True love does not always have happy endings, but it is always enduring. Maalaala Mo Kaya’s episode last Saturday, April 23, entitled “Singsing” brought to light the heartbreaking but inspirational love story of Raquel Panganiban and Ralph Landicho.
In 2017, Raquel (Charlie Dizon) was an OFW in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, who was working hard to support her family back in the Philippines. While doing so, she was also nursing a broken heart after having ended her 9-year long-distance relationship. Although, because of a close friend, she was able to meet Ralph (Kiko Estrada), a newfound friend, on Facebook.
Raquel was hesitant at first to become friendly with her virtual friend Ralph. He, on the other hand, was determined to get to know Raquel after their mutual friend told him how kindhearted she is. Eventually, Raquel felt Ralph’s sincerity and found herself slowly opening up to him and his comforting friendship.
After Ralph found out that Raquel’s hometown was just nearby, he took the opportunity to meet her family and finally ask permission to court Raquel. Her father, however, posed a challenge as he didn’t give his blessing completely after finding out that Ralph’s current job was simply tending to his brother’s chicken farm business.
Regardless, this did not stop Ralph from pursuing Raquel. He decided to finish his studies and become a seaman, as he always dreamt of. Ralph’s resolve to push for his goals showed Raquel that he was a man she could be with and made her say yes to being his girlfriend.
Definitely, they experienced the challenges of being in a long-distance relationship, but their love always prevailed. When Raquel was able to have a vacation in the Philippines and meet Ralph in person, it was undeniable that their affection for each other was true. It didn’t take long for Ralph to confess that he sees Raquel as the woman he wants to spend the rest of his life with. Raquel felt the same as well.
Their life and long-distance relationship continued — Raquel went back to Jeddah to work, while Ralph was finishing his studies. Eventually, Ralph graduated and was able to successfully land a job as a seaman. But, as if their distance wasn’t enough, the COVID-19 pandemic, also put a halt to them finally being together.
Raquel went back to the Philippines in the middle of the pandemic, but the situation did not stop Ralph from his plans to propose to the love of his life. As soon as he got back from his duty at sea, he surprised Raquel with the question, to which she immediately said yes. Excited to tie the knot, Ralph revealed that he already had the wedding planned including the date.
A few weeks left before the special day, Ralph started coughing and experiencing alarming COVID symptoms. Ralph tried to brush it off as he was focused on their wedding planning, but Raquel pleaded that he get tested to be safe. When the results came out, it was as they feared — Ralph was infected with the coronavirus.
It was worse than they thought. Ralph got confined to the intensive care unit and wasn’t getting any better. Raquel was losing hope because they were still nursing him to health on the day of their wedding, but Ralph fought to keep going as he was still looking forward to her becoming his wife. Though fate was not as kind because Ralph met his unfortunate end.
Raquel was crushed. Walking inside the church, she delivered her fiancée’s urn instead of getting ready to spend the rest of her life with him. Without a doubt, this heartbreak turned Raquel’s world upside down, but she did not stop living. She still pursued her and Ralph’s dream to put up their own grocery store and cared for her family. While conversing with Ralph’s mother, she admitted that she may not have a happy ending, but her love for Ralph was not for nothing. All the good times and experiences they had will always be meaningful and she will cherish them as she goes through the next chapters of her life.
The loving relationship of the real Raquel and Ralph was brought justice by Charlie and Kiko. Being paired up for the first time on screen, they delivered a surprising chemistry with each other. They also wonderfully captured Ralph and Raquel’s sweetness and growing affection for each other throughout the story. With their skillful acting and deep understanding of their character, the emotions they evoked were remarkable.
MMK “Singsing,” directed by Froy Allan Leonardo, portrayed an inspirational story of love in the time of COVID. Several people struggled with their relationships and some even lost loved ones during such trying times. But fighting for true love will always matter because it’s the kind of love that keeps us going in life, the same way Raquel treated her and Ralph’s love as her strength.
The love story of Ralph and Raquel may have ended in the way we didn’t expect or want it to happen, but it didn’t fail to bring inspiration, kilig, and tears to those who were able to watch it through the compelling portrayal of the headliners Charlie Dizon and Kiko Estrada.