REVIEW: MMK “Mansanas” inspires with relatable tale about grit, love against all odds

Nothing can put down a man with a generous heart, especially when the woman he loves is always by his side through thick and thin.

Emman (Joem Bascon) may not have received an academic validation to succeed but his pure heart and deep love for Maricar (Denise Laurel), his boss at a bakery he worked for, was what he could only offer. Something that Maricar, who spurned a man she was engaged with, only needed to fall for him.

But it seemed everything was against their union, especially Maricar’s parents, who opposed their relationship given their stern doubts about Emman’s capacity to provide for Maricar and their would-be children. But Maricar fought for Emman, and her love was all that he needed, to bravely face the world as a couple and got married.

Life on their own

Yet as they lived their life on their own, it seemed Maricar’s parents’ fears came true. Plying the streets as a tricycle driver, Emman, though was willing to give his all, has found it hard to make both ends meet now that they have a daughter. And while Maricar’s ailing father had even provided them capital to start a bakery business, they weren’t able to sustain it and were even left with debts to pay. This forced them to close it and sell off the equipment.

Life continued to become burdensome for the weary Emman and his family that became so evident when their daughter wanted a piece of apple that cost P15, but he could not even afford it.

This devastated Maricar, who voiced her apprehensions and fears to Emman, now that a second child was on the way.

And when their second child was born, she pleaded Emman to allow her to work so that she could help support their family. He would not let her at first, given the danger of leaving their kids to people they don’t fully trust. But with the hardships they were facing, Emman eventually allowed her.

Emman working as a janitor

After their kids suffered from a high fever and they were forced to shell out a huge amount for their hospitalization, Maricar told Emman that a friend told her about the need for janitors in a Manila college. Realizing that he should also contribute a bigger share in providing for his family, he agreed, with the condition that Maricar would stay at home and watch over their kids.

Emman would then work day and night cleaning hallways, classrooms and toilets. He would work overtime so he could bring home a bigger amount for family expenses. But sadly, it wasn’t enough and he was forced to allow Maricar to work again.

This led to his desolation, losing respect even to himself for being what he thinks as a “lowly” janitor, whom even his children would someday despise. But through it all, Maricar only encouraged and motivated him to still think highly of himself and that being a janitor should be a respected profession.


One day, however, Emman learned of a scholarship program for the college’s night school for working students. He immediately took the opportunity of taking a qualifying exam.

Emman passed it and would now have the chance to go back to school and finish a college degree. Maricar was likewise ecstatic about Emman’s achievement and told him how much she believed in him.

Emman would then study and work at the same time, with his eagerness and motivation to graduate fueling him. Yet this drained Emman, especially in his final trimester in the college, leading him to lose his confidence if he could really achieve it, given that his close and reliable thesis partner had suddenly died. But Maricar would encourage him again not to give up and that she was always there by his side to help him.


And amid all of his ordeals and hardships, Emman finally hurdled all the academic requirements to complete his course, and graduated. This is to the sheer delight of a euphoric and proud Maricar and kids watching as Emman gets his hard-earned diploma on stage during the graduation rites. Since then he got the respect of Maricar’s mom and would work at a top university in Bacolod as an administrative officer.

MMK’s “Mansanas” episode in one moving and relatable piece that teaches us the value of hard work and diligence despite the odds. And of course, the incredible love of two people destined to be for each other come what may.

We admire the way this tale was put into fruition with the able direction of Carlo Po Artillaga, who brought together impressive creative techniques and elements in achieving such a believable and identifiable depiction. Camera work, particularly superb lighting design, further made the narrative more effective, on top of an exceptional script penned by Akeem del Rosario.

But most of all we are so engrossed with the way Joem Bascon and Denise Laurel portrayed their characters.  They triumphed in not only acting out their roles for the sake of it, but adding depth and understanding of their travails to churn out such a natural and riveting performance.

Even netizens were so impressed.