MANILA — Viewers of the Monday debut of “Huwag Kang Mangamba” said they were moved to tears by the scene of Francine Diaz as a teenager who feels isolated from her own family — made more touching by “Ako Naman Muna” as its soundtrack.
In the pilot episode of the ABS-CBN series, Joy (Diaz) initially appears to be a rebellious daughter with strained ties with her family, after being accused of having overdosed on party drugs.
Treated coldly by both her stepmother, Agatha (Mercedes Cabral), and stepsister, Sofia (Alyanna Angeles), Joy finds herself a stranger in her own home. She breaks down on the night her only ally, her father Samuel (Diether Ocampo), is due to leave for his job in the military.
A tearful Joy finally tells Samuel she has long felt abandoned by him, especially after he chose not to believe her, when she insisted that she was clueless as to how she got drugged.
“Bakit pakiramdam ko, hindi ako buo? Na kayo lang ‘yung naging pamilya,” she says. “Dad, nawala ako sa picture. Bumuo kayo ng sarili niyong pamilya, pero nakalimutan niyo na ako. Naiwan ako mag-isa. Naiwan mo ako.”
It is later revealed in the episode that Sofia was behind the so-called “prank” on Joy during the party, leading to the latter’s overdose.
Joy and Samuel’s emotional exchange was aptly set to “Ako Naman Muna,” the viral composition of breakout singer and songwriter Angela Ken, whose finished version of the TikTok hit was released under Star Music early this month.
As “Huwag Kang Mangamba” ranked among the top trends on Twitter on its debut night, many viewers shared they were brought to tears not only by Diaz’s performance as Joy, but by the song about self-love and overcoming challenges.
Dissecting the scene during the series’ gap program on Kapamilya Online Live, cast member Dimples Romana, a real-life mother who previously co-starred with Diaz in “Kadenang Ginto,” shared the significance of Joy’s emotional breakdown in the pilot.
“Sinasalamin talaga nila ‘yung mga pinagdadaanan ng mga edad nila ngayon,” she said, referring to Diaz’s Joy and Andrea Brillantes’ Mira.
Recalling Joy’s lines about feeling left behind, Romana said, “Nawala na ‘yung sense of belonging niya, and may rason kung bakit ganoon ang nararamdaman niya.”
“‘I seem angry to you, pero hindi iyon ‘yung gusto ko iparating, e.’ ‘Di ba kadalasan, sa mga bata ngayon, ang dating sa ating mga adults, ‘Nagrerebelde ka ba?’ Pero ang totoo, we just have to care to listen, and to hear out where they are coming from.”
Directed by Jerry Lopez Sineneng, Emmanuel Q. Palo, and Darnel Villaflor, “Huwag Kang Mangamba” is the latest in ABS-CBN’s tradition of offering inspirational stories.
Along with other ABS-CBN primetime programs, “Huwag Kang Mangamba” can be accessed through eight platforms: Kapamilya Channel, A2Z, TV5, TFC, Kapamilya Online Live, iWant TFC, WeTV, and iflix.