REVIEW: MMK “Balsa” delivers well on inspiring tale about teaching

When a father would toil and sacrifice for his son’s education, such selflessness and generosity is passed on to that fortunate child, who would do anything just to give back.

For Ryan (Zanjoe Marudo) on MMK’s June 15 episode celebrating Father’s Day, “Balsa,” it is more than merely returning the precious gift of opportunity his Tatay Ramon (Joey Marquez) gave him. It is about sharing that gift to those who were not as privileged as him.

WATCH! MMK Balsa: Ryan Homan’s Full Interview With Ms. Charo Santos


Ryan would overcome hardships hailing from a poor family to finish his education and become a public school teacher, thanks to the inspiration his Tatay Ramon gave him. And with this, Ryan made it an advocacy to give the kids in his remote barrio the kind of education he was lucky to have.

However, there was one big hindrance to his dream—his barrio is separated from the town proper by a river, thus, making it burdensome for the children to go to school. 

Because of this, Ryan thought of building a makeshift raft or “balsa” that will sail in the river and serve as a classroom for the barrio kids, and he called it the “Balsa Basa.”

Despite his gallant efforts and selfless motives to educate the children, barrio folk, especially the kids’ parents, found the “Balsa Basa” as too dangerous, given that an unstable raft could pose an immense risk to the students’ safety.  

Even Tatay Ramon discouraged Ryan to pursue his project, especially when a storm hit the locality while they were having a class on the “Balsa Basa,” endangering the lives of the children and angering the parents and the community.

And, it also affected his own family as they faced their roughest patches financially. 

Unwavering vision

But while Ryan faced all these challenges, his vision for the betterment of the barrio kids did not waver. He sought and acquired the help of a non-government organization to assist him in the project, and with their support, the “Balsa Basa” had become sturdier and safer, now with more people helping in the cause.

It had since become a collaborative effort, all for the kids’ sake, thanks to Ryan’s heroic initiative, not only as a noble teacher but also as a loving father figure to the children under his care.

While we are definitely astounded by the scenery and the breathtaking camera shots that further enhanced the storytelling, MMKBalsa” delivers well in having the touching narrative resonate with viewers. Its pacing and flow assure that even further, with a well-written script by Joan Habana and able direction by Carlo Po Artillaga.

Joey Marquez has made that smooth, impressive shift to drama, as we continue to observe such an accomplishment among comedians, and we are all astonished by the way he clearly gave an affectual and moving performance as Tatay Ramon. 

But we are mostly left in awe with Zanjoe Marudo’s on-point and deeply internalized portrayal of Ryan, given that we all share his selfless aspirations for the kids he holds dear and the sincere affection he has for his father and his family. His drama performance is again one for the books.

LOOK! Behind-The-Scenes: Mga Kaganapan sa MMK Balsa Father

Netizens were likewise impressed.