Bending over backwards to give us the news, Gretchen Fullido is a welcome sight even when she’s telling us to get ready for heavy weather. At a time when everything is becoming reality TV, this broadcasting siren may be a talking head, but she doesn’t need a Teleprompter to have the first and last say.
“I guess I’m just passionate about my work. I think that someone who isn’t passionate about this job would rather just jump off a cliff than have to deal with this schedule…” I didn’t need any more convincing from Gretchen Fullido on this point.
After weeks of feeling like a dog chasing bumpers on Indy 500 race cars, I had finally caught up with Gretchen on a Friday night, in between dinner-time and a bedtime broadcast at the ABS-CBN studio. (The previous Sunday had mutated from a leisurely empty space in the calendar to a 6-broadcast day in a matter of hours, thus canceling our appointment.) With current duties handling showbiz, sports and weather for Dateline Philippines on ANC, as a field correspondent for Showbiz News Ngayon (SNN), and disc-jockey duties on Sports Talk Radio (DZMN teleradio), she also manages to squeeze in occasional slots on the sports show Hard Ball, News Central on Studio 23 and on TV Patrol World. Fullido seems to have found a way to thwart the confines of the 24 hour day.
For those who have witnessed Gretchen’s meteoric blitzkrieg into the living rooms of viewers nationwide, it seems impossible that there is just one of her, as she seems to be reporting on everything, everywhere. “I wish I could just divide myself, and assign each of the Me’s a different job. Sometimes I’m just like, ‘how the hell am I gonna do this alone?’” Writing, hosting and reporting on stories as diverse as the Police Beat for TV Patrol (“…every day there were massacres, rub outs, car nap, shoot outs…you see the dead bodies, the sites, the chases…) to the weather for Dateline (“I don’t get bored with the weather—its fun! When there’s a storm, you get a total adrenaline rush, warning people about what to do…”), Gretchen is well versed on multitude of topics. In fact, she writes all her reports, having entered ANC as a writer, not a newsreader.
Gretchen’s first time in front of the camera was as a courtside basketball reporter for the Fighting Maroons of the University of the Philippines, from which she graduated in 2008, covering games for the UAAP beginning in 2003. Her energetic reports and readily apparent enjoyment and rapport with team members (“they became like family to me”) are still remembered by basketball fans, and lead to work with ABS-CBN’s Star Magic, guest roles in soap operas, and further work with ANC. “I had to juggle my studies, UAAP, ANC, and on top of that, my varsity athletics,” she says, as if already preparing the impossibly jam-packed schedules she would be experiencing upon her graduation.
The foundation for her ability to squeeze the most out of every day, however, was set much earlier. Swimming since the age of 6, she joined the national swim team when she was 11 years old. “I was goal oriented from an early age,” she says. “My day would start at 4:30, with school, 2 practices and studying completely filling my day. I never got to bum around like normal kids.”
As a kid, it seems that even her playtime was practice for what was to come. She says that even as early as the age of 4 she “was always looking at the news, dressing up and pretending I was a host, the weather girl, the sports reporter, so now…I’m living a dream.” The UAAP gig catapulted her to becoming the weather anchor for Dateline in early 2005, a job she still has today. Soon after that, she started doing the police beat for TV Patrol as well. “Shifting from cable to mainstream TV was a huge jump for me, and the exposure has opened up a lot of doors,” she says. “I learned how serious news can be. I had the 9 pm to 8 am shift, and I was getting like three hours a sleep a night.”
With her high profile spot as showbiz reporter for Dateline, she’s gotten a massive fan base which has put her in the limelight of tabloids, paparazzi and web sites both glowing and twisted in their fervent interest in the young broadcaster’s day-to-day activities. Ironic for one who reports celebrity and entertainment news, she has become one of the reported on, and the occasional and inevitable barbs sometimes find their mark.
“There was one day I went to work and they told me I was in 3 tabloids,” says Gretchen. “Sometimes, I’m flattered, but I get a bit frustrated when they make stuff up out of thin air.
“It comes with the job, though, every action you do, people are gonna keep an eagle eye on you,” she tells me. And when things get a bit stalker-ish and, uh…over-appreciative of her, Gretchen still manages to laugh about it. “Some of the attention is a bit much, but guys will be guys. I’ve been swimming with them since I was a kid, I know how they think, and I have way more male friends than female. I’m pretty much one of the boys, so I don’t get offended easily.”
With topics such as lack of free-time, invasion of personal life and other stuff that “goes-with-the-territory”, Gretchen repeatedly imparts her gratitude to be in a field that keeps challenging her in new ways everyday. “I’m savoring what I have right now. I don’t want to have regrets when I’m 50, about things I should have tried but didn’t,” she says. “You think you’re tired and stressed, but actually, it’s a blessing. I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do…”
Originally published in UNO July 2009 issue.
May 18th, 2013
The National Basketball Association (NBA) and Alaska Milk Corporation (Alaska) have announced the ex[...]
April 25th, 2013
Metro Manila, Philippines –Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) recently held the Smart Move party at [...]