If I am where I am today, it's because I was fortunate to have excellent teachers in grade school and high school. Two subjects formed me more than all the others: English and World History. It was essential that they came at the time they did, with my mind still fresh and impressionable. All the rest could have followed as a matter of course.
And so without further ado, the teachers with the greatest influence on me:
Flor Saracanlao: the grade school teacher who drilled in me the fundamentals of the English language. She was strict, yes, but she was also funny, although I didn't realize it at that time. She left Stella Maris not long after I moved to high school. She now teaches at Davao Central High School.
Dionisio Balagat: my high school English teacher, who continued the work of Ms. Saracanlao. By contrast, he was patient and encouraging; but that was also the personality I needed at that time. Last I heard, he was in Norway.
Helene de Castro: World History was most memorable under her charge that I don't quite remember taking it at any time before her. She made it come alive. She was another encouraging figure in my early life. She's now Helene Bello, and she still teaches at my alma mater.
I've had many other teachers, all of whom I hold in high esteem, but these three have been the most influential.