April 23, 2018, 12:26 am
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‘Maestra,’ a loving tribute to teachers

A loving tribute to teachers everywhere, “Maestra” opens tomorrow, December 8 as part of the Film Development Council of the Philippines’ CineLokal. 

Based on real stories of exemplary Filipino educators, the movie focuses on the unwavering dedication of three teachers – each one at different stages of their career and with their own personal struggles. Gawad Urian winner Angeli Bayani plays Gennie Panguelo, a para-teacher at an Aeta school in Tarlac, Anna Luna is Iah Seraspi, a cum laude graduate from Romblon, and Gloria Sevilla is the tireless Esperanza Bautista. 

Producer Carl Balita, an educator and entrepreneur who owns close to a hundred review centers in the country and runs a school in Quezon City, said, “Maestra is a tribute to the heroes of the past, the present and the future generations – ang ating mga teacher. It is created to immortalize stories of the lives, struggles and triumphs of teachers in a full-length film.” 

The film holds much significance to the people in the production. Writer Archie del Mundo was a former member of the academe, actress Angeli and director Lemuel Lorca were raised by teachers. 

Since he got his start in showbiz, Lorca had wanted to pay homage to his mom. 

“My mother is a retired educator. She was a district supervisor when she retired,” he said. “She still works in a university as dean naman.

 “Ever since I started directing films in 2008, I’ve been dreaming of a project that tells a true story of a teacher. So, yes, malaking [rason ang nanay ko in doing the movie]. If not the only reason.”

Just like the other characters in the movie, his mom had her own struggles.

 “Even though she wasn’t physically around when me and my siblings were growing up kasi nadestino sya sa mga far-flung towns in Quezon, she has this magic that it never felt like she left at all,” he recalled.

 “Pinagdaanan niya lahat. She’s one of those na hinamak ang lahat maging guro lamang at makarating sa pagiging district supervisor,” he further said.

“She went all the way sa pag-aaral. Nag-ma-masters sya while nagka-college kaming magkakapatid at nag Phd siya after we all graduated. She never stopped studying as she never stopped teaching. 

“Role model ko siya sa kasipagan, determination at pag focus. When I want something, I’m like an eagle.”

Angeli, who learned the Mag-Anchi Ayta Language, confessed her late mom was her inspiration. 

“Siyempre siya ang first teacher ko literally so nasaksihan ko kung paano siya gumalaw bilang teacher, as a student, and as her daughter,” she shared. “Tribute talaga siya for our teachers, 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.”

 The film received an A rating from the Cinema Evaluation Board and will be shown at SM cinemas in Megamall, North EDSA, Fairview, Iloilo, Southmall, Cebu, Bacoor, and Mall of Asia.
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