MANILA, Philippines - It was indeed a time for miracles in ABS-CBN's top-rating teleserye "May Bukas Pa" and its child star Zaijan Jaranilla.
Confirming weeks of speculation, Jaranilla's character "Santino" died in the last episode of the show after bleeding out during a kidnapping attempt by his dad's former girlfriend.
Santino then met his parents in heaven but was told by Jesus and Mary (played by ABS-CBN President Charo Santos Concio) that he had to go back to earth to spread hope to the residents of the fictional town of Bagong Pag-asa.
It was a "bittersweet" ending for the show which launched last February 2, 2009 and made "Santino" a household name.
Fans and critics reacted to the show's ending through micro-blogging site Twitter, where the show's title "May Bukas Pa" became the top 2 trending topic a few hours after the show ended.
"May Bukas Pa deserves to get the highest rating especially the finale! You're the best," said Twitter user ariannemedes.
"May Bukas Pa may not be the most beautiful TV series, yet it made a big mark to our Filipino soap industry," said user johnchrisma.
Actress Anne Curtis Smith wrote on her Twitter account: "Congratulations to the whole cast, directors, staff & crew of May Bukas Pa. Ang ganda ng last episode nyo! For sure you made BRO proud."
Bro is the ABS-CBN Network's moniker for God or Jesus.
Many more users said they will miss the show and its lead character Santino, while others clamored for replays of the entire series.
Others were dissatisfied with the ending, saying Santino's death and subsequent resurrection "stretched the plot too far" and was "unrealistic."
Others joked that Santino could already appear on ABS-CBN's documentary series "I Survived", which features people who lived through life-threatening situations.
Users on Twitter from countries abroad, meanwhile, wondered what "May Bukas Pa" meant and why it was trending on Twitter.
"May Bukas Pa" tells the story of Santino, an orphaned boy who wrought miracles because of his relationship with Jesus, whom he affectionately calls "Bro."
The show was a ratings juggernaut for the Kapamilya Network, with audience share of as high as 38.7%.
Because of its popularity, the show's run was extended several times as different ABS-CBN talents graced the show each week.
During the finale, a plethora of Kapamilya stars made cameo appearances including Anne Curtis, Shaina Magdayao, Christopher de Leon, Gabby Concepcion, Gloria Romero, Krista Ranillo, Lorna Tolentino, Ai-Ai delas Alas, Judy Ann Santos and Comedy King Dolphy.
A special rendition of the show's theme song was also sung by ABS-CBN stars such as Erik Santos, Toni Gonzaga, Arnel Pineda, Sam Milby, Aiza Seguerra, Nikki Gil, Vina Morales, Christian Bautista, Duncan, Piolo Pascual, Martin Nievera, Zsa Zsa Padilla, Charice and Jed Madela.
The final episode also featured bonus footage like bloopers by the cast during filming.
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