BARANGGAY OUTREACH SCREENING
My first unofficial teaching experience was when my mentor went to Washington DC, USA to shoot a Smithsonian exhibition and asked me to take over his class for a month. I enjoyed the experience. I promised myself that I would first teach at a public school since they are hungrier for knowledge and more resilient by nature.
I started teaching at a public Manila university in 2001. I was handling 50 students per class (three sections, earning P100 per hour LOL!). They sit on the floor because they lack chairs. I had to bring my own electric fan, DVD player and my original DVD collection of films which I buy on my travels abroad. Some students have no budget for food because of their poor conditions, and once they "sweet" talk me, I treat them to a hearty meal! In short, teaching for me is kawanggawa (charity).
After four years, I felt my mission was accomplished. My students were doing well in the entertainment industry and I felt that they should be the one going back to their school---pay it forward. It was time to move to my alma mater (You do not apply for a teaching position but they invite you to teach---that's how they value your worth).
This time, all the needs of my class are given like a manna from heaven. Our rooms are air conditioned (it was that way since I was a college student in 1992). Name it, all equipment are available and top of the line. Whatever gadget I request, the school buys! It is such a comfortable learning environment.
But you see, we should never close our eyes to reality. So what I do is bring my "rich" class to an underprivileged baranggay and let them mingle with the community. We educate the people by showing relevant films, enlightening them, instilling in their minds that film is a national treasure. It can help shape and mold the character of a nation. We are also educated by their simple, sincere lifestyle and happy outlook in life!
Cinema has the power to awaken our consciousness. It is our hope that through our baranggay screening, our people be pushed to do positive action in their current situation in life through cinema.
Reach the poor...that's my silent motto.