Young Blood, Speak Up!
In times of uncertainty, one wouldn’t think that establishing new ventures would be a sound idea. Considering the mounting responsibilities and stress of youths today, achieving aspirations seems to have taken a halt due to the untimely arrival of the pandemic.
This reality does not apply to Leah Cioco, the host and executive producer of ‘The Young Blood podcast’. The weekly podcast, which is a passion project of hers, features previous columnists and writers who have submitted their essays to the Philippine Daily Inquirer’s ‘Young Blood’ column—a section of the Filipino Inquirer newspaper dedicated to publishing stories of Filipino youths that are aged 29 and below.
A long time coming, the podcast was an idealistic dream between Cioco and her friend Francesca Santiago, an Oxford biology student and a fellow essayist who also became the first guest speaker to revisit her essay entitled “Micro-barriers to Education”. Both girls desired to connect Filipino youths interested in writing and discussing issues that encompass individuals and the entire community. On August 15th, Cioco finally achieved this aspiration when she launched the podcast on multiple platforms including Spotify, Google podcasts, Anchor, and more.
With new episodes every Saturday, the podcast discusses previous essays which most accurately parallel the current climate of issues, allowing the ignition of discussion between the younger generation. Recent episodes include Lex Adizon’s “Yes, I got my degree online”, which tackled the difficulties and lessons learned from obtaining her diploma online, long before the education system’s shift to online classes. Since the release of Adizon’s interview, The Young Blood podcast has garnered even more views and followers on their media platforms.
Although they share the same name, the podcast has no actual affiliation with the Philippine Daily Inquirer—something that Cioco is trying hard to amend. To her, the podcast became an avenue of escape from a rut that she fell into after her dream of going to America to study was dashed by the gnarly pandemic. However, Cioco admits that getting an official recognition from the Philippine Daily Inquirer would aid the podcast’s goal of reputability and influence to a wider scope of audience. Recognition would also aid her in contacting essayists that are more iffy about the student-owned status of the podcast. Afterall, Cioco’s team consists of only three people—with her bearing the brunt of the work.
With the start of classes in the University of the Philippines, where she studies as a Maths major, Cioco worries that her upcoming hectic schedule will place the podcast to the backseat in terms of what she deems important. With an official acknowledgement of affiliation from Inquirer, Cioco plans to expand the team she already has to fully explore her long-term goals for the podcast.
Despite these difficulties, Cioco recognizes the significance of revisiting one’s essays to have the chance to intimately dissect and discuss its contents for curious readers. Essentially, the main purpose of the podcast is to serve as a bridge to a generation more inclined to digital entertainment, with hopes of once again inspiring and reigniting a dying flame for literature.
In an age of thick-skinned individuals, Cioco seeks to inspire writers to bare themselves naked for a more intimate revelation of their perspectives when they write. She, therefore, believes that through ‘The Young Blood podcast’, insights from different perspectives can grant listeners newfound wisdom that they can utilize to improve themselves,and in extension, change the world around them for the better.
In the end, the youths ultimately have the power to change their surroundings and touch others. All they have to do is take a leap of faith and speak up.
By Elizabeth D. Fernandez (The Spectrum, University of St. La Salle)
Graphics by Mikey Vincent T. Vicente
Country Sub-Editor of the Philippines: Jericho Quijano Zafra