The action-packed and tear-jerking scenes in the initial five episodes of ABS-CBN's latest TV offering FPJ's Batang Quiapo truly made the online world abuzz because of how those were done so well.
Epic, trending pilot episode
Just on the first night of action, FPJ's Batang Quiapo has indeed immediately brought us to the edge of our seats as the pilot episode was completely action-packed – as if we’re watching an action movie. It brought us to the backstories of the main characters, especially of how our new primetime hero Tanggol came to be and how his complicated history will surely make a tremendous impact on him in the future.
The first episode introduced us to the then young main characters – Ramon (Coco Martin) and Olga (Ryza Cenon), who led the nail-biting bank robbery that caused a huge commotion in Quiapo, wherein Marites (Miles Ocampo), Tindeng (Lara Quigaman), and Noy (Lou Veloso) were among the vendors, while Marites’ partner Rigor Dimaguiba (Ejay Falcon) and his friend Mando Mendoza (Marlo Mortel) were two of the officers assigned to watch over the area.
As the police failed to initially stop Ramon, this ensued to the thrilling, high-speed chase that brought him to the house of Marites, a complete stranger that he mercilessly raped in his desperate endeavor to continue his bloodline. In the end, the authorities were able to catch Ramon, but the traumatic effects of his crimes had taken a toll on his victims, especially to Marites, who had to make a difficult choice whether to keep the baby that was the product of her rape, or to abort it for the sake of mending her relationship with Rigor, who has gone indifferent towards her after what happened.
After her failed attempt to kill the baby inside her womb and her heated and heart-rending confrontation with her mother Tindeng, Marites chose to carry the baby for nine months until she gave birth to it at the stinky floor of the market all by herself. As she initially decided to leave the baby behind, hearing its cry changed her heart and mind and caught Olga, who was tasked by the incarcerated Ramon to check on the woman who he presumably impregnated. Finding out that Marites indeed bore his child, she planned to kidnap and get rid of it so that there’s no other heirs to the wealth of their father except her.
Marites was able to take back her son and even had it baptized as Jesus Nazareno, as suggested by Tindeng who firmly believes that he’s a blessing from God above despite his history. She also gave him the nickname “Tanggol” because she’s certain that he’s going to be their defender against oppressors.
At a tender age, Tanggol has already manifested his fate both as a protector and a thief, which often embroils him in brawls and scandals, as well as subjects him to the rage of his adoptive father. And that goes on to the present as we witness his flair in snatching, pick-pocketing, and fighting, which is kind of ironic since Rigor is still a police officer while his younger brother takes up criminology.
Aside from seeing the older versions of the main characters, we also got to meet in the second episode the other supporting characters who are going to play significant roles in the life of Tanggol – from his brothers David (McCoy de Leon) and Santino (Ronwaldo Martin), to his friends and allies.
In the third episode, we were given a glimpse of the life of Ramon inside the prison. We were also able to meet the group of “Batang Tondo,” led by Egay, the character of Smugglaz, as well as the family of Lovi Poe’s character Monica, a.k.a. Mokang, who depends on begging and selling candles, and her friends.
We were able to see the soft-hearted side of Tanggol – who is compassionate to kids, caring and loving towards his family, dependable and protective to his friends, and sweet and persistent towards his childhood crush Mokang.
Hilarious banters and kilig moments between Tanggol and Mokang made up most of fourth episode – from the funny jeepney scene and Tanggol teaching her pervert professor his lesson by punching him in the gut, to treating her to a sumptuous street food trip around Quiapo and their amusing conversation at Lambingan Bridge.
Meanwhile, Don Julio Montenegro (Tommy Abuel) and Olga (Irma Adlawan) visited Ramon in jail to tell him that he will finally be freed as they'd already plotted an escape plan for him. They were able to execute it by staging a ramble in a basketball game inside the prison that resulted in extreme chaos.
The jail guards and some of their fellow inmates attempted to stop them but to no avail, as Ramon and his henchmen were armed with high caliber guns that helped them get away. It was Olga who fetched Ramon and his most trusted right hand Severino (Dindo Arroyo).
The episode capped off with her warning him: “Nakalaya ka na. Pero huwag mo kalimutan na umpisa pa lang ‘to ng laban.”
The Friday episode showed how Rigor mauled Tanggol as he found out from his second son David about his and their youngest brother's involvement in the brawl that occurred at the basketball court that morning.
This sparked arguments among their family – among the three brothers and between Marites and Rigor. With how becoming problematic Tanggol is, Rigor warned Marites that the next time he will be involved in trouble, he will be the one to personally send him to jail. Meanwhile, Noy (Lou Veloso) suggested to Tindeng (Charo Santos) what if they tell Tanggol the truth about his history.
Rave reviews from netizens
The pilot week of FPJ's Batang Quiapo indeed immediately won the hearts of viewers. It earned more than 44M digital views on its pilot week. A live viewing party was also held at Plaza Miranda in Quiapo during the pilot airing.
Aside from that, the official hashtag “#FPJsBatangQuiapoDay” also became the number one trending topic on Twitter nationwide, along with topics related to it, such as “Coco Martin”, “PRIMETIME KING IS BACK”, “Miles Ocampo”, “Miles”, “Plaza Miranda”, “Tanggol”, and “Ramon”.
The netizens gushed over how great its cinematography, sound scoring, color grading, and the mounting of scenes are, which are comparable to what we see in films.
More than the technical side, the natural acting of the cast also astounded the viewers. Coco amazed us with his versatility as an antagonist and protagonist as he took on the roles of the younger Ramon and Tanggol. He was able to show off his flair in action through the nail-biting gunfight, high-speed chase, and intense fisticuffs.
The actors featured in the first episode for the throwback story were also lauded for their compelling, natural performances, especially Miles Ocampo and Lara Quigaman, who really stole the spotlight.
Of course, the acting of the veteran actors, such as Charo Santos, Christopher de Leon, Tommy Abuel, Pen Medina, Susan Africa, Cherry Pie Picache, and John Estrada are truly commendable. Similarly, the younger seasoned thespians also astonished us with their respective portrayals. Leading lady Lovi Poe’s performance as Mokang is really impressive and her chemistry with Coco is already palpable.
Meanwhile, the newbies, which were mostly vloggers and rappers, also impressed us with their performances.
True to its title, FPJ's Batang Quiapo authentically showcases the way of life in one of the busiest parts of Manila City. Filming it there is truly a challenge, yet they're able to still astoundingly pull it off.
Here are some of the positive feedbacks from the netizens:
Never miss an episode of FPJ's Batang Quiapo, weeknights, on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, A2Z, and TV5!