Anger is a powerful emotion that can consume one’s life, but the story of Ramon in Maalaala Mo Kaya “Kamao” proves that we can be stronger than it and rise above the hate and aggression.
For the November 13 episode celebrating the 30th anniversary of the longest-running drama anthology, MMK retells the inspiring life of Ramon (Coco Martin) 一 from living a life of crime and fights to finding solace in the love of his family.
As a young child, he lived without the love of his mother and put up with the abuses of his father and stepmother. No one could understand his troubles and woes, nor help him with the physical and verbal maltreatment he experienced.
Eventually, Ramon escaped his unfortunate life in the province and moved to Manila. There we see that he only had himself to rely on, but as a child, he could only resort to begging on the streets as a way to live. He had to learn to be fearless and fend for himself whenever he got into fights with other kids. That continued until he grew up and found himself detained in jail.
This moment was a turning point in his life. While he tried to lay low in the detention center, another detainee Lito (Michael Roy Jornales) took interest in him and taunted him into a fight. Lito was impressed how Ramon could throw a punch so after both of them were released from jail, Lito introduced Ramon to illegal or underground boxing.
There, Ramon could fight with no gloves on and no time limit. The goal was to beat your opponent until he couldn’t fight back anymore, so anything goes, whether they kick the other person or hit below the belt. Even if Ramon was injuring, hurting, or even killing people, he never thought twice about what he was doing as he gained cheers and fortune in the process.
However, when he made it to pro, he was bribed to lose to his opponent. Ramon refused and defeated him to a pulp, so his opponent’s camp made it a mission to ruin his life. Ramon decided to escape this by moving back to the province and reinventing his life.
While he still turned to underground boxing, he also fell in love with a woman named Mila (Jodi Sta. Maria). Mila wants a quiet life and without any trouble which she suspected Ramon to have since he’s always battered or injured. Because of this, Ramon resolved to change his life and leave the world of fighting behind to start a family with Mila.
But even as he already had three children with Mila, his fighting tendencies were still buried within him. When his kid got hit, he pushed him to fight back and taught him how. When he got faced with a robbing incident, he beat up the robber and found himself in jail once again.
During his four years in jail, he couldn’t let his family know that he committed a crime, so his family had no idea where he was. When he got back, he was not welcomed, as he had hope. He tried convincing Mila that he could change, and she tried to give him a chance. Sadly, when Ramon was faced with a fight during their wedding, he could not hold back. It was the last straw for Mila. They then left him in jail to repent for his own mistakes.
This specific time that he is in jail is a moving moment because we understand more of Ramon’s emotions. While talking to a counselor, Ramon refuses to see his fights as a crime because he sees it as a way of defending himself or protecting his loved ones; something he couldn’t do when he was abused at home as a child. Fighting back has been second nature to him, and it is hard for him to stop. Granted that this may be true, the counselor still left Ramon with something to ponder on- if he can’t let go of his anger and forgive the abuses of people to him, how can he expect his own family to forgive him? “Buong buhay mo, lumalaban ka. Bakit ngayon ka pa susuko?” the counselor added.
When Ramon was finally free after five years, he was determined to turn his life around for his wife and kids. Initially, the children didn’t want to believe him, but Mila allowed him to regain their trust. Ramon found respectable jobs and made an effort for his kids, even if they didn’t want to warm up to him yet. It was only when he was faced with a fight that his family saw that he really had changed. Instead of fighting back, he didn’t let his anger take over and did not fight back. While he was beaten up and in pain, his own son TJ (BJ Forbes) helped him and brought him back home. From there, his family saw that he could let go of his aggression and become a better father and husband to them.
MMK “Kamao” beautifully teaches us that change is not instantaneous and setbacks can happen, but as long as you learn from your mistakes and emerge stronger, you can become a better person. The way Ramon grew up contributed a lot to the destructive man he became, but he didn’t let the past hinder him from transforming his present and future.
It’s no wonder that this story directed by Dado Lumibao had won the the Special Prize in the Seoul International Drama Awards in 2012. Without a doubt, Coco Martin’s portrayal of Ramon played a major role in reaping that recognition. From beginning until the end, he delivered raw emotions that could make the audience empathize the character’s exact feelings.
The supporting cast in this episode such as Jodi Sta. Maria, Michael Roy Jornales, and the young BJ Forbes also did well in their crucial roles, bringing justice to Ramon’s story as written by Arah Jell Badayos and Benjamin Benson Logronio.
Definitely, MMK “Kamao” will remain to be a notable story as it gives real insight into the life of people who had to grow up in abusive homes, but still manage to steer themselves into the path of a better tomorrow.