REVIEW: Rita Avila, Paulo Angeles rouse viewers in May-December love on MMK “Entablado”

Love comes in the strangest ways, and sometimes when we least expect it.

On Maalaala Mo Kaya’s first of a two-part episode, titled “Entablado” on April 10, finding love is but a stage we need to explore.

Ivy (Rita Avila) found it at the right time, recovering from a traumatic marriage that stifled her from doing the thing she truly loves—acting onstage. That she gave up all for the sake of the man she married who for years abusively manipulated and controlled her into not only giving up her passion, but also her financial stability and self-respect.

Ivy would then seek an annulment, and after all the pain and the lost years in an abusive marriage, she returned to the acting craft and to the theater circuit she loved deeply. And this brought her immeasurable joy, as with the people close to her—her family and friends.



But then, even as she forgotten the trauma she experienced in her marriage, Ivy would stumble upon that same youthful attraction and love for a man in the most unexpected circumstances.

Carl (Paulo Angeles) is actually not the ideal bachelor women would want their parents to meet. Frivolous and promiscuous, Carl would have many girlfriends at just the snap of a finger. Yet his attitude and lifestyle made his future bleak, as what his mother described as “aimless.”

And when Carl seemed hopeless, he stepped into something he loved to do as a student that he thought might bring some direction to his life- stage acting. Joining a theater group as a novice, Carl would soon encounter the mentor he would not take his eyes off from—Ivy, who is 16 years his senior.



Since that meeting at the theater, Carl would become instantly attracted to Ivy, not in the way he draws many women his age into pointless flings or one-night stands, but with whom he is inclined to have a serious, long-term relationship.  This is because Ivy would instill to Carl that kind of self-worth and direction that struck his heart and soul. But when Carl would bring up the matter of his deep liking for her, Ivy would dismiss it, given his debauchery, and the fact that he has a girlfriend.

All the while, Carl’s words that he liked everything about her would stay in Ivy’s mind, the kind of verbal endowment she never heard for a while. This made her appreciate Carl even more, but she held back her feelings knowing the reality that besets them.

And when Carl appeared at her doorstep unannounced, proclaiming a love he never experienced before as he claimed breaking up with his girlfriend, Ivy would only fall weak in his arms as they both kissed. 



As they dated, Ivy would see warning signs of an impending relationship disaster once more: a daughter who cautions her about men these days, her son who’s angry with his father for having a girlfriend who is many years younger, and seeing Carl being chummy with other girls on their date. 

But as they spent an intimate night together, Ivy’s fears even got worse- Carl was moaning another woman’s name as he slept. 

She rushes out of Carl’s room in tears not knowing if she again made the big mistake she made many years back. The answer to this comes in the second episode of the two-part narrative next week.

MMK “Entablado”, which tells the first part of Ivy and Carl’s love story, shows that indeed a second chance at love is something we can’t deny, yet brings so many uncertainties to its genuineness and sustenance.

Storytelling was clear and precise, with Jaymar S. Castro’s captivating lines making viewers truly understand the dilemmas and predicaments the main characters face as we start the two-part episode. Director Raz dela Torre truly made the episode rousing and affecting by guiding the actors into executing an immersive and effective performance.

Rita Avila was as moving and stirring as ever, even as she brings back her romantic lead persona to its fullest glory, something we have never seen in quite a while.  While the conundrum might be evident in people’s minds, her portrayal made it simple, she was just an emotionally scarred woman seeing her deliverance in a love she thought she sees in a man.

Paulo Angeles truly shows much promise as a romantic lead in this major MMK stint. Reminding us of such brilliant actors as John Estrada and JM de Guzman, he can truly make a name for himself in the business with the right projects and consummate roles, just like his portrayal in this episode as Carl.   Paulo was impressive as Carl not only because of his dashing looks, but with the sincerity, purposiveness, dedication and intensity he offers in his portrayal.

Netizens were likewise moved.