Robin the educator

FUNFARE - Ricky Lo -

Last April 4, Robin Padilla took time out from his air-tight schedule to address the 39 graduates (between three and seven years old) of Paaralan ng Liwanag ng Kapayapaan (PLNK), the school in Fairview that he founded two years ago. Christians and Muslims, the graduates are children of laundry women, maids, drivers and sari-sari-store-owners from depressed areas in Payatas, Commonwealth, Novaliches, West Fairview and North Fairview.

Said Robin. “Ang mga bata at mga magulang nila ang tunay na mukha ng tagumpay sa gitna ng kahirapan. Nakikita ko sa mga bata ang pagpupursigi na makapag-aral, that’s why I’m doing my best to help them.”

The graduates were joined by those who had completed pre-school and kindergartens 1 and 2.

PLNK shoulders the scholars’ tuition fees, the percentage of which depends on the child’s level of academic excellence. Those who have higher grades are full scholars and those with average grades are partial scholars who pay very minimal fees. The parents have the option to render service to the school as their share in keeping their children in the school.

“It’s hard to learn if you have an empty stomach,” added Robin, so PLNK offers free (hatid-sundo) bus rides, meals (breakfast and lunch), medical/dental check-ups and field trips. Robin’s daughters Queenie and Kylie have joined the field trips to the Enchanted Kingdom and Museo Pambata.

Every now and then, Robin drops by PLNK and shares with the children lessons in good manners and right conduct, always reminding them not to forget to say “po” and “opo” especially when talking to elders, to study hard and to be obedient and respectful to their parents.

“The children call him Papa Robin,” shared PLNK administrator Rodolfo “Boy” Bernardo. “You see a different Robin Padilla when he is at PLNK with the children. He’s not only a good actor, he’s also a good teacher, a good educator.”

Robin puts a premium on education. He finished elementary at Sienna College (in Del Monte, Quezon City, across the street from FPJ Studio), and the early part of high school at St. Louis University in Baguio and later at Muntinlupa while he was serving a prison term. Upon his release, Robin took a course in B.S. Criminology.

Don’t you wish that Robin’s colleagues follow his example? If only they would, showbiz will have a better image in the eyes of the public.

Fausta a ‘first’ for Perla

For the first time in her four-decade-plus checkered career, Perla Bautista is playing a title role in Fausta, a simple and holy woman who founded the Sacred Heart College (SHC) in Lucena City run by the Daughters of Charity. Perla was handpicked by Felino Tañada, director of the movie, and Sr. Fe G. Gedalanga, DC, SHC president.

Hermana Fausta Labrador opened a charity school on April 27, 1884 when she was 26. She died on Sept. 14, 1942, at 84, leaving behind a lasting legacy: SHC which is the oldest Catholic school in Quezon Province.

Reads the movie’s blurb: She only wanted to serve God; she ended up changing a million lives.

Co-starring with Perla is Tommy Abuel (a native of Lucban, Quezon) who plays Fernando Amorsolo. After World War II, a ward of Hermana Fausta asked the painter to do a portrait of the SHC founder using a picture as model. Amorsolo refused, saying he only painted live models. But the ward wouldn’t take no for an answer, so Amorsolo asked who the woman was. Upon learning of the noble deeds of Hermana Fausta, he agreed.

The Amorsolo painting hangs on the wall of the board room at the school’s president’s office. The face of Perla is superimposed on the painting used in the movie’s layout.

Talents from Lucena and nearby Tayabas are playing other roles in Fausta which premiered last month at SM Lucena.

“Sana mapalabas din sa iba pang theaters hindi lang sa Lucena,” said Perla. “The life and times of Hermana Fausta Labrador is inspiring and heartwarming. It’s a great honor for me to portray her in a movie. I want to thank the SHC sisters and all those involved in making the movie. They were kind, warm and friendly.”

(E-mail reactions at [email protected] or at [email protected])

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