Happinews: From detoxifying social media to spreading good vibes

Rhys Buccat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 11 2018 01:26 AM | Updated as of Aug 11 2018 05:22 AM

Four inspiring Filipinos took the center stage during the launch of ABS-CBN's "The Happinews Project" at the University of the Philippines Diliman, Friday. 

While most iskos and iskas are off to their #TGIF shindigs, some headed to the Bahay ng Alumni to listen to interesting talks from select speakers. This, despite the gloomy weather and the pre-weekend traffic. 

Gretchen Ho, Happinews ambassador

The speakers included Dr. Rosel San Pascual, assistant professor of communication research in UP Diliman; Robert Labayen, head of Creative Communications Management in ABS-CBN Corporation; Miggy Bautista, an honor student of UP Diliman; and Issa Cuevas-Santos, one of the pioneers and founding trustees of Gawad Kalinga. 

The discussion was moderated by the Happinews ambassador Gretchen Ho. 

Although the speakers come from different fields, they all share a common interest in spreading positive vibes via news stories, advertisements, and advocacy. 


Pascual, the first speaker, shared her study titled "Detoxifying Our Social Media Spaces." 

According to Pascual, "intolerance and insolence have burgeoned" in social media platforms. The most rampant forms of such are character assassination, attack on opponent's stand, and mockery. 

Dr. Rosel San Pascual

The professor, who was a student activist in EDSA II, said social media has a potential to mobilize social movements. But instead of connecting people, social media is used by some to spread "incivility" during disagreements. 

According to Pascual, social media users should learn how to disagree without undermining respect and civility. "We have the power to detoxify online space," she said. "We can collaborate and co-create a less toxic online space through encouraging civility." 


The next speaker was Bautista, who graduated cum laude with a degree in business administration in UP Diliman. He named his talk "uplift," wherein he inspired the audience with his extraordinary journey as a person with disability (PWD).

Bautista is reliant on a wheel chair, which made studying in UP extra challenging considering the seemingly unending rows of stairs and the distance between buildings. 

Miggy Bautista

In his talk, he expressed gratitude toward all the UP guards and personnel who tirelessly assisted him day after day during his collegiate years. He also thanked his classmates and professors who encouraged him to keep going, despite the increasing challenges brought by his disability. 

These simple acts of kindness, according to Bautista, have changed his perspective in life. They uplifted him and gave him more reasons to persist. 

"It is through our struggles that we realize the significance of people around us. They are the blessings God has given us to be happy even without asking. Through them, we also recognize that life is a gift for others and thus we need to live with a purpose," he said. 


Labayen, the award-winning producer of ABS-CBN's iconic Christmas station IDs, talked about the ratio of positive to negative emotions. 

Robert Labayen

Particularly, he stressed that for every negative situation, a person must identify at least three positive emotions. As such, a person will realize that the world is not the dark sinkhole some perceive it to be, but a clear, starry sky that is full of hope and wonder. 

Labayen also emphasized the importance of charisma, which he defined as a person's ability to make other people feel good about themselves. According to Labayen, a charismatic person empathizes with others and not only focuses on himself or herself. 


The final speaker was Santos, who identified herself as a "wife, mom, and missionary." 

According to Santos, "happiness is as simple as adjusting your lens." She said a person can force himself or herself to find something good even in the darkest situations. 

Issa Cuevas-Santos

"Live with passion and purpose, and you will create happiness wherever you are," she said. This is what she is trying to impart to her colleagues and her children. 

Santos' daughter, Calliya, together with a friend, recently spearheaded a book drive, which raised over 3,600 books for the four Gawad Kalinga communities they are serving. 


ABS-CBN's "The Happinews Project" is the company's initiative to spread good vibes amidst challenging times. It has a Facebook Group where participants share stories -- videos, photos, and texts -- that emit positive vibes. 

In the first leg of its official launch in UP Diliman, the project garnered mostly positive feedback from students.

Freedom Wall

Glen Terania, a speech communications student, willingly gave free hugs during the event. "May study before na kapag hinug mo 'yong isang person, male-lessen 'yong kanyang stress. So, magbigay lang tayo ng free hugs," she said. 

Janelle Ojo, a freshman tourism student, said she wants to see "happy stories" that can relieve school-induced stress. 

When asked what kinds of stories she wants to see, she said: "Kapag there's something good happening in our country. Siguro po economic development or new infrastructure projects. 'Yong story na there's a chance for change in the Philippines." 


Martin Abad Santos, an architecture student, agrees with Ojo. "I think it's important to share Happinews to people because lots of news right now are over saturated with negative things. It's really nice to have a fresh take on things, especially because of all the issue going on," he said. 

"I want to see something that will make us known in the world -- 
 something good. We need something that will show people that we are capable of doing great things also. We can do a lot of amazing stuff just as much as the other countries," he added.