“Life is short—too short to be upset or to wallow in regret. Choose to be happy, and as often as we can, let’s try to be a blessing to others.”
GMA Network broadcast journalist Victoria “Vicky” Morales-Reyno has been living this philosophy for many years, and indeed her positivity is reflected in the warm and charming personality she is known for in the business. While these are rare adjectives used to describe the clichéd hard-hitting newsman, Morales nevertheless is considered as one of the most credible broadcast journalists in the country today.
Happily married to lawyer King Reyno, and a doting mom to their three children—twins Leon Alfonso and Filippo Luis, and only daughter Daniela Simone, Morales is also often referred to as one of the prettiest news personalities on television.
Do not let her captivating smile fool you, though, for Morales is definitely more than just a beautiful face. She is, after all, one of the pillars of GMA News and Public Affairs, the most awarded broadcast news organization in the country.
And on the topic of recognitions, Morales herself has quite a number tucked under her belt. Just this March, she was named the Adamson Media Awardee of 2015, and voted as Darling of the Press in the 31st PMPC Star Awards.
She and her programs on the network have also received an impressive collection of awards from such institutions as the Catholic Mass Media Awards, UP Gandingan, USTv Awards, Gawad Tanglaw, Northwest Samar State University Student Choice Awards, and Anak TV Seal.
Internationally, this list includes the Asian TV Awards, New York Festival, US International Film and Video Awards, and the highly prestigious George Foster Peabody Awards.
Morales, who was also one of the Ten Most Outstanding Young Men (TOYM) awardees in 2009, shares that “whenever our work in these programs is recognized by award-giving bodies, it makes us feel blessed because somehow, it is our way of giving back to the station that placed its faith in us in the first place.”
She adds, “These awards or recognitions become even more significant when they are given by the youth because they are constant reminders to us that everything we do should be geared towards improving their generation.”
It is quite interesting to note that Morales, who is already on her 25th year in the industry, first took BS Management at the Ateneo de Manila University before eventually shifting to Communications to pursue journalism.
When GMA Headline News announced that it was then looking out for a new anchor to join the tandem of Tina Munzon-Palma and Jose Mari Velez, the young college graduate hoped it would be her big break. She eagerly auditioned for the slot along with more than 500 other hopefuls.
“I was so nervous then,” shares Morales, who was asked to deliver a news report in English and later translate a news item on the spot into Filipino, while receiving a directive on the override (the earpiece worn by anchors).
“A lot of things were happening then at the same time. Basically, the test was to determine how well you can function under pressure,” she recalls.
She was later called in for a final interview with five other aspiring news anchors. “Feeling ko hindi ako pasok [I felt I didn’t make it]. Then I remember having lunch with my mom at home when I got a call from GMA’s former AVP for News Dan de Padua who told me that I had passed all the auditions and interviews and had landed the job. I was stunned!” she exclaims. “I immediately shared the great news with my mom and she was excited for me since I had wanted the job so much, and prayed so hard to get it.”
Morales officially joined GMA Network in 1990 via GMA Headline News where she was tasked to banner the segment “Good News.” Incidentally, she also hosts a Monday night public affairs program on GMA News TV today titled Good News Kasama si Vicky Morales, where she shares positive stories.
After her stint in GMA Headline News, she was asked by former GMA executive Tony Seva to join the country’s first-ever morning news program Business Today with Dong Puno. Two years later, she returned to the late-evening timeslot via the English newscast GMA Network News, which had a reformat in 1998 and became the country’s first late-night news program delivered in the vernacular.
In 1999, Morales co-anchored the long-running late-night newscast Saksi before joining the network’s primetime newscast 24 Oras in November 2014.
Describing the particular character that she brings to every program she has had thus, Morales shares, “I am definitely not the intellectual type, nor am I the hard-hitting, confrontational kind. Although I can get to that point if I need to defend a position I feel strongly about. What I would like to do is to bring compassion into the newscast because that is who I am.”
While Morales has been delivering the news to millions of households for the past 25 years, there is also no denying that Morales is most known for her pioneering weekend wish-granting program Wish Ko Lang.
“If the newscasts are for the head, Wish Ko Lang, together with Good News, are for the heart in the sense that they instill hope, promote positivity, and show simple ways to achieve happiness,” Morales says so eloquently.
She was already part of Saksi and the documentary program I-Witness when Wish Ko Lang was offered to her. Morales recalls that she was quick to say “yes,” which paved the way to her being regarded as local television’s fairy godmother.
Looking back at her first few experiences with Wish Ko Lang, the host says that the program “really took me out of my comfort zone in the beginning.”
“Wish Ko Lang has brought me to many places in the country I would never have visited, and to the humble homes of those who had sent us letters. Through it, I have seen some of the brightest smiles. And it has blessed me with a front row seat to lives that have been transformed because of the help extended by the show,” she adds.
For many in the news industry, including The Sunday Times Magazine, Vicky Morales remains to be one of the most low key news anchors in the industry, and yet, no matter how private a life she leads outside work, she is someone the public believes in and trusts.
“Thank you very much for this humbling thought. That is the best compliment any journalist could ever receive. Perhaps you can say that I am a product of my upbringing. My doctor dad and disciplinarian mom raised us to value integrity over money, hard work and excellence over convenience, simplicity over luxury, and to always look out for family.”
Fittingly, her parting words for this interview are, “My purpose in this industry has always been clear in my mind—I am here to earn the audience’s trust and to help preserve the goodness in this profession.”
On GMA Network, Vicky Morales co-anchors primetime newscast 24 Oras from Monday to Friday at 6:30 p.m. and hosts the weekend program Wish Ko Lang. On GMA News TV, the broadcast journalist hosts Good News Kasama si Vicky Morales, which is currently celebrating its fourth anniversary.