Life can be full of tragedies, but its hardships can be weathered as long as you have your family to draw strength from.
Maalaala Mo Kaya’s April 2 episode, “Villadarez Brothers,” touched viewers’ hearts with this message. It is a story of facing whatever life throws at you, but never forgetting your loved ones along the way.
Brothers Michael (Hero Angeles), Angelo (Marlo Mortel), and Anthony (Sky Quizon) lived a simple life with their parents, but it turned upside down when their mother’s health suffered. As their father was crippled by the responsibility and struggled to support the family, he committed suicide. This tragic event broke their mother’s heart and passed away a few weeks after.
The three boys were left orphaned, but their estranged grandmother, Lola Dining (Peewee O'Hara), didn’t leave them to fend for themselves. She took the three of them in and raised them on her own.
At first, the brothers had a hard time getting along with Lola Dining, but they eventually realized that her strict rules and constant nagging was all because she cared for them. This blossomed into a close bond among the four of them.
In the hopes to better their life, Lola Dining accepted the offer of a relative to send the eldest, Michael, to Canada to work and earn more money for their family. Despite the pain of being away from his brothers and beloved grandmother, Michael accepted it to help his family.
True to what Michael expected, it was a difficult life in Canada. Although he was earning money to support his family’s needs, he was lonely and overworked. His sole stress reliever was catching up with Lola Dining and his brothers back in the Philippines. Sadly, his brothers would sometimes be too busy to make time for him. In these moments, Hero used powerful emotions to help viewers empathize with his character’s situation.
Lola Dining made it a point to remind both Angelo and Anthony of their Kuya Michael’s sacrifices and encouraged them to bond together despite the distance.
As time passed, Michael also worked on getting the rest of his family to move to Canada and live with him there. It started with Anthony and then Angelo. Lola Dining’s paper, however, was taking time to be approved, so she was left in the Philippines for the meantime.
Their closeness as a family never wavered, but Lola Dining couldn’t help feeling abandoned. She still pushed Anthony and Angelo to move to Canada without her, it was just an emotional time to see her dear grandchildren go away. Veteran actress Peewee O’Hara skillfully showed Lola Dining’s vulnerability in these scenes with Marlo and Sky.
The three brothers constantly followed up on Lola Dining’s papers, so she could fly to Canada soon. Although, time wasn’t on their side as Lola Dining’s health was slowly deteriorating.
Angelo decides to go home to take care of Lola Dining. Michael and Anthony, on the other hand, couldn’t go home because of work and school, despite desperately wanting to. Angelo felt that his brothers weren’t prioritizing their grandmother, and this caused a rift in their relationship.
Back in the Philippines, Angelo takes care of Lola Dining. While Lola Dining kept in touch with Michael and Anthony, she noticed the tension between Angelo and his two other brothers.
This prompted her to have a heart-to-heart with Angelo. She opened up about her regrets in life, particularly not having a good relationship with their mother when Angelo and his brothers were young. She admitted her mistake for prematurely judging their father, which she disapproved of for their mother. Because of this, she wasn’t able to be with Michael, Angelo, and Anthony when they were growing up.
With this story, Lola Dining encouraged Angelo to fix his relationship with his brothers and not waste his time fighting with them. This part of the story was delivered beautifully by Marlo Mortel’s acting with Peewee. It was easy to convey how heartfelt the lessons and advice Lola Dining gave to Angelo.
With the brothers striving hard again in Canada, they remain hopeful in bringing Lola Dining there with them too. Unfortunately, Lola Dining’s time on earth had ended. The brothers were crushed and mourned her passing.
After Lola Dining’s death, the brothers knew that they had each other to rely on, and they all still wanted to fulfill their grandmother’s dream for them to have a good life. So, they pushed onward and forward with life, with Lola Dining’s lessons in their hearts.
This MMK story translated the value of family and making sacrifices for your loved ones. Life will always have hardships, but you can also always have your family to help you through them. That’s why it’s important to cherish your bond and relationships with your loved ones.
The brotherhood of actors Hero, Marlo, and Sky in this story was also a delightful sight to see. You could feel that they all had a special bond. Moreover, their scenes with Peewee were always a warm moment.
Its hopeful ending was also a beautiful cap to the story, as viewers can take away the inspirational message of moving forward in life despite all the challenges and heartaches.