Besides being an advocate for frontliners, Locsin has also been very vocal about education, which has completely migrated to the online space nowadays. “I’ve been hearing stories of students giving up or committing suicide, it’s very sad. I think it’s important to let young people know that if they feel they aren’t able to give their best right now, that’s okay. If possible, seek help from friends, classmates or even your teachers—try not to let the pressure get to you,” she gave a few words of encouragement. As a public icon, Locsin isn’t a stranger to external pressures or stress. She mentioned that to unwind, she takes a step back to assess who she truly is. A tip, perhaps, that’s also applicable to those facing the stresses of virtual work.
2020 has been a year of epiphanies and monumental changes. Everyone’s tried something new or have taken up a hobby to cope with quarantines and lockdown. For Locsin, this brought an opportunity to explore her longtime dream to be a farmer. “Even before plantito/ plantita[ s] were a thing, I’ve always wanted to put up a farm; I just wasn’t able to focus on it because I was always so busy. I’ve had a piece of land that’s been waiting to be developed. Now, I’m [finally] beginning that project. I want to help the environment, the community and those who need jobs or more food supplies,” she shared.
Locsin has faced criticism online for being vocal about the causes she espouses. But she is adamant to use her platform to speak her truth. “At some point, of course, [being an actress] was about making a livelihood, but now, I understand why I’m lucky enough to be in this position,” she explained. “When people approach you and ask for help to spread awareness about education, the rights of indigenous people—or any cause really—if you care for others, it’s second nature to speak up.”
In 2009, Locsin visited Lianga, Surigao Del Sur where she talked to the Lumad community and found an understanding of their way of life. She has since been vocal about the rights of indigenous Filipino people who often face many socio-political challenges. “First of all, when you say ‘fighting [for rights]’, people often assume you’re on the offensive right away. But that’s not always the case. Listening is part of it too—to let them feel like you hear them, and you are one with them,” she clarified. She recalled a moment that struck a chord with her during one of her visits to the community. “There was an elder who was crying because it was a deep honour for their clan to finally have one of them graduate from elementary school. Education is that important to them. They want to learn how to read and to understand their rights. I think that’s what we [all] aim for when we go to school, [to be more competent in the world],” she related.