For almost three decades, Maalaala Mo Kaya has incredibly cemented its reputation as the longest-running drama anthology in Asia, arguably the most awarded, and continues to become one of the most successful and most widely-watched programs not only in the Kapamilya network, but in the country as well.
Every week, many of us are looking forward to the story that is going to be featured and the ensemble of actors who would partake to make it a more exciting watch through their compelling performances.
While we saw familiar faces usually tapped to land roles on MMK, there are Kapamilya celebrities who made their starring debut on the drama anthology this year.
Promising ctresses Michelle Vito, Kira Balinger, Alora Sasam, Claire Ruiz, Ryza Cenon, and Bianca King astounded us as well with their impressive perfomances on the MMK episodes they starred in.
Kicking off 2018 was the story of a teenage girl named Gelai, portrayed by Michelle Vito, and her three domineering moms -- her biological mother and her two aunts to whom she lives with. She then appeared to two more episodes, playing the roles of a drug addict's daughter and a former reality show contestant who became a victim of identity theft.
Kira Balinger, alongside her leading man Yves Flores, depicted Star Hunt sweethearts Grace and Vhinez whose relationship was strengthened despite being scarred physically, mentally, and emotionally caused by the freak accident they got involved in.
From playing a supporting character in the critically acclaimed "Kotse-kotsehan" episode headlined by Dimples Romana and Angel Locsin, Alora Sasam impressed us with her acting chops when she transformed into a lesbian who fell in love and tied the knot with her gay partner characterized by Neil Coleta.
We might have seen her often in the other programs of the Kapamilya network, but Clare Ruiz's star shone when she top-billed the "Bibliya"episode, narrating the story of a young woman named Abegail whose faith in God was tested after the death of her father and her mother decided to fly to Thailand to work.
New Kapamilya Ryza Cenon wowed us with her MMK debut as she played the doting wife of the viral TNVS (Transport Network Vehicle Services) driver diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome, impeccably depicted by Joseph Marco.
Meanwhile, Bianca King touched our hearts with her stint in the episode dubbed "Hating Kapatid" where she starred alongside Sandino Martin. Together, they told the heartwarming anecdote of siblings Bianca and Sherwin whose unconditional love for one another was put to the test when the former got infected with chronic kidney disease.
Of course, the male stars wouldn't let themselves be left behind as first-timers RK Bagatsing, JC Santos, and Mark Neumann also let their stars shine in their first major appearances on MMK.
RK Bagatsing not only showed off his stirring acting chops, but his skills in surfing as well in his portrayal of Harry, the one-armed surfer from Aurora.
Many couples out there probably found themselves truly relate with the love story of Gio, whom JC Santos portrayed exceptionally, and Karla, played by the standout artist Bela Padilla that almost didn't get a second chance due to the former's infidelity.
From being a supporting actor, Mark Neumann finally scored his first-ever starring role on the program when he portrayed the inspiring young man who relentlessly strived to fulfil his dreams in order to give his grandparents, who nurtured him since he was a kid, a better life.
Comedians Long Mejia and Rufa Mae Quinto proved versatility as artists when they displayed their flair in drama in the MMK episodes they headlined.
Long tugged our heartstrings with his compelling portrayal of a doting father who, amidst the extreme struggles he had to go through in raising his child (Jairus Aquino) along the streets of Manila, worked hard in order to provide him a decent life.
On the other hand, Rufa Mae taught us the perils of social media and of easily trusting strangers as her character learned it the terrible way.
Just like in the previous years, some of the winners of the Kapamilya TV contests allowed us to know them better when their life stories were featured on MMK. This year, Tawag Ng Tanghalan Season 2 champion Janine Berdin and Miss Q & A queen Juliana Parizcova Segovia showcased their acting talents when they portrayed themselves in the episodes that narrated their life stories.
Which of these MMK first-timers captured your heart and blew your mind the most?