REVIEW: Angel-Adrian, Belle-Jeremiah light up superb kiligfest on MMK “Singsing”

Maalaala Mo Kaya surely gave a heartwarming welcome to 2021, with its endearing tale of second chances at love.

The MMK episode “Singsing,” which aired on Saturday, January 2, was an extension of a previous narration of Vagelyn Tumbaga’s story, which was depicted in “Kamay” in 2016. In that episode with Maricar Reyes as Vagelyn, her struggles as an OFW in the United Arab Emirates was told, as she faced unspeakable hardship working in a Dubai hotel as she dealt with marital issues, until she became an accomplished human resources executive in the Middle Eastern city’s hospitality industry.

In “Singsing,” the focus of the story was how Vagelyn, now played by Angel Aquino, found true love amidst the success she attained. After reaching her lofty stature at the luxury hotel she was working in, Vagelyn had her kids move to her swanky flat in Dubai. While her kids first showed displeasure over their transfer to Dubai, even blaming their mom for their estranged father leaving them for another family, they would soon understand what their mother went through and sympathize with her after watching their mom’s life story on MMK.

They would find happiness together, with the single mom taking her children around town to discover the urban beauty of the city and other adventures. However, it didn’t take long before Vagelyn realized that some part of her was lacking, and longed for a love life. She would then date men of various nationalities, without luck.

But while browsing through social media, she came across the profile of Janwell Pacio (Adrian Alandy), a notorious high school classmate who had bullied her repeatedly, and asked her mom (Aurora Sevilla) how he was doing. She told her Janwell had been elected town councilor and was a successful owner of a construction business. As she raised doubts regarding his character, given his bullying past, Vagelyn inadvertently hit the “Add Friend” button on Janwell’s profile. Janwell was surprised upon seeing his new online friend and immediately chatted with Vagelyn.

Vagelyn and Janwell would then enjoy a hearty conversation, until she playfully said yes to a “relationship” with him. Janwell was shocked by Vagelyn’s answer, and asked her if what she was saying was really true. She even invited him over to Dubai to find out for himself, and told him she would assist him in getting his Visit Visa to the UAE.

But all along, Vagelyn considered everything just a petty game between friends until Janwell indeed showed up at their meeting place in a Dubai restaurant, with a bouquet of flowers in hand. As Vagelyn showed her delight in seeing Janwell again after all these years, he was particularly nervous. She would then teach him how to shake his fears off by saying “chop, chop, chop.”

As Vagelyn considered it as mere playtime, Janwell was dead serious about his feelings towards her. They would also explore the sights in Dubai, and Vagelyn would take a selfie of them enjoying their time together. After Vagelyn uploaded their sweet selfie to her social media account and went home, her kids expressed dismay that she had entered into a relationship too fast, fearing that she might turn her back on them.

This troubled Vagelyn then told Janwell that they should immediately put a halt to their burgeoning relationship and end their “game.” The latter was surprised and asked her if she really considered their relationship as a mere game. Vagelyn explained to Janwell that she could not risk the happiness of her family for her own, and did not want to make her children believe that she is dumping them for a man. But despite this, Janwell vowed that he would never give up in truly winning her heart, and that he truly loves her.

Janwell would then try his very best to show that—from taking care of her mother in the Philippines when she was sick and making surprise visits to her workplace in Dubai to actually meeting and winning the favor of her children and assuring them of his good intentions and genuine feelings for their mother. Vagelyn’s children would then surprise her with a party on her birthday, with a special guest they invited—Janwell, again holding a bouquet of flowers for her.

Seeing how Janwell developed closeness with her kids and mom, Vagelyn was touched by his sincerity and the realness of his love. He would then go on bended knee and with a ring in hand, popped the question asking for her hand in marriage. As she said yes, it became the happiest moment of her life.

Until she saw suspicious sweet messages on Janwell’s phone from several women, calling him such names as “sweetheart.” This angered Vagelyn, who confronted Janwell over those messages. Having been hurt by her previous partner, Vagelyn saw this as a bad sign and wanted to stop their engagement despite Janwell assuring her that those women were just past flings who don’t mean anything to him.

Vagelyn would open up to her mom about it and told her it was hard to trust Janwell, given his continued ties with other women, considering the pain she went through in her previous relationship. But her mom told her that to find happiness, it is worth the risk to try it out with Janwell, given that she was at the cusp of finding true love.

Because of this, she set out to find Janwell, finding him at a vacant lot holding his engagement ring, dejected. Vagelyn told him it was really hard for her to trust anyone, but because he asked her to believe in his love with the possibility that she could get hurt once more, it was a big responsibility for him to prove it. He said he knows it and promised that he would never fail her as they embraced and reconciled. He would then reveal to her his big surprise: the vacant lot they were stepping on is where he’s going to build Vagelyn’s own hotel in their province, so that they won’t be away from each other anymore.

A story that brings much thrill and kilig to viewers, MMK “Singsing” brings a romantic dazzle that warms hearts and brightens chances for the downtrodden in love to find a second chance. Director Raz dela Torre indeed put together sizeable, effective elements to leave all viewers giddy. While the narrative is light, it still exuded optimal emotional and visual impact that moved audiences.

While it is their first onscreen pairing, Angel Aquino and Adrian Alandy ignited with superb onscreen chemistry that seemed they had been doing romantic projects together for a long time. Their emotions and kilig vibe fit perfectly and worked efficiently. Even Belle Mariano and Jeremiah Lisbo, who played the younger versions of Vagelyn and Janwell, showed exciting and electrifying appeal as a pair, apart from their promising acting chops.

Adrain was particularly charming as a romantic male lead, showing the right mix of awkwardness and genuine emotions that any man with the sincerest and most real feelings for a woman he loves can express.

Angel again stood out with her reverberating intensity, even with a not-so-dramatic character finding and discerning true love. She responds well to each onscreen interaction very well with the appropriate reaction or emotion that befits each scene.

Netizens were likewise captivated.