It may have been nine years since teen heartthrob AJ Perez tragically succumbed in a vehicular accident in Moncada, Tarlac, but those who were able to witness his flourishing career then as one of the most promising actors of his generation were still in awe of his performance in the “Tsinelas” episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya that was re-aired last Saturday, July 18.
Aside from that stint being his last television appearance ever as it was broadcast two weeks after his sudden death on April 17, 2011, what made it extra unforgettable was the compelling and brilliant acting chops he exhibited as the teenage Edgardo Dela Peña, a selfless and loving brother who treaded on a tough yet fulfilling journey from Quezon City to Catbalogan, Samar together with his younger brother Dagul (Bugoy Cariño) – only by foot.
The heart-rending storyline
Following their parents’ demise, Edgar was obliged to take on the responsibility of fostering his younger brother Dagul. In his pursuit of living a new and better life, he decided to just go back to Catbalogan, Samar where their other relatives were on his own, thus leaving Dagul under the care of their aunt (Diana Malahay). However, he instantly had a change of mind and heart upon hearing his heart-breaking pleas and seeing his aunt harshly beat him. And their literally long, winding, and challenging journey going to Samar from Novaliches, Quezon City began.
Since they didn’t have any money to pay for their fare, the brothers simply trusted in their strength that they could endure the exhaustion and hunger that their long way home would bring them, as well as in following the directions taken by the provincial buses they saw.
As Edgar aimed to get to their destination the quickest time possible, they almost refused to sleep and only stopped by closed establishments to sleep. However, he wasn’t able to stop Dagul to play for some time when they passed by a public playground and even joined him. He even allowed him to bring with him the broken toy car they retrieved while scavenging for scraps they could trade for at least a small amount of money.
They might have encountered a lot of challenges and went through a lot of quarrels and misunderstandings along the way, but the brothers were able to overcome those as their love for one another still reigned. They took good care of one another and became each other’s source of strength in times they’d almost given up, making it possible for them to achieve their goal – finally arriving in Catbalogan after almost a month of walking and sneaking into a ferry going there.
The moral of the story
Just like in any Maalaala Mo Kaya episode, the “Tsinelas” episode also made us realize a few things about life as well.
First is that there’s nothing impossible for a man who has a strong faith and firmly believes that he can. There might be a lot of setbacks and challenges along the way, but we should keep on going until we reach our goals and destinations.
Besides, the bond of Edgar and Dagul also proves that it’s our family who we can truly depend on in the ups and downs of life. Their unconditional love and unwavering support will be our strength as we go through the storms and hurdle various obstacles in life.
The incredibly talented ensemble
It’s indeed undeniable that both AJ and Bugoy did a great job in portraying their respective characters. While both of them were still young, they’d already proven that they’re indeed the next big things in drama as both of them enthralled us with their amazing performances. Their chemistry was truly unmistakable, making them the perfect choice to play brothers on that certain episode.
Their stints might be short, but actresses Diana Malahay and Rochelle Barrameda and child actor Kristoff Meneses, still impressed us with their performances. Of course, writer Benjamin Benson A. Logronio and director Dado C. Lumibao, as well as the rest of the crew, really did awesome in creating and completing this absolutely remarkable episode.
Thus, netizens weren’t able to contain their emotions, as well as their admiration and yearning for the late teen heartthrob who was only 18 years old when he passed away. Here are some of their reactions posted on Twitter: