My Small & Wengcredible Teacher

Image of Mr. Remir and Ms. Rowena

Charles F. Glassman once said, “A genuine teacher does not seek to impress you with their greatness, but instead to impress upon you that you possess the skills to discover your own”

Amidst the excitement and shrills of the crowd, this thought came to mind.

I was inside a jam-packed auditorium, not for anything else, but to watch the ALTA Media Icon Awards – the awarding of the students’ choice personalities in the field of television, radio, movies, social media, and music, featuring four short life documentaries, which included mine.

Just before my story was played on the video wall, one of the awardees for tv, dedicated his trophy to all the teachers. It was World Teacher’s Day that Friday. Then, it dawned me…

Oh my…. How could I ever forget the teacher who changed my life? The same person why my story is being featured that time!

Rowena Gregorio-Morta, now concurrent Communication Arts Department head and ALTACOMM Manager, wasn’t just an ordinary teacher to me. She was first my Editor-in-Chief when I joined the student publication. The same person who gave me the baptism of fire to write sports – where I was not good at, back in High School campus journalism. How could I forget it – running after the varsity team, waking up early in the morning to jog with them. My sports assignment actually made me sign up for the track and field team.

Thanks to the small but terrible Wengkie, as we fondly call her, the four sports articles she gave me and two news beat, became my stepping stone to broaden my writing. The next time I knew, I was already doing more than half of the sports page, with some news and feature write-ups in my first two semesters in college.

When she graduated that school year, I found myself appointed by the student publication adviser as Weng’s replacement as EIC for the next three school terms.

But it wasn’t the last time she would guide me. On my sophomore, she became the student publication adviser. And under her supervision, we were able to make some layout changes and active campus journalism. Not only that, I remember then Ms. Gregorio, assigning to me beats for “S – The Southpaper”, the community newspaper owned by the school president where she mans the desk. She was also instrumental in my Philippine Daily Inquirer stint Metro page, where I had the privileged to cover the Vizconde Massacre trial case.

Wengkie also became my teacher in several major subjects – like Script Writing, Communication Research, and more.

The funny, yet unforgettable memory I had with her, however, was not about academics, campus journalism, or our part-time newspaper work. It happened in my very first NCAA coverage with her in July of 1994.

How could anyone miss that scene, when after the coverage, we, along five others, went window-shopping from Araneta Coliseum to Alimall to SM Cubao – and for some reason, she with three other senior staff, intentionally or unintentionally left me and two other junior reporters, one after the other. And just like a lost sheep for the first time in an unfamiliar place. I had to learn how to go home on my own from Cubao to Las Piñas through the largest parking lot in the country – traffic-congested EDSA!

Thanks again to Ma’am Gregorio. And because she meant so much to me as a friend and teacher – I formally made our ties closer when I made her godmother to my eldest son. And what is the best place to do the reception? SM Cubao, of course – where she left but “taught” me to commute six cities away from Las Piñas!

What an odd time to be reminded of this… The Teacher who changed my life… Thank you Wengkie!