There are some things in life that are hard to believe.
1. That people like pineapple on pizza. I know the world is divided on this, but I personally feel like it should be illegal.
2. That buttermilk has no actual butter in it. It’s what’s left when you churn the butter out.
3. That this person below is actually a 23-year-old man.
Baby-face Filipino teacher
Now, like me, when you first saw the Filipino teacher, I’m sure you assumed that he was an 8-year-old boy on stilts.
Except he’s not. The man pictured, Ian Manga, is actually a 23-year-old teacher.
According to AsiaOne, Manga teaches kindergarten and Primary 3 students at Mater-El-Roi School in Bulacan.
Though with his childlike face, it’d be easy to mistake him for one of the students. I mean if Manga turned up to your school saying he was your new maths teacher, would you believe him?
Now, you’re probably wondering – why does he look so young? And does he hold the key to immortality?
Stunted growth due to ill-health during childhood
According to Manga, his growth was stunted as a result of being sick constantly throughout his childhood.
Moreover, the baby-faced teacher says he did not experience puberty even after reaching high school.
He has never consulted a doctor about this puzzling condition, however.
Felt out of place
Manga felt out of place growing up because he was often mistaken or his classmate’s younger brother.
And, because humans often suck at being human, they would also taunt him and call him “little boy”.
But instead of letting his haters get to him, Manga chose to work hard in school to achieve his goals.
The teacher’s mantra growing up was: “Ignore them but also prove that you can do it, prove they are wrong.”
And prove them wrong he did.
The 23-year-old, hoping to become a teacher, sat for the Licensure Exam for Teachers (LET), which is a requirement to be a teacher in the Philippines.
He passed, which is especially impressive considering only 27 per cent of his cohort passed the exam.
This is his graduation photo.
One can certainly see how he could be mistaken for someone’s younger brother, but his determination despite his troubles growing up is admirable.
Plus, there may be some advantages to looking so young.
Manga feels like his childlike face helps him connect with his students, saying “I feel like an older brother to my students as we always play.”
But, understandably, the Filipino teacher also feels the need to adopt a sterner demeanour in class, for fear of not being taken seriously.
“When I’m teaching, I will become more serious. They also take me more seriously,” he said.
He also wears baggy clothes and stiff leather shoes to add years to his look. This makes sense because, in a uniform or T-shirt, it’s easy to confuse him for one of the students, which would impact the way students view him as an authority figure.
If there’s anything to learn from this, it’s that no matter how many curveballs life throws at you, you can always swing back with hard work and a positive attitude.
Plus, how jealous will his friends be when they’re all 70 and he only looks 25?