In its more than three decades of presenting real-life stories that made us cry and feel inspired, Maalaala Mo Kaya has become the standard of drama and acting on TV. Many Kapamilya stars are often heard saying that only an MMK portrayal will make them bona fide actors. And when you are that good, you might get repeat guestings on the show, like RK Bagatsing, who topbilled four episodes, all of which left a mark on the viewers.
In this edition of Kapamilya React, RK watched his past performances in MMK and shared details that we haven’t heard of before.
For someone who rarely watches himself on screen, this was a new and enjoyable experience. The first clip was from “Marka Ng Kabutihan” (2020) where he brought to life the tale of Jonathan “Totie” Casimiro, who went viral for his heroic deed of saving a security guard from heart attack using his basic knowledge in cardiopulmonary resuscitation. It was beyond just a trending content, though. Totie had to overcome a series of ordeals including discrimination against tattooed people like him.
To hit the perfect portrayal, RK transformed into a skinhead, pierced and tattooed guy from head to toe. Apart from the looks, he also needed to prepare emotionally since he found Totie’s story so heart-ripping just by reading the script.
“’Pag sinasabi ng iba na kailangan ihelera mo ‘yung personal mong buhay, hindi naman laging tumutugma doon sa material. So, kailangan talaga ng commitment at imagination para ilatag mo ‘yung sarili mo doon sa kwento,” he said of his preparations, adding that open discussions with his co-actors and directors are big help.
RK revealed they shot the episode a few days before the Luzon-wide lockdown was imposed due to COVID-19. They were scared since news reports at the time were all about the earliest COVID cases in the country, not to mention, they were filming in a slum area where houses and people are compressed. Therefore, the challenge was “matapos namin ‘yung trabaho na hindi halatang may pinagdadaanan kami sa likod ng camera.”
One of the lessons in the episode was to stop discrimination against tattooed people, to which RK further added, “At the end of the day, and in totality, tao tayong lahat at dapat nagmamahalan tayo.”
Next was an emotionally-charged confrontation with Shaina Magdayao from the 2018 “Teddy Bear” episode, which made him react, “Ang dami ko na palang iniyak sa MMK.”
RK admitted he couldn’t cry easily in heavy scenes that’s why he’s thankful to Shaina and Director Raz dela Torre for their patience. “’Yung eksenang ‘yun, tumagal bago ko ma-deliver ‘yung tamang emosyon. Kasi hindi laging in an instant nakakaiyak ang artista. I’m one of those actors na hit or miss,” he kept on apologizing to Shaina and Direk Raz. “Hindi nila ako pinabayaan at pina-feel nila sa akin na, ‘Okay lang, makukuha natin ‘yan, pagtrabahuan natin.’”
MMK “Teddy Bear” tells the story of Sheila (Shaina), a doting mother and wife who contracted Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) from her own husband Rey (RK).
RK had another MMK episode in 2018, “Surfboard,” where he played Harry, a surfer who lost his arm in a vehicular accident. Losing his arm was just one of the many challenges Harry faced. Thankfully, he found his light and support from his grandmother (Gina Pareño). This was RK’s first-ever MMK guesting and based on his behind-the-scenes stories, we can say it was serendipitous.
RK said he already met the letter sender during one of his surfing trips to Baler way before the script landed on his lap. Coincidentally, the offer to play Harry’s story came when he decided to stop surfing for a while since he just came from a very traumatic surfing session that almost caused him to drown. But then again, he knew an MMK role is something he couldn’t just let pass, not to mention it was his first MMK starring.
“Nando’n ‘yung dilemma ko kung tatanggapin ko ba ‘to o ayoko muna kasi kumakabog talaga ‘yung dibdib ko marinig ko lang ‘yung dagat, eh. Pero at the end of the day, sabi ko, sige, first ko ‘to, lalabanan ko ‘yung takot. So, bumalik ako ng Baler.”
The first taping day had him surf non-stop from 7 am to 4 pm, helping him overcome his trauma, “Kinain ko lahat ng takot at doubts ko. ‘Yung trauma ko, eventually nawala and naging blessing na rin siya kasi I was able to face my fear agad head on.”
RK recently appeared on the shown via “The Awakening,” which was aired last Saturday, November 19. He played Billy, a man with a disturbing paranormal vision. On the scene where he was practicing exorcism on himself, with the evil spirit depicted by Ryza Cenon, RK reacts that it was an exhausting episode, “Nakakpaagod ‘yun. Grabe! Kasi two days na lang ‘yung MMK ngayon, so all throughout puro intense ‘yung mga eksena namin.”
In every MMK story comes a lesson to be learned by the viewers, and even the actors who put themselves in the character’s shoe. For RK, every MMK assignment humbles him enough to appreciate what he has despite his struggles, which he admits are nothing compared to what others go through.
“It makes you appreciate more kung ano’ng meron ka, the little joys of what you have kasi at the end of the day, mare-realize mo, sobra-sobra pala. Kasi ‘yung iba mas mabigat ‘yung pinagdadaanan kesa sa’yo. Wala kang magagawa kundi just be thankful, trust yourself. Kung bumagsak ka man and fell down, just move on kasi kung sila nga kinakaya nila, ikaw pa kaya?” he mused.
Were you able to catch these episodes, Kapamilya? Know more about these stories by playing this Kapamilya React video.