MANILA -- A grandmother from Ubaliw, Polangui, Albay is finally living her dream.
Danniela Sangalang, 77, once wanted to become a lawyer when she was young. But due to financial problems, Sangalang, third among 7 siblings, was not able to pursue her studies.
"Mahirap lang kami noon, at gusto ng father ko magtapos kami ng sekretarya. Yung panganay namin sekretarya ang tinapos, ganun din yung pangalawa. Parang ako yung sumuway dahil ang gusto ko mag-abugasya. Pero ayaw niya, kaya sabi ko aalis ako at ako ay magse-self-supporting," she said.
Unfortunately, Sangalang was never able to pursue her dream of becoming a lawyer. But she has had a new dream -- which is to become a teacher.
Despite already being a grandmother, she did not let her age become a hindrance to her studies.
And finally, after years of hard work, Sangalang will be graduating with a degree in education from the Polangui Community College (PCC) on April 1.
"Masasabi ko very proud ako, ire-represent ko ang PCC saan man ako pumunta sa mundong ito. Ang mga teacher -- they got their time out just to teach us, and put me in this success, success cause I am going to graduate," she said.
Sangalang's teachers were all praises for her, saying she has become a role model not just to her classmates but also to them.
Sangalang, who trained as a student-teacher, was also well-loved by her students.
"Binibigyan niya po kami ng lakas ng loob para makatapos kami ng pag-aaral, na gumaya po sa kanya," student Joyce Ann Barredo said.
"Dakila po siya para sa amin bilang teacher dahil kahit matanda na siya tinuturuan niya pa kami. Masaya kami sa kanya, mahal po namin siya, mami-miss namin siya pag-graduate niya," Jay-Ar Orante said.
Joan Satuito, one of Sangalang's classmates, also expressed admiration for the 77-year-old lola for serving as an inspiration to them.
"Si Mommy (Sangalang) po napaka-supportive niya. Hindi lang po siya isang classmate kundi inspirasyon namin siya bilang nanay talaga," she said.
Dennis Calpe added: "May kakayahan ka mag-aral...kahit may asawa na tayo, kahit anumang edad natin. Basta desidido makatapos ng pag-aaral, makakamtan mo kung anumang gusto mo sa buhay mo."
Meanwhile, Sangalang's granddaughter Louella couldn't be more proud that her lola will finally receive her college diploma.
"Happy kami, proud kami, kasi finally siya naman yung gagraduate," Louella said. -- Report from Jose Carretero, ABS-CBN News Bicol