From Tiyang to Tita, Aby Maraño dreams of teaching at La Salle soon
Barry Viloria on Dec 22, 2016 02:49 PM
The former Spikers’ captain wishes to inspire more students and athletes by being a motivational speaker. (Photos taken from Maraño's Instagram account: @abymarano)
The holidays couldn’t come any sooner for F2 Logistics' Aby Maraño. Christmastime doesn’t just mean she’s celebrating her special day (yes, today, December 22, she turns 24!). It also means she’s about to get her well-deserved rest from a “sobrang busy” year that was—and she isn’t just talking about the sometimes-thrice-a-day training sessions her team underwent for the recently concluded PSL Grand Prix.
“I still have classes dahil tinatapos ko yung Masters ko, so yung mga time na kailangan kong magpahinga, iisipin mo din yung mga assignment mo. Nag-start na kong mag-thesis ngayon. Tapos may business din ako—Tyang Aby Café (which just relocated to a new branch),” the vocal former DLSU Lady Spikers captain heaves a sigh.
“Minsan, may mga sideline o raket, for example, may meet and greet. Meron ding mga inspirational talk na kino-conduct sa mga schools or sports fest sa isang barangay na ini-invite ako.”
The queen of talk
Heading campus and barangay talks has been Tiyang’s favorite thing to do lately. Sports has always been there for Maraño, who as we all know is a multi-UAAP women’s volley titlist and two-time league MVP. Her high jumps and forceful spikes plus her generally swag play would eventually give her the label #beastmode.
Yet, being able to communicate to younger crowds like students and athletes came to her as another calling. Past her credentials that make her the perfect role model for the youth, she is also armed with a Filipino Mass Media degree that has fine-tuned her to be an eloquent communicator. Recently, as a rather memorable example, Maraño got invited to a school to do the same—to her surprise, the crowd turned out differently. They were parents.
“Kakagulat din yung talk. Akala namin mga bata pero puro mga parents, so nagbabago na ngayon! Dati ini-invite lang kami para sa mga bagets, ngayon pati mga magulang target na!” she laughs.
“Titas of Manila na talaga ang peg!”
Still, the former varsity scholar didn’t falter in sharing her inspiring real-life experiences and learnings, “It was a chance for me to be able to connect to the parents para ma-inspire ko sila at para ma-inspire din nila yung anak nila na kapag nakapasok sila sa sports. Na gamitin ng mga bata ‘yong talent nila for them to be able to enter a good school na libre sila at maging scholar sila.”
“’Tapos, it’s another thing para mawala sila sa pagbibisyo, ‘yong pag-babarkada nang hindi tama. So, basically, naikwento ko lang yung benefits na pwedeng makuha ng mga magiging anak nila kung hahayaan nila ‘yong mga anak nila o suportahan nila yung mga anak nila sa sports. Usually kasi may mga parents na gusto puro studies lang. Pero sinabi ko sa kanila na hindi naman lahat ng athletes puro laro lang, it’s also good for the students na mayroon silang disiplina.”
Mature beyond her years
Is Maraño bothered by the shift of her "crowd?" Or, at least, by her age?
“Tumatanda ka sa edad pero feeling mo bata ka pa rin. Pero the way of thinking, the way you decide what happens in your life, kung paano mo nakikita yung life after college, after mong maging baby noong college ka—ngayon, kung paano ka inaalagaan dati, ganun naman yung mga binibigay ko sa mga bata.”
“Pag nakikita ko yung mga resident DLSU players, Ateng-ate na talaga yung dating ko pag pumasok ako sa La Salle. Ganoon din sa buhay, sa pagiging (youth) icon, na-i-inspire mo yung mga tao.”
Maraño sites that while she together with her former teammates and UAAP batchmates only had the television and the games as the avenues to inspire, graduation from tertiary school gave her more freedom and a larger arena to do more.
“Malaking difference, alam mo ‘yong feeling na noong college gusto mo mag-inspire ng tao kaso hindi ka pwedeng umalis eh, kasi naka-dorm lang kami parati. Naka-focus lang kami for UAAP. Pero ngayon, I have all the time na para pagbigyan ‘yong mga ganun. Ngayon, ‘yong mga naipon ko na learnings ko from college, from being a pro athlete kaya ko nang i-share, na-i-spread ko na.”
“(For example), may nag-iinvite na sa akin from Ilocos. Punta ako diyan, sige magsasalita ako kahit malayo, go ako diyan!”
In her talks, Maraño acts not far from her jovial personality. She says she litters her talk with jokes “para hindi boring. Kilala ko ‘yong mga players eh, hindi sila mahilig ‘yong nakikinig eh, alam mo ‘yong na-bo-bore sila. Kailangan snappy para ma-inspire talaga sila sa ‘yo.” Still, she’s the type who gets serious when the topic calls for it.
Another—and the greater—reason why Maraño has been into public speaking recently? She dreams of teaching at her Alma mater soon, too.
“Gusto ko ring bumalik sa La Salle. I mean future plans lang ah, kasi volleyball is not forever. Tatanda kami eh, dadating sa point na hindi ka na makakatalon katulad ng mga legends na volleyball players rin. Ako, gusto ko tapusin ‘yong Masters ko in order for me to have a work after volleyball, and that’s being a professor.”
She has been particularly “alarmed” by the ignorance of a lot of her classmates and even teammates back in college when it came to our native tongue. And so she wishes to take part in helping reintroduce Filipino to the younger gen very soon.
“Nakita ko kasi ‘yong importance na hindi matakot ‘yong isang Pilipino sa language niya. Alam naman natin na madaling aralin ‘yong Ingles, although maraming Pilipino pa rin ang hindi fluent, nagkakamali pa rin tayo ng grammar.”
“Sabi ko, kailangan kahit papaano may nag-she-share din noong culture natin, saan tayo nagsimula, anong importansya ng bansa, anong importansya ng lengwahe natin. Very nationalistic rin kasi ako,” she explains.
If ever the time to enter the academe comes, Maraño says she’ll be as much of a disciplinarian as she was once as the Spiker’s skipper. She is one to talk as she also aced her grades even before, saying she would stay up even up to 3 a.m. for her home work and then she would have training at 7 a.m.
“Gusto kong maging balanced, eh. Ayoko ‘yong tino-tolerate yung mga students na sige laro lang kayo nang laro, ako bahala sa inyo. Sa kin, hindi. Siguro ako ‘yong professor na kailangan makikita ko rin ‘yong effort mo sa pag-aaral kasi noong nag-aaral ako, nag-e-effort talaga ako, eh.”
Maraño is expecting to finish her Masters by December next year. By then, when she gets to part-time as a teacher, also expect that she’d be the ‘cool prof’ you’d be falling in line to enlist under.
“Gusto kong ma-feel ‘yong maglalaro ako sa isang league, tapos sasabihin ko sa students ko, ‘Oh sige, wala tayong class. Pumunta kayo sa game ko, nood kayo!”