The 10 most memorable ‘MMK’ episodes, accordingto Ate Charo | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

Charo Santos
Charo Santos


Promo  material  for the launch of “Maalaala Mo Kaya”  in 1991
Promo material for the launch of “Maalaala Mo Kaya” in 1991

Charo Santos-Concio is one of the most powerful women in Philippine media.

But to Filipinos, she’s not just the chief content officer of ABS-CBN Corporation, she’s Ate Charo—someone they can trust, someone they listened to, a friend they can bare their souls to.

Santos-Concio is the host of “Maalala Mo Kaya,” (MMK) the longest-running drama anthology in Asia. Week after week, “MMK” told all kinds of Filipino stories—heart wrenching, inspiring, touching tales sent in by people from all walks of life. “MMK” immortalized the now iconic words, “Dear Ate Charo …”

The multi-awarded TV show, which featured the country’s best and biggest stars, captivated audiences and would go on to spawn a movie, a radio drama, even books.

Last month, it was Santos-Concio who broke the news that “MMK” was ending its 31-year run. In a video, the actress said, “Sa 31 taon, hindi na po mabilang ang naisalaysay nating kwento dito sa MMK, mga kwentong totoo, mga salamin ng sarili ninyong buhay na nagbigay ng aral at panibagong pag-asa. Kami po ay tagapaghatid lang ng mga kwento. Kung mauulit man ang lahat, hindi po ako magdadalawang isip na piliin muli ang role na ito. Kulang po ang 31 taon para magpasalamat sa inyo.”

Charo Santos
Charo Santos

People were saddened by the news, with many refusing to believe that they’d have to say goodbye to such a beloved show. “Noooooooo,” read a lot of posts.

“End of an era,” many declared.

“Wait lang, di pa napapalabas storya ko,” a netizen posted.

Others wrote about the episodes that have stuck with them through the years.

Everyone has their own list of favorite “MMK” episodes but we wondered—which ones are Ate Charo’s favorites?

She told Super, “All ‘MMK’ stories are close to my heart. It’s difficult to choose ten episodes from the thousands of featured stories. Through the last 31 years, ‘MMK’ has brought us lessons on love, courage, resilience and hope. Every episode is a favorite of mine.”

On this page you’ll see her list of ten memorable episodes, episodes fans of the show are unlikely to forget either.

When you started working on the show, did you think it would last as long as it did?

Any experienced producer will tell you, they have that gut feel that tells them about the future of a program or movie. When the programming committee of ABS-CBN previewed the “MMK” pilot, this small episode starring Romnick Sarmenta, Robert Arevalo and Vina Morales titled “Rubber Shoes,” I had that strange gut feel because all the male executives came out of the preview room wiping their tears. I just knew “MMK” will last more than a couple of seasons.

But honestly, I did not expect it to last this long! Now when I watch past episodes of “MMK,” it is like watching a living history of the Filipino’s evolving ways of life for 31 years.

Charo Santos with the “MMK” production team
Charo Santos with the “MMK” production team

Recently, there was an old promotional flyer for “MMK” posted on FB. The blurb went, “Destined to be one of those rare classics in Philippine TV.” Whoever wrote that blurb 31 years ago was prescient. Turned out that “MMK” was destined for an incredible run.

How does it feel to have hosted a show of such cultural importance?

Cultural importance is something for future media academics to assess, not me. But I am deeply humbled by the impact “MMK” had to the Fiipinos, through my own personal experiences.

Whenever I am abroad, Filipino OFWs from all walks of life would approach me: seamen, domestics, migrants. They say, that in their loneliness abroad, watching “MMK” sustains them, and keeps them rallying. One therapist even told me that whenever male OFWs get depressed, she makes them watch a couple of “MMK” episodes, so they can be encouraged to cry and open their hearts. It is a wonderful honor to be utilized that way.

Years ago, we decided not just to wait for people to send their letter, but to do an “MMK” provincial caravan, to hear the people’s stories straight from their lips. The people’s responses, I will never forget to this day. Women would come down from remote mountains, to line up to our researchers, because they had a story to tell, bursting out of their hearts. Some of them did not know how to read or write, so it was a relief to just tell it.

Storytelling is always healing, so I am touched that they got things out of their chests, and felt seen and heard.

That caravan was a life-changing experience for me. I am so happy we did something good, no matter how small, to our audiences.

What would you miss about “MMK?”

Surely, I will miss my “MMK” community, my audience and the people behind the show. “MMK” always kept itself in check all these decades. “MMK” is—more than a show—a service. We at production are just a conduit. The stories come from the audiences, and it goes back to them as full-fleshed narrative journeys.

Hopefully it entertains them, and provides them relief. If by some miracle, it heals them, it is that compassion of story-sharing that heals them. We are just honored to be part of it.

What was your biggest lesson from all those years of working on “MMK?”

That fact is stranger than fiction. That the human heart is far more complex, and far stronger than we will ever know. What the heart can take, what the heart can withstand, in the name of love, will forever amaze me.

And of course, at the end of all of our stories, the triumph of the spirit. Filipinos brave the worst storms, and yet they win in the end. Week after week, I end up admiring our common values, courage, resilience and flawed humanity.

Congratulations on the show heading to Africa soon! What’s it like dubbing it in English?

I am still nervous! To be seen in 41 African countries does not happen every day. I am so honored that “MMK” gets to be the platform to display Filipino dramatic artistry to the world.

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