Saturday, December 16, 2017
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Learning from their mentors has changed these celebs’ lives—for the better

Since Oct. 5 was declared World Teachers’ Day by Unesco, I asked some celebs about their fave mentors.

Long before stars were put on a pedestal by their fans, they had their own role models whom they looked up to.

Before fame beckoned, stars had a lot to reckon with. Their mentors made the bumpy ride to success worthwhile.

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Cesar Montano

CESAR MONTANO: Marilou Diaz Abaya and Joel Lamangan are great artists whom I had the privilege to work with. They are among the few “sincere” people I’ve met in the biz. Direk Joel was my first mentor in show biz. After attending his acting workshop, my perspective as an actor leveled up.

On the other hand, Direk Marilou opened my eyes to different windows of artistry. She encouraged me to paint, write poems, screenplays and songs. I became hungry to learn new things. Aggressive became my middle name.

To this day, I still feel that I have a lot of growing up to do as an artist. I salute Direk Joel and Direk Marilou for inspiring me to never be stagnant nor complacent.

Martin Nievera

MARTIN NIEVERA: When I was a young boy dreaming of becoming a singer, my grandfather, Capt. Ramon Razon, was my roommate once in a while.

His endless stories and jokes always had lessons about hard work and sacrifice and, more importantly, life without a college degree.

So, after losing in more singing contests than I had won, Lolo was convinced I needed a fallback plan and should finish my studies—until the day he saw me in a concert at the age of 18.

Lolo Ramon never got to watch me sing in any show after that. He passed away before I did my very first major concert as a professional singer.

The lesson he taught me was this: If you can dream it, you can do it—no matter what anyone tells you.

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RYAN CAYABYAB: I definitely had a favorite teacher who was most inspiring and encouraging of all: professor Carmencita Arambulo, my Music Theory professor at the UP College of Music. Her knowledge of harmony was not limited to classroom-textbook theory.

I “flew out” of the classroom window, followed in her footsteps and tried to emulate her teaching style. Discovering sounds and chords turned out to be a very exciting activity, akin to holding a treasure map and finding unlimited treasures.

Rita Avila

RITA AVILA: On a personal level, our high school retreat master, Rev. Fr. Ben Moraleda made me believe in myself. He made me realize my goodness and taught me how to build boundaries without guilt.

In my acting career, I adored Peque Gallaga and Lore Reyes. I felt the quiet respect and professionalism on their set. They conveyed a different “feel.”

Christine Bersola-Babao

CHRISTINE BERSOLA-BABAO: I worked with Tito Boy Abunda when we were cohosts of the ABS-CBN news magazine show, “ETC.” I can never forget what he always reminded me: Open yourself up to the gifts of the universe. Meaning, I should always grow new wings to expand. To not be afraid to jump into the horizon and try out different things. To think out of the box.

My hubby Julius (Babao) is also my great mentor in many things. He encouraged me to write children’s books. He introduced me to the world of art and taught me what he knew about it—who the artists are, their works and the whole economics of investing in art. He reminds me to never give up on my talent.

NOEL CABANGON: Too many people have mentored me and made me the person I am today. However, “malayo ang mararating ng batang ito (he’ll go a long way)” and “maganda ang boses niya (he has a nice voice)” were lines that I always heard from people.

What I’m saying is that, all of them mattered—people I crossed paths with, chatted with, worked with, struggled with and aspired with. Their words of encouragement and wisdom taught me well.

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TAGS: mentors, role models, World Teachers’ Day
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