Wednesday, February 15, 2012

My Beloved - Pilot Episode

My Beloved Episode 1 – aired in the UAE on 14th February 2012

Scene opens with heavy rains in the busy streets of Manila. A huge accident with a bus falling off the overpass and hitting some cars on the street below is currently being attended to by rescuers and medics. On the railings of the overpass we see several men, invisible to the mortal eyes of the people in the vicinity. They are half-naked with long hair and what looks like glowing wings. They are angels or what is called as “sundo” or in English, “the collector” – the one who will fetch you at your death and lead you to the next – definitely better-looking than Death and perhaps, if it was me, would be willing to go along with to wherever. After a while, the bus explodes as the angels look on. Then focuses on one particular sundo, it’s Arlan played by Dingdong Dantes.

In a house somewhere a child is show sleeping in a bedroom shared with another, possibly her sister. A woman enters the room carrying a suitcase. She looks really distressed and crying as she appears to be leaving. She softly laments, “Patawarin nyo ako mga anak. Ayaw ko kayong iwan.” (Forgive me my children. I don’t want to leave you.) She hugs and kisses one daughter as she whispers, “Mahal na mahal ko kayong dalawa.” (I love you both very much). The girl wakes up, “Inay?” (Mother?). She smiles up at her mother who tells her, “Tulog ka na.” (Go back to sleep.) She gazes at her mother with complete love and trust as she slumbers on. The woman goes to the other bed and hugs and kisses the other girl while still crying. She grabs her bag and as she turns to leave, the bag caught a figurine by the side table and it drops the object. It’s a figurine of a tiny angel.

It is now morning and one of the two girls is already away. She picks up the broken angel off the floor and wonders. A loud noise can be heard outside which wakes her sister and startles both girls. They come out of their bedroom to see their father crying.

Tay, bakit po?” (What’s the matter, father? Why are you crying?) Apparently angry and bitter at the actions of his wife who left him he blurts out, “Iniwan na tayo ng nanay nyo!” (Your mother left us!)

Both girls deny it and shake their heads in disbelief as they too begin to cry. The man continues, “Sumama na siya sa lalaki nya.” (She ran away with her lover.)

One child cries, “Di po totoo yan.” (That’s not true.) Not accepting their father’s words but he adds, “Mas importante ang lalaki nya kaysa sa inyo.” (Her lover is more important to her than the two of you.) In his grief, his love for his daughters surfaces and he promises, “Mga anak, pangako hahanapin ko ang nanay nyo.” (I promise to look for your mother.)

But one of the girls angrily replies. “Wag na po. Kung ayaw nya sa atin, ayaw ko na rin po sa kanya!” (Never mind, father. If she doesn’t want us anymore, I don’t want her back!)

Daughters and father hug one another as the father further promises, “Hinding-hindi ko kayo iiwan.” (I will never leave you.)

Later outside the house the girl who found the broken angel is trying to fix it when her sister comes and asks, “Ate, anong ginagawa mo?” (Big sister, what are you doing?)

The elder one replies, “Inaayos ko itong anghel, bigay ito ni Nanay.” (I’m trying to fix this broken angel that was a gift from our mother.)This distresses the younger sibling who cries, “Wala na sha, iniwan na nya tayo!” (She’s gone, she went away and left us!) The elder girl is more hopeful, “Babalik si Nanay, babalikan nya tayo.” (Mother will return, she will come back to us.)

A car stops in front of their home and both girls’ faces instantly lights up, both hoping it is their mother. “Inay?” (Mother?)

Another woman comes out looking really agitated and shouts, “Perla lumabas ka, ilabas mo ang asawa ko!” (Perla, come out of there and show me my husband!)

The girls' father comes out of the house telling the woman that neither Perla nor her husband are inside. But the woman doesn’t believe it and instead brings out a gun. The girls’ father tries to calm her down which only seems to make her more frantic. He tries to convene her to put away her gun thinking about the safety of his girls. He reaches for the gun but the woman starts to pull the weapon to her. They have a bit of a scuffle until a gun shot was heard. The lady had pulled the trigger and shot the father. The girls cry, “Itay!” (Father!)

In the jeepney, the girls are crying by their father’s side as a kindly neighbor accompanies them to the hospital urging the driver to go faster. The father comes to as he looks at his daughters, he repeats his promise, “Mga anak, hinding-hindi ko kayo iiwan. Mahal na mahal ko kayo.” (My children, I will never leave you. I love you both so much.)

In the hospital, the neighbor and the girls are waiting. The doctor comes out and the lady asks, “Doc, ano na ho?” (Doctor, what now?) The doctor is sad to tell the bad news. “Ikinalulungkot ko…” (I’m so sorry…) was all he said. The girls who names we now know as Sharina and Monica go to the lady to ask news, “Aling …,ano na ho ang nangyari?” (Auntie….i didn’t catch the neighbor’s name…what did the doctor say?)

The woman looks pityingly at the girls as she discloses that their father is dead. Both girls cry out for their father as their father’s spirit tries to hug them. Monica, the younger recalls her father’s promise, “Sabi ni tatay, di nya tayo iiwan. Nangako sha!” (Father promised he will never us!)

It’s now at the man’s wake. There are several games like bingo, cards and mahjong. The man’s spirit is looking at his daughters Sharina and Monica crying by his coffin. A lady reminds the girls not to let tears fall on their father’s coffin. She explains that it is the belief of many Filipinos. “Bawat patak ng luha at pabigat sa kaluluwa ng namatay. Gusto nyo bang maging pabigat sa kaluluwa ng tatay nyo?” (each teardrop is a heavy weight upon the dead’s soul. Do you want to be the heavy weights pulling on your father’s soul?) Both girls immediately try their best to stop crying as none would want to cause any more problems for their dead father.

Outside the neighbor’s are talking about the tragic events on the lives of the girls and their parents. Apparently, the grief was also too much for the woman who shot the girl’s father by accident. She went insane after shooting the father of the girls, whose mother ran away with her husband. One neighbor claims, “Kasalanan ito lahat ni Perla.” (This is all Perla’s fault.) Rumor has it that the man she ran away with was her first love. This boyfriend went to the US but after several years came back still claiming to love Perla. It seems that both the man and Perla had been planning their escape for sometime now, both leaving their spouses. Neighbors lament that Perla did not even consider what would happen to her daughters when she did what she did, running away with her lover like that. Now the girls’ father had but one relative, a cousin who had also, already, passed away. This leaves the widowed wife who is the girls’ aunt to collect them and take them under her care as both are still minors.

In another part of the wake, the gamblers are all busy gambling. A woman comes, seemingly the aunt who collects the “tong money” (obligatory pay for the gambling tables, a contribution for the dead). She looks severe and stringent and asks if the “tong” is complete. Gambles assure her of their honesty as she pockets the money.

After the wake and burial of their father, Sharina is in their bedroom packing. She picks up the broken angel and packs it in her bag. She looks around, seeing that Monica’s bed is still full of her things, still unpacked. She looks for her sister and finds her in their parent’s bedroom talking to her own self, hugging their father’s blanket (or was it his shirt? Not sure, really…was busy taking notes!).

Sharina asks, “Sino’ng kausap mo?” (Who are you talking to?)

Monica, “Si Tatay.” (I’m talking to father.) She explains that she can still feel their father’s spirit and according to their neighbor, a dead person’s spirit continues to roam around for 9 days.

Alam mo ate, Gabi-gabi kong kausap si itay,” Monica continues. She reveals that she can still feel their father’s presence and that when she sleeps, she can feel their father embrace her.

This is actually true as their father’s spirit if there along with a “sundo”.

Monica hugs the blanket and cries, “Itay…” Sharina comes to her sister and hugs her as their father, though dead and now in spirit form, hugs both daughters.

It is time for the girls to leave their home and go live with their aunt. The aunt calls, “Halina kayo!” (Come now girls!) Putting bags into the owner jeepney and motioning for the girls to ride. Monica runs back to the house. She returns after a few seconds with a buri hat. She explains she wants to take the hat with her, it belonged to their father.

Their dad looks on as the girls and their aunt ride the jeep and drive off. The jeep rung past him as he utters, “mga anak…” (my girls…)

Soon as the jeep is gone, the dead man hears voices – his mother, his father, his elder brother calling him as he leaves the mortal world and flies us to the heavens with his “sundo”.

The owner jeep arrives in a small apartment in Manila. The aunt hustles the girls to hurry up even teasing, “Tingnan nyo ang tatay nyo, mabagal kaya ayun, natakbuhan ng nanay nyo!” (Look at your father, ever so slow, so your mother was able to run away.)

Before entering her house she faces both girls and has the talk. “Kukupkupin ko kayo, dahil pamangkin kayo ng asawa ko. Pero byuda na ako. Hindi ko kayo mapapa-aral dahil maliit lang ang kinikita ko sa negosyo ko. May isang anak din akong pinapa-aral.” (I’ve agreed to take you girls because you are my husband’s nieces. But I am a widow myself so I cannot really send you to school since I already have my own daughter to support and I only get a small income from your business.)

She admits, “Estrikto ako.” (I’m strict.) She tells the girls that she needs help with the household chores and that they should work hard and help her. As they enter, the girls meet their cousin for the first time. “Yan si Ginella. Anak ko. Mabait yan.” (That’s Ginella, my daughter. She’s very good.) But Ginella looks like a little biatch and we know this is going to the girls’ frenemy.

That night, the girls are in their bedroom – a small bodega actually – and Monica cries. Sharina asks, “Akala ko tulog ka na?” (I thought you were already asleep. Why are your crying?)

Monica weeps, “Ate, di ko na nararamdaman si tatay. Wala na si tatay.” (Big sister, I can no longer feel father’s presence. Father is gone.) Sharina assures her sister, “Hindi kita pababayaan. Nangako ako kay tatay.” (I’ll never abandon you, I promised father.) The sisters hug, the gravity of their situation, the enormity of their grief at losing both parents so soon, hits them.

It’s a new day and their aunt is busy loading her jeep with clothes she will sell. She reminds Sharina to take care handling the clothes otherwise she will not be able to sell them. She tells Sharina to wash their clothes to which Sharina agrees, “Opo, tita Elsa” (Yes, Aunt Elsa. Finally we learn her name! Elsa is played by veteran actress Chanda Romero.) But then Elsa changes her mind, ordering Sharina to go with her instead and help her with her business and just leave the washing to Monica.

But Sharina, concerned for her younger sister volunteers to do the task herself. “Ako na lang po ang maglalaba pagbalik natin.” (I’ll do the washing when we get back.) We can see here that Sharina tries to lessen the burden on Monica by carrying most of it herself.

Monica whines, “Ate, ayaw ko po dito.” (Big sister, I don’t like it here.)

But Sharina lets her sister face reality. “Monica, wala na tayong mapupuntahan. Hayaan mo hahanapin ko si Nanay.” (Monica, we have nowhere else to go. Never you mind, I shall try and look for mother.)

But this angers Monica who spats, “Wag na! OK na ako dito kahit estrikto si Tita Elsa.” (Never mind! I’m OK here even if Aunt Elsa is strict.) Indicating how hurt and angry she still is with their mother.

Ginella comes out wearing their father’s buri hat. Monica grabs it away from her with such force that she thought Monica was strangling her. Ginella cries and calls her mother. She tells Elsa what happened and Elsa reprimanded the girls. “Para yan lang, maldita ka. Huwag nyo kaming pagdadamutan dahil nakikitira lang kayo dito.” (You’ve hurt her for just that? You are a bad-mannered girl! Don’t you try to be greedy around here because you’re only here because of my kindness!) She slaps Monica and taunts her, “Masakit ba?” (Does it hurt?). Sharina hugs her sister and apologizes to their aunt, “Pasensya na po, tita Elsa.” Ginella looks at her cousins with malice.

The dysfunctional group thrown together into what is now a family dine together. Ginella chokes and scream for water. Elsa orders Monica to get water for her Ate Ginella. Sharina gets up and volunteers, “Ako na lang po.” She gives the water to Ginella who drinks it. Monica reminds Ginella that it is good manners to say thank you, “dapat marunong mag-thank you, yan kasi ang turo ni nanay.” (Saying thank you is good as taught by mother.)

This irks Elsa who mockingly replies, “Huwag mo kaming turuan! Para tubig lang magta-thank you pa. At huwag mong gawing santo yang nanay mo – sumama nga sa ibang lalaki!” (Don’t you dare teach us! And for water only, you have to give thanks? And don’t you make a saint of your mother as she ran away with another man!)

Sharina tries to change the topic by again asking her aunt if she could possibly go to school. Elsa is firm that she cannot afford to let her do so. Sharina suggests that there are schools offering free tuition but Elsa tells her she can’t afford lunch money. Sharina persists and says she doesn’t need lunch money, she can bring her own food to school. By this time, Elsa denies her saying there will be no one to help her in her business.

Sharina maintains, “Gusto ko pong mag-aral.” (I want to study)

Elsa makes herself an example that education is not really important. She didn’t go to school but she ended up to become a businesswoman. “Ang importante, abilidad. Isipin nyo kung papaano kikita ng pera kahit bata pa.” (What’s important is the skill. Think how you can make money even at a young age.) Sharina cries with her dreams of studying being crushed.

Elsa takes Sharina to a karinderia (a fast-food cafeteria) offering her niece as assistant in the place to do anything the owner wants. She tells Sharina, “Kaya mo na yan” (You can do it) to which the girl obliges. The owner was hesitant seeing that Sharina is too young and fearing she might get into trouble with the law in case she gets sued for unjust labor practices involving children. But Elsa persists, “Ako nga, 8 years old lang nung nagtrabaho at saka di ba mas mura kasi nga bata?” (I myself started work at 8 years old and isn’t it you get to pay lower wages to children?) Finally the owner agrees and calls another assistant to train and orient Sharina about their business. Elsa grabs the chance to get cash advance off Sharina’s pay from the owner who was doubtful at first but also gives in.

So Sharina is now employed, at the early age of 9, and is seen wiping tables and cleaning the karinderia when she spots some girls her own age in their uniforms with their bags and books, walking together on their way to school. She felt sad about her situation and pauses for a while. A woman is watching her closely. Sharina is called by a fellow assistant and hands her a bag. She smiles and gives the bag to the lady, “Aling Lily eto na po ang paborito nyo.” (Here’s your favorite Ms. Lily.)

Lily asks Sharina why isn’t she in school to which she replies that her aunt doesn’t approve of her studying. Lily thinks for a while and makes a decision, “Tuturuan kita. Retired teacher ako.” (I’ll teach you. I’m a retired teacher.) Sharina lights up, happy to learn and agrees to go to Lily’s house after her work is done in the foodstore. Lily gets up and immediately feels some pain in her back. Sharina is there in a second to help her.

In Lily’s house, the furniture looks old, gloomy, mostly antiques. Sharina sees that Lily still suffers from her back pains. “Bakit po maraming Santo?” (Why are there so many sculptures of saints?) Lily winces as she explains, “Negosyo ko yan. Simula nang tumigil ako sa pagtuturo.” (That’s my business since I stopped teaching.)

Lily and Sharina are studying. They begin with the alphabets. (A, B, makes me wonder bakit ganong, 9 na si Sharina, di sha pinag-aral ng sarili nyang mga magulang? anoveh?!

Back in her aunt’s house Sharina teaches Monica what she learned from Lily. She promises her younger sister to teach her whatever Miss Lily will teach so Monica also gets to learn things.

The homeschooling continues and Sharina is now writing at Lily’s house when Lily appears, “Pagkatapos nyan, tuturuan naman kitang magluto para matuwa naman sa iyo ang tiya mo.” (After that, I’ll teach you cooking so your aunt will be pleased with you.)

Sharina wonders, “Bakit po eh ang sungit-sungit nun?” (Why for when that woman is such a witch.)

But Lily insists and advises, “Suyuin mo para maging mabait sa inyo.” (Try to get into her good graces so she will not be such a tyrant.)

Dinner time at Elsa’s and Sharina presents what she cooked to her aunt and cousin. “Ako po nagluto nyan, turo po ni Maam Lily.” (I’m the one who prepared this, as taught by Miss Lily.) Ginella tastes the food and immediately screams, “Di masarap!” (Tastes awful!) Elsa tells her own daughter off, “Huwag ganyan, nagluto na nga eh.” (Don’t be like that. She made an effort to cook for us.) She takes a taste as Ginella repeats, “Di masarap”. Elsa also agrees but still happy at what Sharina did. “Oo nga, pero OK na rin.” (Yes it tastes bad but it’s OK.) She likes the initiative that Sharina did as she’s always busy out and still has to worry about preparing food when she gets home. Now Sharina can do the cooking for them too. (But I like how they presented Elsa as strict but fair and not your typical madrasta that just abuses the children for no reason. She got angry with Monica protecting her own child which is natural for mothers. But she's also a bit sly about making Sharina help her and work for her. Mukhang pera lang sha but not really evil. Still wondering which one is the lesser evil though as it's been known that money is the root of all evil.)

Back in Lily’s house, Sharina and Lily sit together and Lily combs Sharina’s long ang beautiful hair. Lily observes that Sharina looks sad and asks the girl why. Sharina replies that she just remembers her mother who used to comb her hair the same way. Lily ponders and suggests, “Gusto mo, nanay na lang itawag mo sa akin?” (If you want to, you can call me mother.) Sharina seems happy to agree, “Sige po,” and hugs the kind woman.

Sharina shows her angel figurine to Lily and the woman can see that it is broken.

It's another scene with Sharina still in Lily’s house is now looking for something, shifting books and peeking under papers. Lily arrives and gives the angel to Sharina. Its broken wing is now attached and it is fixed. Sharina smiles and happily thanks Lily who explained that she had one of her men (in her business) fix it for her.

Sharina tells Monica everything about her “Nanay Lily” while Monica was petting a cute puppy. Monica tells her sister that a neighbor gave it to her. Sharina asks her what name does she want for her pet. (So Sharina gets the love of a mother in Lily while Monica is mothered by her elder sister. Ano kaya ang psychological implications nito sa isang bata?)

The puppy grows into a god and Monica is now all grown up too (She’s Glaiza De Castro). She comes out the house and pets her dog and sees her sister coming, carrying clothes in hangers, Sharina is also a young lady now. (Marian Rivera is Sharina) She smiles as she comes towards her sister.

Elsa arrives, the jeep loaded with clothes, cutting short the girls’ reverie. “Hoy ibaba nyo na itong mga gamit ko.” (Hey, come and bring down all my stuff.” Sharina replies, “Opo” (yes) ever obedient.

Monica, ever the rebel comments, “Kala mo kung sino makapag-utos.” (She thinks she’s royalty the way she orders us around.)

Sharina admonishes her sister, “Mamaya marinig ka.” (Careful, she might hear you.)

To add more grief to the sisters’ lives, Ginella screams from an upstairs window at Monica, “Hoy nasaan ang sapatos ko, may interview ako ngayon eh?” (Where are my shoes? I've got an interview now! Ginella is now the all grown-up, Saab Magallona.) Monica answers uber sweetly (and fakely) that it's all prepared in her room.

Monica mumbles, "Kung ahas lang yan, tinuka na yang malaki mong mukha eh" (Had the shoe been a snake, it would have bitten your big, fat face.)

Ginelle overhears something but is not sure, "Ano?" (What?) To which Monica replies, "Wala, sabi ko ang ganda ng mukha mo, fresh!" (Nothing, I was just saying your face is so beautiful, so fresh!)

But as soon a Ginella is gone, Monica reverts, "Kako mukha mo maga, kaya di ka natatanggap sa mga interview mo." (What I mean is you face is too huge and swollen, no wonder you don't get accepted in your interviews.)

Monica's mumblings are funny and insulting and Sharina laughs at her sister’s sarcasm. As they take the bags of clothes and enter the house, Sharina appears to glow and an angel, a sundo appears unseen in their midst.

Sharina still works in the same karinderia and serves the extra rice to a customer who seems to be a regular in the place. The guy asks, “Sharina, kelan tayo magde-date?” (When are we going out on a date?) To which Sharina replies, “Sorry, di ako nakikipag-date.” (sorry, I don’t date). As she leaves, the guy’s friend teases that Sharina seems to be unattainable. But undaunted the guy assures, “Babagsak din sa mga kamay ko ang Sharinang yan.” (That Sharina is going to fall into my hands, you’ll see.) (OK the sundo's apprearance and this guy's comments screams, not just hints, of doom for our heroine.)

Sharina is at Lily’s house. It is dark and she looks concerned. “Nay Lily, may dala po akong pagkain.” (Mother Lily – isn’t this the famous Regal Films matriarch’s name? – I’ve brought some food.) She looks around and finds the now elderly woman on a chair.

Sharina thinks the worst and runs to her, “Nay Lily?” She tries to wake her, gently shaking the old lady. Lily stirs and coughs. Sharina is relieved. “Bakit po dyan kayo natutulog?” (Why are you sleeping there?) Lily winces in pain as she rights herself, “Hinihintay kasi kita.” (I was waiting for you.)

Sharina apologizes for being late. “Pasensya na, ang dami kasing tao. May dala akong pagkain.” (Sorry, there were so many customers. I brought food.)

Lily looks at the young woman she has tutored all these years and smiles, “kahit di ako nagka-anak, parang ikaw na ang anak ko.” (I consider you the daughter that I never had.)

Sharina smiles back, “Ganoon din po ako, nanay na rin po ang turing ko sa inyo. Kain na po tayo?” (And I consider you as my own mother. Come let’s eat.)

But Lily keeps on staring at her prompting her to ask, “Bakit po?” (Why are you staring at me like that?)

Lily only says, “Malapit na.” (It is near.)

Sharina puzzled, queries, “Ano hong malapit?” (What’s near?)

Lily gets another coughing fit and Sharina’s question is left unanswered.

Sharina is walking home and it appears to be pretty late. There is no one else in the streets save for her when she senses that someone is following her. She looks around and continues walking. We see two men behind her, the guys in the karinderia earlier. She grab her and pin her to the ground. Sharina screams, “Bitawan nyo ako!” (Let go of me!) But the men continue to hold her down and punches her to keep her from screaming. Arlan, the angel (who is Dingdong) appears and Sharina can see him but the two guys don’t. Sharina desperately speaks, “Tulungan mo ako.” (Help me.)

End of Episode.

Lily is looking at a picture frame with a face illustration saying, “Malapit na tayo magkita muli.” Sharina sees the same framed illustration and realizes she’s seen this man already. She wonders why Lily has the illustration of the same man.

Good start. Love the accident scene, tinalo pa ang Bourne Legacy! I know it caused quite a stir when some media mistook it to be a real traffic accident and people nearby thought so as well. This production set is movie-film level! I also like it that they didn’t let the childhood years of the cast drag on. Usually to give exposure to young thespians, the shows would stretch the story a bit for say 2 – 3 episodes before we meet the adult casts. It’s good to see it all happen in one episode and jump to the main characters immediately. I’m thinking this is like City of Angels…hmmm let’s see but really good solid start for My Beloved. Umpisa na naman ng telebabad!

Happy 4th year anniversary to the Marian Knights! Marian Rivera’s fan club borne out of Guys and gals, we have a new addiction!

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