Maricel Laxa-Pangilinan is a mom above all—but she’s also an award-winning actress and a talented author of children’s books and parenting manuals. In the June 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping, the ever-classy Maricel recounts her years as celebrity student, and then as a young wife to host and management trainer Anthony Pangilinan, and then as a mother to four boisterous children—whom, she shares, taught her “a great deal of patience.”
But it seems it is Maricel who has done most of the teaching—she actually homeschooled each of her children as preschoolers. Every day in the Laxa-Pangilinan household is an opportunity for learning—not only because the children have transitioned from homeschool to regular school, or because Maricel has a Master’s Degree in Family Life and Child Development (which she obviously puts to good use), but because this supermom treats every experience as a source of wisdom.
To illustrate, here are three life lessons Maricel has gleaned from her growing-up years—and how she is using them to mold her children into young people of character and intelligence.
BOOKS CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Contrary to what you might expect, Maricel was hardly a bookworm growing up—she preferred TV dramas and her lola’s historic narratives to actual novels. But when it became apparent that the soon-to-be-actress was addicted to the boob tube, Maricel’s mother (former thespian Imelda Ilanan) stepped in and sent her daughter straight to the bookstore. Maricel soon developed an insatiable appetite for literature—which eventually lead to a solid writing career. So far, Maricel has written two mommy guides, I Love You, Yaya and Mommy Talk: the “Oh’s” and “Oh No’s” of Motherhood, as well as two children’s books, Meet My Super Dad and Superbenj (which was given a Catholic Mass Media Award in 2006).
Always one to learn from her own experiences, Maricel has made it a point to get her kids hooked on reading early on. She tells Good Housekeeping, “I have a million children’s books that I’ve read to my kids. I have all the Dr. Seuss books, all the Adarna books, all the Hiyas books!”
EDUCATION IS ALWAYS THE TOP PRIORITY
Although as a mom she is quite the stickler for good education, Maricel simply did not see the need for it when she was a university freshman. The reason behind her resistance was simple: college coincided with her showbiz debut, and at that point, fame seemed like the more important option. But a deal with her parents (and her mother’s firmness in the face of opposition) kept the actress from dropping out like so many other starlets. “The deal was that…I could only enter showbiz if I [entered] school,” shares Maricel.
And what a good deal it turned out to be! Just like her experience with books, Maricel’s nonchalance towards education evolved into a passion for learning that fueled her to pursue her Master’s degree. Now, she imbibes that same love of learning in her kids by keeping them engaged in their entire schooling process. Before deciding on the regular school their four children would attend, Maricel and husband Anthony involved the brood in the decision-making process, and everyone finally settled on The Learning Tree in Quezon City. “I knew I wanted a place for my children to be honored as individuals… [a place] that will instill in them creativity and love of learning,” says Maricel.
EXPERIENCE IS THE BEST TEACHER
As an author, you have to do research to make your writing sound—and Maricel pulls a lot of her books’ content from actual experiences with her family. She tells Good Housekeeping, “It is through my children that I learned patience,” and “[through my husband that] I learned I can be a better wife, mother, and person when I prioritize.”
This is definitely something that Maricel hopes to pass on to her children—showing them that while books and education are very important, collecting meaningful life experiences with people who care about you are also essential to becoming a well-rounded person. “I learned that it takes the support from people who genuinely love you to make you fly, and that’s the same support I want to give my children,” says Maricel.
To read more about Maricel, grab the June 2010 issue of Good Housekeeping, out now.
(Photos by Raymund Isaac)