By CARLO ANOLIN
Team Lakay veteran Eduard Folayang recalled the time he spent inside the four corners of the classroom, not as a student but as a teacher.
For the mixed martial arts star, inspiring and touching the lives of his students was one of the most fulfilling moments he felt.
“It’s such an honorable profession, even if it’s not easy by any means. Being a teacher is hard, but we still do it with a passion because we want our kids to succeed,” said Folayang, who taught English and Physical Education in secondary level after graduating from the University of Cordilleras in 2006 as a product of an athletic scholarship in wushu.
That was before he decided to pursue the path of mixed martial arts the following year.
As far as teaching is concerned, nothing much has changed for Folayang since he’s one of the “kuyas” of the famed Team Lakay who looks after the younger generation of fighters. But instead of a classroom, lecture happens in the fighting cage and training gyms.
And as the world celebrates National Teachers’ Day (October 5), Folayang highlighted the importance of being a good role model for today’s youth.
“We need to take care of our teachers because they have a very important role. They take care of our children when we are not able to. They teach them how to be adults. This Teacher’s Day, let’s celebrate our teachers,” said Folayang.
“I think all work has its own unique set of challenges. But as teachers, it’s such a worthy sacrifice. The youth is very important in our society. They will go on to be leaders of our country in their own ways. It’s important that they be brought up with the right values and the right character.”
At a young age, Folayang has been through many adversities life had thrown on him. Eduard was one of the nine sickly children born to Peter and Mercedes Folayang.
Without access to proper healthcare, five of his siblings didn’t survive the wrath of measles. Coming from a poor family in the mountains of Cordillera, Folayang worked twice as much and juggled studies and sideline work to provide for his family.
These didn’t stop the two-time ONE Championship lightweight king to chase the path to greatness. Now, at 36, Folayang pretty much knew the role of teachers in the society, having been a student and teacher of his own life and in the field of sports as the “Landslide.”
“I like to inspire by giving a good example. I try to be a good role model. In my position, I know a lot of people look up to me, that’s why I try to conduct myself in the right way. I want to be a good influence on peoples’ lives,” said Folayang.
“It’s a very fulfilling feeling when you see your students grow up practicing the principles you taught them. My greatest teacher has been Jesus Christ. I always try to honor God in everything I do.”