Posted on March 30, 2022
by Maria Jessica O. Villantes
Photo by: Sir Russel Owen Viloria
Sa ngayon, hindi na lamang itinatakda ang mga kababaihan bilang mahusay sa gawaing-bahay, kinikilala rin maging ang matinding paghihirap at pagsisikap nila upang maabot ang mga pangarap at maipamalas ang katapangan at katatagan sa gitna ng pangsosyal at politikal na suliranin ng lipunan.
Si 𝘽𝙗. 𝘾𝙞𝙣𝙙𝙮 𝙈. 𝘾𝙪𝙢𝙖𝙝𝙡𝙞𝙣𝙜, 24 taong gulang, babae, tubong Amganad, Banaue, Ifugao ay apat na taon nang Science Research Specialist I ng Philippine Science High School-Cagayan Valley Campus (PSHS-CVC). Trabaho niyang pamahalaan ang kaayusan ng mga kagamitan at pasilidad sa laboratoryo, isaayos ang iskedyul para sa mga eksperimento at umalalay sa mga bata. Pinangangasiwaan din nilang magsagawa ng oryentasyon at pagsasanay sa mga mag-aaral at guro hinggil sa mga panuntunan at paggamit ng laboratoryo maging ang mga pasilidad.
Sa puntong ito, kilalanin pa si Ma'am Cindy kung paano sinukat, tinimpla at pinaghalo ng iba't ibang karanasan ang kanyang pakikibaka sa buhay.
Si Ma'am Cindy ay bunso sa pitong magkakapatid, anim na babae at isang lalaki. Dulot ng kahirapan ay nagsitigil sa pag-aaral ang ilan at nagsipag-asawa naman ang dalawa niyang kapatid. Ang kanyang mga magulang ay kapwa nakikisaka.
”Mag-asawa na lang din kayo, iyon din naman ang mangyayari sa inyo," ang ilang ulit na idinidikdik sa kanilang magkakapatid. Bagamat nang mga panahong iyon ay tila suntok sa buwan ang makapagtapos sa pag-aaral, ay may nais pa rin silang patunayan, "hindi lang tayo hanggang ganoon," ika nga ni Ma'am Cindy. Sa kagustuhan din ng kanyang ina na sila'y makapagtapos ay itinuloy niya maging ng apat niyang kapatid ang pag-aaral.
Sa talas ng isipan ni Ma'am Cindy, nakapasa siya sa pagsusulit at naging isa sa mga iskolar ng Kagawaran ng Agham at Teknolohiya. Isang biyaya rin para sa kanya ang pagkakataong makapasok at makapag-aral sana sa isang prestihiyosong pamantasan sa Baguio para sa kursong Chemical Engineering sa tulong na rin ng kanyang tiya. Ngunit kinakailangan niyang bitawan ang pagkakataong iyon. Hindi madaling maitaguyod nang sabay-sabay silang limang magkakapatid sa kolehiyo at upang mas makatipid sa mga gastusin at hindi na gaanong mahirapan ang kanyang ina, mabigat man sa pakiramdam ay mas pinili niyang lumipat sa pamantasang mas malapit sa kanilang lalawigan.
Sa Nueva Vizcaya State University- Bambang Campus iginugol ni Ma'am Cindy ang apat na taon bilang kolehiyo sa kursong Batsilyer sa Agham sa Biolohiya. Hindi naging madali sa kanya ang pag-angkop sa kultura at lengguwahe ng hindi pamilyar na lugar. Isa rin ito sa mga dahilan ng kanyang pagkalumbay maliban sa pagkalayo niya sa mga mahal niya sa buhay at labis na pag-aalala sa kaniyang ina. Habang nagsusunog ng kilay ay nasa kalagitnaan ng pagsubok ang kanyang pamilya, kinulong ng sakit na Schizophrenia ang kanyang ina. Para siyang nawawalan ng lakas at pag-asa habang nasasaksihan ang paghihinagpis ng kanilang ilaw ng tahanan. Hindi niya lubos maisip kung bakit ang napakabait at tapat sa Diyos na ina ang nagkakaganito. Ilang beses niya ring kinuwestiyon ang Panginoon. Ganito na lamang ang kanilang naging kalagayan sa buhay.
Ang kanyang ina ay isa sa naging inspirasyon niya upang pagbutihin ang pag-aaral. Iginapang nilang magkakapatid ang pagkokolehiyo. Nagbabahagi rin si Ma'am Cindy ng ilan sa mga salaping natatanggap niya sa pagiging iskolar at nagtatrabaho naman ang kanyang mga kapatid habang nag-aaral. Sa mga panahong iyon, ang isa't isa ang kanilang naging sandigan at pinaghuhugutan ng lakas.
Wala ni isang araw ang sinayang ni Ma'am Cindy habang nag-aaral. Ipinamalas niya pa ang kanyang husay nang maipasa niya nang magkasunod ang Sub-Professional Civil Service Examination at Professional Civil Service Examination noong siya ay nasa ikalawang taon sa kolehiyo sa edad na 17. Makalipas pa ng ilang taon at ng kanyang pagpupursigi ay nakapagtapos siya taong 2017 bilang Magna Cum Laude at natamo rin ang dalawang parangal na DOST Award at Student of the Year Award. Unti-unti ay nagsipagtapos din ang kanyang apat na kapatid, at sumunod na naengganyo ang kanyang nakapag-asawang nakatatandang kapatid na magtuloy sa pag-aaral na tulad niya ay nakapasa rin bilang iskolar ng DOST.
Upang makatulong sa pamilya at mabigyan din ng suporta ang kanyang kapatid sa pag-aaral ay pumasok si Ma'am Cindy bilang Administrative Assistant sa Nueva Vizcaya State University- Bayombong Campus. Sa ilang buwang pagtatrabaho ay nakasama niya ang ilang mga magsasaka at mga mababait niyang kasamahan sa Banana Micropropagation Laboratory. Sumasama siya sa bukid upang magtanggal ng mga dahon, sukatin ang haba, lapad at dyametro ng mga puno ng saging.
Pagkaraan ng ilang buwan ay sinubukan niya ang kanyang kapalaran sa Philippine Science High School-Cagayan Valley Campus (PSHS-CVC) at noong Nobyembre 16, 2017 sa edad na 19 ay nagsimula si Ma'am Cindy bilang Science Research Specialist. Bagamat bata pa ang kanyang edad, may mga pagkakataong pinagdududahan niya ang kanyang kakayahan. Ngunit, pilit niya itong iwinaksi at matatag na ginampanan ang responsibilidad. Sa tulong ng kanyang mga maunawaing kasamahan sa trabaho maging ang pagsasanay at mga pantas-aral na iginawad bilang suporta ng PSHS-CVC ay mas nahuhubog ang tulad niyang empleyado upang mas magampanan ang mga tungkulin at makapagbigay nang maayos at mahusay na serbisyo.
Natupad din ang pangarap ng pamilya na makapagtapos silang pitong magkakapatid sa pag-aaral. Ang panganay at pangalawang kapatid ay nagtapos sa kursong Batsilyer sa Agham sa Agrikultura, ang pangatlo ay sa kursong Batsilyer sa Agham sa Narsing, ang pang-apat at panglima ay sa kursong Batsilyer sa Agham sa Kriminolohiya at ang pang-anim ay sa kursong Batsilyer ng Elementaryang Edukasyon.
Sa ngayon ay patuloy pa ring sinasamahan ng mag-anak ang kanilang ina sa paglaban sa sakit nito. Ang hindi matapos-tapos na hiling at panalangin ni Ma'am Cindy ay gumaling at maging masaya ang kanyang ina.
Sa mga pagsubok na pinagdaanan at pinagdadaanan ni Ma'am Cindy ay mas pinipili niyang maging matatag at muli't muling pinanghahawakan ang bersikulo mula sa Kawikaan 3:5-6, na sa kabila ng hirap, pinakawalang oportunidad at hinaharap na pagsubok ay naniniwala at nagtitiwala siya sa plano at tamang landas na ituturo ng Panginoon. Bukod-tanging hiling pa niya ay ang mabigyan ng maganda at hindi lamang simpleng buhay ang pamilya. Nagpapakatatag siya araw-araw hindi lamang para sa kanyang sarili maging para sa mga mahal niya sa buhay.
Walang maiimbentong panukat sa pagmamahal ni Ma'am Cindy sa kanyang pamilya. Hindi matitimbang ang kanyang katapangan, lakas at katatagan. Ang kasarian niya ay 'di rin naging hadlang upang siya ay makapagtapos, at hindi makikita sa kanyang edad ang kakayahan niyang maglingkod, magampanan ang tungkulin at buhatin ang mga pagsubok na ipinasan sa kanyang paglalakbay.
Layunin din ni Ma'am Cindy na maging inspirasyon at makatulong sa iba lalo na sa mga kabataan. Para sa mga taong nasa kapareho niyang sitwasyon ay may mensaheng nais niyang ipaabot, "Do not give up on your dreams, it’s okay to struggle now, but you will thank yourself later for not giving up. Dear, the fulfillment of your dreams is on its way.”
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STATISTICS 101: Amorelle and Motorcycles, More or Less
Posted on March 30, 2022
by Christine V. Ordinario
Photo by: Sir Russel Owen Viloria
Statistics of the Asian Development Bank shows that in terms of global motorcycle usage, Asia scores the greatest number of registered motorcycles. A German database company that specializes in market and consumer data reveals in its study that in 2021, the number of motorcycles in the Philippines reached at least four million. Though there are no exact figures at hand indicating the male-female ratio of motorcycle ownership in the Philippines, mere observation will tell that most motorcycle riders, undeniably, are males. But in Pisay-CVC, breaking the all-boys motorcycle circle is one fearless, young lady: Ma’am Amorelle.
Miss Amorelle Ortiz Sarmiento, simply Ma’am Amor, is one of the 27 female teachers of the 56 strong Curriculum and Instruction Division workforce. She is currently the teacher of Statistics for Grade 9 students and the class adviser of 9-Einsteinium. With a special assignment as Statistics Consultant, she is the go-to person of students (and teachers, too) for consultation regarding the research methodology and the statistical treatment of data of their research.
What are the chances of a BS Statistics degree holder to choose teaching as a career? In the case of Ma’am Amor, statistically speaking, it is very low. Never did she imagine that she will land in the teaching profession. Though her mother was a teacher, she already knew early on that she’d rather take a different career path.
When she was younger, she dreamed of becoming a certified public accountant. Her admiration of her aunt’s career in the corporate world, as well as her expert budgeting skills inspired her to tick BS Accountancy as her top choice when she applied for the University of the Philippines College Admission Test (UPCAT). But through her uncle’s advice, and with her interest in Math, one of her favorite subjects, as her advantage, she pursued a Statistics degree at the University of the Philippines – Los Baños.
Ma’am Amor is the eldest and the only girl in the brood of four siblings. When she was a kid until she went to high school, she spent most of her days with her grandmother, making her a lola’s girl, and yes, the favorite apo. She was so close to her grandmother that they spent a lot of chill moments together. She still remembers that day when she and her lola were just relaxing and playing tong-its, a cards game sans the money bet. Her grandmother was so happy and glowing that day. Never did she know that such was their last tong-its sesh together. The loss of her grandmother who was so dear to her broke her heart. When she was about to enter college and was uncertain which course to pursue, she remembered her late grandmother and a sign dawned upon her. The tong-its that they used to play, a game of chances and probabilities, gave her the sign to take statistics – the fulfillment of her passion for math.
Consistently at the top of her class from Grade 1 until she graduated in high school, Ma’am Amor was optimistic she will survive college life. But when she was there, reality showed her that the trend of her high grades in high school is not always the same in college. There were times she would see her scores on the cover page of her blue book, in glaring red ink. With mounting frustrations, it came to a point when she felt her course was not for her and she was already on the brink of giving up and leaving UPLB.
One time, in their English class, they were asked to write an essay about the college course they are pursuing. Call it coincidence, but that time was only a few days before her dear lola’s death anniversary. She remembered her tong-its moments with her grandmother and used that game of chance as a metaphor in her written output. She aced that tong-its-inspired essay and realized it must be a sign from her lola speaking to her to get going and dismiss the thoughts of giving up. Moreover, her mother, a teacher and expert in dealing with students’ problems, gave her the support and boost that she needed. Her former teachers in high school also called her to cheer her up. In her fervent prayer, she said, “Lord, ikaw na ang bahala.” In no time, her motivation tank was refilled to the brim, and without any pressure or high expectations from her parents, Ma’am Amor was back, recharged and more determined.
Ma’am Amor did not dream of becoming a teacher but during their graduation ceremonies, she was moved by the speech of their professor who passionately spoke about teaching. After graduation, Ma’am Amor’s cover letter and resume found their way to Philippine Science High School – Cagayan Valley Campus. However, due to some lacking documents, her application at PSHS-CVC was parked for some time.
While she was completing the other documents required by Pisay, she found employment at DOST-CAR Regional Office in Baguio City where her knowledge and skills in statistics were applied in doing analysis. During the time that she was working in the City of Pines, she received a call from CVC and was asked if she was still interested with her application in Pisay. Inspired and prepared to be a teacher that time, she said yes, and now she’s on her sixth year with PSHS-CVC.
At present, Ma’am Amor is happy with her decision to join the roster of teachers of Pisay-CVC. When she finally decided to accept the Special Science Teacher position, she also accepted the challenge to hone her communication skills. Through the years, she has overcome her fear of speaking before crowds, and is now more outspoken and sociable. More importantly, she feels grateful that as a former Iskolar ng Bayan, she is now in a better position to give back to the country by serving the young generation with what she learned from her Alma Mater.
Averages, Motorcycles, and Amorelle. While most people know mean in statistics as simply the average, Ma’am Amor said mean, median, and mode are all AVERAGES, but each differ in function. And while most people view genders with predetermined characteristics or traits, Ma’am Amor is definitely NOT the average girl. She is the only girl in campus who rides a motorcycle to work every single day. On the average, it takes 40 minutes for her to travel the 37.2 km-distance from home to school, and another 40 minutes of hitting the road again on her way home.
Her interest in riding motorcycle must have been influenced by her father who was driving motorcycle and tricycle since she was young. In 2017, her parents bought her younger brother his first motorcycle. Excited to drive her own, too, she treated herself with a new one which became her transport buddy, both for work and for leisure. In 2019, she bought a new NMAX unit she once named Maximus, which in statistics means highest value. Since then, Maximus brought her to places as far as Kiangan, Banaue, and Mayoyao in Ifugao, and Manaoag and Lingayen in Pangasinan.
Aware of the risks of motorcycle riding, she has been extra careful since the day she started driving and has never had any motorcycle-related accident or injury. Despite the risks, Ma’am Amor enjoys every minute of riding because it brings out her adventurous side, and the feeling that she is in control of the road is very liberating. Ma’am Amor looks forward to the day when she is driving her own Honda CVR, driving all the way to apo Whang-od in Buscalan, Kalinga, and treat herself with the latter’s signature tats.
Standard Deviation. Ma’am Amor is just like the other girls with the usual girl stuff – hobbies, interests and kilig moments. Most people do not know that she is a fur-mommy of two labradors and one shih tzu; that she is addicted to watching Korean dramas; and that she is a huge fan of the Golden State Warriors, in general, and of Klay Thompson, in particular. She is also a literary writer for quite some time now, and she still keeps her journal that holds her literary attempts.
But what separates her apart from the other girls is her interest in motorcycles. It takes a great deal of adrenalin rush and immense courage to brave the Maharlika Highway, wind the accelerator, and race with other wheels on the road. Ma’am Amor admits that it is not a typical girl thing to ride a motorcycle as that was what she usually hears from people. Because of that, she finds herself outside the normal distribution. She considers herself an outlier because she always deviates from the norm. In defense, she bravely said, “a deviation is not always a weakness. It can be a strength with which one can stand out and be great.”
Significant Difference. In a society where patriarchy is, in a way, defined by motorcycles, people have the misconception that motorcycles are only for men. Correspondingly, women on motorcycles speeding on the streets are still an uncommon sight for people who are viewing it from a patriarchal lens. But sometimes, to be different is more significant than just sitting within the normal curve. Ma’am Amor may just be one of the many variables, but she has a value that is significant, thus rejecting the null and breaking stereotypes.
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On Role-Playing and Playing Roles
Posted on March 30, 2022
Photo by: Sir Russel Owen Viloria
Who would not recognize that Spanish-speaking, short-haired girl clad in pink shirt and orange shorts, her feet covered in yellow socks and white shoes, her right wrist adorned with yellow beaded bracelet, and her shoulder lugging a purple backpack? Yes, that’s DORA the Explorer.
The Pisay-CVC community saw Dora the Explorer come to life during one of the many cosplays held in one of the Book Week celebrations during the pre-pandemic days. And who would not forget that impressive portrayal of Dora the Explorer, no less than by the very versatile faculty cosplayer, Ma’am Melahnie C. Agraam.
Ma’am Mel has been cosplaying in school for years now. Through the years, she has portrayed a wide range of characters. Remember that Marvel fictional superhero whose incalculable strength increases as his anger escalates? Or that blue emotion character in Disney Pixar’s Inside Out who, as her name suggests, exudes gloomy and low-spirited aura? Or that inflatable computerized robot in the animated film Big Hero 6 who looks like a fluffy snowman and possesses amazing intelligence and strength? Or that cute, pill-shaped, yellow creature who communicates using a queer language with meanings exclusive within their circle? Or one of those three huggable bears who perform anthropomorphic activities and adventures? Or that badge-collecting chubby boy who appeared in the Disney film showing a house buoyed by balloons? And oh, who was not surprised in campus when a humungous cup of a South Korean-made instant ramen was walking along the corridors? These character portrayals left spectators in awe, and made students, and employees as well, anticipate with much excitement of what character will Ma’am Mel stage next.
During this pandemic, even when faculty activities and programs were held virtually, Ma’am Mel kept on surprising the Pisay community with her cosplay transformation. During the virtual celebration of the school’s founding anniversary, Ma’am Mel, even while on work-from-home mode, wowed everyone as she appeared on the LED screen, dressed up like that robot doll in the Red Light, Green Light episode of the phenomenal South Korean drama series Squid Game. Not the pandemic nor the restricted and limited physical gatherings can stop Ma’am Mel from personifying characters we usually see in books, TV or movies.
The occasional cosplaying is just a fraction of Ma’am Mel’s outstanding performance as an employee of PSHS-CVC. An English teacher in Pisay for close to two decades now, Ma’am Mel has been consistently topping the teaching performance charts on students’ and supervisor’s evaluation. Academically prepared and honed from the University of the Philippines – Diliman, motivated by the burning passion to teach, and driven by the genuine sentiment to touch lives, Ma’am Mel is a master of her craft. A passionate teacher of language and literature, Ma’am Mel has undoubtedly won the hearts of students, batches back from the old-campus years to the Masoc-housed ones.
But cosplay off-season is the time when Ma’am Mel does not need any costume to portray the character, sans fiction, by being her true self. Outside official time is the moment when Ma’am Mel does the job for the people she loves most – her family.
Born and raised in Manila, Ma’am Mel never thought that she would be living her married life in the province. When her husband laid down the offer for her to give living-the-province-life a try, she immediately agreed on one condition: that she will find employment in Nueva Vizcaya, preferably teaching. Clueless about where she is heading to and uncertain how she will face this new life, she did not hesitate to take on the offer, all for the love of her own family.
Ma’am Mel submitted her application to two schools in Bayombong: Saint Mary’s University and Philippine Science High School – Cagayan Valley Campus. Pisay called her first, and for the first time, she had the chance to experience vying for a position in a government institution, different from her experiences from her previous employment in private schools in the city.
It seemed like the odds were all on her favor because when she submitted her application, it was Pisay’s bigtime hiring season, and a lot of permanent teaching positions were up for grabs. After days of braving the process of application – written exam, interview, class demonstration – her performance and qualifications assured her of the work she has been asking for. She has experienced the long wait for her turn to be called in each of the tests, the longer wait for the phone call confirming whether she made it or not, the longest alone moments she spent with only a single pack of sky flakes crackers that filled her empty stomach during breaks, which she passionately called “the things you do for love.”
Leaving the city and migrating to Nueva Vizcaya was a gamble, because it means leaving the life she lived since birth, but in retrospect, she knew she gained and won. It was quite an ordeal for her to live in a community where almost everybody knows everyone, while she felt she was a total stranger, when it took some time before she adapted to the new environment, but it was in this same locality where she can trust even the mere acquaintances. She can ask anyone to look after her kids, she did not worry if she was late in attending to her kids in school, she knew her kids are safe in the company of anyone in the community because she knew she can trust the people there.
It was also a struggle for her to communicate because she did not understand, much more so speak, the local language, Ilocano, so she went the extra mile to learn the dialect, by listening to the radio dramas in the vernacular, like Kapitan Enteng, which her father-in-law regularly listened to during siesta hours. Because of the proximity of their house to the barangay hall, one significant factor that contributed to her language acquisition is eavesdropping, more unintentionally though, to the settlement of conflicts in the barangay hall. The conversations of the people in the hall, the testimonies of the summoned individuals, and the reactions of the then-not-yet-called-Marites, were sources of meanings and contexts of how she began to understand the intricacies of the Ilocano language. Now, Ma’am Mel is fluent and familiar of the language that sounded so strange to her on the very day she set foot here in the province.
For years since she decided to permanently settle in the place far from the busy-ness of the metro, Ma’am Mel found the serenity and happiness she dreamt of for her spouse and children. The turning point came, however, when her parents’ health began to wane, and she was not there for them right away. It crushed her heart to not be able to look after them the very instant she learned about their condition. The guilt of moving out of their home and living away from her parents haunted her, and she was willing to do anything, ANYTHING she can for her parents, before it will be too late…
In 2016, Ma’am Mel’s father began to manifest memory loss. He can no longer recognize her daughter who adored him so dearly. For a loving daughter like Ma’am Mel, to be a stranger in her father’s eyes is such a pain to bear. She could not fathom how sudden his dad’s memory declined; worse, why of all his dad’s reminiscence, hers was erased from his memory slate. But a caring daughter that she has always been, she did not have second thoughts of deciding to go back to Manila, even at the expense of her established teaching career and even with the uncertainties of this drastic change.
With nothing in mind but to make up lost time with and for her parents, Ma’am Mel was ready to tender her resignation from PSHS-CVC immediately. For her, it’s time to be a daughter once again to them. She thought the occasional visits to her parents in Manila every vacation was enough, but now, more than ever, she knew her parents needed her the most. She was willing to sacrifice what she has already invested, and she is prepared to make drastic decisions once again, this time for her mom and dad. She is aware that moving back to the city that cradled her since birth may have repercussions to her disadvantage, like the uncertainty of finding new employment and the difficulty of resetting up, but it’s the risk she is very willing to take.
Then a sound alternative was considered – moving her parents here in the province instead of her family moving to Manila. This was a win-win solution: she did not need to give up her job, she can still be with her family, though it took a lot of courage for her to seek permission from her in-laws about this decision. Gladly they agreed, and in no time, her parents were living with her.
After a very long time, Ma’am Mel was reunited with her parents, and this time she is on duty taking care of them full time. Conscious of the years, months, weeks, and days that are slowly ticking away, she explained to her spouse and children that this time, she needs to take on her daughter role first and might be less of a wife and a mother. Despite her father’s condition, she patiently took care of him, spent sleepless nights to look after him, depriving herself of the luxury of sleep which affected her daytime role as teacher.
She reflected; at what point did she falter? Which role did she fail to perform? When she thought she was doing her best as a spouse, mother, sister-in-law, daughter-in-law, neighbor, friend, colleague, and many other roles, why does she still feel her efforts are in vain? As she has devoted her time building her own family, and committed herself to accomplishing work-related tasks, she had the feeling that she might be a little too late for doing her obligation as a daughter. But no matter how challenging this has been, she still found answers to her many why’s and how’s. Despite being forgotten by her dad as his daughter, Ma’am Mel said these are still ways to teach her what love really is – it never ceases, it has no conditions, it is beyond memory…
During the twilight of her parents well-spent lives, Ma’am Mel was able to give them her best. She poured her heart out to them, gave them all the love she wished she could have given when they were miles apart. It still pains her knowing that they have departed, and every single day, she misses them, but they left her a lesson to live by – that her parents’ examples are her ideals which guide her to be the best parent that she can be to her own daughter and son, Tara and Terence.
Sacrifice, for Ma’am Mel, is not only accorded to her closest of kin. When her father-in-law was hospitalized and the threat of the COVID-19 virus was still high, she volunteered to take care of him, no matter how risky it was to her health. For a month, she stayed with him in the hospital, attending to his needs, and just being there for him. Ma’am Mel shared so much of her time, care and love to her father-in-law, a gesture of kindness which he is forever grateful for.
Ma’am Mel became a mother when she was 23. Parenting at a relatively young age has a lot of challenges, but she was able to survive these by following the example set by her own mom. As a mother, Ma’am Mel sets things straight right away. Her children, at their early age, already understood that not all they ask for are granted as soon as they want it. They were taught that everything has a right time – to buy, to just look, to earn and work for it first.
As a mother of kids living the typical childhood-to-adolescence-to-adulthood stage, Ma’am Mel also has her share of concerns regarding her kids’ upbringing. As her kids grew up into young adults, Ma’am Mel made sure their communication lines are always open and that they do not keep any secrets from one another. She personally knows her kids’ circle of friends, and she feels confident that her children are safe in the company of their peers. And if there is one tip that parents need to know about allowing their children to go out with their friends, take this advice from Ma’am Mel: two names, two numbers. Allow your children to be with their friends, but before they leave, they should give the names and contact details of two of their friends they will be with.
During this pandemic, one of the struggles parents face is to get their kids working on their modules and submitting their requirements completely and promptly. In this case, Ma’am Mel is no exception. From the point of view of a teacher, students are expected to work independently, but from Ma’am Mel’s perspective as a mother, this pandemic is also a struggle that her own son and daughter have to deal with. This is the perfect opportunity for her to be the support that they need, especially for her, a parent, and a teacher as well.
Ma’am Mel has set an ideal that her children now emulate. Tara and Terence, Ma’am Mel’s wonderful children, have felt the boundless love that their mother has for them. They have seen how much sacrifice their mother is willing to give to others. They learned from their mom every lesson of having a good heart for family and friends. They are the true testament to the saying “kung ano ang puno, siyang bunga.”
From the purest heart of a loving mother, Ma’am Mel said, “I may worry constantly as most mothers do, but I genuinely believe that God’s greatest kindness to me was when He made me the mother of my Tara and Terence.” And being the mother of these two awesome children would most probably be Ma’am Mel’s parallel answer to Sushmita Sen’s Miss U question on the essence of being a woman.
Like Dora the Explorer who embarks on new adventures every episode, Ma’am Mel takes on every episode of her life as a new adventure to live and learn from. Like Dora the Explorer who has an I’ve-got-it-all-in backpack, Ma’am Mel’s bag of life is full of wisdom she has gained from people, circumstances, and experiences, that other people gain wisdom from, too, through the years.
Through cosplays, Ma’am Mel has unquestionably transformed into famous characters, and the list just keeps on increasing. But her being a daughter, a wife, and a mother are the most important roles that she continues to portray, needless of the costumes and the spiels, just a pure heart full of love.
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