Atom Araullo shares his career philosophy

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
totalITemsFound:
maxPaginationLinks: 10
maxPossiblePages:
startIndex:
endIndex:

"You have to acknowledge that there's this fear of failing, definitely. If it's not nerve-wracking, if it doesn't keep you up at night, then it might not even be worth doing," says Atom Araullo on dealing with uncertainty. Photo by JL JAVIER

Manila (CNN Philippines Life) —“With greater risk, there is a potential for greater reward,” says Atom Araullo. “But there is also a possibility that things might not go the way that you planned it.”

Since he chose to resign from his reporting duties on ABS-CBN nearly two years ago, Araullo has been busy doing a lot of risk-taking in terms of his career, going for everything from the familiar (like documentaries with GMA) to unchartered territory for the journalist — hosting a travel show on AXN called “Adventure Your Way” and starring in the Mike De Leon film, “Citizen Jake.”

His latest undertaking is a T.V. commercial for Cherifer Premium involving a set of obstacles reminiscent of an American Ninja Warrior course. To be able to complete the course, Araullo took around two to three months of training and preparation.

The course, he says, “dramatizes what all of us must feel in our respective lines of work. Sometimes it feels like kind of a struggle to get through the day, it's kinda like an obstacle course that you have to muscle through.”  

During a set visit, we got to sit down with Araullo for a quick chat about his career, how he’s been dealing with the transition, and the challenges that come with juggling all the work he’s got stacked up on his plate. Below are edited excerpts from the interview.

You’ve been doing a lot of things since you left ABS-CBN, some a departure from your usual roles. Have you experienced any challenges transitioning from one to the other?

Sure, there have been a lot of struggles. I think that's definitely part of doing something new and getting out of your comfort zone. That's why they call it getting out of your comfort zone, right?

Many of the new projects that I've been taking on in the past year and a half have been amazing opportunities. But at the same time, I'm also learning things as I go. It's certainly true with being part of a film, it's also true with signing up for a travel program.

It requires a lot of mental toughness, it requires digging deep and finding confidence in yourself. Because there's also a lot of background noise, people giving their opinions, people you don't even know thinking this and that.

Incidentals-9.jpg Araullo's latest endeavor involves conquering an American Ninja Warrior-style obstacle course for a T.V. commercial. He says he's had to train for two to three months to be able to complete the course. Photo by JL JAVIER

Did you have some sort of trajectory or did you envision a plan for your career when you decided to resign?

Well, not really. It wasn't a departure from what I was already doing, which is work for television, journalism, documentaries. I mean I've been doing documentaries for a long time. That's something that some people tend to forget. They think this is a new thing, but when I was with ABS-CBN I also produced documentaries when there was an opportunity. So it was really more of exploring other platforms, allotting some more time to doing long-form journalism, not only T.V. documentaries but also text stories. Also trying to get better at using photographs to tell stories.

But some of the opportunities that came along the way weren't expected. But I also gave myself that kind of latitude to explore. At my age, I've been doing this for more than 10 years, I'm kind of mid-career, it's a very rare opportunity to explore. Not a lot of people get this opportunity. And kasama sa exploration ‘yung parang hit or miss, eh. Like if everything were straightforward and guaranteed it wouldn't be challenging, everybody would do it. So when the opportunity to be in a Mike De Leon film came along, although it was so unconventional, so unexpected, after giving it a lot of thought, sabi ko nga, I don't think I'd forgive myself if I passed up on this opportunity. I would always wonder how it would have played out.

So in a way, that trajectory, it's a long game. It's a marathon, it's not a sprint. So even if there are maybe starts and stops along the way, if you have a clear idea of where you want to go and how you want to use your talents then you have something that can anchor you. Then you can kind of look back to navigate your path in this very uncertain future.

Photo-9.jpg "It requires a lot of mental toughness, it requires digging deep and finding confidence in yourself," Atom Araullo says on transitioning between different projects and roles. Photo by JL JAVIER

The challenges on “Adventure Your Way” are crowdsourced, meaning they get to give their ideas on what you should do on the show. In a way it seems in line with the type of work that you’ve done in the past, covering stories in far-flung places, not really knowing what to expect. How do you deal with the fear of the unknown?

You just do it, eh. You have to acknowledge that there's this fear of failing, definitely. If it's not nerve-wracking, if it doesn't keep you up at night, then it might not even be worth doing. But again, like I said, there are never any guarantees. So at a certain point you just say, ‘Well based on what I know at this moment, I'm going to take a chance and say that I think this is an interesting opportunity.’ And then you just go for it. You never really know until you try.

So doing a travel show, it's similar to the work I do for news gathering in that I'm also in front of the camera, I'm also traveling, but the similarities sort of end there because the objectives are different. In news gathering, you're sent to an area and you try to look for an important story, for a travel show the objective is clear from the get go. Encouraging people to travel, it's giving people 30 minutes or an hour to kind of forget about the stresses in their lives, to entertain them. So it's really different. But the form is kind of similar. So it's familiar but it's new, and I like that.

Photo-7.jpg "It's a marathon, it's not a sprint," Araullo says about his career. "So even if there are maybe starts and stops along the way, if you have a clear idea of where you want to go and how you want to use your talents then you have something that can anchor you. Then you can kind of look back to navigate your path in this very uncertain future." Photo by JL JAVIER

Is there anything else out there that you want to try out?

Well, at this point it's really hard to say. Parang, at a certain point you also feel your limits, eh. The limits of your being a finite individual. There's only a certain amount of time, there's only a certain amount of energy that you can use in a day, so I want to make sure that I don't lose focus. I think my plate is full. I'm doing work with GMA, I'm doing work with AXN from time to time, I got my feet wet in the film industry ... I think there's enough ingredients there to create something interesting, maybe create something new, and I'll try to explore that.