“Life is a journey,” Pope Francis once said. “When we stop, things don’t go right.”
Meet four people who didn’t stop—at fame, fortune, and the adulation of millions. Despite achieving what many can only dream of (a thriving showbiz career, commercial endorsement, a major beauty pageant title), they went on to pursue what they believed to be their life’s purpose. It took a lot of sacrifice and starting over, but they wouldn’t have it any other way. What about you: Are you living your life’s purpose?
Then: Actress and environmentalist.
Chin-Chin reaped accolades from the Gawad Urian (Best Supporting Actress for Maalaala Mo Kaya: The Movie, 1995), First Asian Television Awards (Best Actress for Melinda, 1996), and Asian Television Awards (Best Supporting Actress for Desaparecido, 1998). She was also named Asian Hero of Time Magazine in 2003, and received a TOWNS (The Outstanding Women in Nation’s Service) award in 2004 as an advocate for the environment.
Now: Carmelite nun.
After leaving show business in 2010, she resurfaced last March in a now-viral Facebook post that identified her as Sister Lourdes, a Carmelite nun. Many were surprised by the news, but the actress was actually inclined to this vocation.
“I spoke to HaShem, to Our Heavenly Father, to The Source of All Life that made me become and exist, and said, ‘I would like to be true to you,’” she told portraitsinfaith.org in 2013. “There is more beyond that we can all comprehend. What we are conditioned to believe is probably a beginning. But truth is the journey that you want us all to take. Just like a father to a daughter, he would love that his daughter knows him personally and truly. Not just know about him, about his science, about his works. And so I said YES, I will take that journey. I will not turn my back on anything, I will just expand myself and let you form and mold me.”
Then: Actress and commercial model.
From appearances in teen vehicles G-Mik, Trip, and Berks, she blossomed into a serious television and film actress with roles in Hiram (2004-2005), Panday (2006-2006), Hiram Na Mukha (2007), Mulawin vs. Ravena (2017), and My Korean Jagiya (2018). And who could forget those years when her delicate beauty was in most billboards along Edsa?
Now: Artist and philanthropist.
Using her real name, Love Marie, Heart has held several successful, sold-out one-woman shows both here and abroad. Her paintings have also been seen in the works of fashion designer Mark Bumgarner, editor and writer AA Patawan, local retailer Kamiseta, and on luxury designer handbags.
But it’s her various advocacies that are winning fans over. An ambassador for the Philippine Animal Welfare Society, she promotes adopting AsPin (Asong Pinoy) in a campaign called Have A Heart For Aspin. She also supports children with respiratory diseases, thalassemia, cancer, and cerebral palsy, and recently received an Equality Champion Award for supporting the LGBT (Lesbian Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) community.
Then: Karter, Actor, and Singer.
The Fil-Italian Matteo wasn’t even a teenager when he began scooping up awards as a competitive karter. From there, he turned to acting, appearing in soaps like Agua Bendita My Binondo Girl, and his first film, Catch Me, I’m In Love, all in 2011. He even got into singing, waxing a self-titled album and performing in live concerts.
Now: Scout Ranger.
Joining the Armed Forces of the Philippines last April as a reservist, Matteo completed a month-long Leadership Development and Scout Ranger Orientation Course at Camp Tecson, San Miguel, Bulacan, last June. Pictures of the actor in camouflage, sporting a buzz cut and face paint, while walking through fields and forests earned him the respect of fans, colleagues, and Filipinos. Why would anyone want to leave the safety and comforts of a privileged life? Says Matteo, who finished at the top of his class and received a military commendation for initiating cleanup drives, distributing school supplies, and inspiring the youth, “I officially joined the Philippine Army because I love my country.”
Bea Patricia “Patch” Magtanong
Then and Now: Beauty Queen and Lawyer.
June was all about back-to-back victories and blessings for the Bataan beauty. After being crowned Binibining Pilipinas International 2019 on the 9th, she and other passers of the Bar exams took their oath as lawyers before the justices of the Supreme Court on the 13th.
“They’re two of my biggest dreams,” she told gmanetwork.com. “I’ve worked for years to be a lawyer and I’ve trained very hard to join the pageant. I’m so lucky that this year dalawa ‘yung blessings na binigay sa akin ni God. Hopefully, we will go for one more, the 7th crown for Miss International.”
While law takes a backseat as she prepares to represent the country in Tokyo, Japan, on November 12, it’s clear what her real life purpose is. “I want to be a voice for the voiceless, and I want to speak out for the marginalized sector,” says Patch who intends to advocate for the rights of prisoners, and plans to work with the Humanitarian Legal Assistance Foundation.