Throughout its five-month run from November 14, 2011 to April 13, 2012, the teen drama Angelito: Ang Batang Ama garnered immense following despite being slated in the afternoon block. Its relevant and relatable plot, which zeroes in the titular character’s taste of the bitter-sweet life of fatherhood at a very young age, could be the reason behind its success.
With their mother’s untimely death and their father abandoning them at an early age, 18-year-old Angelito Santos (JM de Guzman) and his younger sister Teresa (Devon Seron) were left under the custody of their doting grandmother Pinang (Elizabeth Oropesa). In order to make both ends meet, he helped their family by driving a tricycle and assisting his Lola Pinang in vending fish in the market.
He and his peers were known for being mischievous, as they frequently got involved in gang wars and being repeaters in school. Everything had changed when he met Rosalie Dimaano (Charee Pineda), his well-known beautiful and intelligent school batchmate to whom he had a very huge crush on. Certainly, she earned a lot of suitors but didn’t entertain them as she was focused on finishing her education to lift her family from poverty.
However, promises and plans are meant to be broken. Angelito set aside their barkada code of not pursuing each other's sisters while Rosalie didn't heed to her parents reminder of not getting into a relationship until she's not done with her education yet. Although their affair was strongly opposed by their families, especially Rosalie’s brother and erstwhile friend Rolan (Matt Evans), they still continued nonetheless and Rosalie, unexpectedly, became pregnant with Angelito’s child.
Due to the growing conflict between the two families, the young couple eloped and tried to live and raise their son Angelito Jr., or simply Jun-Jun (Joshen Bernardo). But they found it really tough so they went back home and their families supported them financially and emotionally, though the Dimaanos still disapproved of Angelito, particularly Rolan, who was imprisoned after trying to harm Angelito, his son and sister Teresa.
In pursuit of giving their daughter and their grandson a bright and comfortable future, the Dimaanos agreed to a relative’s offer of adopting Jun-Jun while Rosalie continued her dream of becoming a flight attendant. Angelito disagreed so he fled to Manila with the baby, and broke up with Rosalie.
As time went by, the estranged couple grew up separately. Angelito became a responsible single parent, thanks to his friends who helped him raise Junjun, while Rosalie turned out to be a successful flight attendant. Both of them found new love -- Angelito with his friend Jenny Ambrosio (Kaye Abad) who raised her own daughter alone as well and Rosalie with the womanizer airline pilot Andrew Posadas (Tom Rodriguez).
After five years, the two reunited and eventually fought for their son’s custody. But Jun-Jun was negatively affected by their terrible set-up so Rosalie discontinued the case. Despite both being in a relationship, Angelito and Rosalie’s love for each other resurfaced.
As soon as he was freed, Rolan continued his vendetta and took his nephew as hostage. He blamed Angelito for his miserable life. The crisis ended with Rosalie getting accidentally hit by his brother’s bullet and Rolan fatally shot by the policemen, but they were able to survive.
After the incident, the Dimaanos tried to make amends with the Santoses over their misdemeanors. Rosalie and Angelito eventually broke up with their respective lovers and moved on to complete their happy family.
With its very significant theme, refreshing storyline, and talented cast, the teen drama was able to capture the hearts of the audiences. Aside from its gripping episodes, the show also taught us very valuable lessons on family, love, and friendship. Angelito: Ang Batang Ama was also able to vividly show the perils of young parenthood and motivated the youth not to engage in pre-marital sex.
It was JM’s breakthrough lead performance as an actor and Theodore Boborol’s milestone stint as director.