MANILA — Zaijan Jaranilla, the star of the 2009 inspirational series “May Bukas Pa,” returned 10 years later to its setting in Bacolor, Pampanga, meeting residents whose lives were changed by the story of his character Santino.
“May Bukas Pa,” about an orphan boy raised by a brotherhood of priests, was primarily shot in San Guillermo Parish Church in Bacolor, a municipality of some 40,000 people.
The undisputed No. 1 series during its one-year run, “May Bukas Pa” turned Bacolor into a tourist attraction, providing business opportunities for residents.
Such was the case for Uring Ocampo, whose carinderia or food stall was used as a location for the ABS-CBN series. She credited “May Bukas Pa” for helping her small-time business grow and helping her earn.
For others, the impact of Santino and “Bro” is more personal.
Rowena Roado, for instance, was pregnant at the time “May Bukas Pa” filmed in her hometown. She was also an avid viewer of the primetime series then, and hoped that her child would grow up to be similar to Santino, who has a strong faith.
Roado’s baby turned out to be a boy. His name: Santino.
Kristian Rei Cayanan, meanwhile, was cast as a bit player in “May Bukas Pa,” specifically as one of the choir boys at the church where Santino lives. He, too, started calling Jesus, “Bro,” and his onscreen involvement in the church eventually translated into real life.
Cayanan is now a seminarian.
Jaranilla, whose life was similarly changed by “May Bukas Pa,” came face to face with Ocampo, Roado, and Cayanan at San Guillermo Church. He also met his character’s namesake, the real-life Santino.
Jaranilla’s return home to Bacolor is part of a retrospective series celebrating ABS-CBN’s 65 years, themed “Kwentong Kapamilya.”