Updated: Jul 24
Intelligent, accomplished, successful, kind, and generous—Rose Andrade is the perfect catch. But she's 32 and still single, which makes a lot of people in her life wonder why. The Filipina Feminists interviewed this charming and independent woman and asked her about the never-ending search for Mr. Right.
It's hard for E to not gush about Rose because she's known this amazing woman for literally her whole life. Their grandmothers are sisters, which make them second cousins. They also used to live next-door to each other.
This is the reason why she immediately thought of her Ate Rose as the perfect feature for this issue. For her and their other cousins, Rose is serious #goals. You'll find out later why.
J got the same impression when E introduced her to Rose in a busy Starbucks in Laguna for this interview. Her friendliness, humility, and eloquence made it clear why so many people adore her. Rose may not be in a romantic relationship, but her life is, nonetheless, filled with so much love.
After sitting down over coffee, E asked Rose to describe herself. She said, "Ang unang pumapasok sa isip ko, independent." ("The first thing that comes to mind is independent.")
If you know Rose, you'll know that this is true. She's not afraid to do things alone and to find her own way in the world. Her accomplishments are entirely her own, and her success can only be credited to her hard work, dedication, and passion for her job.
Rose has been a Math teacher for 12 years now. She used to teach high school students at the Prudencia D. Fule Memorial National High School in San Pablo City, Laguna before transferring to teach college and post-graduate students at the Laguna State Polytechnic University, San Pablo City Campus.
However, when we asked her if she always wanted to be a teacher, she said, "Honestly speaking, hindi (no)."She told us that she originally wanted to be a nurse or an accountant because those were the in-demand jobs back then. Unfortunately, these degrees were too expensive and her mom, who owns and runs a carinderia (canteen), couldn't afford the tuition fee.
"Sabi ni Mama, di muna nya kaya. So next sem na. Kaya nag-take muna ako ng Educ, 'yung pinakamaliit na tuition fee nung time na 'yun. Kaso, nung time na first year college ako—that was June 13, 2004—nasunugan kami ng bahay."
("My mom told me that she couldn't pay for the tuition fee yet, so I should wait until the next semester. That's why I took up Educ first because it had the smallest tuition fee during that time. However, when I was in first year college—that was June 13, 2004—our house burned down.")
They lost all of their belongings, except for a few chairs, in the fire. So when the second semester rolled in, Rose decided to stay in Educ because she didn't want to put additional burden to her working mom.
It was God's plan, though, Rose realized. Because she's meant to be a teacher all along. She has so much heart for her work, especially when it comes to guiding students who need her help the most. When we asked her what the most rewarding thing about being a teacher is, she said:
"'Yung appreciation. Hanggang ngayon, sobrang sarap sa feeling na... 'Yung puyat, 'yung paggagawa ng Powerpoint, 'yung paggagawa ng mga idi-discuss mo, 'yung pag-spend mo ng time sa kanila—sobrang worth it na naa-appreciate ka nila. At the same time, nakikita mo na nababago sila."
("The appreciation. Until now, it makes me feel so good... The late nights, making the presentations, planning what to discuss in class, spending time with my students—it's all worth it when they show me how much they appreciate me. At the same time, it's also rewarding to see them change.")
Rose then told us a story about one particular student who challenged her. Back when she was still teaching in high school, she encountered a boy who would always get so angry, start fights, and even punch the walls in school.
"Ako 'yung adviser nya nung Grade 8 sya. So sabi ko, ito 'yung challenge sa 'kin kasi sya 'yung kakaiba e. 'Yung mga kaklase nya takot sa kanya. Paano ko sya iha-handle? Paano ko sya mapapatapos ng Grade 8?"
("I was his adviser when he was in Grade 8. I said to myself, this is the challenge for me because he's different from the rest. His classmates are afraid of him. How will I handle him? How will I make sure that he finishes Grade 8?")
This student, who was on the brink of dropping out, was able to finish the year because of Rose's guidance. This kind of care and attention is what sets her apart from most teachers nowadays. She doesn't just teach her students Math—she also wants to make a real impact on their lives.
She explained, "Lagi kong tinatatak sa isipan ko na... 'yung pagkakataon na maging estudyante ko sila, rare 'yun. So I want to make sure na magiging fruitful at productive 'yung sem na 'yun..." ("I always keep in mind that the chance to have them as students is rare. So I want to make sure that the semester is fruitful and productive.")
She also said that she has a very maternal relationship with her students. Laughing, she told us, "Ang dami ko na anak kahit wala pa kong asawa." ("I have so many children even though I'm not married yet.") In fact, her former students even call her "Nanay" or "Mommy".
Aside from being a great teacher and mentor to her students, Rose is also an achiever. Whatever she sets her mind to, she works hard to accomplish.
At 22 years old, she was able to buy her own car. At 26 years old, she was able to travel abroad with her family. At 27 years old, she was able to finish her Master's degree. And at 29 years old, she was able to have her dream house built. For a person who didn't come from a wealthy family, these achievements seemed impossible to her. But Rose is a self-starter. And she's incredibly happy that she can share these milestones with her mom.
Rose has a very close relationship with her mom, Edna, and her older sister, Rina. These three women are accomplished in their own right, and E is a witness to how strong and capable they all are.
Like we said earlier, Edna owns and runs a carinderia (canteen) that used to belong to her parents. For decades now, she's been waking up early in the morning to go to the market and cook food for her customers. She also accepts catering services for parties and gatherings. Because of her business and hard work, she was able to put two daughters through school.
Meanwhile, Rina is also a Math teacher. She's teaching at the University of the Philippines Rural High School. She got the job shortly after the fire that burned down their house. With this job, she was able to help their mom build a new home.
As you can see, Rose comes from a line of incredible women. And she knows that. When she talks about her mom, she sounds like she's talking about a superhero. "Kita ko 'yung sacrifices ng Mama ko, lalo na nung college ako." ("I saw my mom's sacrifices, especially when I was in college.")
Because she went to a private school, the tuition fee was expensive. Rose recalled how her mom did everything to make sure she's able to graduate: "Si Mama, hindi sya nagme-meryenda. Tanda ko 'yun. Kahit gusto nya magmeryenda. Para daw may baon ako... Kita ko talaga 'yung sobra-sobrang pagmamahal ni Mama sa amin ng ate ko. Kahit 'yung ate ko, may asawa na, she still makes sure na may pagkain sila. Kasi happiness nya na makita kaming okay."
("I remember when my mom wouldn't eat a snack even if she wanted to just so I could have my allowance... I can really see just how much Mama loves me and my sister. Even though my sister is married now, she still makes sure that they have food. Her happiness is seeing that we're okay.")
Because of her mom's generosity, Rose and Rina learned to be generous also. E knows just how giving these sisters are. Whenever someone needs help, they are quick to offer whatever they can. They show their love to others by taking them out and buying everyone food. They are also very hospitable. If you happen to visit their homes, they would feed you whatever they have in the kitchen—cake, chips, fries, ice cream, chocolates. That's how generous they are, and they learned that from their mother.
Aside from her love for her work, students, and family, we also asked Rose about her romantic life. In Filipino culture, if you're a woman over 30 years old, the pressure from society (and relatives!) to get married becomes more palpable. When asked why she's still single, Rose joked, "Kasi syempre 'yung taong gusto ko, di naman may gusto sa 'kin." ("The guy I like doesn't like me back.")
On a more serious note, she said, "From the very start sobrang independent ko kasi. I can go alone kahit san ako magpunta. Hindi big deal na may kasama. Pero alam ko na alam ni God na gusto ko magkaron ng family. I want to have my own kids."
("From the very start, I have been very independent. I can go wherever alone. It's not a big deal if I have someone with me or not. But I also know that God knows my desire to have my own family. I want to have my own kids.")
Her faith makes her feel confident that, in God's perfect timing, she will be blessed with the right partner. This is why she's not in a rush to get married or be in a relationship. For now, while she's waiting (not searching) for Mr. Right, her focus is still her work and her family. And, of course, her four dogs—Chuchay, Saver, Milo, and Moby.
Rose is a great example of how romantic love is not the only form of love that women should aspire to have. While society expects us to be married and have children at a certain age, we can find fulfillment and joy in loving our work, our family, and ourselves. For Rose, there is also one kind of love that triumphs over all—her love for God. In Him, she's secure.
We want to thank Rose for giving us the time and allowing us to interview her for the second issue of tffs. Magazine!
This post is sponsored by Simula PH.