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Thu. Apr 15th, 2021

Former BBC Broadcaster Replaces Pia Hontiveros

First, let me express my admiration for CNN Philippines’ new line-up change. I’m a news junkie. I’ll read multiple Filipino online newspapers several times a day. While I used to read a daily newspaper back in the States every morning along with a can of Diet Coke, I’ve given up reading a print newspaper in the Philippines. I can’t get any newspapers delivered at our remote location in Guimaras and don’t want to drive into town for one. Consequently, I drink my cup of Good Day Vanilla Latte and read the news online on my PC.

Rico Hizon New CNN Philippines News Night Anchor

I’ve been watching English-speaking news programs in the Philippines for years. While I don’t view any programming from the regular CNN outlet from the States, I have been watching News Night on CNN Philippines at 6 pm, Monday through Friday.

However, without any fanfare or explanation, a former BBC broadcaster replaces Pia Hontiveros, the former anchor. Thus, Rico Hizon is the new CNN Philippines News Night anchor.

“The Huntley-Brinkley” Report

I have been watching nightly news programs going way back to the days of NBC’s Dynamic Duo “The Huntley-Brinkley Report.” It ran Monday through Friday at 5:30 pm and was 30 minutes in length. The program predated any 24-hour news outlet. It was on from October 1956 to July 1970. We only got four channels at that time. There was no cable or satellite TV. Dinosaurs roamed the earth.

My Grandfather got me hooked on Chet Huntley and David Brinkley. Grandpa, a retired coal miner and Shell Oil Refinery machinist, used to sit in his recliner, pipe in his right hand, and crossword puzzle from the St. Louis Post Dispatch in the other.

My Dad would also do the daily crossword puzzle. However, Dad wouldn’t use a puzzle dictionary. Grandpa did. Dad accused his Father of “cheating.”

Watching Pia Hontiveros on ANC

I used to watch Pia Hontiveros on ANC (ABS-CBN News Channel) because she was on a broadcast that was delivered mainly in English. While I could learn Filipino, my standard line is “I’m too old, and I’m too lazy.”

Hontiveros left ANC in November 2011. Pia transferred to Solar News Channel in 2012 as its chief correspondent. When Solar News Channel changed its name to CNN Philippines, Pia remained the network’s chief correspondent. Consequently, I continued to watch Hontiveros and CNN Philippines because most of the weekly nightly news was broadcast in English.

Then came Rico Hizon. Rico is the first-ever Filipino news anchor to work for two of the world’s most prestigious television news networks – CNBC Asia and BBC World News. He was with BBC News for 17 years. I ran across him when I would view the BBC news channel on our Cignal satellite programming.

Consequently, when Hizon came over to CNN Philippines in 2020, he became the anchor for “The Final Word” broadcast at 9 pm Monday through Friday. He also hosts “The Exchange.”

In October 2020, the Asian Academy Creative Awards named “The Final Word with Rico Hizon” “Best News Programmein the Philippines. Incidentally, the Philippines has an obsession with spelling like the Brits do. That “programme” is not a misprint, that’s how our British friends spell it.

Frankly, at 9:00, this old geezer was getting ready to meet The Sandman. I get up around 4 or 4:30 am every morning. Thus, I didn’t watch “The Final Word” at 9:00 but was excited when Rico Hizon started filling in for Pia Hontiveros last month.  I like his style. He doesn’t back down from asking hard questions in his interviews which he conducts mostly in English.

While I had been watching Pia Hontiveros for years, the start of the pandemic had her, along with many other news anchors, broadcasting from home. However, as the months passed, Pia started sitting in front of her fireplace when other major anchors, like Rico Hizon, had returned to their studios.

Screen grab from Facebook

Rico was doing double-duty, “filling in for Pia Hontiveros” as he would announce at the top of each “News Night” for almost four weeks. Then, on Monday, April 5, 2021, “News Night” became “News Night with Rico Hizon.”

Rico is broadcasting from CNN Philippines’ main studios unlike Roby and Gretchen over at ONE NEWS on “The Big Story.”

There has been no mention of Pia Hontiveros and even if she is with CNN Philippines anymore. A Google search reveals nothing.

The Occasional “Hard Copy” Newspaper

When we travel to nearby Iloilo City once or twice a month, I’ll buy a couple of daily newspapers from an older gentleman in front of SM Delgado. The papers sell for 25 pesos each. I’ll hand him a 100-peso note and advise him to keep the change. I know the poor old guy must be struggling and a buck tip brings a smile to his face.

I don’t do it to get a future reward from Jesus. We’re not supposed to brag about what we do for others in public anyway. I just feel sorry for the old guy.

While I used to spend at least an hour in our bathroom back in the States reading my newspaper at home, along with Time magazine, I eventually gave up that habit in the Philippines. We have four Comfort Rooms, CRs, in our house now, with two more outside, but it’s too hot to read comfortably in our CR.

Furthermore, I’ve already read the news online. I eventually use the newspapers to start my fire in the morning in our dirty kitchen to boil water for our three thermos bottles.

Two bottles for our coffee and tea. One bottle for Lolo’s bath. However, as the temperatures warm up to 32 degrees Celsius, (89.6 Fahrenheit) and “feels like” temperature of 37 (98.6), my father-in-law may not be needing that hot water in the morning for long.

Me? I’ve been taking a cold shower now for over 11 years since retiring to the Philippines. I’ve never worn a long sleeve shirt in that time, nor have I ever worn a jacket.

But I still wonder, like “Where’s Waldo?” where’s Pia?

Again, as reported in an earlier post, my favorite Filipino news anchors are Rico Hizon and Mai Rodriguez from CNN Philippines. Favorite news reporter is Joyce Ilas, also from CNN Philippines.

Another favorite is Roby Alampay on “The Big Story” on ONE NEWS although I wish Roby would get back to the studio. That said it’s a tie as to who the best-dressed male news anchor in the Philippines is. Rizo Hizon and Roby Alampay are both “Sharp-Dressed” men.  Those ties Roby wears are “killer.”

Screen grab from Facebook

By The Kano

POST AUTHOR: "THE KANO." Dave DeWall, "The Kano", is the Publisher & Editor-in-Chief of "Philippines Plus" in publication since August 2009. He is also the CEO of Lizard Poop Productions and author of the best-selling guide book "The Philippines Expat Advisor." Dave moved to the Philippines in July 2009 from Central Illinois with his lovely wife of over 21 years, "The Sainted Patient Wife." The couple reside in a rural province in Western Visayas, Guimaras. The small island province is said to have the sweetest mangoes in the world. They do not have any children but are the proud owners of eight active canines, including a Belgian Malinois called "Killer" "Killer" has bitten five people over the years along with one goat and a carabao. "Killer" doesn't like strangers. Or goats. Or carabaos.

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