Maalaala Mo Kaya celebrates 20 years of bringing life to heartwarming stories of Filipinos

by Lyn Luna Montealegre
Sep 29, 2011
Governor Vilma Santos (upper left frame) interviewed Ms. Charo Santos-Concio (upper right frame) about Maalaala Mo Kaya's contribution to Filipinos. The October 1 episode of MMK will feature Angel Aquino and Yul Servo (bottom frame).

Maalaala Mo Kaya, ABS-CBN's longest running drama anthology, marks its 20th anniversary this year. Its colorful journey was documented through a two-hour TV special called MMK Dalawang Decade aired last September 25, 2011.

Kapamilya stars Jericho Rosales, Sarah Geronimo, Angelica Panganiban, KC Concepcion, Piolo Pascual and Sam Milby presented several segments featuring stories, characters and episodes that made viewers cry and laugh over the years.

One of the highlights of the documentary featured Batangas Governor Vilma Santos-Recto having a chat with the face behind MMK, ABS-CBN President Charo Santos-Concio.

Governor Vi asked Ms. Charo: What's the story behind paper clip?

The senior executive narrated with a smile, "My bosses thought wala akong alam sa telebisyon...Sa pelikula, may play date. You can postpone your play date. Pero sa television, the show must go on everyday. Wala kang dead air...Tinanong kita kung anong programang ang pwede mong ipalit bukas, anong ideyang ibibigay mo? Sabi ko, 'I'll think about it. Give me a week' [Sabi nila], 'Ano? One week, hindi ganyan sa telebisyon. Now na.'"

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"Nakita ko yung paper clip on top of the table. Sa nerbiyos ko, napahawak ako sa paper clip. Maaring ang silbi nito ay para sa functional use...But sa ibang tao, may kwento, behind this."

"Maaring ginamit niya ito noong nagtanan siya ng kanyang mahal at magbukas ng pinto.We can dramatize true-to-life stories from letter senders. Anong title na ibibigay mo diyan? Among my souvenirs..."

What encourages them to share their stories?

The senior executive replied, "Natural sa ating mga Pilipino na magbahagi ng ating kwento. We love to vent. Sinasabi nila, gusto kong magkwento at magbahagi ng ating karanasan. At ibahagi ang mga leksyon na natutunan ko sa lahat ng aking pagkakamali."

She added, "Hindi natatakot na i-identify kung sino sila."

What are your guidelines in choosing a story fit for MMK?

"Ang number one na batayan, siyempre yung katotohanan. That's the unique selling point of Maalaala Mo Kaya that we are dramatizing real life stories... We don't only mirror life; we mirror everything that is Filipino. Ano ang mga katangian ng isang Plipino bilang isang tao? Our love for God and family.Yung resilience natin at courage. Yung instinct for survival...yung pagkamasayahin natin. We're a happy people. We are hopeful. We are aspirational. These are the qualities and the traits of the Filipino at sinasalamin yon ng MMK."

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What were the problems faced by MMK in the past?

"In the past, our ratings were also challenged. That was a sad chapter in the history of MMK. Masakit matalo. They were highly competitive years. We carried on. We will not give up. We will continue to share these true-to-life stories with our audience..."

"Do you still cry? How do you feel? "

"Siyempre. May rage. Mayroong nanginginig ang luha. Mayroong tumutuloy sa isang pisgi. Mayroong gripo. Mayroong konting nagcho-choke ka na. Mayroong diretso sa shower, hagulgol..."

Governor Vi asked the TV host-executive "How does a Charo Santos cry? Are you a strong person?"

"I'd like to think I am a strong woman. I have inner strength. I've matured emotionally. Bihira na akong umiiyak. I just wait for the right time and I speak out my thoughts. I don't feel guilty speaking out my thoughts. You have to be comfortable who you are...You choose your battles."

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You were quoted saying, 'Through MMK, I learn how to kill myself everyday.' What does this mean?

"When you are young at maliit ang mundo mo, you become too self-absorbed. It's all about 'I, Me, Myself.' It's all about you. You whine about your problems. Yung MMK, I started reading the letters, yung paghanga ko talaga sa pagdala ng problema ng letter senders na ito, na yung problemo ko sa kontexto ng buong mundo, ay napakaliit. It's a speck of dust. Pag nanonood ako ng MMK, and I'm this resonates with a lot of the viewers, it gives you catharsis."

What do you think is MMK's main contribution to the Filipino people?

"Yung salamin ng buhay. Yung appreciation for life. Appreciation for who we are..."

"When you watch MMK, and you see the qualities of the Filipino, the stories that are featured there, we're a great people."

"Bigyan pa natin ng konting pagkakataon ang ating mga kababayan and they will shine. We're very hopeful. We're very positive."

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What are MMK's plans in the future?

"Madami pang kwento. One thing I'm very proud of personally is that MMK has been a home to our directors now, our writers and even actors. Parang workshop na rin siya. It's alright for these young people to make these in my show."

If you were to make a Charo Santos story, what would you call it?

"Ako siguro 'Slumbook.' Dahil movie fan ako, Vi. Movie fan talaga ako. Nag slum book ako. Napanood ko lahat ng pelikula mo. Fan ako ng The Sensation. Movie fan talaga ako. Lumaki akong nanonood ako ng telebisyon, ng pelikula. And to this day, kahit namumuno na ako ng ABS-CBN, movie fan pa rin ako.

"Humahanga pa rin ako. Humahanga ako sa great talent. Humahanga ako sa passion and excellence ng staff at crew, ng mga production, ng mga directors at writers."

She then revealed, "Sa Calapan, Mindoro ako lumaki. Pag nagbabakasyon yung pamilya namin dito. Sa maniwala ka o hindi, pumipili ako sa labas ng St. Esguerra. Sinusutsutan ko ang gwardiya. Papasukin mo ako diyan. May tiyuhin ako diyan, the late Jimmy Navarro. He was the programming director then. ..I wanted to 'Watch, Stop, Look and Listen...'"

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"How do you handle your position in Philippine media?"

"With a lot of patience. And with a lot of grounding. If there are problems, it's not about me, I don't feel aggravated. It's about a person going through something. What are the concerns? Let's deal with it. Let's look for the solution. Hindi ka pwedeng makain ng lahat. Kailangan kalmado. May inner strength."

To cap the month-long celebration of its 20th year anniversary, MMK will feature five stories that

On October 1, the episode titled "Palawan" will feature a mother who fights for mining to be stopped in Palawan. It features the talents of Angel Aquino, Maria Isabel Lopez, Miles Ocampo, Yul Servo and Paul Salas. This episode is directed by Cannes award-winning director Brillante Mendoza. Angel plays the role of Bogs, a principled mother who gives her all to stop mining in Palawan. But in the middle of her quest, she will face the challenge of blindness and bringing her family back together.

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The episode titled "Bukidnon Happy Feet" showcases the story of tap dancing brothers who competed in Pilipinas Got Talent Season 2. It narrates the struggle that brothers Ramon and Bambi had to go through just to reach their dream of getting their family out of poverty. Written by Joan Habana and directed by Dado Lumibao, this episode features John Prats and Nash Aguas as the dancing brothers and Ariel Rivera as their father. Its airing date is on October 8.

A gay person's life will be the centerpoint in MMK's"Barcelona" episode slated on October 15. Jake Cuenca portrays a gay character named Louie. He strives to do his best to please his father in order to be accepted. Also joining the cast are Ricky Davao, Vivian Velez and veteran actress Malou De Guzman.

The October 22 and 28 episodes are considered "surprise" episodes meant to excite loyal MMK viewers.

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Governor Vilma Santos (upper left frame) interviewed Ms. Charo Santos-Concio (upper right frame) about Maalaala Mo Kaya's contribution to Filipinos. The October 1 episode of MMK will feature Angel Aquino and Yul Servo (bottom frame).
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