates as often as I can but the lack of (free) Internet access in the hotel will likely make it quite a challenge.




  • Carmen Paun on 15th August 2010:

    Thanks for sharing this experience with us Cecilia. I am sure you will keep up the good work, even without free internet connection.

  • Hieke van der Vaart on 15th August 2010:

    Wow! Good luck and looking forward to the stories smile

  • Hussam Hussein on 16th August 2010:

    Great Iris!!! I’m looking forward to read your experience! I enjoed reading your posts, and now… make the most of it, and share it with us!

  • Hanna Clarys on 16th August 2010:

    So your adventure has begun… Have fun and keep us updated!

  • Helena Goldon on 16th August 2010:

    Iris, well done you!
    I have been looking forward to some posts from the field and will be awaiting yours with anticipation! Thank you!

  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 19th August 2010:

    @Carmen, Hieke, Hussam, Hanna and Helena,

    Thanks very much. The stories will be coming very soon. Struggling a bit with the Internet connection. I’m a struggling journalist so I can’t afford to pay much for the connection but here at the conference it’s free grin

    It’s good to meet my fellow bloggers—putting a face to the names—and getting to hear their thoughts and experiences with the work that they do.

    Will keep you posted.

    Thanks again guys.

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