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Saturday, August 01, 2009

Maalaala Mo Kaya (MMK) -- 18th anniversary

It all started with a stapler.

Eighteen years ago, Charo Santos-Concio (now president of ABS-CBN) met perhaps one of the biggest challenges of her career as a producer (starting as line-producer for Regal Films until she put up her own company). She was tasked to conceptualize a drama anthology which she herself would host. She stunned the doubting Thomases of the network by coming up with a bright idea — in two weeks, the deadline given to her.

During the brainstorming, Charo saw a stapler on the table, picked it up and said, “There could be a beautiful story behind this...”

Since then, Maalaala Mo Kaya (MMK) has dramatized nearly 1,000 true-to-life stories sent in by televiewers, most of whom come from far-flung places, using one-word titles. It has also won numerous awards not only for Charo but for the writers, directors and the actors as well, from KBP Dove Awards, CMMA, PMPC Star Awards, etc.

Initially, recalled direk Olive Lamasan whose directorial skills were honed on MMK, they thought of calling the show Among My Souvenirs and then Memories, with Dulce, Carol Banawa and now Rachelle Ann Go singing the theme song.

“We are celebrating our debut,” said Charo who, surprisingly, has acted in only two episodes even if there’s a continuing clamor for her to act in more (after all, isn’t she a fine actress, one-time Best Actress awardee for Itim in the 1976 Asian Film Festival, directed by Mike de Leon who discovered her?). “Maybe two years from now when MMK celebrates its 20th anniversary.”

What makes MMK different from shows of the same genre is that Charo doesn’t moralize or “sermonize” at the end of each episode; she simply lets the televiewers learn lessons from those whose life stories are featured.

For its 18th-year offering airing on all Saturdays of this month (starting tonight), MMK has teamed up with The Filipino Channel (TFC) which is celebrating its 15th anniversary, starring Filipino actors based in the US in stories of love and friendship, forgiveness, healing and inspiration.

Stay tuned:

• Tonight’s episode stars Ai-Ai delas Alas and Erich Gonzales as mother and daughter in a tragic story;

• Aug. 8: Noel Trinidad, Nanding Josef, Joji Isla, Prospero Luna, Louella Albornoz and Lucita Soriano in a story about the travails of Filipino war veterans, directed by Dado Lumibao;

• Aug. 15: Ryan Eigenmann and Giselle Toengi as a migrant couple who experiences hardships and trials as they try to start a new life in the Land of Milk and Honey, directed by US-based John-D Lazatin;

• Aug. 22: Princess Punzalan, Michael de Mesa and Miguel Vera in a story of a woman trapped in an unhappy marriage, also by Lazatin; and

• Aug. 29: Gina Alajar and newcomer Lauren Young as mother and daughter forced by circumstances to live in America, directed by Lumibao.

“Soon,” said Star Cinema head Malou N. Santos, “we won’t wait for televiewers to write letters to us; we will seek them out, this time Filipinos living and working in other countries such as Dubai and Japan.”



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