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REVIEW: Arjo Atayde, Sylvia Sanchez, Hero Angeles share moving moments in in MMK29’s Opening Salvo featuring the life of Dr. Israel Bactol

Arto Atayde shines in the Dr. Israel Bactol’s story, which serves as MMK’s 29th Anniversary opening salvo

A2Z | Kapamilya Channel

Maalaala Mo Kaya

Actors: Arjo Atayde, Sylvia Sanchez, Jane de Leon, Hero Angeles, Rommel Padilla
Format: Drama anthology
Premise: Lives of letter senders are dramatized featuring some of the industry’s brilliant actors.
Timeslot: Saturdays, after I Can See Your Voice

Why You Should See It

Arjo Atayde, Sylvia Sanchez, and Hero Angeles, share powerful moments in the first part of MMK’s two-part special, which loyal followers will surely have their hearts shed tears.

The longest-running drama anthology in Philippine television returned on Saturday, November 28, featuring an utterly moving story about self-sacrifice, compassion, and heroism. First episode in a 2-part special, The Dr. Israel Bactol Story showcases Arjo Atayde’s artistic brilliance, as well as the powerful support from equally outstanding actors, led by his very own mother, Sylvia Sanchez.

Marking the drama anthology’s 29th anniversary, the Israel Bactol’s story feels a fitting opening salvo for MMK, which has been both a wonderful witness and platform to countless inspiring stories that has led to the empowerment and betterment of many Filipino lives. It could be ABS-CBN’s symbolic message to those who remain loyal to the network and the services it still manages to deliver to the Filipino people.

With some restrictions of the current pandemic still sternly enforced, content production continues to be difficult for any production outfit. While ABS-CBN is arguably among the busiest production entities to offer new titles and shows amidst the pandemic, it can’t be argued that the streak of unfortunate circumstances that has befallen the network, keeps the media giant from going all out, in terms of producing new content, that is why it is truly amazing to see when a new show, or even just a fresh episode debuts on the network’s remaining platforms.

MMK29’s maiden offering is unexpectedly a tearjerker, with the first minute alone showing the lead character already dead. The show goes on to tell the story of Dr. Bactol, known to be the “Doctor to the Barrio”—how he and his family dreamt of him becoming a doctor, and how he managed to be one amidst his family’s struggling finances. Sylvia Sanchez plays Dr. Bactol’s kind mother, who has trouble balancing her attention for her three children, for whom she and her husband (played by Rommel Padilla) dream to provide everything in order for them to succeed in their respective chosen careers. Their impoverished financial capacity, however, teaches them that they are never always capable of agreeing to every request their children make. Having witnessed the disappointment and heartache they caused to their eldest child—played by Hero Angeles—after being unable to allow him to pursue his dreams of being a pilot, they vowed never to inflict the same pain to the rest of their children, hence all the resources and support they allotted to Israel, when he pursues medicine.

Testament to Arjo Atayde’s unquestionable brilliance are moments in the pilot episode where his emotions are beautifully and eloquently articulated. A phone call between Israel and his mom, where the former breaks down narrating his realizations about what his profession means to him, features an incredibly moving correspondence between a son and a mother. Sylvia Sanchez equally shines in that moment, as a mother who feels the same struggle her son is going through. While this isn’t surprising, given Arjo is Sylvia’s son, the magic they created together is contagious enough to move audiences to tears. Hero Angeles has a similarly powerful moment shared with Atayde in a heartfelt conversation which leads to their characters making peace with each other, after their relationship as brother was marred by jealousy.

Dr. Bactol’s relationship with Jane de Leon’s character is yet to be explored in the 2nd part of the two-part special, which will air next Saturday, the 5th of December. Two more new stories, featuring Joshua Garcia, Angel Aquino, and Adrian Alandy, are to air in the succeeding weeks.

Watch the trailer for MMK’s 29th Anniversary, below.


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