Family is the essence of Christmas.
Nothing could emphasize that more than Maalaala Mo Kaya’s Christmas episode “Pansit” aired on Saturday, December 19, which delves on the long-cherished dream of an eldest sister to bring her siblings back together for Christmas, which had been the wish of her mother (Karla Pambid) in her last breath before she passed on.
LOOK: Behind the scenes photos of MMK “Pangako Ng Pasko”
Who wouldn’t? Krystin (Kim Chiu) saw her family break apart, after their mom got severely ill and their father Pablo (Nor Domingo) abandoned his responsibilities over his family. This led to having Krystin’s siblings grow up apart from each other. Krystin and youngest sister Sunshine (Bea Clark) would stay on to look after their mom, Oning (Mary Joy Apostol) would live with an aunt, who would shoulder her schooling in exchange for doing house chores, while Toto (Anthony Jennings) and Melissa (Celine Lim) first went with their father but ended up in the care of another relative. Their father moved on with his life and had a new family and no means to support any of his first wife’s children.
When Krystin’s mother died, she vowed to finish her studies and find work so that she could save up to have her siblings reunite under one roof. With her siblings located in different places, they would only communicate through three-way phone calls or video chats. Just like Krystin, her siblings also looked forward to being together once more, yet financial difficulties and hardships had made this impossible.
But despite all this, Krystin would give them much hope for their reunion, and Oning, Toto, and Melissa would make it appear everything was alright with them, despite all the ordeals they faced.
Krystin would then finish her degree and indeed find a job, but even with her wholehearted dedication towards the fruition of her dream, her income wasn’t enough to shoulder it. Her siblings still had to live separately, with relatives supporting them.
It didn’t take long before Oning expressed her desire to live with Krystin, even if she would lose the support she had gotten from her aunt for her schooling, because of the difficulties she faced juggling her house chores with school work. Even with her limited income, Krystin agreed to take Oning in and said she would find a way to make both ends meet.
Krystin would also help pay for Toto’s studies, while also looking after Sunshine’s education. But then, she didn’t have enough funds to extend assistance to Melissa. She asked another relative’s help in supporting Melissa, who was disappointed that she had always been left out.
As Krystin tried her best to bring her family together, year after year each sibling would go back into her arms for Christmas. After Oning came back, Toto would also reunite with them at their old residence. During that year, however, Melissa wasn’t allowed to join them and she sulked at Krystin for not doing enough to make that happen.
With Oning, Toto, and Sunshine under her care, Krystin would feel the stress and pressure of being a breadwinner. And this made her irritable and demanding—a sign that made Toto and Oning feel they have been a burden for Krystin.
But when Krystin talked to Oning, she told her that she never was burdened by them, only by the pain she felt for not being able to fulfill their dreams of being together again for Christmas, especially Melissa. With this, Oning assured Krystin that she and Toto would also help her in keeping the family afloat by getting jobs of their own. With their assistance, their “Christmas reunion fund” was complete, and they now had the capability to finally take Melissa in as well.
When they rejoiced with the arrival of Melissa at their home for their long-awaited reunion, an unexpected guest accompanied her, their father Pablo. While Krystin first tried to ignore him, she was not able keep her emotions and expressed the anger she kept all these years. She would castigate Pablo for abandoning her, her mother and siblings when they needed him the most and instead found a new family.
When the siblings faced each other at the dinner table, Toto asked Krystin if she has still not forgiven their father. He added that even if she had every reason to hate him for what he did, it is important to forgive and move on to achieve happiness. And this what he really wants to see for Christmas—his ate Krystin being genuinely happy.
Krystin would then head out to seek his father and soften up on him. She said she heard that he has a child with his second wife. He then showed Krystin a picture of their now youngest sibling, who she said seemed happy and contented. Krystin just told Pablo to keep on making his child happy, not like how he treated them in the past. With that, she invited her father in for the Christmas feast with their mom’s specialty pansit on the table, forgiving him wholeheartedly.
After 12 years, Krystin achieved the impossible—bringing together all her siblings, even their father in one table for Christmas, just like what their late mother wished, with her dedication, devotion, inner strength, perseverance, determination, and of course with forgiveness in her heart.
MMK “Pansit” is definitely a perfect tale for the season as it reminds us the importance of family during Christmas, no matter how far each member may have been separated from each other due to even the worst circumstances. All it takes is love and forgiveness.
We are again marveled by the way direk Dado Lumibao put together this touching episode, again with a well-crafted piece with exceptional creatives and breathtaking production value. Its storytelling was so effectual that viewers could easily relate and feel for the characters’ yearning for each other. And this was ably supported by superior editing work.
The entire cast really moved us to tears as they effectively portrayed their characters’ heartbreaking plight, and how they tried their best to overcome it. Anthony Jennings, Celine Lim, and Bea Clark were big revelations, with their moving performances gripping everyone.
Mary Joy Apostol shows how much of an acting prodigy she has been, achieving the kind of genuineness, naturalness, versatility, and intensity even longtime actors fail to achieve. A breakout dramatic role should await her in a grand film or teleserye.
Kim Chiu shone with her dramatic brilliance, stamping her elite stature in the industry as a topnotch actress because viewers all truly felt what her character went through with her deeply felt, identifiable portrayal, even without any lines delivered. She really has achieved that kind of versatility, maturity and sensitivity in handling such roles.