For sure, each one of us is born with a gift. However, not everyone has the capability to pursue it and show it to the world. But for artist Rustie Quintana, he’s able to amazingly make the impossible possible through his perseverance and hard work, as what we’ve seen in his life story that was re-aired on Saturday, July 9.
First broadcast in 2016, the episode commenced by showing us the tight bond of the young Rustie with his Kuya Poypoy. As they seemingly grew up to a poor family with parents who always fight and a father who punish them every time they do something that’s disagreeable to him, Rustie was convinced by his Kuya Poypoy to flee. So, one night, they left Butuan City, Agusan del Norte in pursuit of a better life in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental.
As they roamed around Plaza Divisoria, Rustie was truly delighted to watch artists paint on the spot, especially when one of them handed him a sketch pad. They’re also able to meet street kids who influenced them to steal as a means of living, to which he was initially adamant. He eventually learned the trick, but unfortunately got captured by a tough cop (Jeric Raval), who repeatedly punched him in jail before turning him over to the foundation.
There, Rustie (Zaijian Jaranilla) was able to find a mother figure in one of the social workers they fondly call “Mama Norma” (Tanya Gomez), who dutifully looked after him, especially when he was rushed to the hospital due to dengue.
Unexpectedly, his Kuya Poypoy (Kokoy de Santos) returned one day after being imprisoned for a long time. He persuaded him to escape and come with him as he could already give him a good life.
But that didn’t happen as Rustie became a member of an underground fight club and a criminal syndicate headed by the cop who arrested him before. He experienced using drugs and being a holdaper, akyat-bahay, and runner of shabu and firearms while he was still a part of it.
As his life was put in danger after he and his fellow members were shot by an unidentified riding in tandem, this triggered Rustie’s yearning to escape from the syndicate, but not his brother who was afraid of what their ruthless leader could do to him. Thus, he reminded him of the dreams they used to have when they were younger, and also express how he regretted joining him as he wasn’t able to fulfill his promise of giving him a better life. The following day, much to Rustie’s surprise and horror, Poypoy staged a hostage scene with him as the victim and his younger brother as the suspect, as it was his only way of helping him return to the foundation.
However, he was brought instead to the regional rehabilitation center as a few cases were filed against him. During his stay there, he focused his attention on arts and was able to further hone his skills in painting. Not long after, he was emancipated after the judge was moved by his statement and of his social worker about him already being a changed person. As Rustie pleaded for him to be perceived as a blank paper, the judge also decided to have all his criminal records be erased in order for him to start anew.
He got reunited with two of his friends, from which he learned that his Kuya Poypoy was in jail again. He also became friends with the painter he met before at an art exhibit in Plaza Divisoria, who invited him to join their group “Dream Arts Cagayan” after seeing his works compiled in his sketchpad. He lived and conducted various activities with them, while working at the same time in order to support himself.
Rustie (Kean Cipriano) was also able to pursue his studies through the alternative learning system (ALS) as advised by a teacher who allowed him and his two friends to sit in his class. He was able to pass the accreditation and equivalency test and attained his high school diploma after six months. He applied for scholarship and successfully achieved his dream of studying at Xavier University, which his two friends used to find ridiculous.
His Kuya Poypoy (Junjun Quintana) then resurfaced after so many years and he didn’t hesitate to accept and forgive him despite what happened to them in the past. Then they returned to their hometown in Butuan and got reunited with their father, who also forgave and warmly received them, many years after fleeing home.
With everything that he went through, Rustie imparted what he had learned from his experiences to the street children at Plaza Divisoria, saying, “Kung gusto n’yong makaalis sa kalye, kung gusto n’yong baguhin ang mga buhay n’yo, pwede. Pwedeng-pwede. Bakit? Kasi hindi n'yo kailangan ng pera para magawa lahat ‘yon. Ang kailangan n’yo lang, determinasyon n’yo, ‘yong kagustuhan n’yong mangyari ‘yon kasi walang imposible.”
Years after impressing us for the first time with his portrayal of Santino in the classic series May Bukas Pa, Zaijian Jaranilla is indeed able to prove in this MMK episode that he’s the next big thing in the local entertainment scene. He truly did a great job in playing the teenage Rustie as he’s able to compellingly depict his vigor and struggles as someone who have to fend for himself at a young age and commit crimes in order to live. Arguably, audiences were moved by his performance, particularly in that dramatic scene with Kokoy de Santos wherein he blamed him for making his plight worse and how he regretted his decision to come with him. Absolutely, Zaijian shone in this episode.
Of course, it wouldn’t be possible if not for his co-actors who supported him by also giving out their best acting –Tanya Gomez, Kokoy de Santos, Jeric Raval, Paco Evangelista, Encar Benedicto, Kyle Banzon, and Gerald Pesigan. Kean Cipriano and JunJun Quintana did a great job as the adult Rustie and Poypoy, respectively; while Cris Villanueva and Andrea del Rosario wowed us with their cameo performances.
Written by Ruel Montañez and directed by Garry J. Fernando, the MMK “Sketch Pad” episode reminded us to never lose hope in reaching for our dreams and goals in life. May it appear impossible for us because of the circumstances we’re in, but we should not let those and other people’s discouragement hinder us. We should instead strive to break away from the shackles and let our determination fuel us to keep moving forward until we reach our goal.
Aside from that, it also proved how our family is indeed our most constant ally as we could surely run to them regardless of whatever we went through with them. While this isn’t the case for others, but we do hope that acceptance and forgiveness will also prevail onto you, just like what happened to Rustie and his family.
Get your weekly dose of inspiration by not missing an episode of MMK Saturdays at 8PM on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, A2Z Channel 11 and iWantTFC.