REVIEW: Touching, revealing take on psoriasis in MMK Salamin

Leaving a mark is never skin-deep.

One should discard any notion of superficiality or ditch any surface-level points of view to make a difference. For it is the strength of character, the drive to achieve, and utmost sincerity in helping others that defines us—not how handsome or gorgeous our faces may be or a silky smooth skin we flaunt.

Because once the good looks fade, or worse slowly wilting away from an incurable skin disease called psoriasis, it is the passion and dedication of our true selves that will matter more than anything.

Caring kid

In the MMK episode “Salamin,” Josef (Louise Abuel) was a caring, family centered kid who wishes only the best for his parents Ismael (Juan Rodrigo) and Amor (Irma Adlawan) and siblings. He dreamt of someday graduating and giving his family a good life.

When he reached college, Josef (JC De Vera) was a brilliant student and got a scholarship to pursue his degree. And above all, Josef was attractive with a golden voice, and this opened doors for him, from the world of entertainment to a career in marketing management. He never lost sight of opportunities that went before him.

With a measly pay from his job as a hotel waiter, Ismael found it difficult to support the family, with the rest of his children had also gone to school. Josef would then stop schooling to fully concentrate on working to help in shouldering the family’s expenses.

He became a lounge singer first in the local hotel circuit and then decided to try his luck in Japan, where he spent the next four years succeeding as an entertainer.  Josef came back to the Philippines and became a general manager of a talent agency. He then moved on to become the sales and marketing manager of a travel firm.


Indeed, Josef had gone a long way. At this point, he was now able to not only support his family but also lead a comfortable and affluent life on his own. He became the company’s “Golden Boy,” bringing in big accounts to the company with his incredible flair and dashing looks. However, this led to his being arrogant, egotistic and condescending.

But as he flourished in his career, Josef noticed something wrong about his body, particularly his skin. First there were large amounts of dandruff falling from his hair before red patches of abnormal skin grew throughout his body.

Josef discovered he had psoriasis, a long-lasting skin disease that envelopes the entire body. After the disease developed rapidly, Josef had become desolate and depressed, even covering mirrors in his home so he could not see himself. He also became more irritable of the people around him, including his assistants and helpers, who all gave up on him.  He also resigned from the travel firm after the disease affected his performance and appearance.

And after revealing his disease to his parents, who still compassionately offered their support and love for him, Josef had shut them out and isolated himself from the world. He led a life of a hermit, with no connection to the outside world, except for a few trips to the neighborhood sari-sari store to buy food.

Making a difference

As the disease became worse, Josef realized he could no longer handle it on his own. He would then go back to their humble home and seek his family’s help. Their outpouring of support despite his condition touches him and motivates him to make a difference.

Josef would then form a group called Psoriasis Philippines, wherein people afflicted with the disease can get the knowledge, support and encouragement they need to deal with their incurable illness.

And thus, from his hopeless situation, Josef dug really deep to gather the strength and the passion to help psoriasis patients like himself, to achieve a better life.

It was a noble effort, and MMK did well in bringing the advocacy out in the open. Thanks to director Raz dela Torre and writers Jaymar Santos Castro and Arah Jell G. Badayos, “Salamin” offers the right dramatic push and an exceptional production value, with awesome make-up and prosthetics, to teach and to touch people’s hearts in tackling the disease.

Fluid and engaging

JC De Vera was so fluid and engaging with his portrayal of the psoriasis patient Josef as he not only did well in the acting chops but make viewers understand what he’s going through. Irma Adlawan, hands down, was brilliant and overwhelming in delivering powerful emotions as Josef’s mother. Who cannot relate to her tears as she faced her suffering son? Juan Rodrigo also showed great acting form as the hard-up father.

While some important parts in the storytelling were left out, obviously due to airtime constraints, we truly saw, comprehended and felt the travails of a psoriasis patient with Josef’s journey and how he eventually overcame these and in fact became the bastion of strength of fellow sufferers here and abroad.