More than a month after the unforeseen and shocking demise of Queen of Philippine Cinema Susan Roces last May 20, Maalaala Mo Kaya pays tribute to her by re-airing one of her remarkable appearances on the show titled “Basura” on Saturday, June 25.
The episode, which was initially aired in 2008, tells the story of her character Lola Angge, a grumpy yet hardworking grandmother who lives a fancy life despite being surrounded by literal trash. She resides in a small house with her husband Dom (Eddie Gutierrez), along with still functional random stuff that she’s able to retrieve from scavenging. Thus, she’s dubbed the “scrap queen”.
And their quiet life suddenly changed when their unico hijo Jojo (Gardo Versoza) went home with his wife Ellen (Ana Capri) and three kids in tow, years after he ran away from them to live in Negros. Although Dom, who encouraged Jojo to go back in Bacolod, warmly received them, Angge welcomed them with intense exasperation and derogatory remarks.
While other grandparents pamper their grandkids, Angge taught them to work by tagging them along to the junkyard. Her husband criticized her for doing so and reminded her that they’re supposed to help their son and not make them suffer. This enkindled an argument between the couple, which Jonnel (Jiro Manio) overheard. So, the next day, he woke up early to go to work.
One night, Angge caught her grandkids using her karaoke, which infuriated her and compelled Jonnel to snap and walk out. As Dom consoled his grandson, who asked him how he’s still able to love her in spite her undesirable attitude, this was when he confessed that it’s all his fault why she turned out that way.
He reminisced about the first time that he saw her at a bar, where she used to work as a waitress. Mesmerized by her beauty and blinded by his desire to have her as his wife, he lied to her by introducing himself as the son of the affluent haciendero in their town. Since she was eyeing to marry a rich man in dire hope of not growing old poor, she fell for it.
Dom only mustered the courage to tell the truth after they got married and Angge was already pregnant. He told her that he’s actually just a farmworker in the hacienda and not the heir, which absolutely appalled her. She brought her wrath against him through the years as he didn’t only fool her, but also failed to fulfill his promise of giving her a better life and everything she wanted.
This made Jonnel understand Lola Angge better and perceive her in a different light. As he showed her a little affection by holding an umbrella for her as rummage through the piles of garbage under the scorching heat, he and his siblings noticed how Lola Angge had gone kinder to them. But that easily changed in the coming days as she once again became ill-tempered, which ignited a quarrel between her and Dom.
As she highly valued her scrap collection, she totally got angry towards her grandchildren after they accidentally toppled the showcase holding those. Dom caught the heated scene and tried to stop Angge, which ensued to his severe asthma attack.
With Lola Angge seemingly apathetic about his grandpa’s condition and their financial woes for his medications, Jonnel condemned her for being egocentric. This triggered her to lament on the hardships she went through in their marriage and how the stuff Jonnel tagged as “basura” were actually the ones that filled the void in her that nobody could ever satisfy. Besides, those also symbolized her dreams, her world, and her life.
Their conversation apparently created an impact on her, as she eventually decided to sell her valuables to earn money for Dom’s medications. Just when everything’s getting better among them, Jojo told his parents that they had to leave as he received a letter from one of his friends in Negros, informing him about a new job.
As the day of their departure came, everyone we’re indeed surprised to see the doting and fragile side of Angge after she handed Jonnel a trophy as a memento and giving him and his siblings warm hugs. She also took the opportunity to express her forgiveness to her one and only son Jojo by giving him a tight embrace, which probably made all of us cry, too!
That made be sad and painful, but Jonnel was grateful for the learnings that he and his Lola Angge gained from each other in the short time they were together.
We’re indeed able to see another side of the late Susan Roces in the “Basura” episode of MMK, which we had not seen in her teleserye portrayals as her characters were relatively loving, calm, and kind. Just take for example the now-iconic role she played in her last TV appearance in FPJ’s Ang Probinsyano as Lola Flora. She was able to showcase her versatility and formidable acting prowess with how she stirred us with the emotions she exuded – from being that annoying crabby old woman, the lighthearted grandma who actually loves to dance, to an affectionate lola and nanay who melt our hearts.
The re-airing of this episode also allowed us to see again the dramatic chops of former esteemed child star Jiro Manio, who’s arguably missed by people who were able to see him grow into a seasoned young actor through the projects he starred in.
Gardo Versoza, Ana Capri, and Eddie Gutierrez all did a great job in playing their respective roles and complementing the performances of Susan and Jiro. Child stars Kristel Fulgar and Basty Alcances were already promising then, too. The same goes for Empress Schuck and Angelo Ilagan whose chemistry as the young Angge and Dom won our hearts as well.
This episode also made some if us terribly miss our parents and/or grandparents who we may haven’t seen, hugged, or talked to yet due to various reasons. Besides, this also reminds us that there are things in our lives that we tend to overlook or take for granted, when in fact, they’re the ones that needed to be given importance. It made us realize again what unconditional love really means, as well as of forgiveness, which the characters were able exhibit.
Apparently, we share the sentiments with some netizens who were able to watch the re-aired episode and took to Twitter and used the hashtag #MMKSusanRoces to express how they would miss seeing the showbiz icon on TV, as well as to pay homage to her and laud her exceptional performance. Here are some of the heartwarming tweets we’re able to spot:
Thank you for your unparalleled contributions to the local entertainment industry, Ms. Susan Roces. May you rest in peace.