No matter how much we go astray, it’s how we choose to redeem and reform ourselves not only for our own good, but also to lead others to their own furtherance.
That was the treasured life lesson we can all keep in our hearts learning the story of Abe (Claire Ruiz) in the heart-wrenching yet inspiring Maalaala Mo Kaya episode “Bibliya,” which was re-aired on April 24.
Abe had been God-fearing and faithful child owing to her closeness to her father (Simon Ibarra), who was a dedicated pastor giving non-stop Bible studies. And this took a toll on him, after an unexpected aneurysm claimed his life as he evangelized.
This led to Abe’s downspiral as writhed from her unspeakable loss. She turned rebellious, turned against her mother (Kristine Garcia), who decided to work in Thailand now being the sole breadwinner. This further brought Abe’s life into disarray. While she still continued her studies, Abe surrounded herself with the wrong people. They influenced her into severe alcoholism and illegal drug use as a way to show her deep rancor over her misfortunes.
This led her to go over the edge, throwing caution to wind and continued her partying and senseless ways. And this caused utter ruin, after her so-called male friends gang-raped her as she laid drunk. Bewildered and lost, Abe would roam the streets aimlessly until her schoolmates spotted her. While she did recover, Abe’s broken morals took over her life, and led a double life—a dedicated student on one end, and a luscious cybersex worker on the other. She did earn a lot from her “part-time work” and eventually reached her dream of becoming a teacher.
As a teacher, however, Abe’s careless behavior again got her into trouble, as she was caught having sex with her male student. She faced a criminal complaint from the student’s parents and this again made her go astray, leaving her work as a teacher and reconnecting with her misbehaving and abusive friends.
Abe would then go back to her old ways of partying, drinking, and drug abuse until she suffered from a debilitating illness.
At her hospital bed, she would have visions of her dead father, who she had sensed urging her to change her ways. "Kahit na isang patay na kahoy, pwede maging Krus,” her father told her as he encouraged Abe to walk the right path.
After recovering from her illness, Abe would then seek professional help, immersing herself into rehab to regaining the sanity and uprightness she once had. And part of her reform is reconciling with her mother, who accepted her with open arms.
Abe had since been active in the organization “Rescue Kabataan,” which seeks to save youths just like her who has gone astray and brought back into taking the right path with the help of her reinvigorated walk in faith.
Powerful and piercing, MMK “Bibliya” goes beyond the message of faith it obviously fosters. It is more about having to acknowledge the terrible mistakes in life, pick up the pieces, and mold a new and better you.
Director Dado Lomibao was again at his best in coming up with a stirring, self-reflective episode that should continue to spark change in all of us, even if it had been about three years since it originally aired. And direk Dado brought the best in all of those part of the cast.
Mutya Orquia, as the young Abe, was particularly effective in giving context to her character’s about face transition. She would give a deep, moving performance that people could relate to as they deal with their own misfortunes.
Kristine Garcia was also effortless and cunning in her deeply felt performance as Abe’s mother. Her return to acting in this episode was indeed met with great praise and acclaim, crafting a sensitive and piercing dramatic performance.
But we are most impressed with Claire Ruiz’s solid, reverberating performance as Abe. She took viewers to the core of her character’s deep emotional and moral distress. Claire reached the next level in our artistic journey, showing she will not leave any stone unturned in bringing out a genuine, unadulterated portrayal.