MMK still leading drama anthology
LIVE FEED - Bibsy M. Carballo (The Philippine Star) - October 31, 2014 - 12:00am

Maalaala Mo Kaya or MMK is a Filipino drama anthology featuring real-life stories submitted by viewers with the hope of being shown on television. Hosted by Charo Santos-Concio and broadcast Saturday nights at 8 over ABS-CBN, it is the longest-running program of its kind on Philippine television and in Asia.

Viewers, however, don’t realize the various steps taken to ensure that the stories chosen were among the very best. Every week, 300 stories are received through Facebook and 150 from e-mails. Aside from the fee given to the chosen story, coordination is coursed through Gabay Kapamilya, Lingkod Kapamilya Foundation, Inc. to extend public service to letter-senders who may need medical assistance and family counseling.

It was Charo herself who pitched the idea of MMK to then ABS-CBN president Freddie Garcia. It started airing on May 15, 1991 and hasn’t stopped since then. Many feel that a big factor for the popularity of the program has been its casting of big names such as Vilma Santos, Nora Aunor, Sharon Cuneta, Kris Aquino and Dolphy (before his demise). According to the production team, director and business unit head Malou Santos, nevertheless, that choice of the cast depended on the eligibility and fitness to the role. “At the end of the day,” Malou was said to have quipped, “the show is about stories, not about our stars.”

The very first episode aired was Rubber Shoe with Romnick Sarmenta playing a social climber pretending to be a rich kid, and hiding the fact that his father was just a street sweeper. Another episode was Burda, with Sharon as yaya to Patrick Garcia since he was a baby. When Patrick grew up, yaya Sharon had to learn to let go. In Regalo, Vilma had a daughter played by Maja Salvador with cerebral palsy. With the care Vilma gave her, Maja was able to live normally until she reached 18. 

MMK’s first out-of-the-country episode, filmed in the US, was Pier 39 starring Piolo Pascual and Judy Ann Santos. The story told of Piolo who joined his dad and second wife in the US but was disappointed at their way of life that he refused to live with them. Meeting Judy Ann, Piolo found the solution to his problems. In Retaso, Nora entered into a relationship with widower Joel Torre and his three children. When Nora’s efforts began to bear fruit, she found out that Joel had been cheating on her. Phillip Salvador was a fireman in Lapida who saved Kris Aquino and her son during a fire, but lost his own child to the same fire. In Bisikleta, Dolphy caught his wife cheating on him. Incensed, he drove her away, and was left with his son played by Makisig Morales. Sa Kandungan Mo Inay was a story of sisters, portrayed by Janice de Belen, Charo and Dina Bonnevie, who were at odds with one another, and their mother, played by Anita Linda. Finally, Unan told the story of Julie Vega, who entered show business at age seven. At the height of her career, she got sick and died. Her family never revealed the cause of her death. Angelica Panganiban played Julie.

To this day, MMK has not waned in its popularity. The drama series has a counterpart radio program on DZMM, a pocketbook adaptation and a comic book.

(E-mail your comments to bibsyfotos@yahoo.com or text me at 0917-8991835.)

ANGELICA PANGANIBAN ANITA LINDA CHARO AND DINA BONNEVIE CHARO SANTOS-CONCIO FREDDIE GARCIA GABAY KAPAMILYA JOEL TORRE JULIE VEGA KRIS AQUINO
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