Aside from the hardworking and brilliant researchers, writers, directors, and producers who made sure that Maalaala Mo Kaya would be able to present well-written, compelling, and credible narratives in the past 31 years, there were also the production heads who meticulously oversaw the entire process of creating each episode – from the scouring of stories and interviewing letter senders, up to the creation of the script, filming, and post-production.
At present, the longest running drama anthology is handled by ABS-CBN’s RCD Narratives, spearheaded by Roda Dela Cerna. According to her, it was in 2002 when she was hired to be part of the program, in which she was tasked to apply what she used to do before in making documentary dramas. They would visit the letter senders, attesting that the backbone of MMK is really its backbone.
Maru Benitez, who served as one of the executive and supervising producers of some of its notable episodes, recalled how they used to read sacks of mails from viewers who wanted to share their life stories. Each one of them had an assignment, including its host and Charo Santos, who even brought home some of the letters.
Ginny Monteagudo-Ocampo, former head of GMO Entertainment Unit, meanwhile, remarked that the beauty of producing a show like MMK is how powerful the stories being shared since they all happened in real life.
Roda further commented that the letter senders trusted MMK because they believe that the people behind it and the actors were going to give justice to the story of their lives. With regards to their process of storytelling, Maru remarked that they had to be faithful and stay true to what the letter senders went through.
Meanwhile, Ginny divulged that the main challenge for them as creators and producers was if they’re able to present a beautiful narrative that is enough to convey inspiration to the viewers. Their job could be challenging, but Roda shared that all of those vanishes once they’re able to unleash the emotions of the letter senders who lost their loved ones or something significant to them, who underwent tremendous hardships, and who were able to pull themselves up through an episode. But the most memorable part of her duty as a production head was everytimeletter senders would go back to her and tell her that they’re happy and satisfied with the outcome, which serves as an assurance to her that she’s doing her job right.
The same goes for Maru, who said that nothing truly beats when she heard from viewers that they cried, laughed, and got thrilled after watching an episode they made.
“Kung wala kayo, wala ‘yong MMK. Kung wala ‘yong magagandang kuwento n’yo, walang MMK. Kung hindi kami tinangkilik sa loob ng 31 years, walang MMK. Nang dahil sa'yo, nakilala ang MMK sa buong mundo,” Roda expressed.
Over the past 31 years, hundreds and thousands of Filipinos from different parts of the world have willingly imparted to the world the inspiring stories of their lives, to which we’re able to relate to and even brought us laughter, tears, kilig, and horror.
Among the most unforgettable narratives most views have probably seen was “Rehas” in 2007, which chronicled the journey of a mother who had to take care of her three children who lost their sanity. Letter sender Remedios “Nanay Reming” Reodova, who was played by award-winning veteran actress Gina Pareño shared that many people told her how they got inspired by her story, which showed her unbelievable strength and unwavering love as a mother.
Aside from simply featuring her story, she is also grateful that the program helped her with the treatment of her children, who are currently doing better than before. Thus, she’ll never forget it for the rest of her life, especially now that it is about to end.
Gary Mascariña, whose story was featured not just once, but twice (“Cake” in 2006 and “Titulo” in 2010), is indeed honored to be part of MMK’s history. He has nothing but gratitude as well for the opportunity they’d given him to share his inspiring and memorable experiences to many people.
Meanwhile, Juan Garaña, who was brilliantly portrayed by Zanjoe Marudo in the 2016 episode “Kuweba” that got him nominated for the Best Performance by an Actor in the 45thInternational Emmy Awards, divulged that the episode paved the way for his family to be reunited again after so many years. Tatay Juan and his sons are thankful for all the aid that they received, which truly helped them build a house and live a more comfortable life.
Through sign language, deaf letter sender CJ Reynaldo expressed how MMK has helped him understand more how tough their family had gone through in order to overcome the challenges they had to face. Because of their unconditional love and support to each other they’re able to make it. He wishes that through his inspiring story, people would learn to treat deaf people like him fairly and better. It can be recalled that he was depicted by Nash Aguas in the “Drawing” episode.
Catch the last episode of MMK's “Tatlong Dekadang Pasasalamat” offering entitled “Scarlet Women” this coming December 10, Saturday, on Kapamilya Channel, KapamilyaOnline Live and A2Z.