Even though the LGBTQIA+ community is already able to penetrate in our society by being widely accepted by people who are open about their chosen gender, it’s unfortunate that there are still who are not ready to fully embrace them yet and even discriminate them.
However, how would it feel if the person who you assumed to be the first one to accept, support, and understand you wholeheartedly would be the first one to discourage you to embrace your genuine self? This was where the “Salamin” episode of Maalaala Mo Kaya shown last Saturday, November 9, revolved that truly pierced our hearts and made us cry.
Starring sensational star Awra Briguela and Soul Diva Jaya on her first-ever MMK stint, the “Salamin” episode tells the colorful and inspiring story of Richard “Timi” Salapare and Kata.
Relatable, heartwarming story
Those who are part of the LGBTQIA+ community, especially those who have experienced the same plight as Timi, were surely able to find themselves in this narrative.
Ever since boyhood, Timi (Awra Briguela), who was then fondly called “Toto”, knew himself as a girl “trapped” in a boy’s body, at the same time observed how mom, Kata (Jaya), was completely different from the other mothers. Aside from being a lesbian, she was also a drunkard and a serial gambler, which compelled Toto to grow up into becoming an independent and responsible kid. In spite of her shortcomings, Kata was able to raise Toto singlehandedly and amazingly managed to send him to a private school notwithstanding the meager salary she received as a street sweeper.
But everything began to change when Kata got injured while at work, which urged her to allow Toto to reconnect with his estranged dad (Simon Ibarra) in order to help him with his college education. Despite the objection of his second wife to whom he has five children, Toto’s father vowed to fund his studies by sending him allowance every month.
From being a closeted gay throughout his life, Toto finally was able to spread his wings and fly when he stepped into college, especially when he became a part of their university’s theater company as his mates warmly welcomed him. His mom was against it initially, but with the help of her live-in partner Raquel (Ynez Veneracion), she eventually gave in.
Apart from being able to showcase his real identity, it was also in that organization where he met Joy (Mitch Talao), who inspired him to take hormonal pills that helped him in his transformation into “Timi”, and Carlo (Finno Herrera), a schoolmate of his who later on became his boyfriend.
Although he’s already accepted by other people, Toto as Timi still found it hard to win his mom’s favor as Kata even forbade him to wear female clothes. Frightened of getting Kata furious, Toto continued to hide his gender and even his affair with Carlo, who even had to pretend that he’s gay every time they’re in front of Kata.
Jaya, Awra’s impressive performances
It was in the confrontation and dramatic scenes in the latter part of the episodes where Jaya and Awra were able to further amaze us with their acting chops.
After coming up with a great excuse when her mom found his bra, Timi wasn’t able to think of any excuse anymore after Kata accidentally retrieved an empty box of pills in the trash bin and caught him and Carlo getting intimate inside his room.
That was when their intense argument occurred, with Kata lambasting him for disrespecting her while Timi imposed his true identity and his right to love the person he truly loves. This compelled Timi to leave and stay with his dad. Not long after, Raquel also left Kata for another man, which indeed added fuel to the fire.
With the help and guidance of her friend Emy (Rochelle Barrameda), Kata was able to somehow gather herself and have a change of heart towards Timi’s situation. But it’s already seemed too late as Kata contracted liver cirrhosis that gave her only one to four months to live. Amid everything they went through in the past, Timi didn’t hesitate to accompany and take care of Kata in her remaining days, which they only filled with happy memories. Their family also had the chance to be complete and take their first and last family photo as his father visited them in order to talk with Kata for the last time.
And what could be the most tear-jerking moment was when Kata was finally able to utter how “proud” she was of Timi for turning out to be a “strong woman” – the words Timi has been longing to hear from her.
Considering that it’s her comeback in acting, not to mention drama, the 49-year-old singer indeed did a great job in portraying Kata, which was actually a challenging one. At the same time, Awra was able to captivate us as well with his promising performance as Timi, especially with how he kept pace with Jaya in their confrontation and dramatic scenes.
Positive reviews from the viewers
The team-up of Direk Theodore Boborol and writer Dickson Comia, together with the rest of the crew behind the MMK “Salamin” episode indeed did a great job in coming up with a story that did not just pulled our heartstrings, but would also be engraved in our minds for a long time.
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The choice of actors was also on-point as it was not only Jaya and Awra who were able to receive pleasant reviews from the audiences, but the cast members as well, especially Pinoy Big Brother Otso Teens alumnae Jelay Pilones and Lie Reposposa, whose fans were delighted to watch their acting debut.