REVIEW: Family is one precious gift in MMK Luneta Park

Dedication to family is one true precious gift, whatever the season.

Especially for one that has endured the worst, trying their best to survive, and succeeding even if a severe natural disaster had made it difficult for them.

Lorena (Claudine Barretto) and Norberto (Dominic Ochoa) had already faced life’s challenges together, even from the time they decided to tie the knot, wherein Lorena had fought for her love for Norberto. She was an accomplished college graduate and he, a pedicab driver.

Loyalty paid off

Lorena’s family frowned upon their plans but nothing could stop them. And their loyalty paid off. Even with meager resources, they set up a successful business in delicacies, such as balut and chicharon, and established it as a stable source of income. They had sent all their four children to school, while having built a new house for the family.

But even as the best of life seems apparent, life can be so cruel.

Typhoon Yolanda had brought much destruction and devastation to their native Tacloban and everything they worked hard for had been lost forever. Worse, it forced them to part ways—Norberto, with eldest Maymay (Maris Racal) and Dongdong (Louise Abuel) had been separated from Lorena and the youngest siblings Art (Mark Santiago) and Sunday (Ynigo Delen).

Different paths

They had since ended up in Manila, but on different paths. And, they faced terrible ordeals just to survive, working difficult odd jobs and even sleeping on the streets and at the Luneta Park. While they indeed toiled away from the each other, little did they know they were actually physically near. They would stand close to each other at the park, without knowing it, and missing the opportunity to reunite several times.

And, as Norberto had been stricken with a serious lung ailment, he and his two eldest children had gone back to Tacloban further facing life’s difficulties yet overcoming the odds. But Norberto still yearned for Lorena and their other kids and pleaded on an appeal through a local radio station for any information about their whereabouts.

Until a friend had approached Norberto in the radio station and informed him that he had seen Lorena and their youngest kids at the Luneta plying the street trade. Norberto hurried back to Manila and went to Luneta to find Lorena and their youngest kids. With the help of a kid vendor, who had been close to his wife and kids, Norberto rejoices as he sees Sunday at the other end of the park and rushes to her in an affectionate and loving embrace.

Now a healthy and better off Norberto is also reunited with Lorena and Art, leaving him in tears. With Maymay and Dongdong joining them, the entire family is again together at the Luneta, enjoying their precious company, which is more than any reward or wealth they can possibly attain.


How this family faced their fears and overcoming their ordeals not only as individuals but as one family was truly inspiring. MMK Luneta Park, directed by Raz dela Torre and written by Akeem Jordan del Rosario showed that no amount of torment can break a family if all members would always hold on and hope for the best. And, of course, have the kind of love that brings them together no matter what.

We are all engrossed by a well-balanced and compelling thespic performance by all cast members. Claudine Barretto made a welcome delineation from the melodramatic style we always acclaim her to exude and made us relate and identify more with her portrayal. Dominic Ochoa showed better depth by playing the bewildered head of the family. But we are most impressed by the Maris Racal’s impactful yet gripping performance as a distressed eldest child caring for her parents and siblings. Truly Maris is her generation’s most promising actress.