Why would Princess Punzalan– an award-winning actress and a daughter of the late Helen Vela leave her fame as one of the most brilliant actresses in the Philippines to be a nurse in the US?
Princess Punzalan, an amazing villainess in Philippine movies a few years ago, is currently working in the hospitals as a private nurse in the US on weekends. She became popular for her “kontrabida”(antagonist) roles in television series like Mula Sa Puso, Now and Forever, and The Last Prince. Her acting is so realistic that one of the fans literally threw tomatoes at her after watching the scene from Mula sa puso where she did an evil laugh after bombing the lead actress. Her movie Johnny Loves Dolores was one of the entries in the San Francisco International Asian Film Festival.
Princess Punzalan admits that when she was a child, she thought that she would be an actress until she grows old, and her hair turns white, just like Mary Walter (the late movie star who was known for her white hair and goose-bumps stirring performance). But, she ended up being a nurse instead after migrating to the United States last 2005.
At present, Princess is a devoted Mom of a one-year-old girl named, “Elle” and the loving wife of an American marketer, Jason Field. She was once married to a controversial comedian and TV host, Willie Revillame.
While she admits that she misses her life as an actress in the Philippines, she enjoys her privacy in the US. There are times that her patients recognize her as Princess Punzalan-the actress, and she would happily admit it.
Why Princess took up nursing
In an interview with G. Toengi, Princess says that originally, she wanted to be a doctor. But she found out that it would take 12 years to finish, so she opted for nursing. She also says that it’s in her nature to be caring, and if there’s anything she can do to help others, she will do it.
“Maawain akong tao, eh. Kaya second nature na sa akin ang maging maalaga” (I’m compassionate. So, it’s my second nature to be caring).
What does Princess feel about her real-life role as a nurse?
“I’m dealing with people and I help them get well,” says Princess as she talks about her experiences as a nurse in the US. She claims that the most fulfilling part of being a nurse is that she is there for people who feel helpless. Sometimes her patients don’t speak her language. But, she tries her best to make them feel that she empathize with them by holding their hand. She would even tell her patients how she wished that she has a magic wand to make them feel better and smile and hold her hand back.
What’s her frustration as a nurse, if any?
Her struggles started when she attended nursing school. “ The discipline is just different. she had to change her hours of sleep and to wake up early in the morning because she says that it’s the time when her mind is fresh and can absorb things well.
When she started working as a nurse, she’s excited to help patients. But, her frustration is the limitations of her capacity to do so. As a nurse, she can only attend to patients under her care. Although she really wants to help every patient during her shift and though there are times that other patients call for her, she can only attend to the patients assigned to her.
What makes her job as a nurse rewarding?
Not everyone would open up to you or show you how they feel. But a nurse often sees people in their weakest and most “real” self. That’s why many nurses consider the act of comforting and encouraging the patient or their family during their most vulnerable moments as a rewarding experience. Oftentimes patients express their sincerest gratitude to a nurse who helps them in their recovery. Although nurses don’t ask for material rewards, a simple, “Thank you” usually makes a nurse’s day.
When asked what’s her message to the public, she answers, “There’s always hope, there’s always a second chance. For Princess, whatever you go through in life, you can overcome it.