Roi Banaag: From a Studio Audience to the Man Behind the Livestream


Roi Banaag during one of the livestream shows of ABS-CBN's noontime show.

“It all started with the experience of watching Eat Bulaga as a studio audience member,” Roi Banaag recounted the beginnings of his journey into the world of Multimedia Arts.


He is a graduate of Bachelor of Multimedia Arts from CIIT College of Arts and Technology. But even before officially receiving his diploma in 2018, he was already working as a Livestream Producer at ABS-CBN. Prior to that, he worked as a freelancer in the production field and had the chance to work with local bands.

We found his humble beginnings inspiring, particularly to those who are often undecided with the course they have to take. We had a short chat with Roi to learn his full story.


What brought you to the field of Multimedia Arts?


Everything started when my mom and I had the chance to watch Eat Bulaga live. We were fond of playing Pinoy Henyo back then so we came back to the studio at least three times. [During our live studio experience], I became so interested in the [job of the] cameraman. I was around first year high school [at the time]. So, I dreamt about it [becoming a cameraman] but I never thought I’m going to be serious about it. [After all], it was just a dream.


What happened after the dream had been created in your mind?


Nabibilib ako sa kanila [cameraman] talaga, but my mindset then was IT (Information Technology). My mom and I were thinking of IT because I was also pretty good with my computer subjects. [But because of the Eat Bulaga experience] Eventually, I discovered a new-found passion. However, I set aside the ideas throughout my high school years, until my fourth year.


How did you get to know about CIIT?


On my fourth year of high school, [most of my] classmates started taking their [college entrance] exams so I felt pressured. But then, there was a career orientation [in which CIIT presented] and later told my Mom that I’d like to study at CIIT. Unfortunately, she disapproved of the idea because the school was in Timog and we live all the way from Novaliches. Still, I convinced my mom that I really wanted to go to CIIT. Until I joined Fantasia - the annual competition of CIIT College of Arts and Technology - so she would let me enroll because the competition also offers a 10% discount once you get in. In this way, she would also see that I really wanted it [CIIT]. It was also through Fantasia that I first came to know about CIIT, but I didn’t know it was a college, I thought it was an organization. So, I didn’t think about it [CIIT] until they had the career orientation at school. Unfortunately, that time [fourth-year] my school wasn’t part of Fantasia anymore. Instead, they organized a contest to select representatives: one for editing and another for something artsy. It was supported by the school, but it was more of an individual effort. Since it was my first time and because I didn’t usually join contests and stuff, Nanay was with me on the actual day of the competition. The results were later announced. I didn’t win but they allowed me to enroll at CIIT because they saw my effort. Sayang din with the 10% scholarship.


What made you decide to choose CIIT?


When I visited the school for the first time during Fantasia, I was pleased with the atmosphere and the students.


Then, when you finally got here, what did you experience?


At the CTTM Building (old building of CIIT), there was a different atmosphere. It actually doesn’t feel like a school. I liked many things, even the colors of the stairs. The community is so small - everyone knew everyone. Also, back then, I had to go through the basics of art, even though I just wanted video editing. Eventually, I got interested in it, like graphic design [art].


Let’s talk about your choice of program. You took Multimedia Arts, right? What made you decide to choose this course?


Yes, I did. Well, before [choosing Multimedia Arts], all I knew was I wanted to do videos, photos, things like that. I saw in the orientation [CIIT career orientation] the subjects video and motion graphics, under Multimedia Arts, so I chose it.


What do you think is the difference between self-taught skills versus learning them from a school like CIIT?


It was more focused because there would be a specific subject, for example, Premier. In Youtube, the one I used to learn some of the skills, simply teaches you how to do it. However, the principles and theories that you [every artist] should remember before creating and producing anything, you learn that here [school].


You mentioned that you’re not really into drawing or painting, but now you do. Tell us how you achieved this.


It is such a fun experience because, in our family, my uncle is an architect, my Dad is good with drawing, and my Lolo was an architect, too. So, it was like, “What about me? I can just draw stick figures.” After going here [at CIIT], [I learned to draw] so I can do portraits now. [We were taught] traditional arts in the first year.


What convinced you that “this is the path I want” or “I’ll pursue this no matter what?”


I really wanted Film [but] most probably I realized that after my thesis. I think, my Lolo has a part in it because in October 2017 he passed away. During that time, I had to handle my academics, thesis, then family problems. That was the time I felt really pressured. At the same time, that was when I began to think about my future.


Moving forward to the present, can you tell us your journey in ABS-CBN?


It started when I was looking for a place to do my OJT. I was actually looking at either GMA or ABS-CBN or Eat Bulaga, too, since it is where it all began. I got in at GMA but they were still processing when ABS-CBN called. I passed the online exam up to the [required] personal appearance. I did my OJT from February to the start of May.


What happened after your OJT ended?


[Technically], I was only in college for three and a half years because I did not fail in any subject and took extra subjects when I could. So, after my last term ended, at the same time my OJT, I got a vacant semester before graduation. During this time, I did freelance work. I had a professor who let me go with him, so I experienced shooting music videos for Star Music. I was the cameraman and the director of photography. Through this opportunity, I met Itchyworms and made a documentary [with them]. There were three other CIIT students in that team. During that time, I didn’t think I would get into ABS-CBN, I was just thinking that I would do freelance, like weddings and debuts, until such time that I can be a filmmaker like Jason Magbanua.


How did you get into freelancing?


To get a client, you need to show a sample. However, how can you show a sample if you don’t have any experience? So, I bought a camera. I volunteered at a church during Pista ng Obando to become their Official Photographer. Then someone asked me to do their debut but for free, I said yes para lang may portfolio and experience. At the debut, they didn’t feed us! But it was okay because I wanted it [the portfolio]. Wala, nandito na ako eh. Then, I became a photographer for students’ recital before their graduation. Libre na rin, pero, at least may dinner. So I had a debut, a recital, and a fiesta. I uploaded my works on social media, and other professors noticed it. Other people who also do freelancing noticed. Slowly, I built a network. One of my professors tagged me along with him [in a project]. I was [assigned to be] DOP for a documentary. The latest thing I did was Star Music with Jeff Pangan’s music video.


So, how were you able to go back to ABS-CBN?


Actually, I didn’t apply for ABS. I was just talking to someone from Team Manila about applying for the position related to videography. But then, the guy I was working with at my OJT in ABS-CBN, sent me a PM (private message) and said they needed a guy [for a job]. He asked for my resume if I am interested. So I agreed and didn’t push through with Team Manila. I’m not one to compare, like, salaries, but at least in ABS-CBN I already knew people, so I wouldn’t have a difficult time adjusting. My training was only for 2 weeks, but I was already being paid.


What are your future plans?


I’m preparing myself for a graduate course, Masters in Film in UP but I’m still thinking if that is my calling. Let’s see once I become a regular. My boss there knows that if ever there’s an opening in another department or in Star Cinema, I want to be in production.


In your whole journey, what was the biggest lesson you learned?


First, your character is the most important. As I said, I was an average student, but I got to where I am by being around other people who serve as a good influence, Positive attitude towards work and pressure is really vital. Second, the opportunity isn’t going to come to you. You have to present yourself to it [opportunity]. No matter what it takes, kahit baby steps, small decisions, and opportunities grab it. [Time will come when] you’re going to be one step closer. But first you have to make it clear what you want. If you’re clear on what you want, you’re focused, you just have to think on how to get there.


In your college life, what was your most fulfilling experience?


Other than making my family proud, developing myself-- becoming more mature. Yun nga, sa character pa rin. Honestly, the professors helped me out a lot, si Sir Chris, and even my friends, to build myself.


What would you tell others on why they should choose CIIT?


It’s not just an institution or school, it’s more like a community. Like, even though, there are different students and personalities, it doesn’t mean that there’s going to be a separation sa bawat isa.


Do you see yourself working in a television or film production in the future like Roi? You can take Bachelor of Multimedia Arts to learn Video Editing, Animation, Digital Storyboarding, Writing for Film and Television, and the like. Speak with one of our Admission Officers to learn more about the course. Call 02 411 11 96 or email info@ciit.edu.ph

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