The trailer for Maalaala Mo Kaya’s latest episode tagged #MMKMotherGambler had unbelievably hit the one million views mark nine hours after it was released. And it definitely didn’t disappoint as it was able to stir the viewers with its relatable narrative and the compelling performances of its actors that we’re able to witness on Saturday, January 22.
The inspiring, relatable plot
Titled “Slot Machine,” this tells the story of Luzviminda “Baby” Ybañez, astoundingly portrayed by Lara Quigaman-Alcaraz, whose life implode upon finding out that her beloved husband Dennis (Mon Confiado) had an extra-marital affair. Their once beautiful marriage – which she defended against her family and friends who consistently told her that Dennis was a womanizer – went on the rocks and she became hostile against him. She may have accepted Dennis’ plea for them to still live together for the sake of their three children, but she had never forgiven him nor forgotten what he did.
Thus, as a way of escaping her marital woes, she started to play mahjong with their neighbors and got hooked to it. However, what was supposed to be a mere pastime and way of moving on from her marital woes turned into an addiction as she began to join her friends in going to casinos. She may be still able to do her responsibilities as a mother, but her being a serial gambler had taken a toll on her as she started to use their savings and Dennis’ income to gamble, pushing them to seek the help of her brother working abroad in order to pay for their kids’ tuition fees after she failed to update their educational plans. She even had to sell their television set and computer in order to pay for the bills and bring food to the table, even though their firstborn Daphne (Jacqui Leus) was already sending money to them and Dennis gave her all his salary.
Knowing how dismayed her family is to her, Baby promised her youngest daughter Con-Con (Angelica Lao) that she would already change. Unfortunately, she failed to fulfill it as she snuck out of their house one night, leading to her getting caught. This sparked their heated confrontation, with Daphne reprimanding her for putting her hard-earned money to waste and Dennis telling her how he tried his best to understand her, yet it was already too much. As they offered to send her to a rehabilitation center, this enraged Baby and once again put the blame on Dennis’ infidelity many years ago. But Daphne defended her dad by saying that he had already changed since then and everything she does at present is already her decision.
While Daphne, Joan (Luciana Andres), and Dennis went indifferent towards Baby, Con-Con still chose to be there for her mom, to the point that she let her pawn the jewelries given to her by her sisters in order to lend her friend cash. Unfortunately, that friend of her refused to pay her, compelling her to borrow money from Con-Con’s boyfriend Ralph (Miggy Campbell) in order to pay for her other debts. This infuriated Con-Con, which further amplified when a woman went to their house to warn her to pay for her arrears, otherwise she would file an estafa case against her.
As Baby decided to leave in order for her family to not see her getting arrested, Con-Con stopped her and told her that she and her sisters would chip-in to pay all her financial responsibilities. Con-Con told her that she’s not actually mad at her, but only with what she did. She asked her mother to forgive their dad in order for her to prove that she’s already changed.
Baby heeded to her pieces of advice and was able to patch things up between her and Dennis. She joined a Bible group at a church to help her get over her past mistakes and was able to mend her relationship with her whole family.
The valuable takeaways
This episode reminds us that there is absolutely no such thing as a perfect family. As much as we wanted it to appear like one, obstacles and troubles will come our way that would put our relationships to the test. But we’re surely going to overcome those as long as we have our loved ones beside us who are willing to face those with us hand-in-hand. Because at the end of the day, the unconditional love we have for our family will still prevail.
Besides, it’s also a great reminder that forgiveness is not only something that we give for the people who trespassed us, but for ourselves as well in order for us to be at peace. Even though our traumas are not entirely our fault, we cannot blame it to other people or the circumstances forever because we are responsible in our own healing. We should learn to be responsible with our own actions.
The compelling portrayals of the cast, superb storytelling
Lara Quigaman was able to prove that she’s among the seasoned actresses in the industry as she’s able to compel the viewers anew with her dramatic prowess through her portrayal of the titular “Mother Gambler” Baby. She was able to exude the pain and rage any women fooled by their partners would feel, and at the same time annoy us with how her character stubbornly repeated her mistakes.
Character actor Mon Confiado also astounded us with his performance as Dennis, as he was able to stir us even just through the emotions projected by his eyes. Meanwhile, fast-rising artist Angelica Lao was able to impress us with her dramatic chops. And from being Julia Montes’ double in the 2017 soap opera Doble Kara, up-and-coming artist Jacqui Leus indeed amazed viewers with her portrayal of Daphne.
Other supporting actors comprised by Jef Gaitan, Luciana Andres, Miggy Campbell, and Elaine Plopenio all did a great job in playing their respective character as well. Of course, the superb storytelling of Director Raymund B. Ocampo and writer Joan P. Habana should not be overlooked as well.