A father’s love makes up a part of us growing up. If it cannot be fulfilled, a child would feel a sort of emptiness within their heart. The longing for a father would be difficult to forget.
These exact feelings were impacted to us through Maalaala Mo Kaya’s “Flyers” where Jayren Lom-oc or Jai (Maris Racal) shares her story of finding her father.
Ever since Jai was born, she had no memory of her father (Cris Villanueva). Since he left at an early age, she was raised by her mother, Elena (Ana Abad Santos), and her stepdad, Dodong. Though she lived a simple life with them, she always felt incomplete knowing that she never knew her father and why he wasn’t with them. At times, she would feel neglected by her mother and stepdad because they would prioritize her sickly stepbrother. This fueled her sentiments to find a father that may give her the love and understanding she needs.
Elena and Dodong ease her silent suffering by giving Jai a glimpse of who her father is with pictures and kind stories Elena had stashed away. Jai’s heart could not be happier and pleaded to know his whereabouts. Unfortunately, Elena had no idea and this discouraged her from finding out. After all, she has Dodong who would do anything to be the father she needed.
Undeterred, Jai sought a way to find her father. When she had to drop school, she worked different jobs until she could buy a bike and did food deliveries. While doing so, she secretly asked around if people knew her father and put up missing flyers of him.
After endless traveling until the farthest houses Baguio and coming up with no leads, Jai felt hopeless and went back home. She knew that home was a place of love with her mother empathizing with her feelings more and Dodong cherishing her presence as much as he can, so she stayed content and tried to forget her missing biological father.
Until one day, her mother finally found Jai’s father on the internet using his new name “Jericho”. The powerful yearning to continue the search all came flooding back to Jai. This time around, her mother was in full support of what she wanted to do.
Jai packed bags and followed the lead. At a shabby and dangerous-looking apartment building in Manila, Jai finally set eyes on her father and hugged him immediately. Jericho, though quite surprised, welcomed Jai.
It turns out Jericho just went on with his life, but he never went back to Jai and her mother because they were already having a good life and didn’t want to ruin it. He admitted that his life decisions aren’t the wisest and it was best that he left their lives. Until now, he’s still dealing with issues and struggles that would only cause troubles to a family if he lived with them.
Jai tried to understand where her father was coming from. All that mattered to her now was how they would make up for the lost time that they were apart. She begged her mother to let her work near her father’s place and to use the money to help her father get back on his feet. Her mother allowed it as long as Jericho would change his ways and take care of her. Jericho felt grateful to be given a second chance and the time to reconnect with Jai, so he promised to do better and wouldn’t do drugs anymore like he used to.
For a while, Jai and her father were doing well, until it wasn’t. Jai found an empty packet of illegal drugs and paraphernalia outside Jericho’s room. With a mix of panic, betrayal, and worry, Jai rushed to her father’s room only to find that he overdosed.
This emotionally packed story is one that masterfully portrays the numbing pain of longing for a parent. On paper, Jai should be having a completely happy life with a caring mother and kind stepfather, but in MMK’s “Flyers” you could understand why she felt incomplete and needed to seek the truth with her father on her own.
Maris, Ana, and Cris also beautifully portrayed their characters by giving them natural raw emotions. Maris was able to show Jai’s innocence and wonder as a child and how that changed as she was introduced to the bitter realities of her life and the truth about her father. Ana was clever too with the way she imparted the complicated emotions of being a mother that was worried for her child, but at the same time want her emptiness to be fulfilled. As for Cris, he really tapped into what Jericho was going through — a struggling man that wants to be a dad to his kid, but can’t seem to escape his old ways.
Director Jerome Pobocan did a great job in delivering this true story. He was sensitive to all the character’s feelings, most especially Jai’s. With his direction, this short episode was also able to show the different realities of struggling families and stepfathers.
There is more to Jai’s story as we have yet to find out the fate of his father after the overdosing incident and what she planned to do next. This MMK Father’s Day special shall continue on June 19 at 9 pm on Kapamilya Channel, Kapamilya Online Live, and A2Z.
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