ABS-CBN's newest weatherman is aware of the big shoes he needs to fill, but the social media savvy millennial, who was formerly with the state weather bureau, believes he can make a different mark following the "biggest break" of his career.
Not too long after Kuya Kim’s transfer to GMA-7, the 34-year-old Rojas got a call following his application to become ABS-CBN's weatherman. During that time, Rojas was working for the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration, while also helping popularize meteorology through his social media.
“I decided to give it a go. I just went with the flow,” he told PhilSTAR L!fe, adding that he knew such an opportunity would provide him with a bigger platform and a wider reach. “Before I knew it, I signed the contract. I think it’s the biggest break of my career.”
On Dec. 13, he was officially introduced as a Kapamilya and delivered his very first weather presentation for the news program.
“The biggest challenge was, for me, to calm my nerves because live TV is different from what I was doing in PAGASA. But I was happy with how my launch turned out.”
After the show, Rojas was welcomed by ABS-CBN News Head Ging Reyes alongside his new colleagues into his new professional home.
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As someone who grew up in Bato, Catanduanes—one of the most typhoon-hit provinces in the country—Rojas has long been interested in the weather.
“From a young age, I was aware of these severe weather events. The elders would talk about it all the time and we’d get multiple typhoons. Even if we’re not hit directly, we feel the effects,” Rojas said.
His earliest personal memory of a typhoon was when he was eight years old in 1995. But in 1998, he had a near-death experience during the onslaught of Typhoon Loleng. “Me, my eldest sister, and my grandmother were trapped in the corner-most room of our house and the floodwater kept rising. I thought we were going to drown,” he recalled. Thankfully, the water started to subside when the storm’s eye passed over their town.
While getting his degree in food technology from the University of the Philippines Diliman, Rojas also spent nearly six years at call centers to help send two of his siblings to school. But by the time he graduated, he figured it was too late to go for an entry-level job at 26 in the same industry.
“We’re taught in UP to serve our countrymen and I thought I would be more needed in PAGASA than in the food industry,” he recalled. This made him decide to take his master's in meteorology, all thanks to a scholarship from PAGASA. Later on, he spent four fulfilling years as a weather specialist for the organization.
While he’s now working for ABS-CBN, he still makes use of TikTok as a platform to share information about the subject he’s most passionate about.
“It started when Tandang Sora encountered a hailstorm. I realized, ‘Ohh, I know how hailstorms form. Why not share it with other people?’” he recalled, sharing that it took him four hours to finish that one-minute clip. The clip made the rounds online—not on TikTok, but on other platforms like Facebook and Instagram. “I now have a list of the next topics and trivia I want to share, I just need to find the time to create and spend more time on these videos,” he let slip.
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Taking after Kim Atienza or "Kuya Kim"—who worked as TV Patrol’s weatherman for 15 years—he knows he has big shoes to fill.
“The pressure is on. He’s a very good communicator, so if I could be even half as good as he is, then I think I have done my job,” he said. “But I just want to say, I won’t try to replicate what he’s done. I still want to be me—Ariel—to be unique in how I do my weather presentations.”
“What I want to do first is to be better at what I do. From there, I can figure out what else I want to do. I just want to make sure that I do well in these roles that have been entrusted to me,” he added.