MANILA, Philippines — Meet Jared Bray, the fluent Tagalog-speaking reporter for ABS-CBN North America News Bureau.
With a distinct slang in his Tagalog (coupled with a mix of English) which is nonetheless clearly understandable, Bray works for the agency in Utah as its correspondent for Filipino news.
According to Bray, he learned to love the language and its people when he went to the Philippines in 2004 and lived for two years as a Mormon missionary.
“When I was in Cagayan Valley, I felt at home because everyone treated me nicely. When I went back to the States, it was the same here with the Filipinos. Because of them, my love for “Lupang Hinirang” never went away,” he said.
After going to other places such as Quirino, Nueva Vizcaya, and Isabela, the native of Scottsdale, Arizona finally returned home in 2006 but with a burning passion to work in a Filipino news program.
So after a stint with Yahoo! Sports and NBC affiliate KULR-TV, Bray applied with the Filipino Channel’s Balitang America as a reporter. To date, he is the only American reporter working for the news outfit.
“When I applied for the job in 2011 and the executive producer offered it to me, napuno ako ng kagalakan (I was filled with joy),” he said.
Suffice to say, the 30-year-old Bray has not looked back since and has continued to enjoy his job of reporting about Filipino news in the US.
He is also thankful he has not been discriminated against nor made fun of, being the only American in a room full of Filipinos.
“Amerikano ako, pero Pinoy naman ako sa puso at isip (I may be an American, but I’m also a Pinoy in heart and mind)”, he said, adding he does not hide the fact he likes to watch Pinoy teleseryes such as “Two Wives,” listens to Pinoy rock bands, and is fond of using the Filipino expression “Hay naku.”
Watch his audition for Balitang America: