There’s indeed nothing more painful to a parent than losing a child, right? Thus, for the opening salvo of Maalaala Mo Kaya this 2020, it had set our visions clearly not only in the importance of obedience to our parents, but also of organ donation by showcasing the story of letter sender Ma. Zosima “Marizo” Tejero and her family on its first-ever episode for this year aired last January 4.
Titled “Mata”, viewers arguably found themselves delighted then doleful as we followed the inspiring and heart-rending story of the Tejero Family from Borongan, Eastern Samar.
The touching, tragic, stirring narrative
After their first pregnancy failed due to a complication, Marizo (Janice de Belen) and Wilfred (Raymond Bagatsing) had gone extra careful and prayerful when they got blessed to conceive for the second time. As she prayed to God to protect their child, she vowed to raise it as a good individual and that it’s going to live a significant life, which they really did as soon as they gave birth to their firstborn Kobe Andrei (Marco Masa/McCoy de Leon) and they were bestowed another offspring.
Through their relentless guidance and teachings, not to mention incessantly reminding him to be kind to everyone around him at all times for him to be granted with more blessings and be idolized by many, Kobe indeed grew up obedient, well-disciplined, and cheerful. Thus, they really found it hard to not heed to his every request, except for one thing – being allowed to drive his father’s motorcycle – which Marizo highly objected and often ensued to their misunderstanding.
And the thing that Marizo had been dreading unfortunately happened as Kobe figured in an accident after they went out of balance and got thrown out of the motorcycle they were riding on the way home. As Marizo began to get anxious with Kobe for not being home yet, one of his friends arrived to relay to them what happened. They immediately went to the hospital where he was rushed and saw him still conscious. Even though he didn’t sustain any physical injuries, the attending physician advised them to take Kobe to Tacloban City for him to undergo CT Scan for the possibility of internal damages.
Their predicament began when Kobe had seizures on their way, which made him already brain dead on their arrival. While he was still in coma, his girlfriend Luzel (Kaori Oinuma), along with his two friends who were with him during the accident, visited at the hospital and expressed how apologetic they were for the tragedy.
Luzel told Marizo that she was the reason why Kobe left their house because he wanted to accompany her while she’s alone at home. Meanwhile, one of his friends admitted being the one driving the motorcycle and recalled what happened that fateful evening. He also told Marizo how Kobe always thought of them, especially her, and didn’t want to disappoint nor be reprimanded by them.
A few nights after, it was Wilfred who asked for her forgiveness after allowing their firstborn to drive their motorcycle in spite of his staunch opposition. He told her as well that he just did that in pursuit of showing him the real world at a very young age and in teaching him to be gumptious in life.
As he remained unresponsive, they already got very hopeless, which made Marizo thought of donating at least one or two of his organs as she saw this as a great way to make his life more significant by extending other people’s life or give others the chance to fulfill their ambitions. His kidney donation wasn’t successful, but his sclera and cornea were able to be harvested and forwarded to Eye Bank Foundation. Being the “First Eye Tissue Donor of Eastern Visayas”, the organization hailed him as the “Hero of Samar.”
Receiving the “gift of sight” was Joaquin Enrique Arig (Jansen Magpusao) of Cebu, whom Wilfred and Marizo met for the very first time during their interview with the host on the program.
The impressive overall production
Director Arden Rod Condez and writer Bing Castro Villanueva indeed made a great tandem as they’re able to come up with a truly moving narrative that both brought smiles and pain to us.
Veteran actors Janice de Belen and Raymond Bagatsing once again astounded us with the formidable acting chops they’ve been known, especially in the heavy scenes in which they didn’t fail to get us swayed with the emotions they exuded, such as on that scene where Marizo was already letting go of Kobe and when Wilfred was tearfully apologizing for what happened to their son.
Speaking of Kobe, McCoy de Leon was able to prove anew his versatility as an actor for he was able to successfully flutter our hearts and compel us with his dramatic prowess in his depiction of him. At the same time, his child counterpart Marco Masa did a great job as well in portraying the young Kobe.
Of course, the supporting cast also did amazing in their respective portrayals. Newcomers Royce Cabrera, Jansen Mapusao, and Kaori Oinuma were able to impress us with their performances, as well as child actor JB Agustin who played the role of Kobe’s younger brother Bryan.
Singer-actress-director Karla Pambid and seasoned actress Andrea del Rosario made remarkable appearances too!
The netizens’ reactions
The inspiring story of the Tejero Family only reminded us, especially the younger generations, how important it is to obey our parents because above all, they’re the ones who know what’s the best for us and who always put our welfare first before theirs.
Aside from this realization, the netizens who were able to watch the “Mata” episode of MMK also raved about the enthralling performances of the cast as well on their tweets.