Just on its pilot week, ABS-CBN’s newest primetime offering Huwag Kang Mangamba has immediately won the hearts of viewers through its captivating narrative with regards to the characters’ faith in God and miracles and the compelling performances of its star-studded ensemble cast.
What went down
It commenced with a pregnant Fatima, depicted by Dimples Romana, running for her and her unborn child’s dear lives as a group of armed men hunted her down in the dark forest. She was able to escape and safely gave birth to her baby, who turns out to be Mira (Andrea Brillantes), a talented, kindhearted, and reliable blind girl growing up. However, she had to grow up with other kids in the community shelter after Fatima left her when was still young. As the shelter closes, Mira decided to travel all by herself in the nearby town of Hermoso, in hopes of finding her long-lost mom.
Upon her arrival, she was immediately greeted by an accident after the car of Joy’s (Francine Diaz) family hit her. Fortunately, she didn’t sustain any injury and they’re able to proceed going to Deborah (Eula Valdes), sister of Joy’s stepmom Agatha (Mercedes Cabral), who is a well-known faith healer in town.
Going on with her journey, she was almost molested by a man who pretended to know her mom, but brought her to a secluded place instead. Before he could do her any harm, Joy’s father Samuel (Diether Ocampo), who was driving along the area, was able to stave him off and rescue her. With nowhere to go and spend the night at, she found a safe haven in a deserted, grassy nook of the town.
As she continued to roam around the town, Mang Caloy (Soliman Cruz), his daughter Darling (Angeline Quinto), and barbershop attendant saw her and offered her help. Later that evening, we witnessed the altercation between Joy and her stepsister Sofia (Alyanna Angeles) when the former retrieved a packet of drugs in the latter’s belongings, which proved that she didn’t intentionally take drugs but it was only poured on her drink during a party they attended. As she tried to relay this to her dad who just left, her stepmom grabbed her phone. Infuriated, she left their home and drove their car as fast as she could until it crashed towards a streetlight and got her severely injured.
Mira, on the other hand, also met an accident after a then-unknown white car fatally hit her and quickly left after the driver found out that she’s already lifeless.
While Joy was immediately rushed by her dad to the hospital upon seeing her on his way back home, Mira was spotted on the road by the mentally-challenged homeless Barang (Sylvia Sanchez) who instantly went to Mang Caloy’s barbershop to ask for help. The identity of the hit-and-run driver was eventually unraveled as Miguel, the scion of the political clan Advincula, who desperately went home and sought the help of his grandfather Simon (Nonie Buencamino) and their publicist Tomas (Dominic Ochoa) to cover him up.
As the attending doctor already declared Joy dead, her step aunt Deborah offered to use her healing powers which apparently worked as she miraculously went back to life. Almost the same happened to Mira, who was prayed over by Barang as they waited for help from Mang Caloy and the barangay watchmen. Everyone was indeed in utter disbelief upon the sight of a miracle right before their eyes! The news of Joy’s healing swiftly spread like wildfire in Hermoso and the townsfolks assembled outside Deborah’s abode to personally confirm if it was true.
While Mira completely believes that what happened to her was an incredible work of “Bro”, Joy refuses to believe the same despite Deborah’s persistence. Another heated argument sparked in their family as Agatha tried to manipulate Samuel that Joy’s action was just a part of her being rebellious and disobedient. At the same time, Deborah has also started welcoming people after throng of them flocked outside their house and among them were Mira and Barang, who insisted that a miracle also happened to Mira the night before. That’s when she also crossed paths with Joy again after the former accidentally bumped into her.
Two more characters were introduced in the fourth episode – Fr. Sebastian “Seb” Advincula (Enchong Dee), a gregarious priest who’s determined to persuade more people of Hermoso to attend the masses he holds at the town plaza, and Rafael (Kyle Echarri), another scion of the Advincula clan, who told his family about the viral video of Deborah.
This sparked an idea to them to take advantage of the faith healer’s popularity and use her for political and financial gains. As Simon and his team presented the plan to her and her right-hand Maximo (Paolo Gumabao) during their meeting with them, they arrived at an agreement. On the other hand, Mira was hired by Mang Caloy to be the new assistant at his barbershop.
And the proclamation rally of the Advincula was held, wherein Simon declared his desire to run as governor and his grandson Miguel’s mayoralty bid. To further persuade the people, they offered Deborah’s healing services for free and even had Joy testify for the miracle that happened to her through her. It was also through this event when Simon and Agatha began their devious business agreement.
As soon as the proclamation rally was over, Joy immediately left and bumped into Mira and Barang. She confronted her about the truth behind her miraculous rise from death, which eventually veered on the tear-jerking stories of their lives. Unbeknown to her, they were seen by Sofia, who immediately called their mom and reported what she heard from the townsfolks who approached Mira.
That enraged Agatha and Deborah as they saw Mira as their competitor in the money-making scheme they just started and immediately picked her up. As soon as Joy and Agatha left, the followers of Deborah attacked her and Barang and hurled hurtful words at her. On the other hand, Joy was reprimanded by her stepmom for befriending Mira instead of helping her Aunt Deborah, and went to lock her up a cabinet.
After Mira’s heart-rending conversation to Bro about the ordeals she’s been going through, His image came to life and He stretched his hand out to let her touch it, making her more emotional.
Apart from the present-day happenings, some important and shocking events of the past were also uncovered. Viewers were able to find out that Samuel and Fatima actually used to be a couple, until infidelity issues marred their relationship and Agatha came into the picture. Fatima left Mira to get her other child back, who happens to be Joy, when she had the chance, but Agatha forbade her.
Huwag Kang Mangamba indeed had a promising start. It succeeded in capturing our emotions and our attentions through its fascinating narrative, the striking lines of the characters – in which some were taken from the Bible – and, most of all, the impeccable and amazing performances of its ensemble cast. The chemistry of the actors is great and it’s as if their characters are really made for them.
Angeline Quinto’s splendid rendition of the liturgical track of the same title should not be missed as well, as it didn’t fail to pierce our hearts in every episode. Besides, it’s truly impressive how they’re able to capture the common rural life that many of us have been missing through the on-point set design and the locations they chose.
With how seamless every scene was executed and how superb the overall production of this new Dreamscape Entertainment project is, for sure, viewers are excited to see where its talented pool of writers China Gabriel, Li Candelaria, Andrian Legazpi, Hazel Madanguit-Uychiat, and head writer David Diuco, as well as its seasoned directors Emmanuel Q. Palo, Jerry Lopez-Sineneng, and Darnel Joy Villaflor, will take the story in the upcoming episodes.
Outpouring support from netizens
Thus, it’s not surprising when its premiere ensued to multiple trending topics on Twitter as not only its official hashtag #HKMAngPagdating broke into the top of the Philippine chart. Here were some of the tweets:
Never miss an episode of “Huwag Kang Mangamba ”, weeknights after FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, A2Z, and TV5. At the same time, you may watch it through online streaming platforms iWantTFC, WeTV, and iflix, as well as on The Filipino Channel on cable and IPTV for viewers outside of the Philippines. You may also see episode highlights on ABS-CBN Entertainment’s official website and YouTube channel.