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I Feel U: Maja, Maymay, Bayani share the pain and joy of being a breadwinner

To begin the episode, host Toni Gonzaga introduced Rosabel Oaing from Abu Dhabi and Dubai-based OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers) Felix Urbadilla and One Diaz. They are examples of diligent breadwinners willing to sacrifice even their own happiness just to be able to provide for their families.

Growing up, Felix witnessed how his parents struggled with poverty. And as the only child, he boldly took on the responsibility to provide his parents a comfortable life. “Kailangan ko maghanap ng way para kumita ng pera, makapag-ipon for the future at makapagpundar na rin,” Felix shared.

One is the eldest in a brood of three. His parents weren’t able to finish their studies, so he took on the role of a breadwinner after graduation, knowing he has more chances of landing a better-paying job. He also provides for his two little siblings.

Meanwhile, Rosabel has a big family, hence her parents’ struggle to get by. Her elder sister was the first one to step up for the clan by working as an OFW and sending her to school. She eventually followed her sister’s path and worked as a domestic helper abroad. This way, she’s able to help her family especially her little siblings.

Maja Salvador

Growing up under the care of aunts and uncles while her mom works as an OFW, Maja Salvador witnessed the harsh realities of life at a young age. These challenges fuelled her will to step up, help the family, and even provide for them.

The nomad life of jumping from one place to another ignited Maja’s dream of building her own house someday. When her mom went home to the Philippines for good, they decided to leave the province and try their luck in Manila. Then-high school student, Maja started modelling to add something on the table. 

When showbiz knocked on her doors by sophomore year, Maja did not hesitate to embrace the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “Hindi natin pinakawalan at ibinigay natin ang one thousand percent nang buong-buo para magawa mo nang maayos ‘yung trabaho mo at siyempre pagdadasal para lagi tayong tulungan ni God.”

Maja gave up her schooling for showbiz, not that she wasn’t determined to earn her diploma but that was the only option then. “Kahit gaano ko kagusto mag-aral, tinanggap ko na lang na dito muna ako. Alam mo ‘yung pakiramdam na first time n’yo lag magkaroon ng pera talaga,” shared Maja.

Maja prioritized her family’s needs and happiness, doing her best to provide what she lacked in return. “Para kang naging Nanay nang maaga. Ang sarap sa pakiramdam na nakapagpatapos ka ng kapatid mo. Hindi man ako nakapagtapos ng pag-aaral pero lahat ng pagod at paghihirap ko nagbunga ng maganda sa mga kapatid ko.”

Now that Maja is done with her obligations for the family, it seems just the right time for her to settle down with boyfriend Rambo Nunez. Yet, Maja does not want to overanalyse the future in her own timeline. “Kung ibibigay ni God ngayon, eh ‘di ‘yun.”

Maja and Rambo are open about their love story. They broke up when she was 21, then reunited almost a decade later.  Asked what made her decide to give the relationship a second chance, Maja revealed, “Kasi hindi sapat ‘yung ilang months lang na naging kami noon. Before kami magkabalikan, ilang beses kami randomly nagkikita. Then, may certain feeling na ‘yung naramdaman mo dati, meron pa rin.” When they got back together, Maja felt she was home again.

The Kapamilya actress had a nostalgic travel down memory lane as she looked back on her past film and television projects. Maja recalled playing as the socialite teenager in the coming of age movie “First Day High,” where she had a challenging time delivering her dialogues. “Kasi ‘yung charater ko from mahirap naging mayaman, so ‘yung English niya buti hindi talaga ‘yung sosyalerang English,” said Maja, who’s honest to admit that she is not comfortable in speaking the English language.

Another memorable character under Maja’s acting resume is the strong and independent Trisha in the iconic piece “One More Chance.” Playing as the third wheel to John Lloyd Cruz and Bea Alonzo was awkward, given her young age, but the discomfort actually helped her slay the role. “Doon sa set hindi niya [John Lloyd] ako pinapansin na parang hindi niya ako kilala, ‘yun pala pine-prepare niya rin ako kasi parang na-awkward din siya,” shared Maja.

Maja’s first big screen appearance was via blockbuster horror film “Sukob” alongside Kris Aquino and Claudine Barretto. It was helmed by Chito Rono, also her director in the television series “Spirits.” She recalled, “Kinabahan ako kasi siyempre Direk Chito. Si Tita Kris pa ka-eksena ko tapos first time kong gumawa ng pelikula.”

In 2018, Maja filmed “To Love Some Buddy” with Zanjoe Marudo. It tells the story of two best friends who tried to take their chemistry to the next level. “Sobrang ni-love ko ‘yung team na ‘yun kasi naging barkada, lumalabas kami.”

In everything she does, her role as the family’s breadwinner is Maja’s biggest driving force. She would always pour her passion and skills to every assignment, scared to lose her job if she fails to perform excellently. “Basta para sa pamilya, lahat ibibigay mo, kung anong kaya mong isakripisyo kahit pag-ibig pa ‘yan.” She once had to let go of her relationship with Rambo to please her audiences and not lose her place in the industry. Maja was 21 then, still working side by side with a love team partner.

Despite the ups and downs, Maja is grateful that she’s always been guided. Her strong sense of spirituality helps her survive all the time. Maja proves that dreams do come true as long as nurtured with enough perseverance and patience. And she would like to pass on these traits to her future kids. “’Yung kahit anong hirap titiisin mo,” she said.

Maja believes nothing can make her walk away from showbiz, though she thinks she’d lie low a bit once she becomes a mother. Nevertheless, she will never leave the industry.

Bayani Agbayani

They say that jolly individuals with the ability to make other people laugh –like comedians – always have a sad story to tell. In this episode, funny man Bayani Agbayani shared the financial challenges that strengthened his desire to act as the family’s breadwinner.

As the youngest and only boy in a brood of five, Bayani would always accompany his mother to the market to sell goods like banana cue. He knew the miniscule earning wouldn’t be enough to get by. He witnessed his mom’s struggles in feeding six mouths and paying for monthly house rental.

These obstacles planted his dream of building their own house someday. “Alam ko kung gaano kahirap mangupahan. Isipin mo pagkatapos ng buwan na ‘yon, may utang ka na agad kinabukasan.”

As a kid, Bayani used to wake up at three in the morning to help his mom sell fish from Malabon to Taguig. The commute was a hassle and the jeepney passengers would complain.  Yet, no amount of hardship could diminish his will to help his mother and siblings. “Kapag ang pangarap mo sa buhay ay inilaan mo sa mahal mo sa buhay, lahat ng pangarap mo matutupad,” said Bayani, adding that those who focus on mere selfish intentions will never succeed.

Bayani decided to take up Mass Communication in college. The financial struggle forced him to juggle his studies and extra job as a market porter. Doing all these obligations allowed him only an hour of sleep each night. He said it was too exhausting, that sometimes he makes do with naps during commute.

Bayani eventually entered showbiz as a production crew. He was an all-around guy who used to handle props, wardrobe and other errands. Bayani had to sacrifice his time with family for his demanding work schedule and obligations.

By being a breadwinner, Bayani learned that life in itself is full of hope and possibilities. He always tells his kids not to give up on their dreams. Despite the ups and downs in his showbiz career and personal life, Bayani doesn’t regret anything. “Kasi ang buhay ang naghulma sa atin. Ang showbiz career parte ng buhay ko ‘yan,” he added. Bayani emphasized the value of humility and of saving for the future, especially now that the whole world is suffering from a crisis.

Despite all the problems, Bayani still has the natural gift of making other people smile and forget about their own struggles through his timeless jokes. He believes that being a comedian is something innate, though there are artists who put effort to study the craft.

Asked if there’s someone who he thinks can be at par with his comedic skills, Bayani thought of I Can See Your Voice co-star Luis Manzano. He said he never thought Luis had the knack for punchlines. For Bayani, the award-winning host defies the stigma that comedy is only for ‘unattractive’ guys. “Si Luis parang lalaking Alex [Gonzaga]. Siguro kaya sila click,” said Bayani.

Rinell Banda and Christopher Garcia

Interviewed by Kim Atienza, guest Kapamilyas Rinell Banda from Miami ,Florida and Christopher Garcia from Paris, France shared their journey as OFWs (Overseas Filipino Workers).

Christopher started working as a seaman until he eventually landed a property management post in Paris. The dream to provide his family a comfortable life was his biggest reason for trying his luck overseas.

Christopher was a working student before. But instead of allowing the challenges of poverty to knock him down, he used them as motivation. Of course, he battled with homesickness when he started working as an OFW sixteen years ago. Thankfully, staying connected with his family in the Philippines is made easier by technology.

Meanwhile, Rinell has been an OFW for almost eleven years. He used to work as a ramp model, waiter, bartender, and a gym instructor. He is currently a captain in a cruise ship. Just like most OFWs, Rinell‘s biggest dream is to give his family a comfortable life. “Noong bata pa ako pangarap ko maging piloto pero sa barko ako bumagsak. Ngayon na may asawa at anak na ako, gusto ko sila mabigyan ng magandang kinabukasan,” said Rinell. His hard work seems paying off as he managed to build his own house and invest in a promising business.  

Maymay Entrata

Maymay Entrata was barely a young adult when she began taking on the role of a breadwinner, just right after she exited the Pinoy Big Brother house. The process, according to her, was difficult. “Dumating sa point na hirap na hirap ako pero ginusto ko ‘to, eh. Ginusto ko na maitaguyod ang pamilya ko mula sa kahirapan,” shared Maymay.

She knows she was handed a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, so Maymay embraced the joy, pain, and responsibilities that come with being the breadwinner. Just like most providers, Maymay has already sacrificed a lot such as her schooling for the past four years. The good news is Maymay plans to go back to school this coming semester.

Working non-stop might be draining at times but Maymay believes every drop of sweat and every second of sacrifice are worth it. Maymay is happy to be able to give her family simple joys. Most especially, she’s proud to see her cousins ace their schooling. It makes her effort of sending them to school a happy sacrifice. They all come from a broken family, so her cousins are like siblings to her.

While she’s driven to give her family everything that will make them happy, Maymay hopes they never forget to be thankful and contented. For herself, the PBB Otso Big Winner dreams of earning her diploma and to continue being a blessing to others.

Over the years of being the family’s breadwinner, Maymay learned to be kind to herself and not to give in to pressure. The Kapamilya actress is grateful for her supporters who never leave her side, and she gets to meet some of them to answer their questions in this episode.

Asked about her life’s theme song, Maymay mentioned the Christian song “Never Lost.” The piece always reminds her to always keep pushing forward in spite of the challenges. She might have made mistakes but Maymay said she will choose not to change anything in the past because everything she went through was a source of lesson and it made her who she is today.

As good news to her fans, Maymay will be part of a podcast launching soon, and another project alongside love team partner Edward Barber. With her talent and attitude, Maymay will go places, and if given a chance to, she’d like to take on action roles in the future. Maymay added that she dreams of working with Angel Locsin, Bea Alonzo and Toni Gonzaga.

To end the interview, Maymay talked about her latest single “I Love You2,” a tribute to her home network. Maymay feels proud to call herself a ‘laking Kapamilya’ and through this song, she was able to express her love for her ABS-CBN family.