In any serious relationship, we always try our best to make it work—offering our genuine, unconditional love to our partner, whatever it takes. But, not only do we consider the happiness and satisfaction of our significant other, we also give our all to please those close to his or her heart—friends, relatives, and especially their ever beloved parents.
But what if that parent—most notably the mother—totally opposes your relationship? Will you ignore her and just go on with your romance, like nothing else in the world would ever matter or work so hard to seek her favor like there was no tomorrow?
In MMK’s February 6 episode “Blouse,” kicking off the longest-running drama anthology’s Valentine offerings, Janice (Ria Atayde) had that choice. But, in her truest sense of love for her partner Eddie (Jake Cuenca), what she chose was a no-brainer—bending over backwards just to seek the approval of Eddie’s Mama Corsing (Malou de Guzman).
Even at their first meeting, Corsing despised Janice, whom she had caught being scantily dressed and frisky with the male patrons of the latter’s food stall. She took Janice’s gregariousness and playfulness in dealing with customers as being flirtatious, which she believed would eventually break her son’s heart.
Yet despite the hostility, Janice remained a loving, loyal and dedicated partner to Eddie, who would then propose marriage until they actually walked down the aisle and started a family. Throughout all those life moments, however, Corsing was either a no-show, absent, or simply oblivious just because she couldn’t fathom the idea of having Janice as a daughter-in-law.
Janice’s Mamang (Lovely Rivero) would warn her about Corsing’s attitude, which she said would not be easy for her to handle if she wanted to fight for her love for Eddie. Janice told her not to worry, as she could certainly endure it and find ways to win over her “monster-in-law.”
Janice indeed tried hard to prove Corsing wrong by showing her responsiveness, care, and wholehearted devotion to her and Eddie’s family by preparing dishes, faithfully doing household chores, while looking after the needs of Eddie and their children, her husband Tatay Turo (Levi Ignacio). She even gifted her a flowery-designed blouse and a handbag, which Corsing wryly accepted.
Corsing would soon see Janice’s sincerity after Tatay Turo fell ill with a lung ailment, taking care of him by serving him his favorite dishes, such as adobo, while offering moral support and soothing the pain by giving back massages. But it didn’t take long until Tatay Turo would pass on, and Janice was still there to console her and Eddie, despite Corsing’s continued resentment towards her. But certainly, Corsing’s soft spot for Janice is slowly emerging, after she told a relative that her daughter-in-law would be the best person to know the dishes they would serve the mourners and the song to be played during the burial march, as she always knew Tatay Turo’s favorites.
As Janice gave all her time and effort to please Eddie’s family, she would leave her own Mamang sulking, since she could not squeeze even a short moment with her, even during her birthday. When she did spend time with Mamang, it seemed she didn’t want to let go of her, praising her, from being an obedient, loving daughter to becoming a responsible and devoted wife and mother. Janice would then tell her that she hoped to be recognized as a good daughter-in-law someday. Her Mamang would tell that happen very soon. Not knowing that her Mamang was also severely ill, Janice would excuse herself for a short moment before finding her mother unconscious. She would realize Mamang was not responding to her pleas to wake up, and has heartbreakingly passed on, making her break down unabashedly.
After her Mamang died, Janice would fully attend to the needs of Eddie’s family. Yet despite this, Corsing would still only notice her faults. When they faced each other in the kitchen as she was preparing their meal, Corsing said she could not take it any longer. She would tell Corsing she had done everything to win her, yet her mother-in-law chooses to ignore her efforts and still brush her aside. What else can she do, she asks, since Janice tells Corsing that she alone has become the lone mother figure she could up to, after her Mamang had passed away.
One day, as a pregnant Janice tended her food stall, here came Corsing dressed in the blouse she gave her, holding Janice’s favorite kakanin for her daughter-in-law to enjoy. Corsing would even attended to the needs of Janice’s patrons, while castigating Eddie for allowing his wife to still work despite her condition. Shocked and thrilled to see Corsing finally accepting her and being concerned about her, Janice would cherish that moment forever.
Especially when Corsing herself had also fallen ill. Janice would care for Corsing wholeheartedly, with her “monster in-law” now expressing her praise and gratitude to Janice for being that loving and dedicated wife to her son Eddie, responsible and caring mom to her children, and a selfless, kind, thoughtful, and affectionate daughter-in-law. She told her before she breathed her last that she was happy and thankful that her son Eddie indeed found the right woman to be his wife.
Heartwarming yet powerful, MMK “Blouse” had a free flowing abundance of delight, intensity, and depth in depicting quite a relatable story to a lot of Filipinos watching, especially those facing “challenges” with their in-laws. It gives the right perspective and profound, meaningful message to viewers in handling such challenge, by still offering that genuine love and understanding to them despite all.
Such a mix of splendid drama sprinkled with spicy comedic moments and kilig vibes surely won viewers’ hearts, thanks to the astounding direction of Dado C. Lomibao and the wonderful, captivating script of Mae Rose B. Balanay-Batacan and Arah Jell G. Badayos. Not to mention, how Ria Atayde and Jake Cuenca with the veteran supporting cast exuding delightful performances that touched everyone’s hearts.
Jake Cuenca instilled the right combination of enamoring charm and an impressive thespic skillset to pull off his role as the ever-loving Eddie. The way he encompasses his role is very much identifiable and genuine to see, even his laughable timing and revealing comedic skills that gives us an even fresher view of his versatility.
Ria Atayde is as enrapturing as ever with her solid, believable, and enjoyable performance as the sincere, authentically loving wife, mother, and of course daughter-in-law. We all find the delight seeing her journey from being perceived as a “disappointing” distraction for Corsing’s son to actually proving her genuine love to their family, especially to her “monster in-law.” And she nails each scene—from comedy to hard drama—flawlessly.
Yet, we are so astonished with Malou de Guzman’s performance as the feared “monster” mother-in-law, as she showed incredible intensity while brandishing wit and amusement with every onscreen move she makes. We would despise her, laugh at her, and even cry for her as we discover the intricacies of her characterization, even with a lesser amount of lines uttered.