We certainly have that tita who is everyone’s favorite because she is generous in giving gifts and words of wisdom. At the same time, there’s also that one who is being evaded because of her crabbiness and strictness. And Maalaala Mo Kaya “Pulseras” episode letter sender Precious Joy Berongoy and her younger sister were blessed enough to have both in their late Auntie Marlita.
Tagged #MMKBidaSiTita, the episode, which was aired on Saturday, July 23, followed the touching and relatable story of Joy (Elisse Joson) and her beloved Auntie Marlita who proved that it’s possible to give maternal love to someone who isn’t your child or even though you’re not a mother.
Joy was five years old when her mother died and their father left them under the care of their auntie, as he eventually had his own family. She described her as demure, yet grouchy and strict since she seldom talked to them. While she did not oblige them to help in household chores, Marlita imposed a set of rules that she and her younger sister April must follow, or else they would be punished.
However, as they grew old, Joy noticed how Aunt Marlita had become lenient and sweet towards them. She bonded with them, and even dreamt of sending them to private school and then in college, which drove Marlita to take on various jobs in order to support their needs.
Sadly, Joy got a bit mischievous on her first year in high school, which triggered her auntie to send her to her father in Cebu. But she didn’t stay there long as her dad and stepmom Marichu fight often, so Marlita took her back, which made Joy realize how blessed she was to have her in her life.
While we’re already touched by Marlita’s selflessness, we were further amazed like Joy when it was revealed by Lola Fely (Aurora Yumul) that her auntie almost got married to her former boyfriend, but the guy didn’t want Joy and April in tow. This deepened Joy’s appreciation to all her Aunt Marlita’s sacrifices, as well as made her ponder if her tita would have been happier if she didn’t choose them and had a family of her own instead.
This fueled her to take up a degree in Education in college and gradually fulfilled her aunt’s dreams for her. Unfortunately, a series of challenges hounded their family -- her Lolo Donato succumbed to diabetes, while her Lola Fely got blind because of glaucoma – which absolutely affected Marlita. This made her wonder how it feels to have a partner in life and warned her niece, “Ang hirap mag-isa, Joy”. Joy may have promised to remain by her side, but Marlita told her that the time would surely come that she and April were going to leave her as they explore the world and have a family of their own.
Thus, in pursuit of easing the sadness that she felt, the sisters enrolled their auntie in an online dating app, to which she was initially hesitant. Not long after, she met a Dutch online and fell in love. Unfortunately, her heart got broken, which made her believe that nobody loves her anymore. Joy once again blamed herself and April for their aunt’s misfortune in love, but Marlita soothed her by saying that she never regretted choosing them over her own happiness because it’s definitely more painful for her if she wasn’t able to raise them well.
Joy successfully graduated in college, to which she was very much thankful for, as well as to everything that her auntie had instilled to her, such as the value of education and forgiveness. They were able to forgive April when she got pregnant at a young age, and when their father came back in town.
Unexpectedly, a life-changing thing happened to her life when her stepmom asked Joy to adopt her little half-sister as Marichu had to find somebody reliable to whom she could entrust her youngest child. Joy was initially hesitant, but she later on decided to accept the responsibility despite the disapproval of Marlita and April.
As their financial needs got bigger, Marlita had to work in Cebu. This made Joy’s life hard and extra exhausting as she had to juggle reviewing for the licensure exams with managing their whole household singlehandedly. She tried to feign it, but she eventually gave up and obeyed her Lola Fely’s advice to call her Aunt Marlita.
Our hearts got pierced and tears filled our eyes when Joy and Marlita had a heart-to-heart talk, wherein the latter reiterated that she accepted the responsibility of being their guardian wholeheartedly, so she didn’t have to do the same thing she did. After all, it wasn’t the life that she dreamt of for them. Marlita confessed that she’s actually proud of Joy as she bravely plunged to motherhood through her little sister.
Her auntie’s return enabled Joy to focus on her review and eventually passed the exams, making her a licensed teacher. She made sure to give back to her by giving her gifts and helping in the renovation of their house.
Just when things were already getting better for them, Lola Fely suddenly died that got Marlita depressed. Thus, Joy once again reminded her of her promise that she would never leave her and she would take good care of her. However, just when Joy assumed that she’s going to spend more time with her aunt, the universe apparently had other plans as Marlita succumbed to uncontrolled diabetes.
Many of us probably found ourselves crying in the hospital scene, wherein Marlita was already in her deathbed and Joy tearfully uttered “Auntie, sabi mo, ‘di ba, ayaw mong maiwan? Bakit ako, iiwan mo ako, auntie?”
It may have been difficult for Joy to move forward, but it was her remaining family and her students who gave her the strength to go on in life and continue spreading the unconditional love her auntie poured onto her. She may not have a love life at present and has to look after her younger half-sister, but she still feels complete because she’s surrounded by people she loves.
The story of Joy and Auntie Marlita is proof of what genuine love can do to a person. From being harsh and grouchy, we’ve witnessed how Marlita became lenient and loving towards her two nieces. She may not have any experience when it comes to becoming a mother before they came into her life, not to mention that life wasn’t easy for her at all as well, but Marlita’s love for them enabled her to take on the responsibility of raising and taking good care of them. It’s also their love for one another that bound them together amidst the challenges and troubles they went through, and, at the same time, made everything possible. Besides, it’s also a great reminder for young people out there to learn to obey our parents or those people who we consider as one since they only want what’s good for us.
Elisse Joson indeed delighted her fans with her comeback on MMK, which she marked by unleashing her promising dramatic prowess that we truly missed seeing on TV. And that wouldn’t be possible as well without the inspiring talent and generosity of veteran actress Irma Adlawan, astounded us anew with her versatility and compelling acting chops in this episode. The supporting cast Aurora Yumul, Ced Torrecarion, and Bea Borres also did great jobs in portraying their respective characters.
The terrific tandem of episode writer Alpha Fortun and director Nuel Crisostomo Naval were able to successfully carry out their mission of not only giving us another remarkable MMK episode, but in also touching our hearts and ingraining valuable lessons into our minds through the great execution of scenes and stirring dialogues and lines.