Love brings thrill and joy to our hearts yet its genuineness is only reached if support and selflessness towards each other remain in the relationship.
On Maalaala Mo Kaya’s final episode for “Feb-Ibig” on February 26 titled “Caramel Sundae,” the flourishing loveteam of Karina Bautista and Aljon Mendoza made an impressive first marquee dramatic appearance in a tale depicting such an effort needed in achieving this true essence of love.
Theza (Karina) has been a hardworking and determined young woman who works for a fast food chain as she pursued her college degree. While at work, Theza came to meet the newbie crewmember John (Aljon), and they immediately were attracted to one another.
While Theza liked him at first sight, she had apprehensions about getting close to him, given that he came from a well-off family.
One day, Theza needed to get a required yet hard-to-find book in class, and she found out that a few copies were still available at a bookstore near John’s school. After getting John’s number from a co-worker, Theza found the courage to call him. She asked if he could buy that book for her since it was an urgent need, and pay for it when they meet. That became the opportunity for the two to get closer.
John naturally and gleefully obliged and bought the book, which he happily gave Theza when they met at a coffee shop. As Theza wanted to pay him back, John first turned it down. But as she insisted, he gave in, mentioning she can just buy him a caramel sundae.
They subsequently hit it off naturally, with John expressing how much he cared about Theza as days went by. When they sat down and spoke in a night-out with friends, he finally told her how much he liked her. She was speechless at first and did not respond. Since then, John was unreachable for a few days.
Theza realized how much she missed him when he was gone. Worried, she thought her reaction to what John told her made him leave without a trace. But when they met again, John assured her it was nothing about that. As he continued wooing her, Theza could not help but say yes to him. Now in a relationship, they both enjoyed a thrilling, kilig-filled romance.
But when John wanted to accompany her home, she disallowed it, with John understanding that her parents might be strict and prohibit their relationship. But when he tried to surprise her by actually visiting her home without telling her beforehand, Theza was shocked to see him witness the hardship she had been experiencing as part of a poverty-stricken family. Worse, she had been taking care of a mom stricken with post-partum depression, apart from shouldering their everyday needs with her part-time work.
Theza opened up with John about her struggles, and told him that everything that she does, her dreams and aspirations, were all for her mother, her family, and how to uplift their lives. But she told him, she envied her mom, saying she receives all the care and concern regularly, and that no one actually cares for or attends to her own needs. John then assured her that he will be the one who will do just that—fully support, love, and care for her as her boyfriend.
When time came that John introduced Theza to her parents, she realized that John was hurt when his mom ribbed him as being similar to his dad. Theza asked him why he reacted that way, John first revealed that the reason why he was unreachable for a while was that his dad suddenly returned to their family after abandoning them for five years. He told her he would never be like his dad, who he said never accepted that her mom had been more successful than him, and left them for another woman.
As the Theza and John eventually completed their college degrees, and started their own professional careers, with John landing a stable job at a bank, and Theza slowly accomplishing what she always dreamed of—a high-paying job and a fruitful career. As she progressed with her job, she then never forgot to give back to her family, providing much of what they needed financially. During this time, they also decided to co-habit as they worked, and here began the many challenges they faced as a couple.
As Theza became more focused at her work, and succeeding tremendously at it, John perceived her as slowly drifting away from him. But in reality he had been showing his insecurities, thinking that Theza had been better off and succeeding way more than him.
During this time, Theza seemed to just be too engrossed with her work, that she unintentionally lost a good measure of time and attention towards John, who would grudgingly take it against her. But despite this, he still asked her hand in marriage and gave her an engagement ring. When they announced their engagement to John’s parents, his mom asked him why they made it so sudden.
John told her he feared she would slowly slip away from him, given how successful she had been. His mom realized the insecurities John has been exhibiting and voiced her concern that he might end up like his father, telling him he should support Theza no matter what.
However, Theza really had been busier than ever, having her own business catering to many clients, leaving her with even lesser time to spend with John. Theza had continuously begged off from simple dates to important family get-togethers with John due to her work, and this slowly angered John, until he blew his top and told her that it seemed she was not giving him the proper, loving attention as a partner. She answered back saying that it was unfair for him to tell her that, and to perceive her as considering him insignificant compared to her work. She then called off their engagement, giving back to him her engagement ring and walking out on him.
Saddened, John went back to their home and had a chat with his dad, who profusely apologized for all his misgivings, and told him not to repeat his mistakes or he’ll regret losing Theza. Theza, for her part, also talked to her grandmother, who told her never to fail in actively communicating with John all the time, whenever possible, because in relationships such misunderstandings happen all the time. But in the end, love should always prevail.
Theza then tried to call John, but before dialing, she noticed a message from him, saying that he will be waiting at a restaurant they frequent for them to talk things out. He said that if she doesn’t arrive, it meant that she has given up on him and that he respected her decision.
Realizing it was just over an hour before the time John mentioned, she rushed to the restaurant but saw that John wasn’t there. Regretting her actions, Theza blamed herself for all that has happened, and rued that indeed John has given up on her. But to her surprise, John was actually still there waiting for her. “Sino ang sumusuko?” he asked her, and they embrace, profusely apologizing to one another for their previous outburst and assuring their deepest love for each other. John then knelt on one knee and showed her the engagement ring she previously gave back. But instead of him popping the question, it was Theza who told John, “Will you become my husband?” John then said yes, placed the ring on her finger, and hugged once more.
Theza and John then walked down the aisle and had since shared a life not only as a loving, supportive and blissful married couple, but they also have always remained supportive, openly communicating about all the issues and travails they realistically face in their continuing journey as a family.
MMK “Caramel Sundae” is one delightful, kilig showcase that not only brings excitement and thrill among KarJon fans but also gives enlightening lessons about love and relationships. Director Raz dela Torre’s able and masterful creative leadership indeed made the episode quite an entertaining and enlightening piece.
But what is quite apparent is that the love team of Karina Bautista and Aljon Mendoza is certainly ready for the big time, as their unquestionable onscreen chemistry, intense acting maturity, and dramatic compatibility were quite evident. Likewise, Karina and Aljon also showed their individual prowess in their craft, as they exhibited quite a wide dramatic range in their performance.