After her story has definitely inspired a lot of viewers, Maalaala Mo Kaya host Charo Santos-Concio had the chance to catch up with “2 Love You Mom” episode letter sender Julie Elijay-Graham, impeccably portrayed by Heaven Peralejo, in the latest episode of MMK Kumustahan.
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Their insightful conversation commenced with Charo asking Julie how her life has been in Oregon, USA. The latter replied that she’s sad since it has already been two years since the last time she visited here because of the pandemic.
It was revealed that it was 12 years ago when Julie first expressed her interest to share her inspiring story in hopes of inspiring many poor, young Filipinos to not give up and continue with their studies.
“Gusto ko pong mag-inspire ng mga Pilipino, lalo na po ng mga bata, ng mga naghihirap, ng may mga pangarap po sila sa buhay pero tingin nila ‘di po nila maaabot dahil po sa kahirapan saka kagaya po ng nanay ko na maysakit sa pag-iisip. Marami po sa aking nangyaring challenges pero napagtagumpayan ko naman po,” she stated.
When asked how she’s able to cope with the struggles she went through, Julie imparted that it is God’s undying love that definitely helped her push through and conquer everything – from having to look after her younger siblings as the eldest up to taking good care of their schizophrenic mom – while studying.
Fortunately, she met her Mommy Esther (played by Shamaine Buencamino), one of her high school teachers who became a significant maternal figure in her life that made her feel how it was to live normally. Esther motivated her to finish her studies for she’s a firm believer of how far education could take a person in life.
She’s able to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Agriculture through scholarship here in the Philippines and went on to finish Nursing in the United States with the support of her American husband. Aside from the fact that it is in-demand, Julie also chose to pursue it because of her Mommy Esther’s encouragement and it used to be her dream job as well.
With regards to the mental healthcare system in the country, Julie commented how it has been constantly poor because of the lack of facilities for mentally-challenged people, as well as the absence of psychiatrists at least in her hometown. Thus, she highly recommends to have mental health facilities and have more mental health experts to regularly visit far-flung barrios.
“Sa lahat ng mga kababayan natin sa Pilipinas, alam ko na mahirap ngayon ang buhay lalo na po sa pinagdadaanan nating pandemya. ‘Yong mga bata po diyan na naghihirap, kahit minsan hindi na makakain, huwag po kayong sumuko,” she conveyed when asked for her advice to her fellow Filipinos.
She continued, “Ipagpatuloy n’yo ang pag-aaral n’yo at kahit sabihin sa inyo ng mga tao na hindi n’yo kaya, na hindi n’yo maaabot. At kahit sabihin sa inyo ng mga tao na wala kayong mararating dahil ang pamilya n’yo mahirap lang at maysakit sa pag-iisip ang nanay n’yo, huwag po kayong makinig sa kanila. Magdasal po kayo sa Panginoon araw-araw, hanapin n’yo ang strength n’yo rito sa loob at gamitin n’yo po ‘yon para maabot ninyo ang mga pangarap.”
Julie also shared her heartwarming message for her Nanay Caridad and Mommy Esther who are now both deceased. She thanked her Nanay Caridad, who was compelling portrayed by Iza Calzado in the episode, for her effort in enrolling her to school when she was still in Grade 1, as well as for all her sacrifices and love for her and her siblings even though she’s sick. She asked for her forgiveness as well for not being able to show her love for her when she was still alive.
Meanwhile, she expressed her gratitude for her Mommy Esther for showing her unconditional love although they’re not related, which she will remember for the rest of her life. She also recalled one of the most remarkable things she ever told her, which is even if she didn’t come from her womb, she instead came from her heart.
Get your weekly dose of inspiration by watching MMK every Saturday at 8:30PM on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, iWantTFC, TFC at A2Z Channel 11!