The first time I saw Raiza, I was walking towards our dinner table at the poolside restaurant in Marco Polo Plaza, Cebu City. I literally was stopped on my tracks because I thought that I was seeing our very own Hijabimag founder Kai Darul. She stood out among the crowd of fellow journalists who were attending the U.S. Embassy-sponsored 6th Regional Media Seminar on Election Reporting. Other than the fact that she was perhaps the youngest, she was wearing a hijab just like me. And I knew she saw me too. I instantly felt that she is somehow linked to me and that I just had to talk to her.
But before I become too excited with my storytelling, who is Raiza Dapilin?
*Raiza Hajimin Dapilin
*BSMass Comm, Ateneo de Zamboanga University 2014
*TV Reporter, ABSCBN Zamboanga
*Lamitan City Basilan native
At her young age, she is already pursuing a challenging career. Aside from her journalistic endeavor, she studies law as well. In person, she is unassuming. She listens attentively and only speaks when asked or when she has something important to say. You won’t even guess what an achieve she really is. Upon meeting her, I knew I had to write about her to show the world of the silent strength a Muslimah like Raiza has. Here’s a short interview I had with her.
When did you start wearing your hijab?
I started wearing hijab in 2005. I was in fifth grade back then.
Do you feel empowered or the other way around when you’re wearing your hijab?
Yes, I am. I feel empowered when I wear my hijab. Most especially when I get to meet people from all walks of life and creeds of religion while I rove around our city to get some news. I also feel that it is a great way to influence young Muslims to go out. I wanted them to spread on their wings out there for them to be able to see the beauty of life amid struggles and differences.
Was there a time when wearing hijab became a problem in your work as a reporter?
Occasionally. When I am tasked for instance to cover church activities and I need to be inside their praying hall with my veil on. I actually hate people putting an eye on me. I feel that they do not just criticize my being when I am inside but my entirety of being in the Islamic faith. But if the need is strong, my mic box is always there to save me.
How do you feel towards other young Muslim women who wear their veils proudly? Do you feel a
sense of sisterhood with them?
Yes, of course. Whenever I see other girls wearing hijab, I feel so blessed to be a Muslimah. The feels of sisterhood is always in the air. Like we share same heart for one good purpose. For we actually cover our hairs not to express but impress our creator, Allah swt. ?
Raiza, I hope to see you again.
Young Muslimahs… unite!