Even with an impressive resume of internationally screened films under her belt, Angeli Bayani admitted she would have gone down the path of teaching if she hadn’t been bitten by the acting bug. “I found myself recently doing a lot of that kasi, teaching. And when you teach kasi you learn. It’s inevitable. Kaya I find myself na parang yung kung ano man yung pinagdaanan ko nung bata pa ako, na-shi-share ko ngayon sa mga bata na gustong umarte or whatever it is that they want to do. Parang yun yung kinalalagyan ko ngayon,” she told PUSH during the Maestra movie press launch last November 30.
Angeli said that her latest project is one of the closest to her heart because of her mom who passed away last year. In Maestra, she plays the role of real life teacher Gennie Panguelo, an Aeta-Ilocana who taught in a school on top of the Pinatubo Valley for more than 25 years before finally passing the board after more than 20 retakes. “Yung nanay ko kasi teacher so pre-school teacher siya all her life. And siyempre siya yung first teacher ko literally so nasaksihan ko siya kung paano siya gumalaw bilang teacher, as a student, and as her daughter. Calling niya yun eh. She really loved teaching and in fact I remember nung college ako nag-pursue pa siya ng higher learning para dun. And yun yung naiwan talaga sa akin so nung kinontact ako para sa project na ito, sino pa ba ang i-cha-channel ko kundi ang nanay ko,” she explained.
The talented actress said she was happy to be able to be part of a film that highlights the sacrifices of the country’s unsung heroes. “So in a way tribute siya sa kanila pero it’s also my personal tribute to my mother and to teachers like her. So it’s quite personal. Lalo na yung sa situation ni Ma’am Gennie it’s very, very hard for her. Growing up personally as a daughter of a teacher, I remember quite clearly how hard it is to be living on a teacher’s salary. Hindi biro yung tinutuloy mo yung ganung klaseng calling kahit financially challenged ka dahil lang gusto mong magturo at sobrang mahal na mahal mo ang pagturo,” she added.
Angeli hopes the film will inspire viewers to look for their true passion and never give up on pursuing their own calling in life. “If you have a dream, it is your obligation to pursue it whatever that dream is. On the one hand, if you don’t pursue your dream, where is the happiness in living? What is the point in living a life? It’s not even a life. And if you live like that just going through it, what kind of person would you be to the people in your life? What kind of relationship would you have with them? You affect them as well. On the other hand, if you pursue your dream no matter what the obstacles are, you inspire yourself, you inspire the people around you, then you become literally a light in the dark. And we all want that. Everyone is searching. The things is, very few people are lucky to know what their dreams are and to be able to have the chance to pursue it. So if you happen to be that one person, it is your personal obligation to pursue it not just for yourself but for the people who are also seeking,” she shared.
Maestra: An Educator also stars Anna Luna and Gloria Sevilla. Directed by Lemuel Lorca and produced by Dr. Carl Balita. Watch it at the Cine Lokal festival from December 8 to 9 at select SM cinemas.